Rabbit is the new Chicken
Across the nation, backyard farmers and urban homesteaders are starting to raise their own meat rabbits as an alternative or a supplement to backyard chickens.
Rabbits have many virtues for the backyard homesteader:
- they make almost no noise
- require less space
- can be supported on both commercial feed as well as locally grown forage
- provide delicious, low fat, low cholesterol, high protein meat
- provide furs and leather for crafts or sale
- readily reproduce
- produce superior compost for fertilizer
In fact the practice of raising rabbits for food was so common in Hawaii during the the 50’s and 60’s that the University of Hawaii maintained it’s own rabbit breeding facility and published informational pamphlets to help local breeders.
In our rabbitry we feed our rabbits a combination of pellet feed, hay, and organic forage which we grow ourselves.
Growing our own forage has been a really effective way to lower the cost per pound of producing our own meet. And keeping the rabbits accustomed to a pellet feed provides us with a safe fall back during those occasions when our forage production is lower than expected. If we start to run low on both, we just stock a few extra in the freezer, and hold off on breeding until our forage has replenished itself.
Feeding this way is a lot more time consuming, and requires more awareness and consideration, but it also allows us to have a more robust system that is less susceptible to external factors like weather and supply.