One Community feels that modeling ethical and humane animal stewardship is essential and for The Highest Good of All in today’s world of diverse needs. We anticipate many cultures and communities globally and for the predictable future will either need or choose to use animals as food and/or raise them for their other byproducts. With this in mind, we see an opportunity for One Community to demonstrate Highest Good methods of doing this. Our team which consists of vegetarians, vegans, and omnivores, has elected that the omnivores will be raising rabbits for food and pelts and using their manure for fertilizer. We approach this process with respect, gratitude, and love for these creatures and will be expanding this page with our open source collaborative efforts and experience once on the property.
THIS PAGE IS NOT CONSIDERED BY US TO BE A COMPLETE AND USABLE TUTORIAL UNTIL WE FINISH OUR OWN CONSTRUCTION OF THIS COMPONENT, CONFIRM ALL THE DETAILS, AND ADD TO THIS PAGE ALL THE RELATED VIDEOS, EXPERIENCE, AND OTHER UPDATES FROM THAT BUILD. IN THE MEANTIME, YOU CAN HELP US COMPLETE IT ALL SOONER WITH THE FOLLOWING OPTIONS:
Rabbits are extremely nurturing, intelligent, and curious animals. They are one of several farm animals we will raise and there are multiple beneficial reasons for doing so. An inexpensive, lean, tasty protein source, they offer an alternative from more traditional meats. They are prolific breeders, producing litters of 6-10 or more kits with each breeding while only taking about 8-11 weeks to mature.
Requiring minimal space compared to most other farm animals, rabbits are an asset to the diversified farmscape and can be tucked into the back of existing barns and sheds and grazed on small patches of marginal land, even ahead of your chickens or behind your ruminants on lush pasture.
The infrastructure needed to raise rabbits is fairly minimal and, with the right planning, can be done in a fairly small space. Each breeding rabbit needs its own hutch, but there are lots of plans available that show how you can stack hutches for maximum space efficiency. You can even hang your rabbit cages to make working with them easier and protect them from any ground predators that may lurk about.
Rabbits that you’ll be using for meat production (typically called “fryers”) can be kept in a larger hutch together, colony style, as long as they are butchered before they reach sexual maturity. If you raise your fryer rabbits together in one rabbit hutch, it is usually better if they are all from the same litter. This ensures that there won’t be any dominance issues when mixing two different litters and will make knowing your butchering date easier.
Unlike a lot of other livestock, they’re small and docile and easy to handle. Even the largest breed of domestic rabbit, the Flemish Giant, maxes out at a very manageable 22 pounds (10 kg). Well-bred rabbits from good stock are not aggressive, easy to pick up and move, and kids love interacting with them.
Rabbits make great pets and provide an opportunity for kids to learn responsibility when caring for them. They often bond with the rabbits through the process of feeding, watering, and cleaning their hutch. They can be litter-box trained and as long as the box is cleaned regularly they will use the box, and it is a simple process to collect the compost material, and keep the cage clean. When living in a clean environment rabbits tend to clean themselves too. Because they are so easily handled, rabbits can also be a wonderful animal for teaching young children the responsibility of caring for livestock. It also provides an opportunity for kids to engage in a local 4-H program and show their rabbits.
Like any form of animal husbandry, raising rabbits requires understanding the creature you are responsible for and appropriately providing for its needs. We discuss these details here with the following sections:
Think about housing BEFORE you start looking at bunnies. Rabbits are usually raised in wire cages or wooden hutches, protecting them from predators and improving sanitation. You could start with wire and make your own cages, but the commercial cages are well designed, readily available, and an excellent investment that will last for years. You might even acquire some secondhand by watching your local resale sources such as craigslist. The wire hutches can cause sore feet, so a plank or piece of carpet can provide a place for your rabbits to rest.
The rabbitry, where domestic rabbits are kept may be just a corner of your garage where you keep your rabbits, or a separate shed specifically designed and called a rabbit farm. Siting your rabbitry is important. Heat is the enemy of rabbits more than cold. Because of their fur, hutches can be placed outside, as long as they are protected from prevailing winds. They must be in the shade, especially in warmer climates. It is common for rabbits to be inside a shed or barn with good ventilation in all seasons. However, they can be outside in the winter as long as they are dry and can get out of the wind.
