When you start with rabbits you should worry more about learning all you can about raising rabbits and not how many a year you can get, you will learn with your rabbits as they grow and go through their life cycles. Your rabbits will teach you lots more than I ever could!
Learn how to butcher, cut up a whole rabbit and the MANY rabbit recipes, find your favorite recipes and grow some of the herbs and other ingredients in them. Learn how to freeze, smoke, and even pressure can your rabbit meat. When you have all this information and experience under your belt, then you can worry about high production!
If you have a crazy work schedule (like me) there are ways to help with this so your does will kindle on certain days of the week.
If you breed your does on the weekend (do not forget to mark that day on your calendar) 28 days later put in the nest boxes. The 28th day should fall on the weekend again, this works out well if the weekend is when you do your weekly rabbit chores (cleaning cages, emptying drop pans, bleaching crocks and bottles etc.) and since you are working in the rabbitry is also a good day to put in the nest boxes. The doe should have her litter during the week on day 30 or day 31 after breeding (remember you marked the breeding date on the calendar!). This should be on a Tuesday or a Wednesday. Rabbits will usually kindle at night so if you work days you should be home in time to check on the new litter. If doe doesn’t kindle by day 35 you should breed her again. This again should fall on a Saturday or a Sunday.
I breed my does on a Wednesday. This is because I work during the week and never know what time I will get home. This way the does will kindle on the weekend when I am home working on the homestead.
When I first started with rabbits feed was cheap and everyone was using pellets. I could breed some of my high production New Zealand’s to get 8 big litters a year. Now I am looking to be more self sufficient with my life and my rabbits. With this new change I raise less rabbits (easier to grow and harvest food for 10 rabbits than 50) and a more natural feeding program I am happy with 5 to 6 litters a year. The litters may be a little smaller but the cost and sustainability is priceless!
How many litters a year can I get from my rabbits? This question I get asked all the time. There are many factors including types of feed and hereditary factors. Here is a breeding schedule for the amount of litters a year you want. Remember raising rabbits is not perfect you many get a doe that misses, or loses a litter.
LITTERS A YEAR-
4 Kindle litter- Rebreed 60 days after kindling- Wean kits at 60 days- Kindle next litter 91 days
5 Kindle litter- Rebreed 42 days after kindling- Wean kits at 56 days- Kindle next litter 73 days
6 Kindle litter- Rebreed 28 days after kindling- Wean kits at 42 days- Kindle next litter 59 days
7 Kindle litter- Rebreed 21 days after kindling- Wean kits at 35 days- Kindle next litter 52 days
8 Kindle litter- Rebreed 14 days after kindling- Wean kits at 28 days- Kindle next litter 45 days
4 to 6 litters a year are more likely with a natural feeding program, 6 to 8 litters a year will require more management and the need for a high protein production pellet.
You should have a calendar in your rabbitry or a calendar in the house just for your rabbits, I have a large calendar hanging in my rabbitry so I can see when to put in a nest box, I put the cage numbers on the date when the nest box should go in and when they are due. Here is a gestation chart that I use all the time.
31 Day Gestation Chart
5 5 8 8 9 9 10 10 10 11 11 12 12
6 6 9 9 10 10 11 11 11 12 12 13 13
7 7 10 10 11 11 12 12 12 13 13 14 14
8 8 11 11 12 12 13 13 13 14 14 15 15
9 9 12 12 13 13 14 14 14 15 15 16 16
10 10 13 13 14 14 15 15 15 16 16 17 17
11 11 14 14 15 15 16 16 16 17 17 18 18
12 12 15 15 16 16 17 17 17 18 18 19 19
13 13 16 16 17 17 18 18 18 19 19 20 20
14 14 17 17 18 18 19 19 19 20 20 21 21
15 15 18 18 19 19 20 20 20 21 21 22 22
16 16 19 19 20 20 21 21 21 22 22 23 23
17 17 20 20 21 21 22 22 22 23 23 24 24
18 18 21 21 22 22 23 23 23 24 24 25 25
19 19 22 22 23 23 24 24 24 25 25 26 26
20 20 23 23 24 24 25 25 25 26 26 27 27
21 21 24 24 25 25 26 26 26 27 27 28 28
22 22 25 25 26 26 27 27 27 28 28 29 29
23 23 26 26 27 27 28 28 28 29 29 30 30
24 24 27 27 28 28 29 29 29 30 30 31 31
25 25 28 28 29 29 30 30 30 31 1 1
26 26 29 29 30 30 31 31 1 1 2 2
27 27 30 30 31 1 1 1 2 2 3 3
28 28 31 1 1 2 2 2 3 3 4 4
29 1 1 2 2 3 3 3 4 4 5 5
30 2 2 3 3 4 4 4 5 5 6 6
31 3 3 4 4 5 5 5 6 6 7 7
To use this chart, find the month and day that the breeding occurred and then straight across to the next column on the right to determine the due date, this is based on a 31 day gestation. Remember that 31 days is the normal gestation time for most rabbits, but it’s not uncommon for does to kindle their litters from day 28 to day 32. I always put my nest boxes in at day 27 or 28.
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If you follow my blog or my face-book page you already know what GMOs are, but here is the basic definition -Genetically modified foods (GM foods, or bio-tech foods) are foods derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), such as genetically modified crops or genetically modified fish. GMOs have had specific changes introduced into their DNA by genetic engineering techniques. These techniques are much more precise than mutation breeding where an organism is exposed to radiation or chemicals to create a non-specific but stable change. The scientist at Monsanto started inserting genes from bacteria and viruses into crops. That’s were they got a crop that could either survive a application of the company’s herbicide glyphosate (roundup) or produce its own insect killing pesticide. Coming soon the USDA will be approving Agent Orange resistant crops (this have been proven in studies after Vietnam to cause cancer and birth defects).
Research has shown lower levels of nutrients in crops sprayed with Roundup. These crops are specifically engineered to tolerate the herbicide Roundup, whose use has increased with the release of Roundup-Ready GM crops. Glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, decreases nutrient availability and uptake in plants. Some of these nutrients help plants and animals fight disease. Recent studies have shown a link between high rates of spontaneous abortions and infertility in livestock fed GM Roundup-Ready crops.
We know very little about the effects of genetically modified organisms on livestock and human health. Researchers in Italy have performed a study on some of the effects, and their results were released last year. They fed one group of pregnant goats rations with non-GM soybean meal and another group with GM Round up sprayed soybean meal. The mothers received this diet for two months prior to the birth of their kids. Then the offspring were fed milk only from their mother for 60 days. The results showed DNA from the GM Roundup-Ready soy in the blood, organs, and milk of goats. Also, the kids of the mothers fed GM soy had substantially higher levels of an enzyme, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), in the heart, muscles, and kidneys. Similar metabolic changes have been found in studies of GM-fed rabbits and mice, as well.
The word is spreading that rabbits fed pellets from company’s that use GMO grown products in the manufacturing of their pellets are getting sicker. Laboratory GMO fed rabbits have had organ damage, reproductive failure, high death of kits, stomach legions, smaller bodies and organs, low immune responses, and higher death rates. There is no actual facts that I have, just resource’s and articles I have found.
The way a rabbits digestive system works is that the beneficial bacteria that needed in the gut must flourish and adapt to their food source. If this bacteria is off it will cause all kinds of digestive problems such as enteritis, bloating, wasting away and more! If the bad bacteria starts flourishing this can cause coccidiosis and other problems. Last year I have had a rash of emails, phone calls, people stopping by the rabbitry to ask questions about problems with their rabbits. The only common factor in all these cases is the use of GMO pellets. Not just in one area (from California to Maine) or season (Spring to winter)! I do not believe that they are stress related. I am lucky to feed the lowest amount of pellets I have too, to keep my rabbits productive and healthy. By feeding rabbits a more natural diet and keeping a closed herd, has been the best thing for me and my rabbits.
