Question about meat product rabbit farming...?

Nao57

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So I wondered about this and thought about asking it.

If you get into rabbit farming, is it possible to find commercial meat buyers?

How do you find something like that?

To be fair I'm nowhere near that far yet. But I'm asking for potentials sake because I don't want to have conflicts with people in my area that are already doing stuff. (And I want to work from home and work rural if I can.)

And how do you avoid having conflicts with other rabbit breeders in your area over selling rabbits?

(I would think if you only did them for meat you'd have less conflict with other local breeders. But it seems like you have an extra hurdle in that people aren't into rabbit meat much as a society. I'm hoping that will change because ground beef price (cheap) at my local Walmart is 5.88 a pound. You'd think that I could post an ad on Craigslist or whatever and be like hey I can give you rabbit burger for half what you pay for ground beef right? Unfortunately it might be more complicated than that as people get set in their ways. But it should have potential. I don't understand why people don't complain more than they are now about grocery prices shooting through the roof.)


No joke meat should be 2 dollars a pound in my area. But its triple that.

I think there should be some way of getting people away from the grocery store to buy home processed stuff right?
 

Baymule

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There is the home slaughter hurdle to deal with. The USDA frowns on that sort of thing. Advertising it on Craig's List or a public social media puts you in the cross hairs and can get you reported, fined and shut down. A restaurant wouldn't touch that with a 10 foot pole. I've known people who sold rabbits alive, then slaughtered at no charge as a favor to the buyers. But how many people can pick out a cute fuzzy bunny and watch you kill and process it? They can barely stomach the idea of eating a rabbit with it all cleaned as a package of meat.

Rabbits for your own consumption is ok. Word of mouth, under the radar, shhhh don't tell anyone, but tell your friends, is how much of it is done. For you to legally sell the meat you slaughtered yourself would require proper facilities and quite a lot of expense.

We are looking into that ourselves with the meat chickens we raise. The USDA does allow a certain number of home raised and slaughtered poultry, BUT is must be done in an inspected proper facility. That means NOT outside under a shade tree and not in a home kitchen. Right now we have just a few customers. If we continue to gain customers, we will build a proper building with whatever the USDA says we need. We are rolling that around, tier 1 is up to 2,000 chickens, no way we want to raise that many!

So you need to investigate this for yourself through the USDA and examine what your options are.
 

Niele da Kine

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Some of the laws change from state to state and some are federal. I think the folks selling chickens here were allowed to sell quite a few of them (1,500?) as long as they were sold directly to the consumer. They had a trailer set up as a slaughter facility and would process them out in the pasture. Some folks would come help or volunteer to help in exchange for some chickens, the rest of the folks would show up to get their pre-ordered chickens. I think they set them up in so many customers per hour on a schedule or something. It was quite popular among the foodies to get organic, pasture raised chicken and they paid very well for it. The pasture raised chickens folks had to move back to the mainland to take care of family, I think.

Hmm, perhaps the rabbits or chickens could be sold as 'dog food'? There's someone around here selling raw milk on Craig's List as something to make soap. What the end user does with it will be up to the end user, one would suppose.

If there's a culinary school or some sort of educational sort of thing near you, perhaps a class in how to prepare a rabbit for dinner could be something to offer? Then you're selling the class or the experience and not the rabbit. Also, if you train folks how to process rabbits, then you'd have a larger customer base.

Or sell it as an educational thing on Craig's List. $75 for a class on rabbit processing and include two rabbits along with the class. One for you to show how it's done and one for them to follow along with. First student at $75, additional students for $45 if they come in a group. The more folks who know how to turn rabbits into dinner, the more rabbits you will sell.

There was also something about 'cow shares' or 'herd shares' for the folks drinking milk. They bought a portion of the cow and from that they received milk. Since it's their cow, they are drinking their own milk. I don't know if you'd be able to sell 'herd shares' and then provide folks with so many rabbits per year? Set it up with automatic payments of so much per month or so much per quarter and have their rabbits ready for them at specific dates. That may take care of the bulk of the ones you raise and then any extra can be kept for your own use or sold other ways.
 

Niele da Kine

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There's some folks around here who sell chicken for that price, if not more. They're doing 'organic, pasture raised' chicken in a chicken tractor. Maybe you could farm the bunnies in a tractor and advertise them the same way?

Otherwise, many restaurants would pay for rabbits if they could get them in a steady supply.
 

Beekissed

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I would say it would only pay well if you could provide for restaurants and lived where it was something that was part of the food culture. I used to sell mine live to an old man who had a heart condition and had to eat only lean meats but one person can only eat so many rabbits, so he usually only bought a large batch once a year to fill his freezer.

There is also the market for zoos and other places that keep large reptiles or people who feed raw to their dogs and have a great many dogs.
 

Nao57

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Some of the laws change from state to state and some are federal. I think the folks selling chickens here were allowed to sell quite a few of them (1,500?) as long as they were sold directly to the consumer. They had a trailer set up as a slaughter facility and would process them out in the pasture. Some folks would come help or volunteer to help in exchange for some chickens, the rest of the folks would show up to get their pre-ordered chickens. I think they set them up in so many customers per hour on a schedule or something. It was quite popular among the foodies to get organic, pasture raised chicken and they paid very well for it. The pasture raised chickens folks had to move back to the mainland to take care of family, I think.

Hmm, perhaps the rabbits or chickens could be sold as 'dog food'? There's someone around here selling raw milk on Craig's List as something to make soap. What the end user does with it will be up to the end user, one would suppose.

If there's a culinary school or some sort of educational sort of thing near you, perhaps a class in how to prepare a rabbit for dinner could be something to offer? Then you're selling the class or the experience and not the rabbit. Also, if you train folks how to process rabbits, then you'd have a larger customer base.

Or sell it as an educational thing on Craig's List. $75 for a class on rabbit processing and include two rabbits along with the class. One for you to show how it's done and one for them to follow along with. First student at $75, additional students for $45 if they come in a group. The more folks who know how to turn rabbits into dinner, the more rabbits you will sell.

There was also something about 'cow shares' or 'herd shares' for the folks drinking milk. They bought a portion of the cow and from that they received milk. Since it's their cow, they are drinking their own milk. I don't know if you'd be able to sell 'herd shares' and then provide folks with so many rabbits per year? Set it up with automatic payments of so much per month or so much per quarter and have their rabbits ready for them at specific dates. That may take care of the bulk of the ones you raise and then any extra can be kept for your own use or sold other ways.
Wow.

Your idea for a rabbit processing class is actually quite good.

You are clever.

Your points are valid also as I think people are interested in the idea of 'skill acquisition'.
 
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