If you are serious about raising rabbits, one person’s pleasure can be another’s nightmare, reflect on these thoughts before committing:
Today, nearly all rabbits raised for “meat” are descendents of the old-world species Oryctolagus cuniculus. The most common breeds used in the U.S. are the New Zealand White and the Californian, or hybrids of the two. They are the most desirable breeds due to their relatively large size and white fur, which is highly valued in the fur trade because it is easily dyed.
The New Zealand White rabbit is a good meat rabbit for beginners. They are large, white rabbits that grow to be the size of a large cat. Because of their prolific multiplying (we will begin with a single buck and doe), adequate litter size, and attentive mothering instincts we will experience the finer points of cultivating them and gradually increase the herd size over time. Once we feel comfortable with all phases of raising rabbits we will bring in the California and American Chinchilla rabbits.
It is important to know when raising rabbits for meat, that the older the rabbit gets, the tougher the meat becomes. The perfect butchering age is around 8 weeks of age. This means you will need a larger breed so it will be a decent size by the 8-week mark.
Rabbits die from heat and wind, rarely just from cold temperatures; therefore, a proper shelter is a necessity. Always place the hutch within a structure where they receive no direct winter wind, and in the summer, in the shade out of direct sunlight.
The alternative to hutch raising is a colony set-up. This occurs when you utilize a large enclosure and allow the rabbits to burrow into the ground creating their own natural shelter. The drawbacks here are the inability to control the breeding and your rabbits are more likely to contract the parasitic illness known as coccidiosis. For further information view this link.
Most store bought runs are inferior and inadequate when your concern is for the safety of your rabbits. As a result we will build our own sturdy run that is large enough to keep the inhabitants safe from predators and allow plenty of room to run, hop, and attain adequate exercise. Be sure to extend your hardware cloth or whatever wire you are using outward in all four directions underground about 2 feet to avoid pesky predators(raccoons, opossums, coyotes, foxes, and dogs) from burrowing under the shelter.
A rabbit’s diet should consist of good quality pellets, fresh hay (timothy, other grass hays, or oat hay), water, and fresh vegetables. Anything beyond that is a “treat” and should be given in limited quantities. Pellets should be fresh and relatively high in fiber (18% minimum fiber). Do not purchase more than 6 weeks worth of feed at a time, as it will spoil. Pellets should make up less of a rabbit’s diet as it ages and hay should be available 24 hours a day. Alfalfa pellets are fine for younger rabbits but timothy pellets are preferred for older rabbits. Hay is essential to a rabbit’s good health, providing roughage which reduces the danger of hairballs and other blockages and can be purchased at your local feed store or possibly a nearby farm or ranch, but when possible select organic.
Rabbit meat is quite possibly one of the healthiest meats available. It is extremely low in cholesterol and saturated fat, and it boasts one of the highest protein contents per ounce of meat. Rabbit, chicken, and turkey all have similar protein percentages by weight, with beef, lamb, and pork being from 49% less. Rabbit meat is high in protein and has nearly one gram more protein per ounce than chicken, and nearly one gram less fat. In 85 grams (or three ounces) of meat , this animal provide diferente quantities of protein:
Their lean protein makes them even lower in fat than chicken, their more popular culinary cousin. Rabbit meat also has fewer calories per serving than most meats, with turkey being the only exception. It has 15 calories less per pound, and here’s an important factor for many: the cholesterol is much lower, even than chicken white meat. All other meats range from 220-259 mg/100g, while rabbit has 164 mg/100g. Also noteworthy, rabbit meat is the richest source of zinc except for oysters, which are bottom feeders, difficult to farm, and very slow growers; also a good nutritional source of iron with 4 mg per serving and a wide range of other minerals including phosphorus and potassium.