A result in tests done on rabbits fed gmo soy-meal was released found Roundup Ready Soy Changed Cell Metabolism in Rabbit Organs, Rabbits fed GM soy for about 40 days showed significant differences in the amounts of certain enzymes in their kidneys, hearts and livers. A rise in LDH1 levels in all three organs suggests an increase in cellular metabolism. Changes in other enzymes point to other alterations in the organs. When cells are damaged in mammals, LDH levels are elevated. It is a key indicator of cancer, and LDH remains elevated after a heart attack. Increased LDH is associated with several other health disorders
A German farmer who had 65 cows die after he fed them genetically modified Bt corn has filed criminal charges against Syngenta, alleging that the company knew the corn could be lethal to livestock, and covered up deaths that occurred during one of their clinical feeding trials. Swiss bio-tech Syngenta committed a grave criminal offense by deliberately withholding the results of a feeding trial in which four cows died in two days. The deaths prompted the company to halt the test. No health problems or deaths were reported in the control group, which was not fed the genetically engineered Bt 176 corn.
Thousands of livestock deaths have also been reported across India, as a result of grazing on genetically engineered crops and feed.
Alfalfa is the number one forage crop in the United States. In January 2011 the USDA approved the release of genetically modified (GM) alfalfa, raising the prospect that some non-GM alfalfa will be contaminated by GM alfalfa by cross-pollination from bees (could this also be the health problem bees are having?). Soon the first cuttings of GM alfalfa will be harvested and fed to livestock and be in your rabbit pellets with the GMO soy products. I have been called a conspiracy theorists but is this a way to control the food supply. You will not be able to raise any animals without the use of GMOs. This is why I push the Natural diet for us and our rabbits! Please comment your thoughts and ideas!
Unless you’re a vegetarian, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t consider eating rabbit instead of ham, turkey, chicken or beef for dinner. This country still has the Easter Bunny syndrome! Europeans, especially the French, Italians, Portuguese, Spanish, Hungarians and Germans eat lots of rabbit.
If we can get over our prejudices, eating rabbit makes a lot of sense. Four ounces of roasted rabbit meat has 175 calories and 7.2 grams of fat, slightly less in both categories than skinless turkey dark meat. And rabbit meat has more flavor than chicken, to which it is often compared.
Rabbit is an all white meat that’s lower in cholesterol than chicken or turkey (164 mg of cholesterol in rabbit vs. 220 mg in chicken), has just 795 calories per pound (chicken has 810 calories per pound), and has the highest percentage of protein and the lowest percentage of fat of any meat. In short, meat doesn’t get any healthier. If you want more information I have a post in the October archives on the HEALTH BENEFITS OF RABBIT MEAT check it out. Now on to cooking rabbit!
Jointing a Rabbit-
Working with rabbit is very much like working with chicken. Think of the forelegs as wings. There isn’t much breast meat but the saddle or tenderloin makes up for it. When cutting up a rabbit, remove hind legs and forelegs and the saddle (or have the butcher do it). The bony rib cage can be used for stock. A 2-1/2 pound rabbit should serve 2 people, more if you have a rich sauce or several side dishes.
Although a rabbit can be roasted whole (stuffed or unstuffed), it is most often cut into pieces and cooked slowly in a casserole or stew. Domestic rabbit, although available as saddle or legs, may still need to be cut into smaller pieces before cooking.
1. Lay the rabbit, on its back, on a chopping board and cut the legs away from the main carcass with a large chef’s knife. (To cut right through the bone, it may be necessary to tap the back of the knife with a kitchen weight or mallet, protecting the back of the knife with a cloth.)
2. Cut down the center of the legs to separate them. Then divide each leg in two, cutting through the knee joint. Cut the body into three or four pieces, making the last cut just below the ribcage
3. Cutting lengthwise through the center of the breastbone, divide the ribcage section in half. If you wish to remove small bones from the flesh around the breastbone, use pliers or pull them with your fingers.
Rabbit Cooking Hints and Tricks-
For safety, cook rabbit until it reaches 160 degrees F.
A rabbit weighing between 2.5 lbs and 3.5 lbs makes six portions: two saddles, two thighs and two front legs.
Either cooked or raw, rabbit meat freezes very well.
Rabbit meat can be grilled, roasted, braised, fried or barbecued. It also makes great terrines and pates, and the liver and kidneys are delicious.
It takes 60 to 90 minutes to cook rabbit meat at 325F (160C).
Rabbit can easily be used in recipes calling for chicken, turkey and veal.
As rabbit is a lean meat, it is important to baste it often when roasting to avoid it drying out.
Excellent rabbit seasonings include parsley, rosemary, sage, bay leaf, lemon-grass, coriander, and basil.
Rabbit may be soaked in a marinade of sugar or honey, red wine, or olive oil seasoned with herbs.
Fryer rabbit can replace chicken in almost any recipe, but if you’ve never cooked rabbit before, it’s a great idea to start with a trusted recipe.
When barbecuing rabbit, marinate the meat first or baste it with a mix of lemon juice and olive oil with herbs. Grill it first on high heat, than continue to cook it on medium heat for a further 40 to 45 minutes with the lid closed.
Fresh herbs marry very well with rabbit meat. Try basil, lemon grass, coriander, bay leaf, parsley, rosemary, thyme, marjoram, and sage. It also works well with wine-based sauces and fruit sauces made with raspberry, pear and apple.
Use rabbit legs as a substitute for chicken in paella or other dishes.
Though white wine is often used to deglaze the pan that rabbit is sauteed in, you can also use grappa (the fiery Italian clear brandy) and balsamic vinegar.
Rabbit liver is unusually large and unusually delicious. Sear it on both sides in clarified butter, leaving it pink inside. Then add a few shallots to the pan with some wine, port or brandy and cook a few minutes. Process with a touch of cream, salt, pepper and a pinch of allspice or nutmeg for quick pate.
When roasting whole, buttered or lard with pork back fat, or wrap in foil to keep the flesh moist and tender. Or bone the main body and fill with a stuffing. Baste the rabbit frequently during cooking.
Marinate in wine or olive oil, with aromatic vegetables and seasonings, before cooking to help tenderize the meat.
Poach or braise young rabbits; stew or casserole older ones.
Use a rabbit to make a terrine. Grind the rabbit meat with 2 shallots and mix in 2 eggs, two-thirds cup heavy cream, 2 tbsp. shelled pistachios, 1 tbsp. dried cranberries, 2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley, and seasonings. Place in a pot lined with bacon slices and bake in a water bath at 350 degrees F for 2 hours. Add 1 and one-quarter cups liquid aspic after cooking. Allow to cool and refrigerate until set.
To roast a rabbit, rub it down with olive oil and chopped herbs and place it in a roasting pan. It may then be baked just like a chicken, at about 350 degrees F. (A 2 pound rabbit takes about 1 – 1 1/2 hours to cook at this temperature.)
Begin by browning the rabbit in a little olive oil. Then place the meat in a pot and cover it about a quarter of the way with water. Cover the pot and allow the meat to simmer for about an hour.
Chop the rabbit meat into small pieces (about one inch square). If desired, roll in flour or seasonings. In a preheated pan with a little olive oil added, brown the meat on every side. Place the meat in a large pot and cover with boiling water. Cover the pan with a well-fitted lid and simmer for at least two hours, or until meat is tender. Add vegetables to the last hour of cooking.
Thin cuts of rabbit (no more than one inch thick) are suitable for sauteing. First, preheat a pan and add a small amount of olive oil. Place the rabbit in the pan and brown both sides, cooking until it reaches 160 degrees F.
Shreaded rabbit–You can use either stove or crockpot to cook the rabbit ahead of time. But don’t boil it… simmer it very gently so it barely bubbles. Simmer for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until meat falls of bones, Remove and allow to cool. When cool,pull meat from the bones and shred. You can freeze the meat for later use or make all kind off foods with this! I have made Rabbit Tacos,Rabbit Salad Sandwiches,so much more. I like to use apple juice for part of the liquid. I use a bay leaf or two, some herbs and some black pepper and allspice for seasonings.
Here’s a very simple but tasty grilled rabbit recipe for the outdoor barbecue. Preparation time, 15 minutes, Cooking time, 80 minutes. Serves 4 to 6.
