Meat Rabbit Farming

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Meat Rabbit Farming
Rabbits can be raised for meat. (small rabbits image by Vera Kailova from Fotolia.com)

Meat rabbit farming is the process of raising rabbits for meat production. According to The Farm, rabbit meat is mild and savoury, with a taste similar to that of poultry. Meat rabbits can be raised in both suburban and rural areas, so long as the local ordinances permit it. Meat rabbit farming can be a valuable addition to your business.

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Types

Rabbits intended for meat production tend to be large, coming in at around 4.08kg. Californian and New Zealand rabbits are among the most popular breeds, but they are by no means the only ones that are used for this purpose. The silver fox is one rabbit breed that is highly suited to meat production, as is the satin breed and the harlequin. The Champagne d'Argent breed, also known as the French silver, is another popular breed for meat production.

Housing

Housing rabbits for the meat production typically consists of constructing cages or hutches that are lifted between 3 and 4 feet off the ground. The rabbits need to be housed in a clean, dry hutch that has plenty of ventilation but which will still provide them with protection from the elements and from predators. A mesh floor will aid with cleaning the hutch, and a detachable roof on the hutch can give you better access than a door cut into the side. Rabbits may be housed communally, but this can lead to a quick spread of disease through the colony.

Feeding

Rabbits intended for meat production can eat a diet that is primarily composed of commercial pellets. Commercial pellets include alfalfa, oats, wheat and barley. Their diet can be supplemented with timothy hay or with alfalfa. They should have fresh water at all times. Over-feeding rabbits should be avoided because it can cause female rabbits to have reproductive problems.

Advantages

Rabbit meat production can occur in a small space, and they tend to be allowed in areas where chickens are not permitted. They are quiet and easy to raise. In cases where high production is not a goal, their feed can be supplemented with vegetable scraps from the kitchen. The meat that is produced by rabbits is low in cholesterol and fat, making it a good choice for people on restrictive diets.

Disadvantages

Finding a market for rabbit meat can be difficult if the goal is making money. Rabbits also do best in temperate weather, and they do not thrive in hotter areas. Depending on the area, rabbits may be considered exotic, and finding a knowledgeable veterinarian may be a problem. In the United States, where rabbits are typically seen as a pet rather than a food source, people producing rabbits for meat may run into some stigma.

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