One of the most common questions we get as ‘Burbsteaders with a rabbitry is:
“WHY would you want to raise rabbits for meat?” …often followed by something having to do with their cuteness, smallness, or cuddliness.
So. as a start to our awesome kid-friendly series on raising rabbits as an integral part of your homesteading dreams, if you are a family striving for self-sufficiency, let me answer that.
For us it comes down to a couple of things. When getting started we asked ourselves these questions:
- What animals can we raise that are quiet, easy to tame, and prolific in producing something we will eat?
- What animals can we raise inside city limits that don’t fall under some city zoning code for various reasons?
- What animals produce enough awesome manure that is low smell but can eventually go into our garden for the rest of our cycle of feeding ourselves?
Every single time the answer was rabbits.
Sure they are cute and fluffy. Obviously a lot of people who ask that have never hung out with chicks, piglets, or even baby calves. ALL baby things are cute. Well…most.
Part of our life choices mean that whatever we do, we do it to the glory of God. Whatever is given to us we do the best we can and give the most we can to that, for a time, and then return it back.
For us, the animals we chose would have to fit that.
While in most cities you can have chickens…we could not.
While in most cities you can have chickens…they are noisy, messy, and while fun (Chicken lover, here…so don’t roast me) they require a LOT of upkeep, and intentional raising for multiple purposes. And as someone who has helped others, or partnered with others in the end of life process of butchering…wayyyyyyyyyyy messier than butchering rabbits.
But there were reasons beyond that, as we happily discovered.
We found that rabbits were easy to raise, with a few parameters. They were quiet, and easy to love/spoil/feed/harvest. We found you could breed out bad temperments and raise rabbits that were happy and responsive or gentle to even the smallest children. We found that their offal was absolutely fabulous in the garden, and for the small cost of set up and support, they produced far beyond any other homestead animal for their weight and size.
Now, 12 years later, we love what we do. Our rabbitry is a happy place, with spoiled buns who get a winter break from their jobs and get fed treats all the time. Its a joy to raise the litters, and while sad to harvest the end result, we know we have given them the best life a homestead could give them, with romps through the garden, lots of good food, and a very low-stress life. We have taught our kids that all things work in a circle of life…that all things have a beginning and an ending, and good stewardship doesn’t just start with your intentions and money, but with everything you are given.
Its a beautiful life, and we are glad to do it as a family.
Join us tomorrow as we chat about what we consider the best breeds to start with, an additional reason we began breeding rabbits, and what you need to get started.
Blessings to you and yours.