Acording to this, while some states require inspection of rabbit “meat,” there are no federally mandated inspections. Neither the Federal Meat Inspection Act (FMIA) nor the Poultry Products Inspection Act (PPIA) includes rabbits. Consequently, federal inspection is completely voluntary.
Only imported rabbit “meat” is inspected by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). They look for “decomposition, pesticide residue, and contamination by filth.” According to this analysis, only 20-25% of the 2 million rabbits killed for “meat” annually in the U.S. were federally inspected. Other estimates for annual slaughter are as high as 8 million. This does not take into account the estimated 62,000-75,000 breeding does and bucks whom the industry has on hand at any given time.
Rabbits in the wild all over the world successfully consume a wide variety of plant materials. Various types of dry and fresh grasses and leafy plants comprise the largest portion of the wild rabbit diet. Rabbits will also eat bark on trees, tender twigs and sprouts, fruits, seeds, and other nutritious foods in much smaller amounts.
The majority of the rabbit diet should be composed of grass hay (any variety). Grass hay is rich in Vitamin A and D as well as calcium, protein, and other nutrients. Eating hay promotes healthy teeth and gastrointestinal tract and should be available to your rabbit at all times. Varying the type of grass hay or mixing hays is best (such as timothy, orchard, oat hay, brome, etc). Avoid the use of alfalfa hay as the primary source of hay due to the fact it is very high in calories and protein, far more than the average rabbit requires. Alfalfa is not a grass, but rather a legume (in the pea and bean family).
Fresh foods are also an important part of your rabbit’s diet and they provide additional nutrients as well as different textures and tastes, which are enriching for your colony. Fresh foods provide more moisture in the diet, which is good for kidney and bladder function. The bulk of fresh foods should be made up of leafy greens (about 75% of the fresh part of the diet). Any leafy green that is safe for humans or horses is safe for a rabbit to consume. An approximate amount to feed is about one cup of greens for two pounds of rabbit body weight once a day or divided into multiple feedings a day.
Many plants contain naturally occurring chemicals called alkaloids, which are mild toxins that protect plants in the wild. The one most talked about with rabbits is oxalic acid and it is completely harmless to animals or humans when consumed in small amounts. The amount of oxalic acid within each plant can vary significantly due to several factors including the composition of the soil the plant grew in, the time of year, and the age of the plant. Most of the fresh vegetables have a low to zero level of oxalic acid, but a few, most notably parsley, mustard greens, and spinach have relatively high levels. The toxicity of oxalic acid comes with feeding large quantities of foods high in this chemical and can result in tingling of the skin, the mouth, and damage to the kidneys over time. These foods are nutritious and do not need to be excluded from the diet if you feed them appropriately. Feed them a minimum of at least 3 types of leafy greens a day (and only one of them should be from the group listed above) Don’t feed the same greens all the time from week to week if possible, mix it up. For instance if you feed parsley this week, then leave it out of the diet for next week and use something else. Rotating the greens will also give your rabbits variety in taste, texture, and general nutrition.
(Note: Kale is often implicated as a high oxalate food but is actually very low in oxalates. There is currently dispute within the scientific community regarding the levels of oxalates and goitrogens in kale. Some rabbits fed kale daily, combined with other veggies, resulted in no ill effects. Others have found that kale fed in large amounts on a daily basis may contribute to bladder sludge and other health issues. Make your own decisions on how you feed kale to your rabbit based on observation of the rabbit’s health.)
Some rabbit wranglers are concerned that rabbits need to acquire a significant amount of vitamin A from greens. As mentioned above, hay is rich in vitamin A, so it is unnecessary to be concerned about the specific vitamin A content of the greens, though, kale is extremely rich in vitamin A as well as most leaf lettuces. Rabbits make their own vitamin C in their bodies, unlike humans who have to get vitamin C through their diet. Dark green leafy vegetables and red peppers actually have more vitamin C per weight than citrus fruits!
