How to get started?

DellaMyDarling

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I know, it's recommended to go get some books and read up...but that's why we invented forums ;)
(I will, get the books, and read up over the winter.)

I am hoping that next summer I can begin a meat rabbit operation.
I never plan to show, but I do want a dual purpose rabbit breed that can fetch me money as pets as well as our own meats.
I've been trying to research for months and just coming up empty handed on answers.
I understand I likely want a breeding trio, but I am also hoping to keep my start up costs minimal.

1. What breeds do you recommend as a dual purpose pet and meat? I wish to avoid the freaky red eye business.

2. I keep seeing rabbit cages for sale, but I feel like they are too small to be kind. Give me the low down on true rabbit cage needs (probably talking the bigger breeds.)

3. Along with the above question, I felt like my breeders should enjoy pasture time. I picture rabbit tractors to move around either for day use or even built for full time cages (if I did a full time tractor, I'd make a paver stone parking spot so nothing digs under at night to eat my buns.) Is this fantasy land rabbitry? And, suddenly occurred to me, what does one do in the winter? New England mountain weather here.

4. What do you feel is a realistic start up cost to a rabbitry, presuming I do not have a darn thing to get started with? (We often can gather building materials of all sorts free or cheap.)

5. Is there risks or dangers to buying rabbit goods or rabbits themselves off Craigslist?


Thanks
 

B&B Happy goats

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Hello DellaMyDarling, I will try to answer your questions as we raise meat rabbits also...

1...New Zeland , yes they have the pink eyes but are excellent breeders, great pets and "the preferred " rabbit meat sold to cruise ships and restaurants. ..here anyhow...

2. 44"legnth x36" deep and 18" high is what we built, we used hardware cloth, they are 4' off the ground, posts are PT and in the ground 4' ...roof is slanted toward the back for water drainage and is a metal roof., sliding bolt locks, and a 18" square tile inside for resting, cooling or warming, we also built plywood boxes inside for shelter and kindling,

3. I dont let mine on the ground, fleas, ticks, parasites...I want my meat clean....
New England weather, build inside a shed, garage, barn....or outside, but use wind breaks and be prepared to bring kits inside during extremely cold weather..

4. I would think if you are "handy" and you gather the wood and roofing materials, your biggest purchase would be the hardware cloth.....so possible total $300 ? We can get NZ rabbits here for $10 each ...

5. I have found all of my rabbits to breed ...off of craigslist....New Zeland doe's (2 unrelated) 1 buck unrelated, same with my Flemish giants.
I just bred my FG female with the NZ buck for a larger meat breed :fl

Hope this is of some help to you, others that are into more pet breeds may have other rabbits to suggest for you...I can only tell you about our area and what works well here :)....good luck :bunny
 
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Pastor Dave

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The Dutch breed works ok as a meat breed, especially when bred to a NZ or Californian, and I think are good pet rabbits to sell. They don't get quite as big as the two above mentioned breeds, but even pure bred Dutch have big enough offspring to process. Now you can even get a variety in colors in Dutch that didn't used to be recognized when I had them.
 

Pastor Dave

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I do not like the idea of putting rabbits on the ground where they can come in contact with too many harmful things. Predators not even included. Give them some hay and leave them in a dry and windless place, especially in the winter. Air movement is ok for Summer.

I use nest boxes on real cold winter days that even the males can burough in the straw to stay warm. A meat pen can keep each other warm.

Costs vary. You can buy the hardware mesh in rolls to build your cages. Just use a 1/2"×1" for the bottom and 1"×2" for sides and tops. You can get J clips for attaching and hinges for doors. Buy fastners for the latches in a bunch.

A lot of initial costs will be one time, but you need feeders and waterers, a good 16% protein milled alfalfa pellet and straight grass or orchard hay. A good roll of wire comes in handy for repairs and just abt anything. I use 2Tb/gallon of water of ACV (apple cider vinegar) Helps with urinary tract and is beneficial in lots of ways. There's lots of additional techniques and tricks that you will learn along the way.
 
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DellaMyDarling

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Lots of good info.

So, I really shouldn't tractor them? Do your buns not see the outdoors?
Where do y'all put your cages? Pics of set ups?
I don't have room in my animal barn for buns, and worried how mad the Mister would be if I started to take over his barn haha. I might be able to convince him to give me a spot in upstairs of barn, but I'm stuck on the notion of rabbits on grass.

Would the rabbits be pleased with goat quality hay?
 

B&B Happy goats

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I use goat hay for all my animals,.....you also need to think about the rabbit poo and pee....the poo isn't bad, the pee stinks, and it can pile up fast, so upstairs in the barn probably won't work for you....but it is great for the garden....
Honestly,, try just starting off with a few and see how they sell, process some and eat it......you may find you don't like the processing or the meat, and change to a pet breed only :idunno:bunny:bunny
 

Pastor Dave

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20190727_210655.jpg


When I looked at our new place, I wanted a barn for mechanical and shop purpose and animal use, so mine is still getting organized, but where you see the rabbits, I plan to put up cattle panels and stalls for goats that are coming. I am also putting up a wall between the animal side and shop side.

20190727_233423.jpg
 
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