1 fryer rabbit, cut up
1-1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup cooking oil
1/2 cup sherry
1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
Rub rabbit with salt and pepper; place over medium hot bed of live coals. You can use a gas grill. Make sauce by mixing oil, wine and seasoned salt together. Keep rabbit well basted with sauce, turn often while cooking 1 hour or until rabbit pieces are tender.
For More Recipes Check Out The DOMESTIC RABBIT RECIPE PAGE
You will not be able to quit your day job. But to supplement your income? Absolutely. There is a saying, “There is money in rabbits it’s just getting it out of them that’s hard”! It depends on how you define “profit.” If you are looking for profit with a cash value, you aren’t necessarily going to get ahead with rabbits, unless you find a niche and then spend a lot of time cultivating your herd to fit that niche. However, if you think of profit like being able to eat healthier meat, that costs less cash than it would if you bought comparable meat at the grocery store, then I think you’d profit in that way.
By raising your own meat rabbits, butchering and processing them yourself for your own consumption it is totally worth it! This has benefits in that you know the history of the meat, how the animal was treated, whether drugs were used, and how it was slaughtered, handled, and stored. That is money saved! A rabbits value is worth more this way than it could be if converted in to cash, because the value of money is changing, but we, and other people, are always going to need food to eat. This is just how I look at it. Rabbits are like money in the bank. Money can be made! But a profit is hard to come by with rabbits but it can be done.
Like starting any small business you won’t be an overnight success. You have to market, plan and budget to get money out of rabbits. So, there is money in rabbits but just like anything else, it takes work.
Remember that it cost more to raise junk rabbits than it does to raise good ones. Part of trying to make a profit with rabbits is how much you can save! Learning to keep rabbits healthy and clean is important.
If a doe doesn’t raise her babies consistently, cull her. The longer you hold a rabbit that cannibalizes her offspring, refuses to use a nest box or scatters them on the wire the more feed you have into her and the more you will lose on those offspring if you ever get any. The three strike rule applies to breeding does! Remember if you’re looking at making money you have to look at the little things and the big things. A quarter’s worth of food isn’t a big thing, but a quarter’s worth of food multiplied by 100 rabbits adds up a great deal on a daily and monthly basis! Manage for efficiency.
One group of breeders ran the numbers and in order to make a full time living off of rabbits required an efficient set up of at least 200 working does. Those 8 ounces of pellets that isn’t very much takes on new meaning when you start going through over 100 pounds per day! You notice the spilled feed because that’s wasted money. Keep records up to date and tattoo every rabbit you plan on keeping. Keep weights on the parents, the offspring and how many in each litter. It’s a lot of labor but record keeping will save you money. I go through the rabbitry every quarter and review the does production records and know who to cull and who to keep.
Those just starting out with rabbits need to examine their reasons for getting into breeding rabbits and what their goals are. A common mistake is to start with too many rabbits. A reasonable starting point might be one buck and three does. I recommend that these rabbits be purchased while they are still young. This way they will have a chance to become acclimated to their new surroundings prior to breeding. As the new breeder gets accustomed to the rabbit hobby, then, and only then, should he or she decide to increase the size of the herd, and then slowly. Start slowly!
Learn the basics and learn to do things the right way with a couple dozen does. If you’ve chosen a handful of GOOD rabbits to start with you can easily build a herd by keeping back the best does and only the very top bucks, marketing the rest as meat or feeders. I always say keep the best eat the rest. This way you grow into it and see the amount of work needed. Perhaps when you hit 30 does that might change your mind or perhaps you will find that covering your feed costs is just not worth it! Only add cages as you sell rabbits. MAKE them pay for themselves!
The first step in making money with rabbits is adjusting the attitude to not expect to make money with rabbits. It can be done, but not as often nor as much money as many believe. Start with good solid equipment. Cages, with feeders that allow enough feed to be fed at a time without wasting from digging it out or dumping bowls over, are important. Don’t keep diggers around. Those rabbits that dig the feeders and waste food are another money pit to eliminate.
No backyard meat rabbit breeder should start the hobby/business with the idea of getting rich quickly. There are many scams such as offers to buy back fryers from stock purchased from the swindler and there are lots of them! Sometimes he refuses to buy the fryers. Even if he does pay for the rabbits, the grower is responsible for shipping costs, which can exceed the amount received for the animals. Though rabbits can be prolific, kit mortality can easily be 25% or more when you get into high production. Profits are really only possible with hard and steady work. Secondly you must learn proper management. Rabbits must have proper nutrition or they cannot breed efficiently! A natural diet will not work for this type of production they need high quality pellets to boost production.
Make sure to have a market! If you’re raising smaller breeds this might be pre-killing for snake food or pet food. Larger breeds might be the same or for filling a freezer and selling tanned furs. Compost the manure sift it and bag it up to sell to gardeners. Raise worms in the manure and sell fishing worms or sell the red worms for vermicomposting. By using all the sources of products a rabbit produces will help you make your first dollar!
The most important reason for raising rabbits of course is for meat, you can butcher them to lower your food bill. Does it make you money, NO but saves it from your grocery bill. In order for the cost of the meat produced by a backyard operation to be equal to or possibly better than what would be spent at the supermarket, each doe should successfully raise 36 fryers per year (six litters of six fryers each). Any doe that does not perform properly should be culled. Ideally fryers should reach “market weight” of 4.5 to 5 lbs. by eight weeks of age, and most certainly by 11 weeks.
If the fryers will be sold to a meat processor it should be noted that some facilities will not accept fryers over 11 weeks old. Meat processors also generally prefer white over colored rabbits. For this purpose the Californian, though having dark brown “points”, is considered white. You can sell fryers at “live Weight” or sell the meat after you have processed it depending on your local laws. To locate a meat processing plant, the best thing to do is go to different grocery stores and ask where they are buying their meat from. Explain that you are thinking of raising rabbits and are researching the market possibilities. Many of them will be happy to help you. When you have located several (Make sure to have more than one buyer!) markets who might buy your product, contact them and see if they would be willing to purchase live animals from you.
If possible, set up a contract with them to produce whatever you feel you are able to do. But do not sign anything. Remember they are making more money than you and their profit is higher they have no rabbits to feed, they buy them as cheap as possible and sell them as high as they can. There are lots of swindlers in the meat market. They will wait and offer you less if they know you are sitting on rabbits. Of course a big part of having rabbits is enjoying them.
If you have 40-50 working does depending on breed you might have 100-250 bunnies in boxes and growing at all times. You must have a plan for marketing either commercially for meat if you’re near a buyer or making your own market. Remember if you’re selling commercially they can dictate the breed so sometimes Rex, Satins or colored furs are penalized. If you’re using it yourself this isn’t a factor. Make sure to have more than one buyer. Many a rabbit breeder has been stuck when a buyers does not need the 50 fryers you have ready for him.
Another meat market would be pet owners that feed their animals the BARF (Bones And Raw Food) diet. BARFers, as they are called, aim to provide their cats and dogs a more natural diet than kibbles. A newer, and more inclusive, term for BARF is “raw feeding.” Sometimes a variety of meat sources for this diet are scarce, so these pet owners are more than happy to discover a meat rabbit breeder near them. Selling to the dog food market can be profitable at $4/lb. There is one rabbitry that I know of that did this and just about put themselves out of business because they couldn’t keep up with demand. I also raise my rabbits for dog food. This is a good market you can butcher and sell rabbits as pet food with no USDA restrictions. Also snake and reptile owners need to feed their animals. You can sell rabbits at every age and size for this market.
If you’re using rabbits for meat what will you do with the furs? Throwing them away is not making maximum use and can be wasted money thrown away. Pelts should be saved at slaughter time (If not using right away freeze them to sell or tan when you have more to make it worthwhile. Rabbit pelts can also be sold for a small profit or used to make clothes, toys and other trinkets to be sold as a finished product or just selling the tanned hide (see our post TANNING RABBIT PELTS for more information).
I have sold frozen pelts to people who want to learn to tan and do not even raise rabbits. Remember that fryer pelts are best suited for craft-type projects, while stewer pelts are better suited for use in hats, coats, etc. It is recommended that if you are planning on selling the pelts to a commercial tannery that you raise white rabbits because the white pelts can be dyed to any color desired. I prefer natural colors and have found that local homesteaders would rather have natural colors than dyed pelts.