Also, some are concerned about feeding foods that cause gastrointestinal (GI) gas in people such as broccoli. A rabbit’s GI tract is not the same as a human’s and many of the foods that may cause gas in humans do not cause gas in rabbits. The most common types of foods that do create havoc in the rabbit’s GI tract are those that are high in starch and sugars because they create a change in the pH of the cecum and eventually can throw the whole system off. The result can be serious GI disease. Foods that are notorious for causing rabbit GI problems when fed improperly are grains of any kind and legumes (beans, peas, etc). Even starchy root vegetables and fruits, if fed to excess with their high load of sugars and starch, could be a problem and should only be fed as a very small part of the diet.
There has also been discussion about feeding vegetables that are goitrogenic in humans (causing a goiter) more notoriously those in the broccoli/cabbage family. One study done on rabbits indicated that it would take several weeks of exclusively feeding huge quantities of these foods to see any abnormalities in the blood. This is so far removed from normal feeding instructions for rabbits that there is no cause for concern in feeding these nutritious foods.
Beyond leafy greens you can feed other vegetables such as root vegetables or “flowers” such as broccoli and cauliflower. These foods are often higher in starch or sugars and should be fed in lesser amounts than the leafy greens. Avoid foods in the onion family such as leeks, chives and onions because eating these foods could cause blood abnormalities. A reasonable amount of “other” vegetables (non leafy greens) to feed your rabbit would be about 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day in one meal or divided into two or more.
Fruits can also be fed in small amounts. In the wild these would be special high calorie foods obtained only at certain times of the year. Fruits make great training treats! You also might choose to hand-feed the fruit portion of the diet as part of developing a close bond with your rabbit and also to make sure he has an appetite every day. It is a great way to see if your rabbit is feeling good when you observe if he takes his fruit treat every morning! If he doesn’t want to eat his treat, it is time to call your veterinarian. Remember that dried fruits are about three times as concentrated as the fresh variety so feed less of those. Rabbits, like many animals, naturally gravitate towards high calorie foods such as those high in sugar or starch. This is a protective device from the wild days when they could never be sure when or if they would get the next meal. When a plant would produce fruit, it is for a limited time and all the animals in the area would want to quickly consume the fruit! This means that rabbits cannot limit themselves when given sugary or starchy foods if left to their own devices. Overfeeding fruits can result in a weight gain or GI upset so it is up to you to feed these foods in limited amounts. An approximate amount of fruit to feed your rabbit is a teaspoon per two lbs of body weight daily in one feeding or divided into multiple feedings.
IMPORTANT: Before introducing any fresh foods to a rabbit it is best if he has been eating grass hay for a minimum of two weeks. The grass hay will help to get his GI tract motility and flora in good working order so that he can accept new foods more easily. When introducing new fresh foods to any rabbit’s diet it is best to do so slowly, allowing the gastrointestinal tract and all its important microorganisms to adjust. Introduce one new food every three days and keep a watch on the stools. It is rare for a rabbit that has been on a hay diet first, to have any problems using this method, but if you note softer stools that persist over a couple of days, then you might want to remove that food from your rabbit’s diet. Keep a list as you go of the foods that your rabbit has successfully eaten so you can feed them what is best.
A rabbit’s nutritional content and food quantity will change over time, here are some general dietary considerations as they relate to their age.
Newborns and up to seven months:
Seven months to one year:
One to five years:
Six years and over:
(Note: It is always preferable to buy organic produce if at all possible. If collecting wild foods such as dandelion greens, make sure they are from a pesticide-free area. All fresh foods regardless of the source should be washed or scrubbed ,in the case of hard vegetables, before serving them to your rabbit.)
Focus on a wide selection of different vegetables. Leafy greens should make up about 75% of the fresh portion of your rabbit’s diet (about 1 packed cup per 2 lbs of body weight per day). Avoid beans and rhubarb.
Leafy Greens I (need to be rotated due to oxalic acid content and only 1 out of three varieties of greens a day should be from this list):
Leafy Greens II (low in oxalic acid):
Non-leafy vegetables should be no more than about 15 % of the diet (About 1 tablespoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day):
Fruits should be no more than 10% of the diet ,about 1 teaspoon per 2 lbs of body weight per day. (Note: unless otherwise stated it is more nutritious to leave the skin on the fruit , particularly if organic, just wash thoroughly. If you are in doubt about the source of the fruit and you are concerned about chemicals in the skin, remove it.)
