What are meat rabbits

Profitable self-sufficient rabbit breeding, meat rabbits

Anyone who wants to buy rabbits mainly for self-sufficiency with meat should know that in this case only the so-called "young rabbit fattening" is profitable. Other possibilities are the breeding of pedigree rabbits or rabbits for the production of wool and fur.

I write this so clearly because the rabbits for the meat supply after weaning as young animals (after 3 months) only about 4 months left should be fed. After about 10 weeks, the young animals ready for slaughter have a weight of about 2 kg (butchered 1 kg) and the ratio of feeding and meat is optimal. With animals fed much longer, the increase is less and the taste of the meat decreases. The slaughtered weight of 1 kg (with 2 kg live weight) results in a rabbit roast for a medium-sized family. So you get the rabbit to the pounder in January, then have the litter in February, 3 months later young animals that are fed until October / November. Then there is slaughter. This is the best way to use fresh food from the growing season.

How much meat does rabbit breeding bring with how much feed?

The following overview with the breed 'White New Zealanders' shows how efficient rabbit breeding is:

Age in weeksWeight gain in gramsWeight gain in grams per day / animal (approx.)
Birth to 345,5 – 363,215,1
3 to 8363,2 – 1.816,041,5
8 to 141.816,0 – 3.268,833,2
14 to 203.268,8 – 4.048,016,5

These exemplary weights can only be achieved with optimal feeding and good housing conditions. One can see from the above values ​​that meat production is effective from the 10th to the 14th week of life. In addition, feeding becomes uneconomical and, beyond the age of 100 days, the amount of fat also becomes too high, which reduces the quality of the meat. Up to the 14th week a young animal of medium weight should weigh about 3 kg.

Another advantage of the early slaughter is that the rabbit pens are optimally used and the pummers do not need to be castrated.

Feed requirements

I'm starting small for now. Two rabbits (here 3 months old) are initially sufficient. There is hardly any clear information on the amount of food required during fattening because very different types of food are used in the self-sufficient area. For pure maintenance feeding, for example over the winter, about 100 g of roughage (hay, oat straw) and about 250 g of so-called winter juice feed (carrots, beets) are required per animal and day. In addition to this maintenance feed, there are also various household waste (apple, potato peel, leftover bread ...), which can be estimated at around 50 g.

Of course, the time when grass and vegetable waste is available in the garden is used for fattening. This is roughly from mid-April to mid / late October. That's about 30 weeks. The young rabbits need protein-rich and mineral-rich feed and lime. Clover, for example, is very rich in minerals, but there are also mineral mixes as feed additives.

The rabbit meat

Rabbit meat is characterized by a high protein content and a low fat content. This applies above all to the meat of the young rabbits described above. It is also low in purines and therefore valuable for people prone to rheumatism and gout.

Other advantages of breeding rabbits

For self-sufficient people who tend to have a garden in addition to keeping small animals, rabbit keeping is ideal for self-sufficiency with natural manure, i.e. rabbit manure, which is plentiful. Nutrient-rich fertilizer is the basis for profitable vegetable growing. On the other hand, there is a lot of vegetable waste in a vegetable garden (for example when growing different types of cabbage), which practically dictates parallel keeping of small animals.

If you keep some animals back for winter slaughter, this is a possibility of fresh food supply in winter, without which our ancestors would certainly not have survived in the past. In general, animal husbandry was an addition to vegetable nutrition in the old days and to the extent that the animals used meadow areas, household waste and, to a supplementary extent, forage crops in the sense of using agricultural areas that were not used for plant production (grain, vegetables) in an "ecological balance" were profitable.

My current video notes on the topic

The tip for beginners: start small and with little :-)