Wanted meat rabbits for some time now so your info was valued.
Starting as a “newbie” could you suggest any good books with step be step info. Like how big the hutches are to be, food requirements, common medical problems/etc or do you have the time to help?
How many rabbits to you butcher each year for your own freezers or does it depend on the number of culls?
What breed of meat rabbits do you raise?
Wanting to be ready for the fall purchase of the guys….pretty excited!
A fat wee handful at eight days old, calm and steady but eyes not quite open!
So the first answer is this is the book!
Do not get the kindle, you want the paperback book so that you can haul it out to where ever you need it, when you need it etc.
Its going to cover all the basics and then some.. its going to answer all your basic questions and its going to cover hutch building and breeding and how to make nest box’s and so much more..
Now, having said that, I am going to admit that we like our 4 by 4 box’s, 3 by 3 is the outside area with a wire bottom and three wire sides and a 1 by 1 back area, the back area has its own top and the front its own..
These box’s DID not hold as well as the more tradional longer built box but for a growout box with a litter of kits I love having that 16 square feet for the doe and her litter..
as a grow out box, they work and they are awesome for chicks, quail and so much more..
We are going to be building new rabbit hutches this year to replace our oldest ones that are 11 years at this time and we will show what we are making and why I am doing so after working with a number of different models.
The breed of rabbit we breed at this time is called “Hypharm in France”
We did not get them from France, we got our breeder lines from a local rabbit breeder about 40 min away..
These rabbits are outstanding.. I have breed a number of meat rabbits over the years, but these rabbit while not a “breed” that can be shown or a “breed” in the sense of being a cross bred of this or that..
They have the size, the temperament, amazing mothers, tons of milk, great pelts and outstanding food to growth rates.. I have no idea how easy or how hard it would be to get your hands on this breed..
But if you can, I would recommend doing so.. it will save you so much work, they have done it all for you and you can just enjoy all the plus’s, and because they are breed for Europe they take it fact that most of us smaller breeders, want to keep our does around for a few extra years.. so they stay healthy and productive for years.
How many rabbits, between 30 to 60 a year.. but they can be culled and or butchered at different ages and sizes, I had a much beloved dog that had food allergies and so I raised more rabbits for her, but I tended to freezer camp them around 6 weeks because that was the perfect size for a whole prey for the dog..
when I am raising them for our use, I like to grow them out to 12 to 16 weeks for young fryers, then they are used like young tender chickens, (which if you have ever raised free range chickens, you need the rabbit to get a tender meat, because few range is not tender LOL) but I also raise some up till about six months for pelt first, and big old roaster second..
So I really mix it up.. but I use different sizes for different uses.. One fryer rabbit is about the same as fryer chicken, 3 to 4 pounds once its dressed out give or take. but rabbits have a bit more bones.
As for the freezer, its rarely used, I either use a fresh butchered rabbit or I can them, canned rabbit is outstanding, I do fresh bone in raw pack pressure canned and its wonderful..
I do freeze the ones for the dogs for safety reason, they are frozen for a certain amount of time before being feed.
Hope that helps a bit and when you get your rabbits, feel free to ask questions as they come up 🙂