Tanning them is not always an easy process but not hard to do, but an exchange may be made with a local tanner in which they get to keep a percentage of the tanned hides for them in exchange for tanning a percentage for you.
Also you can raise angoras. You can sell the fiber or products made for the fiber, I find this to be a good bartering item, if you happen to spin, angora blend yarns can sell for a premium If you have an eye towards that expensive angora wool. Remember the amount of time grooming that is needed on top of the feed, special cages, handling to keep the wool clean and other factors needed to keep top quality rabbits. You can make money with angora fiber. I have a few angoras but we use all the fiber we produce. Someday I will get into the angoras more (aha thinking of retirement!)
Rabbit manure is considered one of the best available. The manure is excellent and is the only manure that does not need to be aged before using as fertilizer. It contains more nitrogen and phosphorus than many other manures and more potash than most. Even when applied fresh, it will not burn plants. Gardens with rabbit fertilizer consistently applied most often yield much better results! I screen it, bag it up in feed bags, and sell it with a information sheet in early spring. It all sells out and I have a waiting list for more. (for more poop information check out our post THE BENIFITS AND USES OF RABBIT MANURE) Gardeners may be willing to pay for manure or composed manure for a higher cost. Because of the complimentary nature, many rabbit raisers also raise earthworms (or Red Wigglers). The worms will break down and clean the bed just under the rabbit cages, turning the manure into black potting soil. Several species of worms, most notably night crawlers and red worms, can be grown in the manure. The worms help keep the manure from smelling bad and could be sold to gardeners for vermicomposting or fishermen for bait.
BREEDING STOCK- For Show Or Meat Stock
In order to get top dollar for your stock you have to make a name for yourself. (or should I say your rabbits) Only sell your best for breeders. Do not sell anyone the runts, slow growers,rabbits in bad condition, or ever from a bad bloodline. This is how you get a good name. Sell one junk rabbit and they tell everyone! Sell one good rabbit a they keep the secret to themselves. (But they always come back when they want more rabbits) I have sold many a rabbit that I wish I had kept! There are many misconceptions about showing and breeding rabbits just like every other animal. People see a $75 show animal and think wow $75 if I sold 6 per litter that’s $450 and six litters per year is…wow that’s a lot! They run to the local sale barn and buy old cages and cull rabbits that are “just as good as those at the show.” Remember earlier I said junk cost more to raise! Buy the best rabbits you can find! What they are often buying are breeding problems, attitude problems, health problems and most of the time as far from a show rabbit as you can get.
They don’t do the research so they lose the first two litters and they give everything away swearing rabbits are just a money pit. The big thing to realize is that $75 show animals have hundreds of dollars in breeding behind them and often many years of selective breeding. For every show rabbit there are several that end up in the freezer. It is possible to make a little money if you do things the right way. You must make a concerted effort to market, and market everything! This means from the wasted feed to the poop to the meat to the offspring to the furs. Find a market. If you’re also raising show rabbits pick out those prospects and get them on a show feed. Keep records up to date and tattoo every rabbit you plan on keeping. Keeping weights on the parents, the offspring and how many in each litter is a lot of labor.
I will not really be going to go into this subject because I think it is not worth the money to sell rabbits as pets. It never seems to work out. They feed the wrong food, use the wrong housing, the kid lose interest and the rabbits starve, never have fresh water. My meat fryers have lived a better life than some of the pet rabbits I have sold. There is good money in Easter bunnies and it could be a good market for some, just not for me. I wish the parents would stay more involved!
Always have extra cages, feeders, waterers, bags of feed, bales of hay and shavings on hand so when someone buys rabbits you can offer them more. With shipping costs skyrocketing they are better off paying a few dollars more to you than getting those cages online.
Many plants listed here are not all poisonous, only parts of them are. Apple is a good example: the seeds are poisonous, but the fruit is perfectly fine for rabbits. Read the complete listing of the plant to get details regarding which parts to avoid. If no parts are listed, assume that the whole plant is poisonous and should not be in fed to your rabbit.
Acokanthera (Acokanthera)-fruit, flowers very poisonous
Aconite (Aconitum)-all parts very poisonous
African rue (Peganum harmala)
Agapanthus (Nerine bowdenii)
Aloe vera (Aloe vera)
Alsike clover (Trifolium hybridum)
Amanita (Amanita)-all parts
Amaryllis belladonna (Brunsvigia rosea)-bulbs
Anemone (Anemone sp.)
Angel trumpet tree (Datura, Brugmansia arborea)-flowers, leaves, seeds
Apple (Malus sylvestris)-seeds contain cyanide
Apple leaf croton (Codiaeum variegatum)
Apricot (Prunus armeniaca)-pits contain cyanide
Arrowgrass (Triglochin sp.)
Arrowhead vine (Syngormon podophyllum)-oxalates
Asparagus fern (Asparagus sprengeri)
Atropa belladonna (Atropa belladonna)-all parts, esp. black berries
Autumn crocus (Colchicum autumnale)-corms
Avocado (Persea americana)
Azalea (Rhododendron occidentale)-all parts fatal
Baccharis (Baccharis sp.)
Balsam (Impatiens balsamina)-whole plant
Balsam pear-seeds, outer rind of fruit
Baneberry (Actaea alba, rubra, spicata)-berries, roots, foliage
Beach pea (Lathyrus maritimus)
Beargrass (Nolina texana)
Beefsteak plant (Perilla frutescens)
Belladonna, Atropa (Atropa belladonna)-all parts, esp. black berries
Belladonna lily (Brunsvigia rosea)-bulbs
Betel nut palm (Areca catechu)-all parts
Bird of paradise (Strelitzia poinciana)-seeds
Bird of paradise bush (Casesalpinia gilliesii)-seeds, pods
Bittersweet (Celastrus, dulcamera)-berries
Bitterweed (Hymenoxys odorata)
Black henbane (Hyoscyamus niger)
Black locust (Robinia pseudoacacia)-bark, sprouts, foliage
Black nightshade (Solanum nigrum)-leaves, berries
Bladderpod (Sesbania vesicarium)
Bleeding heart (Dicentra)-foliage, roots
Bloodroot (Sanguinaria canadensis)
Bluebonnet (Lupinus spp.)-all parts
Blue cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Blue-green algae-some forms toxic
Bog Kalmia (Kalmia)
Boston ivy (Parthenocissus tricuspidata)
Boxwood (Buxus sp.)-all parts
Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum)
Branching ivy (Hedera helix-Weber’s California)-all parts
Broomcorn (Sorghum vulgare)
Broomweed (Gutierrezia microcephala)
Buckeye (Aesculus)-sprouts, nuts
Buckthorn (Amsinckia intermedia)-fruit, bark
Bunchberry (Cornus canadensis)
Burroweed (Haplopappus heterophyllus)
Buttercup (Ranunculus sp.)-all parts
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Caesalpinia (Poinciana)-seeds, pods
Caladium (Caladium portulanum)-all parts
Calendula (Calendula officinalis)
Calico bush (Kalmia latifolia)-young leaves, shoots are fatal
California fern (Conium maculatum)-all parts are fatal
California geranium (Senecio petasitis)-whole plant
California holly (Heteromeles arbutifolia)-leaves
Calla lily (Zantedeschia aethiopiea, Calla palustris)-all Parts
Cardinal flower (Lobelia cardinalis)-all parts
Carnation (Dianthus caryophyllus)-all parts
Carolina jessamine (Gelsemium)-whole plant
Carolina Laurel Cherry (Prunus caroliana)-all parts
Casava (Euphorbiacea)-roots, sap
Cassine (Ilex vomitoria)-berries
Castor bean (Ricinus communis)-seeds are fatal, leaves
Century plant (Agave americana)
Ceriman (Monstera deliciosa)
Chalice vine-all parts
Cherries, wild and cultivated-twigs and foliage are fatal, bark, pits
Cherry, Jerusalem (Solanium nigrum/eleagnifolium/ pseudocapsicum)-fruits, leaves
Cherry laurel (Prunus var.)-all parts are fatal
Cherry, Natal (Solamon)-berries
Chestnut, Horse (Aesculus)-all parts
Chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach)-berries
Chokecherry (Prunus serotina)-withered leaves
Christmas berry (Heteromeles arbutifolia)-leaves
Christmas rose (Helleborus niger)-all parts, esp. leaves
Cineraria (Senecio hybridus)-whole plant
Cloak fern (Notholaena sinuata var cochisensis)
Clover, Alsike (Trifolium hybridum)
Cocklebur (Xanthium sp.)
