Sunday, November 29, 2009

Urban Rabbit Farming

Alas, I have finally got myself a herd of rabbits. Raising rabbits in an urban environment has always been one of my aspirations. There are tons of research that support the raising of rabbits in this type of environment. The one item that draws people to raising rabbits is the ability for the rabbits to breed throughout the year. From the time of courting it will take 28 to 30 days for young to be born averaging from 5-10 a litter. The young can be slaughtered at about 2 -4 months. With the fast breeding habits of the rabbit and some good note keeping a rabbit farm for meat or anything else can be very beneficial. However, my quest to raise rabbits has more to do with understanding how it all works in an urban environment rather than producing rabbits for profit. Everyday I search craigslist looking for the *DEAL* and I finally I came across a gentleman who needed to get rid of six San Juan rabbits for $40 bucks. Well, I drove my happy self over there and picked them up. 3 bucks and 3 does. I want to include some other bucks so that way I can diversify the gene pool. But nevertheless, I finally have my rabbits. The problem was finding a place for them stay. I knew that they would go in my man garden out back but I didn't know how I was going to work them in. So with a several mins of staring at that space I realized that I would use my privacy fence as the base for my pen. When I had this privacy fence installed the fence guy asked me if I wanted the nice side facing inside of the property. I told him no, because I eventually wanted to grow veggies and the support beams could be used to construct just about anything and wadda ya know, I used them perfectly build a very strong rabbit hutch. These guys are going to be dual purpose. First I will raise them for meat and Second I will use them to train my dog and hawk. I kind of don't see the point in hunting rabbits if I am growing them. But I know that thinking will get me in trouble. Because when i need my guys to perform they need to perform. I look forward to seeing how things go in a few months. I really can't believe I have rabbits, when is it going to stop!!:)

21 comments:

Ruralrose said...

Awesome job here, well thought out - i was gunghoe to do this as well, until an old timer told me rabbit meat and caribou are too low in protein to be worth the effort, have you heard of this? great blog, thanks for sharing this- peace for all

ATW said...

Thanks RR. But to the contrary with regards to rabbit meat and caribou. They are getting mixed up with cholesteral. What makes rabbit such a great meat item is it's overwhelming amount of protein per serving. Unlike bigger animals that we tend to eat for protein content rabbits on average have 100 gr of protein per serving if that serving were 500g. Thats pretty much a whole fryer rabbit. And also any wild game meat like caribou is going to be ten times healthier than our traditional raised meat animals. I will keep the post coming. Im not going to breed until the beginning of the year so that way I can keep a good tab on every does breeding cycle.

luv2garden said...

ATW, well if all else fails maybe you will have a host of rabbits to sell at Easter.

Really Rose said...

Cool! Rabbit meat is very good. I would help my husband spot their tracks in the fresh snow when we lived up in Minnesota - then we'd have fresh rabbit for dinner. Another plus for raising your own rabbits, the super fertilizer they'll be producing for your garden and compost. Most clever placement of those hutches, but now I'll be giving thought as to what might be going on behind the privacy fences scattered about my neighborhood . . .

Ruralrose said...

thanks for taking the time to set me right, i think i will join you in the spring, could be very rewarding, peace

Wendy said...

We've been raising rabbits for meat off and on for about twelve years. Rabbits are perfect urban/suburban farm animals, because they are quiet, they don't eat a lot, and they don't take up much space. In addition, to their fabulous and healthful meat, their manure is unequaled for fertilizer (and can be used straight on the garden without composting first).

The best way we've found to cook them is smoked on the grill. Delicious!

Congrats on your newest addition. You will not be disappointed ;).

ATW said...

L2G- I didn't know how many people were buying rabbits for easter until I got these bunnies.

Really Rose, Wendy- The only issue I have right now is my wife trying to name them. She thinks they are so cute, which they are, but I know thats her trick to make them as humanely as possible and and then rabbit backyard production is going to be null and void

Sue said...

While reading this post, I was wondering if your wife was going to make them into pets. It's the reason I can't raise anything for food..........besides vegetables!

ATW said...

sue- Shes plottin on me. There is a huge disconnect going right now. She just doesnt want to see anything. Im reading up on traditional french and italian cuisine from the farm country. Hopefully I can convince her palate although her heart and mind says, Hell No!!

Wendy said...

My girls like to name the animals, too.

We've let them know, though, that the breeders can be named and can be pets, but any offspring will be food.

While I'm fully on board with the whole raising our own meat thing, and I believe if I can't raise and kill it, then I shouldn't eat it, I can empathize with your wife. At first, it was really tough for me to be the caretaker of these animals and then have them on my plate. It took a while for me to get over it, but as I started to distrust the agri-food industry, I had to make a decision which involved raising and eating it myself, or not eating meat at all.

poljoprivreda said...

is it complicated to have a rabbit farm on the roof and what i need for that?

ATW said...

wendy- Thanks for the comment. There is definately a need for me to be sympathetic to my wifes needs. We have a working micro farm in our urban sprawl. with that being said there are some deal breakers. Fortunately my wife just wants to cuddle with the bunnies and doesn't object to me using them for food. She just doesn't want any. I'll Try to change that though:)

poljoprivreda- Thats a good question. I think it is possible if certain things are in place. First, you need to make sure your rabbit hutches are protected from the weather. Like the wind, rain and intense sun and also Birds of prey. If you have a wall that you can secure the hutches to that would be ideal. But then I would construct something around them that you can walk into. Rain, high winds and Sun will be your enemy. So make sure you design something to keep your rabbits protected from those elements and also it will help to have a water source that you can easily fill thier water bottles up with. Rabbits surprisingly drink alot of water and also if you think about doing this find some way to contain thier manure so that it doesn't get all over your roof. If I were you I would start a vegatable garden on the roof so that you can recycle the rabbit manure to grow veggies and fruit. The options are endless. If you proceed please post some pics I would love to see how it turns out.

viggie said...

Good to see another urban homesteader taking the leap into rabbits. Although as a vegetarian my goals were slightly different :) I went with angoras to produce fiber for yarn and fertilizer.

pelenaka said...

Welcome to the fold.
Love those hanging cages. Have you considered hosting worms underneath?

ATW said...

pelenaka- The rabbits are awesome. I got a really good deal on them so I had to set something up. The hanging cages are working really fine and are a great use of space. My main purpose is to use there droppings for fertilizer. I have chickens as well and I would love to see how everything comes into play. Do to alot of work this year I wont be able to post like I want to. But I when I get going I will post the benefits of using their droppings and the worm affect.

Karen said...

Lovely set-up, ATW. Very nice job. How are things coming with your rabbits now that May is just around the corner?? You should have a few litters already, no?

Sounds like you've done quite a bit of research about rabbits - have you checked out http://www.raising-rabbits.com? New site, quite informative.

Let us know how your rabbit project is going....

mdnuhu1 said...

I love this business, I will soon join you Sir.
Will be communicating with you for more knowledge !Thanks

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