As a homesteader, urban, suburban or rural, sooner or later the thought of how to raise your own meat will cross your mind.
Rabbits are the perfect meat to raise when space is at a premium, making them the urban homesteader’s dream meat! Within the area of a queen sized bed, you can raise healthy rabbits!
Rabbits are easy to raise and they produce wonderful manure that doesn’t need to be aged before use! Urbanites can clean out the rabbit’s cage and fertilize your balcony plants the same day! How cool is that?
I think that rabbits are going to be in The Morristribe’s 2012 plan!
For this series about “How to Raise Your Own Meat“, I have consulted with experts in the field. Today, I will be interviewing both Jackie Davis from The Rocking K and the owner of “Rise and Shine Rabbitry“.
Due to the length of this interview, I have divided it into two parts for the next two days. Enjoy and share with others, will you??
What types of animals do you raise for meat? What breeds do you prefer and why?
Jackie Davis: I raise rabbits and sheep for meat. I prefer New Zealand and California rabbits, but also do a mix with New Zealand and Flemish Giant for my bucks. My California does produce well and are good mothers. The bucks I choose for conformation and weight gain. A good breeder will have information on the doe’s mother, her average litter size, breeding history etc. You get a pretty good idea from what the doe raised so her offspring should do as well.
Rise and Shine: We raise many meat breeds- New Zealand Whites, Californians, Hybrid crosses of NZW/CAL awesome bloodline great production rabbits, Creme d Argent, Chocolate Satins and other assorted colors, Silver Foxes and more available!
What is the name of your farm/business/blog?
Jackie Davis: The Rocking K.
Rise and Shine: Rise and Shine Rabbitry is small rabbitry in Mechanic Falls, Maine. We promote raising rabbits for homestead use.
How long have you been raising your own meat?
Jackie Davis: I have been raising animals that were butchered since my early years. Dad leased land to raise a steer, some chickens and later rabbits. As a young mother with three children to support, I raised rabbits and chickens in the back yard for extra food as well as having a large vegetable garden in stead of a ‘city back yard’.
Rise and Shine: I have collected all my knowledge from years of raising rabbits
What is your primary motivation for raising your own meat?
Jackie Davis: I moved from CA to IL 6 years ago when I retired from teaching, seeking an environment full of trees, flowers and green. Living in a small rural community has been eye opening. You cannot find rabbit or lamb in the grocery store, let alone organic foods of any type and I will not drive 90 miles to the city to seek those particular foods. And I really don’t trust meat from grocery stores any more. Thus I’ve become a ‘farmer woman’ living a very different lifestyle from that I was use to in CA.
Rise and Shine:
*Rabbits are quiet, No one will know you have a meat supply.
*Rabbits take up very little space, Easily hidden.
*Rabbits reproduce quickly. Fast sustaining meat supply.
*Rabbits can be butchered as needed so no need for refrigeration. You only need one buck for every 10 does, less mouths to feed. Each doe will have on average 40 kits per year- 100+ lbs meat.
*Rabbits have a very short gestation period (31 days). Can be re bred 2 weeks after giving birth.
*Rabbits sexually mature at about 5 to 6 months- Quick to add new breeding stock to up meat production.
*Rabbit manure is the best fertilizer. Needed for your high production survival gardens. Rabbits are herbivores. They do not compete with humans for a food source.
*Rabbits can handle many different climates, can be raised in a multitude of environments.
*Rabbits also produce pelts witch can be used for home or trade- Great for keeping warm by making hats, mittens, blankets,coats etc!
*Rabbit meat, pelts, manure and breeding pairs can be used for a good bartering item.
*Rabbits are inexpensive! A 50lb bag of food is about $13+, as of the date of this post, it will rise! An adult rabbit should be fed a cup a day.
Did I mention how tasty rabbit meat is?! You can cook it many ways bake it, fry it, roast it, smoke it, make jerky, can it and more!
Recipes here and Part 2 here!
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