Coffeebean (Sesbania drummondii)
Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides)
Colorado rubberweed (Hymenoxys richardsonii)
Columbine (Aquilegia)-all parts
Common privet (Ligustrum)-all parts
Coral berry (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)-seeds
Coral plant (Symphoricarpos orbiculatus)-seeds
Cordatum (Philodendron oxycardium)
Corn cockle (Agrostemma githago)
Corn lily (Symplocarpus foetidus)-all parts
Corn plant (Dracaena fragrans massangeana)
Covotillo (Karwinskia humboldtiana)-berries
Cowslip (Caltha palustris)
Crab’s eye (Abrus precatorius)-seeds are fatal
Creeping charlie, except houseplant (Glecoma, Nepeta hederacea)
Cress/Crucifers/Mustards (Cruciferae-Brassica Raphanus, Descurainia spp.)
Crocus, Autumn (Colchicum autumnale)-corms
Croton (Codiaeum variegatum, Euphorbiacea)
Crown-of-thorns (Euphorbia milli)-leaves, flowers
Crown vetch (Astragalus sp.)-all parts
Crow poison (Amianthium muscaetoxicum)
Crucifers/Cress/Mustards (Cruciferae-Brassica, Raphanus, Descurainia spp.)
Cuban laurel (Ficus spp.)
Cuckoopint (Arum maculatum)-all parts
Curcas bean-seeds, oil
Cutleaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa)
Cycads (Cycas spp., Zamia spp.)
Cyclamen (Cyclamen sp.)
Daffodil (Narcissus)-bulbs may be fatal
Daisy (Chrysanthemum frutescens)
Daphne (Daphne mezereum)-berries are fatal
Datura (Brugmansia, all species)-all parts
Deadly amanita (Amanita)-all parts
Deadly nightshade (Solanum nigrum)-all parts, unripe fruit, foliage
Death-camas (Sygodenus venesii, Zygadenus nuttallii)-all parts poisonous, roots fatal
Death cup (Amanita phalloides)-all parts
Delphinium (Delphinium sp.)-all parts
Destroying angel (Amanita phalloides)-all parts
Devil’s ivy (Scindapsus aureus, Epipremnum aureum)
Devil’s tomato (Solanum eleagnifolium)-all parts
Dianthus (Dianthus)-all parts
Dieffenbachia (Dieffenbachia)-all parts, esp. sap
Dogbane (Apocynum sp.)-leaves
Dogwood (Cornus)-fruit slightly poisonous
Doll’s Eyes (Actaea alba, rubra, spicata)-berries, roots, foliage
Dracaena palm (Dracaena sanderiana)
Dragon tree (Dracaena draco)
Drymary (Drymaria pachyphylla)
Dumb cane (Dieffenbachia amoena)-all parts, esp. sap
Durra (Sorghum vulgare)
Dutchman’s breeches (Dicentra)-foliage, roots
Dutchman’s pipe (Aristolochia durior)
Eggplant-all parts but fruit
Elaine (Codiaeum elaine)
Elderberry (Sambucus canadensis)-all parts
Elephant’s ear (Colocasia esculenta, Philodendron domesticum, Caladium hortulanum)-all parts
Emerald duke (Philodendron hastatum)
Emerald feather (Asparagus sprengeri)
English ivy (Hedera helix-ilex acid)-all parts
English laurel (Prunus laurocerasus)-all parts are fatal
Euphorbia (Euphorbia sp.)-leaves, flowers, sap
Evening trumpet (Gelsemium sempervirens)-whole plant
Eyebane (Euphorbia maculata)
False henbane-all parts
False hellebore (Veratrum viride and other sp.)-all parts poisonous, root deadly
False parsley (Conium maculatum)-all parts are fatal
Fiddle-leaf fig (Ficus lyrata)
Fiddleneck (Amsinckia intermedia)-fruit, bark
Firecracker (Dichelostemma ida-maia)
Firethorn (Pyracantha sp.)
Fireweed (Amsinckia intermedia)-fruit, bark
Florida beauty (Dracaena spp.)
Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)-whole plant
Fly poison (Amianthium muscaetoxicum)
Fool’s parsley (Conium maculatum)-all parts are fatal
Four o’clock (Mirabilis jalapa)-whole plant
Foxglove (Digitalis purpurea)-all parts can be fatal
Frijolito (Sophora secundiflora)-all parts
Fruit salad plant (Philodendron pertusum)
Garden sorrel (Rumex acetosa)-oxalates
Gelsemium (Gelsemium)-whole plant
Geranium, California (Senecio petasitis)-whole plant
German ivy (Senecio mikanioides)-whole plant
Ghostweed (Euphorbia marginata)-all parts
Giant dumbcane (Dieffenbachia amoena)-all parts, esp. sap
Glacier ivy (Hedera helix Glacier)-all parts
Gladiola (Gladiolus sp.)
Glecoma hederacea (Nepeta hederacea)
Glory lily (Gloriosa sp.)
Goatweed (Hypericum perforatum)
Gold dieffenbachia-all parts, esp. sap
Gold dust dracaena (Dracaena godseffiana)
Goldenchain tree (Laburnum)-seeds, pods may be fatal
Golden pothos (Epipremnum aureus)
Gold-toothed aloe (Aloe nobilis)
Greasewood (Sarcobatus vermiculatus)
Green-gold nephythytis (Syngonium podophyllum xanthophilum)
Ground ivy (Nepeta hederacea)
Groundsel (Crotalaria spp.)
Groundsel (Senecio sp.)-whole plant
Guajillo (Acacia berlandieri)
Halogeton (Halogeton glomeratus)
Hawaiian baby wood rose
Heart ivy (Hedera helix)-all parts
Heartleaf (Philodendron cordatum, Philodendron oxycardium)
Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)-leaves
Hellebore (Ranunculacea, Helleborus, Veratrum)-all parts
Hemlock (Conium, Cicuta, Tsuga)-all parts
Hemp, Indian (Cannabis sativa, Apocynum sp.)-leaves
Henbane, Black (Hyoscyamus niger)-all parts
Holly (Ilex aquifolium, opaca, vomitoria)-leaves, berries
Horsebrush (Tetradymia sp.)
Horsechestnut (Aesculus)-all parts
Horse-head (Philodendron oxycardium)
Horse nettle (Solanum carolinense)-all parts, esp. fruits, leaves
Horsetail reed (Equisetum sp.)-all parts
Hyacinth (Hyacinthus orientalis)-bulbs can be fatal
Hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla)-whole plant
Impatiens (Impatiens)-whole plant
Indian hemp (Apocynum cannabinum)-leaves
Indian laurel (Ficus retusa nitida)
Indian rubber plant (Ficus elastica Decora)
Indian tobacco (Nicotiana giauca) -all parts
Indian turnip (Arisaema triphyllum)-all parts
Indigo (Indigofera sp.)
