You should learn how to raise meat rabbits if you are looking for an easy source of food, especially meat. Most people consider rabbit meat very tasty. It’s lower in fat than pork, chicken, or beef, and is high in protein. Unlike cows or pigs you need very little space to raise a few rabbits.
It can be done even if you live in the city, which is why it is one reason many preppers raise meat rabbits. All you need is a medium sized pen. In a pinch you could raise them in your house if you have no other options.
You should also know that there are certain rabbit breeds that are ideal for meat rabbits. These rabbits are much larger than the pet rabbits you’re used to seeing. These rabbits commonly grow to 10 plus pounds. When you are learning how to raise meat rabbits make sure you get the right breeds like, the Californian and the New Zealand Reds and New Zealand Whites. They are considered the best but are by no means the only breed that will work.
As far as housing goes rabbits can easily be kept in wire cages or wooden hutches situated off the ground and in an area protected from rain or wind. You can line your cages with Timothy hay, wood shavings, or old newspapers. Do not use straw. That invites mice and their feces and urine can carry infections that can spread to your rabbits. As you learn how to raise meat rabbits, you’ll see that it is a very simple process; much easier than chickens, cows or pigs.
When it comes to food and food supplements, rabbits like pellets that are typically made from alfalfa and grains like oats wheat and barley. Be sure to give them things like chunks of wood to chew on. This keeps their teeth from getting too long. Your rabbits also need fresh water at all times.
In a survival situation, when it may be impossible to find commercial rabbit feed, you can feed them from your garden and greenhouse produce.
When it comes to breeding your rabbits the female, or the doe, needs to be 5-6 months old while the male, or buck should be 6-7 months old. Fertilization takes place 8-10 hours after mating. They have a short gestation period or 31-32 days. Make sure you give her a nest box a few days before she is due. She will pull out her own fur to make the nest for her young.
When you are learning how to raise meat rabbits the biggest issue you will come across has to do with babies, or “kits” and first time mothers. First time mothers will sometimes reject her kits and may need your help. It is also very common for first time mothers to lose their first litter. A lot of the time, this has to do with the mother not building an adequate nest.
Since kits are born furless, they can die from the cold. If you do find a baby that seems very cold and lifeless it may still be alive. Take it in and submerge in warm water up to its neck. That may just do the trick. After you dry them, put them in a box with towels and a heating pad to keep them warm. If the mom didn’t nurse them right after birth they will be too weak to nurse next time. If this happens give them sugar water, one drop at a time.
If you’re raising cattle you have to wait about two years before you can butcher one. One of the biggest draws when it comes to meat rabbits is that they go from babies to butchering size in as little as ten to twelve weeks. No other livestock animal grows that fast. New Zealand Reds will be around ten pounds when you go to butcher them; the perfect size for a family dinner.
As you can see, learning how to raise meat rabbits is a fairly simple process and a quick one at that. If you plan to breed some of your rabbits remember that taking care of the young will pose the biggest problem, especially with first time mothers. Put in extra care during that time and you will be a successful breeder of meat rabbits.