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Getting started with meat rabbits — The Grow Network Community
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Getting started with meat rabbits

OwlOwl Posts: 186 ✭✭✭
edited November 2020 in Rabbits

I have raised them before but it’s been a while. I have read that you can use their litter straight onto the garden without burning them, I’m hoping someone can confirm that for me. We plan to build pens with slanted sheet metal underneath that dump straight into a bucket to minimize the labor. I can empty a bucket lots easier than working a shovel. I would love any advice or insights. The plan is to summer them in a shady place and then winter them in the greenhouse. I would love to know if anyone else has done this and could tell me if they will be productive right through the winter while being inside? I’m growing comfrey for them but need advice on other fast growing greens I can use for fodder to reduce dependence on kibble (or whatever you call store bought food) and keep them organic fed. Thanks in advance!


  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    My husband and I are getting back to raising meat rabbits now as well after a hiatus :) As for using their manure directly, I believe that is a yes - I have not done it myself but everything I have read says that this is one of the only manures that you can use this way. As for being productive through the winter ( I assume you are still talking about the rabbits?), yes you can breed them anytime through the year. Depending on how harsh your winters are and the conditions of the greenhouse, you may need to provide a bit more protection for the kits, but breeding is not a problem. We are also trying a fodder system for the first time (our first tray is actually growing right now, getting ready to feed Sunday for the first time!). We have used a mixture of wheat, eincorn, and sunflower seeds. We are also using this to feed our few chickens as well, so we will see how it goes and make adjustments as necessary... We will continue to offer the pellets, but we also supplement feed with dandelion, radish greens, kale, clover, and lettuces - the kids and I actually planted a "rabbit garden" with these just for the buns :) One thing to keep in mind is that you must introduce the foods gradually to the rabbits one at a time so that their systems have a chance to adjust - I assume you already know this since you feed comfrey, but I figured I'd throw that in just in case :) I do not claim to be an expert by any stretch of the imagination (!), but this is what we have decided to go with as we start on this venture as well :) Best of luck with yours!

  • toreytorey Posts: 2,326 admin

    @Lexie Have you checked out the TGN course Raising Backyard Meat Rabbits?

  • OwlOwl Posts: 186 ✭✭✭

    I knew I was forgetting something! Yes, I did check it out and am working through it. Thanks!

  • OwlOwl Posts: 186 ✭✭✭

    Chimboodle, thanks so much for your experience! Many years ago, when I raised rabbits before, I had never even heard of “organic“ or “sustainable” so everything will be new to me. Do you ferment your rabbit’s feed? I have been watching Justin Rhodes and he experimented with using fermented feed and found it was half the price to bother with fermenting. I’m new to that too so it’s too soon to tell for me.

  • chimboodle04chimboodle04 Posts: 286 ✭✭✭

    @Lexie I know! I had rabbits up until my early twenties and never gave a thought to any food other than regular pellets...! I do not ferment their feed. I was actually just pricing out the difference in sprouting today now that we have started the fodder system. For what I usually feed, the regular organic rabbit pellets are around .98 a pound. Depending on how much mass the fodder gains in the next two days before I feed, it will be between .50-.62 a pound. I'm pretty happy with that, and I know I can make it even more cost effective since the einkorn I added was rather pricey (chalk that one up to newby inexperience 😁). I am familiar with Justin, but I have not seen that particular video - I will have to check it out :)

  • AnAn Posts: 42 ✭✭

    Does anyone have a good reference for diagnosing problems found when butchering the rabbit? I try to check the organs and such for signs of disease, but don't always know if what I see is a problem. For example, one set of lungs were very pale, almost white, and another set was splotchy. The rest from todays batch were nice and pretty pink.

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