Inkberry (Ilex glabra)-leaves, berries
Inkweed (Drymaria pachyphylla)
Iris (Iris sp.)-underground rhizome, leaves
Ivy (Hedera)-all parts
Ivy bush (Kalmia angustifolia)-leaves
Jack-in-the-pulpit (Arisaema triphyllum)-all parts
Jamestown weed (Datura, Brugmansia stramomium)-all parts
Java bean (Phaseolus limensis)-uncooked bean
Jequirity bean (Abrus precatorius)-seeds are fatal
Jerusalem cherry (Solanium nigrum/eleagnifolium/ pseudocapsicum)-fruits, leaves
Jessamine (Gelsemium sempervirens)-flowers, leaves, berries fatal
Jessamine, Carolina (Gelsemium)-flowers, leaves, seeds
Jessamine, Night-blooming (Cestrum nocturnum)
Jimmy fern (Notholaena sinuata var cochisensis)
Jimson weed (Datura, Brugmansia stramomium)-all parts
Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense)
Juniper (Juniperus)-needles, stems, berries
Kafir (Sorghum vulgare)
Klamath weed (Hypericum perforatum)
Lady slipper (Cypripedium spectabiles)-all parts
Lambkill (Kalmia angustifolia)-leaves
Lantana camara (Lantana camara)-green berries are fatal
Larkspur (Delphinium)-all parts, seeds may be fatal
Laurel, Cherry (Prunus caroliniana)-all parts are fatal
Laurel, Cuban (Ficus spp.)
Laurel, Indian (Ficus retusa nitida)
Lecheguilla (Agave lecheguilla)
Ligustrum (Ligustrum ovalifolium)-all parts
Lily of the valley (Convallaria majalis)-all parts, including water
Lima bean (Phaseolus limensis)-uncooked bean
Lobelia (Lobelia sp.)-all parts
Locoweed (Astragalus sp.)-all parts
Lords-and-ladies (Arum maculatum)-all parts
Lupine (Lupinus)-all parts
Madagascar dragon tree (Dracaena marginata)
Majesty (Philodendron hastatum)
Mandrake (Podophyllum pellatum)-all parts
Marble queen (Scindapsus aureus)-oxalates
Marijuana (Cannabis sativa)-all parts
Marsh marigold (Primula veris)
Mayapple (Podophyllum pellatum)-all parts
Medicine plant (Aloe vera)
Mescal (Lophophora williamsii)-cactus tops
Mescal bean (Sophora secundiflora)-all parts
Mesquite (Prosopis glandulosa)
Mexican breadfruit (Monstera deliciosa)
Milkvetch (Astragalus sp.)-all parts
Milkweed (Asclepias sp.)-all parts
Milo (Sorghum vulgare)
Miniature croton (Punctatis aureus)
Mistletoe (Phoradendron flavescens)-berries are fatal
Moccasin flower (Cypripedium spectabiles)-all parts
Monkshood (Aconitum napellus)-all parts
Moonseed (Menispermum)-berries can be fatal
Morning glory (Ipomoea violacea)-all parts
Mother-in-law (Monstera deliciosa)
Mountain laurel (Kalmia latifolia)-young leaves, shoots are fatal
Mustards/Crucifers/Cress (Cruciferae-Brassica, Raphanus, Descurainia spp.)
Narcissus (Narcissus)-bulb can be fatal
Natal cherry (Solamon)-berries
Nephthytis (Syngonium podophyllum albolinea-tum)-oxalates
Needlepoint ivy (Hedera helix Needlepoint)-all parts
Nicotiana (Nicotiana)-wild, cultivated leaves
Night-blooming jessamine (Cestrum nocturnum)
Nightshade (Solanum carolinense)-all parts, esp. fruits, leaves
Nightshade (Solanum eleagnifolium)-all parts
Oaks (Quercus)-foliage, acorns
Oleander (Nerium oleander)-foliage, branches, nectar
Orange milkweed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Orange sneezeweed (Helenium hoopesii)
Ornamental tobacco (Nicotiana)-all parts
Palma christi (Ricinus communis)-seeds are fatal, leaves
Panda (Philodendron panduraeformae)
Paper flowers (Psilostrophe sp.)
Parlor ivy (Philodendron elegans, Philodendron cordatum, Philodendron pertusum)
Parsnip (Pastinaca sativa)
Partridge breast (Aloe variegata)
Peach (Prunus persica)-pit contains cyanide
Pear (Pyrus communis)-seeds contains cyanide
Pear, Balsam-seeds, outer rind of fruit
Pencilbush (Euphorbia tirucalli)
Pencil cactus (Euphorbia tirucalli)
Peony (Paeonia sp.)-all parts
Perill mint (Perilla frutescens)
Periwinkle (Vinca sp.)-whole plant
Peyote (Lophophora williamsii)-cactus tops
Philodendron (Philodendron)-leaves, stem, sap
Philodendron, Cutleaf (Monstera deliciosa)
Pigweed (Amaranthus spp.)-oxalates
Pingue (Hymenoxys richardsonii)
Pinks (Dianthus)-all parts
Plum (Prunus)-seeds contain cyanide
Plumosa fern (Asparagus plumosus)
Poinciana (Poinciana gillesii)-green seeds, pods
Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)-leaves, sap are fatal, flowers
Poison hemlock (Conium maculatum)-all parts are fatal
Poison ivy (Rhus radicans)-all parts
Poison oak (Rhus, Toxicodendron diversilobium)-all parts
Poison parsnip (Cicuta maculata)-all parts, esp. root, are fatal
Poison sumac (Rhus vernix)-all parts
Pokeberry (Phytolacca americana)-roots
Pokeroot (Phytolacca americana)-roots
Poke salad (Phytolacca americana)-roots
Pokeweed (Phytolacca americana)-roots
Poppy, except California (Papaver)
Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis)
Pot mum (Chrysanthemum mortiforium)
Potato (Solanum tuberosum)-green parts are fatal, eyes
Pothos (Scindapsus aureus)-oxalates
Precatory bean (Abrus precatorius)-seeds are fatal
Prickly copperweed (Oxytenia acerosa)
Prickly poppy (Argemone)
Primrose (Primula spp.)
Primula (Primula spp.)
Privet (Ligustrum)-all parts
Purge nut-seeds, oil
Purple sesbane (Daubentonia punicea)
Psychic nut-seeds, oil
Pyracantha (Pyracantha sp.)
Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota)
Ranunculus (Ranunculus)-all parts
Rattlebox (Crotalaria spp., Daubentonia punicea)
Rattleweed (Crotalaria spp.)
Rayless goldenrod (Iscoma aerigum)
Red clover (Trifolium pratense)-hays when moldy
Red emerald (Philodendron red emerald)
Red-margined dracaena (Dracaena marginata)
Red princess (Philodendron hastatum)
Red sage (Lantana camara)-green berries are fatal
Rhododendron (Rhododendron)-all parts are fatal
Rhubarb (Rheum rhaponticum)-leaves fatal
Ribbon plant (Dracaena sanderiana)
Ripple ivy (Hedera)-all parts
Rosary bean (Abrus precatorius)-seeds are fatal
Rosary pea (Abrus precatorius)-seeds are fatal
Rosebay (Rhododendron occidentale)-all parts fatal
Rosemary (Rosemarinus)-leaves of some varieties are poisonous
Rubber plant, Indian (Ficus elastica Decora)
Rum cherry (Prunus serotina)-withered leaves
Sacahuista (Nolina texana)
Saddle leaf philodendron (Philodendron selloum)
Sage (Salvia)-leaves of some varieties are poisonous
Sago palm (Cycas)
Satin pothos (Scindapsus spp., Pothos wilcoxii)
Schefflera (Brassia actinophylla)
Scotch broom (Cytisus scoparius)-seeds
Senecio (Senecio)-whole plant
Senna-bean (Sesbania drummondii)
Sesbane (Sesbania, Glottidium mesicaria)
Sesbane, Purple (Daubentonia punicea)
Shamrock plant (Oxalis acetosella)
Sheep laurel (Kalmia angustifolia)-leaves
Silverleaf (Solanum eleagnifolium)-all parts
Silverling (Baccharis sp.)