Rabbits require plenty of water, especially during the summer heat and when they are pregnant and nursing. Check their waterers daily to determine if they are clean and functioning properly. If you are not using automatic waters be certain to supply fresh water daily. Rarely, you may find a rabbit that won’t drink from a waterer and you may have to supply fresh water daily in a bowl. See this link to purchase rabbit waterers.
Rabbits provide a plentiful supply of meat and don’t require a lot of space. Proper care is essential when establishing a steady source of meat and here are important focus points to keep your rabbits clean, healthy and productive:
There is a level of care and cleanliness that is required to maintain a healthy population when raising rabbits in a hutch, as opposed to a colony. If your hutch is constructed properly the rabbit’s waste should fall through the hutch bottom and onto the ground or a catch basin. But from time to time they’ll be some excess hay that will cause blockages for the wire, but this is easily removed with a garden hoe. Maintain the feeders and waterer by wiping them with a soap and water solution, as well, wipe down the hutch and feeding utensils with white vinegar, which helps sanitize naturally and deters pests.
Rabbits have very sensitive ears and often the source of ear mite infestation is from hay. You’ll visibly notice an infestation of ear mites when the rabbits ears appear completely scabbed over. Preventative maintenance is the single best solution. Refrain from picking the scabs as this condition results from a tiny bug that frequently lives in hay that then moves into the ear canal causing excessive wax build-up and scabs. Though it looks painful, usually it just itches badly. See this article for a natural treatment of coccidiosis . Some use medicated ear drops twice a day for 10 days. The oil smothers the ear mites, relieving your rabbits of much misery.
Whether you have to perform this task or not will depend on your hutch setup and the activity level of your rabbits. A piece of wood in their hutch helps grind down their nails. Pay attention to their toenails. If they are getting long it is important to trim them. Not only for your safety but also for the rabbit’s health. This article and this wikihow elaborate more on the process:
It is important that your rabbits have a place to rest their feet. Constantly standing on a wire screen can cause sores on their feet. Not only is this uncomfortable, but cruel. Animals raised for meat need and deserve a healthy life. Not only does it provide better nutrition but it is the right thing to do. In order to prevent a rabbit from getting sores on its feet, place a piece of wood for them to rest their paws on. This is also good for chewing because a rabbit’s teeth can grow so long that they’ll grow through its head.
When placed in a hutch they take up a lot of room and minimize the living area, but when a rabbit is about to give birth and you have a nesting box in the hutch it is important to make sure it has fresh hay and that any soiled hay is quickly removed. If you notice soiled hay before your normal change out day, remove the hay immediately. Always opt for cleanliness to prevent future health problems.
If you have a short-haired breed of rabbit, it is a good idea to brush them at least once a week. When they are shedding—they usually shed about every three months—more frequent brushing is recommended. During the heavy part of their shed, daily brushing is ideal and you will notice a huge difference in the amount of hair you brush out if you can do this. Keep in mind that rabbit skin is quite fragile, so be gentle and use a brush designed for rabbits if possible (bristle brushes are preferable as metal toothed slicker brushes may hurt their skin). A fine-toothed comb can also be used. Following up with a rubber grooming tool can help clean up the loose hair too, or try running a damp (not wet) washcloth over the coat after brushing to catch any remaining loose hairs.
If you have an angora rabbit, grooming must be a daily ritual. Unless you are showing your long-haired rabbit, it is easiest to keep the coat trimmed to a length of about one inch or else the coat will be very prone to matting (but always be careful about trimming the hair over a rabbit’s hocks or sores may result due to the lack of padding). Your rabbit is also very prone to developing hairballs that can cause a blockage in their stomach ( wool block“) if they ingest these long hairs. You can trim your rabbit’s hair yourself or get a groomer to do the first cut and then do the maintenance trims at home. You must be very careful about trimming hair though since rabbit skin is very thin and easy to accidentally cut. As with all rabbits, daily brushing should become part of the routine from a young age (it is also a good opportunity to bond with your rabbit).
