Updated: Dec 28, 2021
Disclaimer: Graphic content; skinned rabbit & blood
The question I get asked most about my rabbitry is, “how can you kill such a cute bunny"? The “cute” factor may be the most difficult part of raising rabbits, but it helps to know that each of them will lead a wonderful, spoiled life in our care before their visit to freezer camp. “Only one bad day” is our motto.
Did you know…
In the 1940s and 50s, rabbit meat in the grocery store or on the dinner table was just as common as chicken.
Rabbit meat contains the most digestible protein, it is almost cholesterol and fat-free and has the fewest calories, sodium, and cholesterol than other red or white meats.
Want to earn some cash? While you may be able to find rabbit meat in a specialty grocery store for around $7-8 per lb, your backyard-raised rabbit meat can be sold for upwards of $10 per lb! (Be sure to check your state’s laws on selling homegrown meat.)
Compared to chicken, pork, and beef, rabbit is the most productive livestock when considering bone to meat ratio:
Chickens require 7lbs of food to produce 1lb of meat and can produce 75lb of meat per year when left to procreate.
Pigs require 10lbs of food to produce 1lb of meat and can produce 1,500lb of meat per year.
Cows require 24lbs of food to produce 1lb of meat and can produce up to 3,000lb of meat per year
Rabbits only require 4lbs of feed to produce 1lb of meat and can produce a whopping 320lbs of meat per year when left to procreate.
Therefore it takes 6x the feed and water to produce 1lb of beef than to produce 1lb of rabbit meat!
What about the environmental impact?
Meat production as a whole can be a terrible burden on our environment. The waste is unmanageable and puts a strain on the corn and wheat production in our country. Furthermore, your store-bought meats are likely filled with antibiotics and growth hormones. Rabbits, however, have a very low environmental impact and can even benefit your soil. They can mow your lawn and then fertilize your garden with their urine and feces, thus building your topsoil and improving your environment.
How much space is needed?
Raising rabbits is simple, even for the smallest of backyards. With just one buck and two does, a three-stall hutch system can produce up to 600lb of meat in your backyard.
How to cook rabbit?
Rabbit meat can be substituted for any chicken or pork recipe. However, because rabbit is so low in sodium, cooking on “low and slow” is key in getting a great texture.
What about the low-fat content?
Have you heard of protein starvation? Rabbits are so incredibly low in calories and fat (like many veggies) that it is possible to starve if you eat rabbit only. Therefore, you do need to supplement your prepper diet with other sources of fat, such as dairy, avocados, nuts, and other sources of healthy fat.
So there you have it… rabbit is the clear winner as the healthiest and most productive meat. It’s easy to raise, easy to cook, and incredibly healthy. For us, knowing that our “buns” live a much happier life than many grocery stores sourced meat, really helps “freezer camp day” an easier process. We love raising such sustainable and healthy meat, and we hope you’ll give it a try!
Note from the author: Check out Living Traditions Homestead on YouTube for a great playlist on how to get started raising meat rabbits.
(This article’s information is sourced from Good Simple Living on YouTube.)