Silver pothos (Scindapsus aureus)-oxalates
Skunk cabbage (Symplocarpus foetidus)-all parts
Slinkweed (Gutierrezia microcephala)
Snapdragon (Antirrhinum)-all parts
Snapweed (Impatiens)-whole plant
Sneezeweed, Orange (Helenium hoopesii)
Snowdrop (Galanthus)-all parts
Snow-on-the-mountain (Euphorbia marginata)-all parts
Solomon’s seal (Polygonatum multiflorum)
Sorghum (Sorghum vulgare)
Snakeroot, White (Eupatorium rugosum)
Snakeweed (Gutierrezia microcephala)
Sorrel, Garden (Rumex acetosa)-oxalates
Spathe flower (Spathiphyllum)
Spider mum (Chrysanthemum mortiforium)
Split-leaf philodendron (Monstera deliciosa, Philodendron pertusum)
Spotted dumb cane (Dieffenbachia)
Sprengeri fern (Asparagus sprengeri)
Spurge (Euphorbiaceae)-leaves, flowers
Squill (Scilla autumnalis)
Squirrel corn (Dicentra canadensis)-all parts
Staggergrass (Amianthium muscaetoxicum)
Star of Bethlehem (Ornithogalum umbellatum)-all parts
St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum)
String of beads/pearls (Senecio rowleyanus)-whole plant
Striped dracaena (Dracaena deremensis)
Sudan grass (Sorghum vulgare)
Swamp laurel (Kalmia)
Sweet pea (Lathyrus odoratus)-stems, seeds, fruit
Sweet William (Dianthus)-all parts
Swiss cheese plant (Monstera friedrichsthalii)
Sweetheart ivy (Hedera helix)-all parts
Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare)-all parts
Tansy ragwort (Senecio sp.)-whole plant
Taro ( Colocasia esculenta)-stem, leaves
Taro vine (Scindapsus aureus)
Thorn apple (Datura, Brugmansia stramomium)-all parts
Tiger lily (Lilium tigrinum)-all parts
Tobacco ( Nicotiana giauca)-all parts
Tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum)-leaves, vines
Touch-me-not (Impatiens)-whole plant
Toyon ( Heteromeles arbutifolia)-leaves
Tree philodendron (Scindapsus aureus)
Tropic snow (Dieffenbachia amoena)-all parts, esp. sap
True aloe (Aloe vera)
Trumpet plant-all parts
Trumpet vine-all parts
Tullidora (Karwinskia humboldtiana)-berries
Turpentine weed (Gutierrezia microcephala)
Umbrella plant (Cyperus alternifolius)
Variegated philodendron (Scindapsus)
Venus flytrap (Dionaea)-all parts
Violet (Viola odorata)-seeds
Virginia creeper (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)-sap
Warneckei dracaena (Dracaena dermensis warneckei)
Water hemlock (Cicuta maculata)-all parts, esp. root, are fatal
White snakeroot (Eupatorium rugosum)
Wild black cherry (Prunus serotina)-withered leaves
Wild carrot (Daucus carota)
Wild jasmine (Cestrum nocturnum)
Wild pea (Crotalaria spp.)
Windflower (Anemone sp.)
Wisteria (Wisteria)-all parts
Wolfsbane (Aconitum napellus)-all parts
Woodbine (Parthenocissus quinquefolia)-sap
Woodrose (Ipomoea, Merremia tuberosa)
Woody nightshade (Celastrus, dulcamera)-berries
Yam bean-roots, immature pods
Yaupon holly (Ilex vomitoria)-berries
Yellow knapweed (Centaurea solstitialis)
Yellow jasmine (Gelsemium sempervirens)-whole plant
Yellow oleander-all parts, esp. kernels of fruit
Yellow star thistle (Centaurea solstitialis)
Yerba-depasmo (Baccharis sp.)
Yew ( Taxus spp.)-foliage, twigs, berries
You may ask why meat rabbits? I will go over the basics for why I believe everyone should be raising meat rabbits on the homestead. I could go on forever about the benefits of raising rabbits for meat, but for quick easy convenience I will only list ten reasons why everyone should be raising rabbits. Then I will cover basics of housing, feeding, and breeding information. I will eventually get into writing more about each of these subjects in more detail, and will be writing a part 2 to this series answering any question you have on part 1 and processing your rabbits, tanning pelts, and using the best fertilizer know to man, rabbit manure! Will be posting updates on the goings on at the rabbitry! Show you our hillbilly solar powered rabbitry setup for the off grid rabbit production and more. Join The Rabbit Revolution! LIKE US ON FACEBOOK for daily updates and rabbit information.
1. Rabbit meat is very high in protein and very low in fat and cholesterol
2. You know were your meat comes from and the type of life the rabbit had, no medications or hormones just good tasting healthy meat
3. Rabbit are easy to raise! even working a full time job 2 does and 1 buck will only take a few minutes in the morning and evening and time on weekends to clean cages,even the youngsters can do the chores
4. Rabbits can be raised in country and suburban areas(could even be raised inside).They are quiet and clean no one will know you have your own meat supply
5. Rabbits have a high reproduction rate each doe should raise at LEAST 36 fryers a year(average 6 litters,6 fryers in each litter)and could produce even more by raising more breeding stock out of the best of your litters
6. Rabbits can be raised many different ways-colony raising,natural feeding,pasture raising ect. the rabbits will adapt and flourish with good management
7. Rabbit are easy to process takes only 15 minutes a rabbit from cage to freezer (or grill)Rabbit can be cooked many ways, any chicken recipe can be changed to use rabbit in place of chicken
8. Rabbits are very efficient-they will produce 6 pounds of meat on the same feed and water that a cow will produce 1 pound of meat.Your rabbits will be ready to butcher in 8 to 12 weeks with a 50%up to 65% dress out from live weight
9. Rabbits will grow well on food items that do not compete with food items grown for human food.Rabbits are a inexpensive way to supply good healthy meat for your family
10. Rabbits have other by-products good for the homestead.The best manure know to mankind,awesome pelts for blankets,hats, gloves and other crafts,ok that was 10 and i could list 50 more ,I could also write pages on just the added benefits of rabbits other than meat!
Housing For Rabbits-
There are many different types and styles of hutches or cages. The housing needed will depend on the climate, location and the amount of money you have available. It is not necessary to go to a big expense to build hutches. I have seen some of the best rabbits raised in hutches made from second hand lumber and some old wooden boxes. Hutches can be built to be used outdoors or put in any shed or outbuilding in your backyard as long as they are in a dry draft free environment. You should construct hutches that will allow for easy feeding, watering, and cleaning. Clean cages mean clean rabbits! Most rabbit cages are made of wire, this provides easy cleaning and they last longer than cages made of other materials. The floor wire is usually 1/2″ x 1″ and sides and tops are 1″x2″ wire. This is what they use in most commercial rabbitries.
The most common outdoor hutches are usually made of wood and wire, some with just a wooden frame with a wire cage hung inside. It is important to have protection from all predators even dogs and cats. Proper ventilation is a must when they are raised inside or out, but make sure the rabbits are not exposed to wet winds or drafts. Rabbits can withstand cold weather better than hot weather. Once your rabbits start to grow they will need to be separated make sure you have extra space available. Cage size for medium sized meat breeds are 24″W x 36″L x 18″H or 30″W x 36″L x 18″H for breeding cages, cages for bucks or young replacement breeding stock can be housed in a 24″W x 24″L x 18″H or a 24″W x 30″L x 18″H. Rabbits can be housed and raised many different ways as in a colony setting were multiple rabbits are bred and raised in pens or on pasture in rabbit tractors. It is up to you to decide how you want to raise your rabbits check out other breeders and how they raise their rabbits.
Feeding rabbits is probably the most important part of raising rabbits, also the most argued. It is what controls the health and condition of the rabbit (even good genetics in rabbits cannot override a poor feeding program). Most people who begin with rabbits overfeed their herd. Feeding once a day is enough only pregnant does and growing kits need extra feed. Always feed on a regular schedule a rabbit becomes accustom to a set feeding schedule and will become agitated and restless when the schedule is not kept. A constant supply of water is a must and should be changed daily. In the winter try to change frozen crocks as much as possible, at least two times a day, once in the morning and again in the evening. When you get your rabbits be sure to ask what feed they are using try to get some of the same brand from a feed store or buy some from the breeder. If you plan to change brands make sure to mix some of the new feed with the old brand for a couple weeks before switching over to the new feed completely. Any change of diet to rabbits should be done slowly! Rabbit pellets are usually dark green in color and has the nutritional requirements to produce a healthy rabbit and excellent growth in young. Check the labels and feed as manufacturer recommends. Pellets are easy to feed and requires less labor than natural feeding or pasture management. Pellets have changed a lot in my time raising rabbits and not for the better. More corn and soy and less alfalfa based feeds are sold, most all products are waste products from mills, most are GMO grown and round up sprayed, so read your feed labels and choose your feed for your rabbits informed. There are still some good rabbit food companies out there!