Rabbits are often preyed upon by other animals and one must consider everything from birds of prey to dogs. Be certain their hutches are in a safe location. Placing them inside an out building or even inside a fenced area is a great way to offer them added protection.
You’ll also want to make sure that your hutches are raised above the ground so they aren’t easily accessible for creatures that can harm them.
Beyond needing to protect these creatures from other animals, you’ll also need to protect them from the elements. Make sure their hutch stays dry and during the winter, be sure they have a windbreak. Also, be certain they are in the shade during the summer. Rabbits struggle worse with heat than they do cold.
As with any other animals, provide some exercise time for your rabbits. If they are living in a large pen they will generally have plenty of mobility, but there are other problems associated with this living arrangement (burrowing into the ground and surfacing outside their pen and often destroying the wood from which the pens are constructed) therefore, rabbits often reside in a hutch. If you are raising the rabbits for meat you don’t want overweight rabbits, so allow for a conducive exercise setting, this can be accomplished in a couple of ways. You can set up a puppy play pen where they would be completely safe from predators and let them have some play time or you could put them in a rabbit tractor and let them run and hop while they eat on warmer days. However, keep predators in mind when releasing them in a rabbit tractor. Dogs can easily knock one over and then you’ll lose your rabbits.
Giving them time outside the hutch is important for their overall health and many rabbits prefer hutches because it gives them a sense of security, so keep their security in mind. You don’t want to traumatize them by giving them time to stretch their legs for fear of predators.
In nature, rabbits are an integral part of ecosystems throughout the world. From the vast Sonoran desert of North America to the Arctic tundra of Greenland, they have adapted to nearly every climate that the Earth has to offer. Closely related to rodents, they exhibit physical features and behaviors that are truly unique among the animal kingdom. As strict herbivores, they feed primarily on grasses and other succulents. If highly nutritious foods are unavailable, rabbits will re-ingest one form of their excrement, known as “cecal.” As distasteful as this may sound, it is a critical aspect of their survival. The mere thought of this type of behavior is rather unsettling to most people, but some animals, such as rabbits, actually eat their own feces for a very good reason. Coprophagia is a normal, healthy behavior in rabbits, but in other animals, such as dogs, it is usually discouraged due to the lack of health benefits and level of disgust by the owners. See this link for reasons why it is beneficial behavior for rabbits.
Whereas vision is our primary sense of perception, acute hearing is most vital to a rabbit’s survival. Twisting and tilting their elongated ears, they can easily detect potential predators in the distance. But exceptional hearing is only one of their many tools for survival. Their eyes are widely spaced, allowing for a nearly 360° field of view, while their long and narrow hind legs give them the ability to run at speeds up to 35 mph! If danger is detected, they firmly thump their hind legs on the ground to warn their family in the tunnels below.
In industrial animal factories, rabbits have an extremely unnatural existence. Rather than exploring meadows and grasslands like their wild relatives, these rabbits are restricted to small cages that barely allow enough room for a single hop. For an animal who is built for speed and agility, this confinement is indisputably cruel and unnecessary. Their lives are essentially reduced to converting cheap hay into highly profitable “meat” and fur. Like all industrially farmed animals, their instincts and general well-being are thoroughly compromised.
At One Community, we will focus on raising rabbits for meat, approaching it from a holistic and humane viewpoint and providing them with a comfortable environment by exposing them to as natural an environment as possible throughout their lifecycle, including humane harvesting.
