7 Reasons to Raise Rabbits
First of all: I finally feel like I’ve been keeping rabbits long enough that I can speak somewhat intelligently about the subject.
One of my favorite quotes of all time:
“Everyone is good for something if only to serve as a bad example.” [Richmond, Gary. A New View From the Zoo pp. 78]
I swear – this quote is my life. If you want to know how NOT to keep bunnies – I’m your girl!
Second of all: If you NEVER want rabbits on your homestead and NEVER plan to eat rabbit. And NEVER want to know if it really tastes like chicken you should definitely keep reading.
I NEVER wanted rabbits. I NEVER wanted to eat rabbits. I wanted to raise meat chickens, pigs, and steers for my dinner table.
But the rabbits were given to us and I am here to tell you that it is good.
When we first started out with the bunny project I was completely against it saw no point in keeping a poor, fuzzy bunny locked in a small cage – outdoors where it would live out its lonely life watching chickens go by.
Boy, was I wrong.
Here are my top 7 reasons to keep Rabbits
#1: Reason to Keep Rabbits – You will LOVE them
Rabbits are simply adorable. We love having them on the farm. I thought they would be ignored, neglected and just another mouth to feed here at the homestead.
My children adore them. They play with the rabbits all the time and the rabbits here live a pretty darn awesome life. (Aside from the ones that were murdered by the German shepherd down the road. Grrr)
We homeschool and my kids often go grab a rabbit (or two) to join us during our studies. In the afternoons my kids lay in hammocks (Enos) with the rabbits. I have to say, even when friends come out – the rabbits are quite entertaining.
Wanna know what happens when you give 6 teenagers a baby bunny to hold? Nothing. Baby bunnies are capable of paralyzing teens for hours. It’s adorable. These teenagers sat on a giant couch snuggling with 4-week old bunnies. No phones. No iPods. No video games. Just cuddly little bunnies. My heart is gonna burst.
What I thought would be an ignored animal on the farm has been the main attraction.
#2: Reason to Keep Rabbits – Caring for Rabbits is Simple
- Minerals (we give our rabbits a mineral lick)
This is a once a day kind of animal – which is fabulous.
#3: Reason to Keep Rabbits – You Can Feed Rabbits for Free
Speaking of food, you are not going to believe what you need to feed rabbits…..
Seriously, you can feed your rabbits on grass. If you have some rich grass (like an alphafa or good pasture mix), that’s all they really need. Here in Kentucky, our grass is hit or miss (thanks to the glorious seasons) so we give our rabbits plenty of dry alphafa hay to eat.
Many rabbit keepers provide a ration of rabbit pellets in addition to the grass or hay. This is also a great solution. It can ensure your rabbits are getting what they need in their diet, and saves you bundles.
Mature rabbits can live on good grass or hay. We buy 70-pound square bales of alphafa hay from our neighbor for $4 a bale. This amount of hay can feed a rabbit for a long time. We just shove a couple of handfuls in their cage whenever they run out.
If you have a rabbit not accustomed to eating hay you will need to switch to hay slowly and still provide rabbit pellets.
#4: Reason to Keep Rabbits – It only takes 10 Weeks
Yup. Raising rabbits is not only cheap and fun – it is fast. Those cute little bunnies will be full-blown rabbits in about 10 weeks. It’s impressive. We usually wait until ours are 12 weeks or more but if you were in a hurry for some meat you can process your rabbits in 10 weeks.
#5: Reason to Keep Rabbits – You Can Use Their Manure Today
Another perk of having rabbits on your homestead is the manure. All of our rabbit hutches have wire bottoms. We allow the manure to simply fall to the ground and collect it from underneath. Whenever I need a little burst of nutrients for my garden or pots I scoop up some of that glorious, rabbit manure.
Rabbits have cold manure. This means that it is never hot. This means that you can simply scoop it out from under the rabbits and put it straight on your tomatoes.
#6: Reason to Keep Rabbits – They are a Grass-fed Healthy Meat
Did you know that rabbit meat is one of the healthiest meats you can eat?
Rabbit meat is lower in calories than chicken, veal or turkey AND it is the highest in protein! Rabbit meat has more protein than chicken lamb, pork, fish or beef.
#7: Reason to Keep Rabbits – They Taste Like Chicken
Yes, they do. If you like chicken, you will probably like rabbit. Actually, if you ate my rabbit pot pie, rabbit and dumplings or spicy rabbit enchiladas I would be willing to bet that you would not be able to tell it was rabbit. My kids can’t. Which infuriates them because I don’t always tell them what we’re having for dinner. LOL.
Keeping rabbits was a nice surprise at our homestead. I never wanted them but love having them.
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