Ok, despite the curve balls life has thrown me, I will finish this series on rabbits!
I have talked about how to choose a rabbit and how to bring it home now we need to talk about what to do with it once you get it!
Depending on the purpose of your rabbit, this might be where you can stop in this series. If you are bringing your rabbit home as a pet, enjoy your new family member!
If you are starting a rabbitry to breed and sell rabbits or to consume rabbits, your journey will continue on. I have found the sale of rabbits to be hot and cold. There are times when I can not breed the rabbits fast enough. There are other times when I have 18-20 growouts and no idea what am I going to do with them all.
Those of you that are interested in raising them for meat. That will not be a problem for you. You can start breeding your rabbits around 6 months of age, depending on the bred. The smaller breeds need to wait longer before they are bred for the first time. The gestation period for a rabbit is anywhere from 28-31 days. Litter sizes also depends on the bred and the breeding practice. We can talk about the details of breeding in another post. Going back to meat, you can usually process your rabbits for freezer camp around 4 months depending on the bred and the size you are going for.
Like I mentioned earlier, I do not raise or rabbits for meat. For this reason, I only breed our animals once or twice a year. I am interested in the preservation of the breed and in the manure benefits. To find customers, our rabbitry is registered with ARBA and a couple other rabbit breeder websites. Occasionally, when I have rabbits for sale, I will list them on Facebook or Craigslist, but for the most part, the people that I sell to find me because they are specifically looking for American Chinchillas.
Other profitable rabbitries sell to dog food companies, butcher shops, 4H clubs, and pet stores for snake food. There are many different avenues if you are interested in selling rabbits. To be totally honest with you, I do not make much money selling our rabbits, I make enough to help pay for their food costs and my rabbits give me amazing fertilizer.
Love your rabbits and enjoy them. I am amazed everyday by what wonderful creatures they are. I personally think rabbit are a great addition to any homestead. I hope you found this series informative, if there is any questions that I did not answer please let me know, I am happy to share what little I know.