Meat rabbits for the homestead. Beyond chickens, probably the “next best”, most productive animal for the homestead is the meat rabbit. Rabbits are inexpensive, easy-to-raise, prolific, quiet, and take a minimal amount of space. And, they produce the leanest meat of all domestic animals as well as usable pelts and incredibly-rich garden fertilizer.
Of course, many people are put off by the idea of eating what they consider a pet animal and can’t picture themselves being able to dispatch “those cute bunnies”. But the reality is, if times get tough(er) and you need a delicious protein source for your hungry family, you will quickly get over your apprehensions and be grateful you have a ready source of meat. (Quite frankly, 3 month old rabbits – which is prime butchering age — aren’t nearly as cute and cuddly as what you are imagining.)
A breeding trio of rabbits, that is, two females and one male, could easily produce 42 babies a year. If these youngsters are butchered at 3-4 pounds, this translates into approximately 150 pounds of meat per year.
There are many breeds of domestic rabbits but for many meat producers the New Zealand white and Californian are two of the more popular. Fryers, bakers, roasters, and stewers are the names given to meat rabbits. Their age and weight will determine their title. Want to learn more? Then tune in this Thursday, September 12, to the Homestead Honey Hour where we will dive into this subject to help you get started raising rabbits!
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