Rabbit farming or rabbitry is the art of raising and domesticating rabbits. You may be asking the question, “Why should I raise rabbits”? Rabbit farming should be encouraged for the following reasons.
Rabbits are herbivores that grow very quickly, attaining maturity in 6 – 8 months of age depending on the breed used and are able to produce 3 – 7 litters every year with each litter birth of about 5 – 9 kits. Rabbit production is prolific, especially with a well thought out rabbit breeding plan in place.
Rabbits have a good percentage of conversion of food to protein when compared to other forms of livestock farming. In efficient production systems, rabbits can turn 20 percent of the proteins they eat into edible meat. Comparable figures for other species are 22 to 23 percent for broiler chickens, 16 to 18 percent for pigs and 8 to 12 percent for beef.
Breeders of rabbits can readily grow and produce rabbit feed without pesticides and chemicals for their animals. As such, it is easier to produce “green” and organic animals as you are sure of the source of rabbit feed.
The cost of setting up a rabbit farm is inexpensive when compared to other forms of livestock breeding. You can readily start one in your own backyard.
Rabbits are quiet and “noiseless” animals making them better for suburbia than chickens, turkeys, geese or ducks. They can also be domesticated virtually anywhere without been a nuisance to neighbors. You may however have to seek clarification from city councils and authorities about raising animals in certain areas. Since they are not considered livestock by many governmental agencies, they are permitted where other animals would not.
One essential point of meat production is to convert plant proteins of little or no use to people as food into high-value animal protein. Rabbits can also easily convert the available proteins in cellulose-rich plants, whereas it is not economical to feed these to chickens and turkeys – the only animals with higher energy and protein efficiency.
Rabbit meat is high in protein and low in fat, cholesterol, and sodium when compared to most of the other forms of animal protein eaten in the U.S. and other parts of the world. It is a better and healthier source of meat protein. Rabbit meat is much more suitable for individuals with heart problems, the weight conscious and obese. With the present worldwide desire for healthier eating, rabbit meat comes as an excellent substitute for red meat and other types of meat.
Rabbits are fairly easy to breed. Because the does or female rabbit take care of the young themselves, no hand-raising or special equipment, such as an incubator or brooder, is needed as you have in other forms of livestock breeding like poultry. There is rarely a need for intensive on-the-spot care.
Butchering is fairly simple and straight-forward. A skilled person can take a rabbit from the cage to freezer in a very short period of time.
Also, space is often not a problem because cages can be stacked. Especially when comparing to larger meat animals such as cattle or hogs, rabbits are much more efficient space users.
A rabbit farming venture costs little to set up, little to maintain, and are highly productive, with rabbit products in the form of low cholesterol rabbit meat and rabbit skins for the fur trade.