When my husband told me that he wanted to start raising meat rabbits, I thought he was crazy. We were going to raise them, breed them, and then eat their babies! I didn’t think I could do it! I wanted to be a good sport, though so I followed along. It’s turned out much better than I expected, and now I want to share 3 reasons why you should raise meat rabbits, too!
We are very proud to host this guest blog on raising meat rabbits by our great homesteading friend Lindsay. You can read more about Lindsay and her homesteading life below. Gaz
3 Reasons why everyone should consider raising meat rabbits
1. There’s nothing that says “sustainable living” like producing your own food.
I think that this is one of the main reason why so many homesteaders have gardens and orchards. By growing your own fruits and vegetables, you have more control over the food you are eating. But lets face it. Here in the US we consume around 270 lbs of meat per person each year . In a family of four, that is more than a thousand pounds of meat each year. Buying that amount meat from a grocery store is hardly sustainable. In order to take our meat consumption to a more sustainable level, Americans in general can lower their meat intake, and start raising their own meat. Humans do not need to eat meat every meal. Heck, you don’t even need it every day! I’m not talking about becoming a vegetarian, although you could consider that if you like. Two does and one buck should produce around 180 pounds of tender, white, chicken-like meat each year, depending on the breed. It costs less money and takes less space to produce rabbit meat than it does to produce the same amount of chicken meat. All in all, raising rabbits costs less for you, the direct consumer. It’s easier on the planet. Not to mention, it’s just plain rewarding to eat a meal where you have produced EVERYTHING in it. 2. Rabbits produce an ABUNDANCE of cold manure. ‘Nuff said! Rabbits poop. They poop a lot. The best part about all that poop is that it is a really amazing cold manure. That means that it can be used right on most plants with out having to be composted. If you have a small orchard, or a garden STOP BUYING FERTILIZER! Raise rabbits instead. They produce more than enough and all you have to do is feed them. (Which, by the way, costs less than buying good fertilizer!)
Case in point: We grew tomatoes last year. We purchased two plants each of Romas, grapes, cherries, and some sort of beef steak or “slicer” tomato. The tomato plants were the same age, planted at the same time, and given the exact same amount of water. The only difference: One plant of each variety was planted in a heavily fertilized-with-rabbit-manure mulch bed, and the other was planted in a straw bale that had been heavily fertilized with blood, fish, and feather meal. The tomatoes that were planted in the mulch garden produced more, larger fruit than the ones planted in the straw bale. Sometimes the fruit was as much as five times larger!! As I said, ‘nuff said!
If those last two reasons aren’t enough, then just keep reading. 3. Bunnies make you happy, (and happy people just don’t kill their husbands!) In order to make it as homesteaders, we have to be resilient. There are going to be challenges and tough days that make you want to run back to the convenient life you are trying to leave behind. Elle woods from the movie “Legally Blonde” is one of my all-time favorite characters. Her logic in this case, is absolutely infallible. There are days when homesteading is very difficult and nothing can drag me out of the house. Some days, I’m ashamed to admit, make me feel like killing my husband for dragging me this mess (however willing I was at the time).
On my worst days, all I have to do is find enough energy to go out and feed the bunnies. We almost always have a litter of the cutest little babies. Holding one for 5 minutes is enough to put a smile on my face. Everything becomes bearable again. It’s a part of what scientists call the 3:1 ratio. If you can experience 3 positive emotions to every 1 negative emotion, you’ll build your emotional resilience.  And besides the cute factor, being able to say I am raising my meat in a responsible way, and that I’m feeding my family healthy food is huge confidence booster. That being said… Keeping rabbits is work. It’s not for everyone. If you are thinking about raising rabbits yourself, head on over to our website, www.havenhomestead.com, and grab our free eBook titled “Why Rabbits?” It’s a great little worksheet that was designed to help folks just like you decide on whether or not raising rabbits is right for their situation. So, have I convinced you to at least consider raising meat rabbits? Let me know in the comments below!
Lindsay is a writer and photographer, wife, mother, and micro-entrepreneur. She and her husband Chris have started their own little homestead in Western Washington. You can read more about their adventures, and learn more about homesteading at www.havenhomestead.com.