If you’re looking for an animal that can make a big contribution to your homestead, you should consider rabbits as a meat source. Integrated into our permaculture methods, rabbit manure is extremely nutrient-dense and serves as an effective garden fertilizer. It’s packed with nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, minerals, and a whole host of micronutrients. According to the Michigan State University Extension, it has four times as many nutrients as cow or horse manure and twice as many as chicken manure. Even better, unlike that from omnivores and carnivores, manure from herbivorous rabbits is “cool,” as opposed to “hot.” This means rabbit droppings innately have the ideal carbon-to-nitrogen ratio (about 25:1) and therefore do not need to be composted with leaves or other carbonaceous material before used on plants. Hot manures, on the other hand, have too much nitrogen for each part carbon and, as a result, will burn plants if not properly amended and composted beforehand. Since rabbit manure is organic matter, it works to build soil structure resulting in better drainage and moisture retention, both of which are becoming more and more important considering our increasingly unpredictable climate. For these reasons, worms especially love rabbit manure, and many rabbitries double as wormeries. One doe and her offspring can produce an entire ton of manure in a single year—and beyond adding nutrients for your own farm, this could be marketed and sold as a value-added product.
Another easy manure utilization method during the spring and fall if you have wire bottom cages is to place the cages directly on your garden space and move them along every day, an automatic soil amendment process.
Rabbits are more efficient at converting pounds of feed to pounds of meat than many larger animals. On average, rabbits will produce one pound of meat for every four pounds of feed consumed. Compare this to cows, which need seven pounds of feed to produce one pound of meat.
The feed efficiency of rabbits means you will get the most bang for your buck when it comes to turning purchased feed into meat. These numbers are based on a pellet-based diet and the amount of feed needed to produce one pound of meat will be higher if you raise your rabbits on a pasture-only diet.
From birth to butcher, rabbits fed on a diet of pasture and pellets can be ready to eat in between eight and eleven weeks. That’s about the same amount of time as your commercial broiler chicken breeds. And, because the gestation period for rabbits is only thirty days, you can have a steady stream of rabbits available just by staggering your breeding dates by one month.
Using an average litter size of six, a single breeding pair of rabbits (doe and buck) can produce up to 72 baby rabbits (kits) a year. That’s over 200 lbs of meat a year!
If one of your criteria for raising animals is to cut costs, rabbits can be a great option. If you choose to raise your rabbits completely on pasture, their feed is free during the summer! They do very well eating nothing but grass and vegetable scraps.
Raising them this way will result in a slower growth time, however. Up to 23 weeks in some cases. But, when you weigh the extra time against the cost savings of not having to buy pellets during the summer, rabbits can be a very appealing option to the cost-conscious.
Rabbits are most often harvested on site; however, a certain percentage are transported to the same slaughterhouses where chickens and turkeys are processed. Like chickens and turkeys, they are not protected by the Humane Methods of Slaughter Act, a federal law that says animals must be rendered insensible to pain before being killed. The two most common forms of slaughter for rabbits are cervical dislocation (neck-breaking) or striking the head with a blunt object.
Raising and harvesting rabbits ethically is essential. This will be handled exclusively by the people choosing to eat rabbits so that respect is paid to the preferences of non-participation for vegans and vegetarians. The raising and harvesting of the animals will also be handled with respect and gratitude. For the harvesting of rabbits there is something called a “rabbit wringer” that performs this in an instantaneous way that does not stress the animal. For reference, here is a video of how this works including complete dressing of a rabbit.
Once on the property, One Community will be open source project-launch blueprinting the complete process of taking care of rabbits from purchasing to harvesting and every detail in-between. We will be doing this so that people with zero prior knowledge will be able to raise rabbits and integrate them into their own individual lives or as part of the One Community complete open source self-sufficient teacher/demonstration community, village, or city model. The resources we will be providing include:
Our team will raise rabbits meat, utilize their manure as fertilizer, and engage them in waste management processing part of our human food waste. We approach this process with respect, gratitude, and love for these creatures and will further expand this page with our open source collaborative efforts and experience once on the property.
Q: Have you considered alternative proteins sources like crickets?
Yes, we have considered (and eaten) cricket products. We have found here that crickets are about 58 to 65 percent protein per bug. It’s packed with vitamins and minerals.
