Sure, they’re cute, cuddly and compact, but when it comes right down to it, rabbits make delicious eating. Raising rabbits for meat is easy and inexpensive, especially if you get resourceful. You can make your own rabbit hutch out of scrap wood or you might get lucky and find a cheap rabbit hutch online or in your local paper.
The first thing to consider when raising meat rabbits is how many your family wants to eat a year. Generally speaking, one decent-sized rabbit will feed a family of four. Keep in mind that these little buggers reproduce prolifically. If you are interested in breeding meat rabbits, a realistic goal from medium to large rabbit breeds would be four or five litters a year. Expect anywhere from three to even 15 babies per litter.
Wondering what to feed meat rabbits? The proper feed will help your colony stay in good health as well as breed successfully and care for their kits. In addition to a solid commercial feed, these foods are acceptable: Lettuce leaves (not too many until they are used to them), potato peelings, beets, rutabagas, parsnips, sweet potatoes, carrots and turnips. All grains are good, too, if they are thoroughly dried. Not all vegetables are good for your colony including cabbage, broccoli, or Brussels sprouts.
Outfit your hutch with glass or metal dishes. Wood or plastic will be chewed relentlessly by the colony. When constructing your growing cages, be sure the holes in the wire covering the floor are not too large. Keep your hutches, and the floor or ground beneath them, clean of feces. Excess animal waste and urine will draw flies that can become a problem. Sometimes (especially among the juveniles) the members of the colony may fight among themselves. Wounds can result, which will also attract flies. Flystrike in rabbits can become a real battle.
During the hot weather months, keep your hutches well-ventilated, with plenty of access to fresh water. Empty and rinse out any water bowl that becomes contaminated with feces or urine. Fresh water will help keep your colony stay healthy, and overheating can be deadly!