Grass hay is one of the most important item in the rabbit diet, it should be fed in unlimited quantities. A rabbit fed only commercial rabbit pellets dose not get enough long fibers to keep the intestines in good working order, the long fibers of hay push things thru the gut at the right speed. Hay is also good for preventing intestinal impaction caused by ingested hair. Alfalfa or clover hays should be fed restricted as they are to rich in protein and calcium to be free fed. Fresh vegetables help keep the intestinal contents hydrated, which make them easier for the rabbit to pass. Rabbits love fresh, fragrant herbs right from the garden. If your rabbit shows any signs of stomach problems, such as runny stool take away the pellets and veggies and feed only grass hay or even straw until stools harden up.
Green feeds are the natural food of rabbits. These are rich in protein minerals and vitamins, being soft and tender they are easily digested. They should be included in your feeding program. Rabbits can be fed lots of types of greens, including lawn clippings, cabbage, kale, safe weeds (do your homework lots of good weeds for rabbits out there), waste from your vegetables from the garden, prunings from fruit trees, sweet potato vines and lots more. Any green feed not eaten should be removed from the hutch daily. Roots may be grown and used fresh or saved for feeding in the winter months such as carrots, sweet potatoes, mangles, rutabagas, turnips and beets. This is just the basics of feeding rabbits, I will do a lot more on this subject in my future posts!
Rabbits of medium size (most meat breeds)are ready to breed when they reach the age of 5 to 8 months of age-some breeders go by weight not by the age of the rabbit. Many young bucks will attempt to breed as early as 3 months it is best to separate them at this age, you do not want does that young to get pregnant the young will be small and there will be few kits in the litter, it also stunts the growth rate of the doe itself. Just as important do not wait to long to breed your does or the first time they will be hard to breed. While doing your chores in the rabbitry if you notice a doe trying to nose and scratch her way into other cages or rubbing her chin on things like feeders, and crocks she’s ready to breed.
When looking at the does sexual organ if her vulva is moist and bright pink to a reddish color all the way to the tip, she is ready to breed. As the cycle is waning the vaginal opening becomes a bright purple. Rabbits are induced ovulators, meaning ovulation does not occur until the actual mating by the buck. Always take the doe to the bucks cage. Does are very territorial about their cages and will attack the visiting buck and can cause serious harm to the buck. A ratio of one buck for every 10 does is necessary, the buck may be bred up to 7 times as week effectively. The doe usually accepts(lifts her tail and raises her back end)the buck will mount her vibrate and then he will fall over to the side or even backwards, some bucks are very dramatic! Within a minute he will be right back up to repeat the mating. I usually return the doe to the bucks cage for a re breeding 6 to 12 hours after the first mating. This improves conception rate and increases the number of kits in a litter. Keep accurate records of the day you bred the doe! The does gestation time is 29 to 32 days, usally right on day 31.
You should test her for pregnancy between the 10th and 14th day after breeding. The best way is to palpate by checking the lower abdomen of the doe with your thumb and forefinger checking for nodules about the size of a marble. The other way is to take her back to the bucks cage and if she runs around growling and trying to avoid the buck she is most likely pregnant. This method is inaccurate as some does will breed again and will already be pregnant or refuse to and will not be pregnant.
The gestation period is the time from mating to kindling and is 31 to 32. The nest box should be put in the does cage on day 27 from when the doe was bred (remember those accurate records a good litter of kits on the wire and you will not be happy). Fill the nest box 1/2 to 3/4 full with nesting material such as straw (my favorite), hay, shavings, dry leaves ect. I also put some nesting material in the cage so the doe can pick up some to add to her nest box. The doe will make her nest and by the time she kindles will be pulling fur. Watch expectant does often especially if they are first time mothers, If she has her kits on the wire you can put them in the nest box as long as they have not been chilled, if they have been chilled they should be warmed immediately and put back into the box and covered with fur. If the doe has more than 8 kits you should foster them to a doe with a smaller litter, unless you know the doe to be a good producer of milk.(A doe only has 8 teats so only so many kits can eat at once).
After the doe has kindled and seems to be mellowed out it is time to check the nest box, give the doe a treat (I usually give a small piece of apple or banana) and while she is enjoying her well deserved treat check the litter, remove any dead or stunted young and put the nest box back in the cage. 8 good healthy kits have a better chance and will grow faster than a litter of 12 to 14 weak kits. It is best to check the nest boxes every day the first week and every other day after that. By checking on the kits you will see if they are eating buy their plumpness and full tummies. A doe only nurses her young one or twice a day for only 2-5 minutes. If the doe is not feeding them, place the doe in the nest box and hold her until the kits start to nurse.
The kits are born naked and blind they will grow very fast, in about 2 weeks their eyes will open and in 3 weeks will start to leave the nest box. You can wean the kits from 4 weeks at the earliest and at the latest 8 weeks depending or your breeding cycle. It is important to keep the doe and kits on full feed and plenty of fresh water to keep them all healthy. The young rabbits should weigh 4+ pounds at 8 weeks of age now it is time to slaughter and select the fastest growers for your replacement breeding stock, or to move them to grow out cages.
This has only been a basic of raising rabbits. I plan on doing a few more of this series the next will be on slaughtering – selling- and using everything from your rabbits! Also answering any questions anyone has. Thanks for reading! Rise And Shine Rabbitry, Raising Meat Rabbits To Save The World! Join The Rabbit Revolution! Like Us On Facebook and subscribe to our blog page to get the newest post as they are posted!
Rabbit is higher in protein than other meats, lower in fat, and has less calories. It is one of the best white meats available on the market today! The meat has a high percentage of easily digestible protein. Protein is needed in the diet for healthy cellular processes and functions. The body needs protein for tissue development, repair and maintenance. For overall health and proper functioning, the human body must have protein.
Rabbit meat is almost cholesterol free and low in sodium and there fore very heart patient friendly. The calcium and phosphorus contents of this meat are more than any other meat. Phosphorus helps in bone health along with calcium, and also helps to regulate fluids. Potassium also helps with fluid regulation and helps remove salts from the body Other vitamins and minerals, which are needed by the body in small amounts, are also present in rabbit meat. These include copper, zinc and iron. Copper is necessary for cellular growth and development and is taken in through diet since the body cannot produce this mineral. Zinc is important to boost the immune system and calcium absorption while iron is important in the production of red blood cells and the distribution and absorption of oxygen throughout the body.
Rabbit contains selenium that works as an antioxidant to remove free radicals before they can do damage to your body. Some types of cancer, as well as the ravages of aging, can be battled with selenium. Selenium is also very important in maintaining good thyroid functioning and supporting a healthy immune system.
Rabbit meat also contains Potassium that helps with fluid regulation and helps remove salts from the body
Vitamin B2 or riboflavin is another nutrient found in rabbit meat which is important to keep the digestive track healthy. It is also important in breaking down protein and fats. Another nutrient, Vitamin B12 is necessary in the proper function of the nervous system. It is needed in the production of protein and red blood cells.
Rabbit meat, which is a high-protein low fat diet, is not just perfect for weight loss. It also contains anti-oxidant and anti-aging components namely selenium and glutathione. Glutathione is a protein like antioxidant molecule. It must be constantly renewed. The riboflavin in rabbit meat supports this process
Rabbit meat has been recommended for special diets such as for heart disease patients, diets for the elderly- whose metabolism has slowed and digestion is compromised, due to illness or life stage. Low sodium diets, and weight reduction diets, because it is easily digested, it has been recommended by doctors for patients who have trouble eating other meats. Not to mention that it is awesome tasting and can be cooked many ways. I Will be posting recipes constantly in the DOMESTIC RABBIT RECIPES page that i have cooked myself or find quit intriguing keep checking in! RAISING MEAT RABBITS TO SAVE THE WORLD!