They contain comparable amounts of the energy-boosting vitamin B-12, at 24 micrograms per 100 grams. This is around 10 times Trusted Source as much as salmon. Cricket flour also contains the essential mineral iron, at 6 to 11 milligrams per 100 grams — more than twice Trusted Source the amount as spinach. Initial cellular research also suggests Trusted Source that our bodies absorb minerals, such as iron, more easily when delivered via crickets, as opposed to beef.
Main issue with crickets is that most people (especially in the US) don’t want to actually eat them, turning them into food is a different kind of challenge, and they aren’t yet a replacement for meat meals that most people are comfortable with. Could still be something worth considering at a later time though.
Q: How is your raising of rabbits in the Highest Good of rabbits?
We feel that humanity’s dietary needs and desires will stay diverse for the foreseeable future. Because of this, we see that demonstrating a process of reconnecting people to their food, the process of raising and caring for animals, and sharing and spreading ethical and humane animal husbandry that treats the animals and the entire process with respect, love, and gratitude is beneficial to animals being raised for food around the world.
Q: I’m vegan/vegetarian, will I have to participate in harvesting or eating animals? Will animal parts be cooked with my food?
No, you will not have to participate in any part of animal husbandry that you don’t want to if you are not using animal products. Additionally, all vegetarian food will be prepared separately from animal foods.
Q: Who will be processing the animals into food and other byproducts?
Omnivore team members will be responsible for handling this. We believe that part of ethical animal husbandry starts with education and awareness, and that it is in the Highest Good of all life on the planet for humans to be educated and aware of the process the animals go through to become food and other byproducts. Our values model is also one that includes the aspect of not asking someone else to do for you what you yourself are not willing to do. With all that in mind, we have elected to have ALL members that will be consuming animal products participate in the entire process of the animals’ lives, from birth to table. Yes, that means that if you plan on eating meat at One Community, you would be expected to assist in processing that type of animal from beginning to end, including ending an animal’s life, at least one time. (For children, the parents will help determine the age and level of participation of processing.)
Q: What if I do not ever want to participate in processing animals or animal products?
Only those who have elected to participate in eating or using a specific animal product will be asked to participate in processing of that animal or its byproducts. Vegan community members will not be asked to partake in any part of the animal life cycles. This also means that if no one wants to process a particular animal (or any animals), we will then agree on a different sustainable source of food for our community.
Q: Will you be using hormones and/or antibiotics for any of the animals?
No, as a practice and a policy we will not put anything on or in our food (plants or animals) that we would not want to eat.
Q: What if I really want to be a part of One Community but I don’t agree with raising animals for food?
We hope the larger global vision and benefits of One Community outweigh the food choices of some individuals and we believe that being a vegan or vegetarian at One Community will be an opportunity to educate and demonstrate to pioneers and our visitors how to eat a plant-based diet properly and sustainably. We hope this will lead to plant-based dietary choices growing worldwide and we also respect the choices of those who prefer to remain omnivores.
If our model does not suit you, you may want to instead consider joining us as a Satellite Member (click here for the Invitation Form), consultant or volunteer (click here for the Consultant’s/Volunteer’s Page), and/or just follow our progress. We expect other communities will follow with different views on these issues and we will happily be promoting the success of those that are part of the open source and free-sharing network of teacher/demonstration communities, villages, and cities that we are helping to create. Here are the best ways to follow our progress:
Also, the objective of One Community is to build living blueprints open source so everyone can then use them for duplication in whatever diverse way suits their needs and desires. If you feel like you’d like to see a different version of One Community, we invite you to embrace the task of working with us and using everything we’ve already created to form another iteration of this idea, with a new set of rules/policies/guidelines. That way you can attract the people who share your values and thus like your rule sets, which provide another for The Highest Good of All option with a potentially very different approach.
Q: Is this guide complete?
No, we won’t consider this guide a complete and usable tutorial until we finish our own construction of this component, confirm all the details, and add to this page all the related videos, experience, and other updates from that build. In the meantime, we’re always happy to have the help of any qualified and experienced individuals with input that may make it better. If you are specially interested about this topic and would like to colaborate with us please click the button bellow. Any further question related to this article you can contact us here, we will answer it and add it to this section.