DIY Rabbit Hutch – Rabbit The Other White Meat

New Zealand
Warm weather is upon us. It’s time to build that Rabbit Hutch that you have been thinking about all winter.

I had no idea how many worthless websites advertise ‘Free’ rabbit hutch and cage plans I would find on a google search. A full 95% are totally useless or bait and switch sites in an attempt to sell you something you can easily build for 1/4 their list price not to mention the cost of shipping.

Below is a list of good sites that I hope you will find useful.

Raising Rabbits DebMark Rabbit Education Resource

PennState Agricultural and Biological Engineering Rabbit Hutch Plans

HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN LARGE & INEXPENSIVE BUNNY PEN: Build a Rabbit pen

Louisiana State University Rabbit Hutch Plans

Mississippi State Homemade Rabbit Cages

University of Tennessee Rabbit hutch plans

Georgia State University Rabbit hutch plans

Woodworkers Workshop Rabbit cage and nest box plans

Bass Equipment Supplier of rabbit cages, feeders and waterer’s Bass Equipment

New Zealand / California cross

New Zealand / California cross

Rabbits your secret survival tool in these uncertain economic times. Low wages, fewer hours on the job, higher food cost, rent and utilities increasing almost every month. How will you survive? The answer is a simple one, add rabbits to your backyard gardening plans.
One healthy breeding doe can produce 18 to 24 rabbits a year weighing 4 to 4 1/2 pounds at butcher time. That’s a nice 75 to 95 pounds of safe healthy fresh meat for you and your family costing you very little to produce.

Rabbits come in all sizes and colors ranging in size from the small dwarf breeds to the giant breeds. Most common breed for meat are the medium size breeds like the New Zealand and California rabbits. They are good breeders, grow fast and produce good size litters. They have a good feed to meat conversion ratio and produce an excellent table meat. They are easy to raise and to handle. By the way, rabbits are much easier to process for table meat than chickens.

Never buy rabbits from pet shops. You can not know where the rabbits came from or if the breeder raises his rabbits from quality, healthy breeding stock. Improperly cared for rabbits can be poor breeders and generally unhealthy. They may be infested with insect pest like ear mites and inbreed causing them to be prone to disease and deformities.
Choose a local breeder, go to his farm, inspect his facilities, condition of his breeding stock. How well he cares for them, are the hutches clean, are the rabbits clean and well watered and feed? Any breeder unwilling to show you his facilities is not to be trusted and should be avoided .

The start up costs for raising meat rabbits is relatively low. This is one of the reasons raising this type of meat is a popular one, for both the urban small farmer and the country farmer. As with any type of small farm project or business, it is important to know what the projected costs are before beginning. Having the proper equipment is one of the first steps towards success.

Basic equipment you will need for raising rabbits. Costs are approximate and can vary greatly from state to state. Start up cost can be very cheap if you do your home work and construct your own Hutch and nest box. Water / feeders can be as simple as a old tuna cans wired to the side of the hutch or you can buy commercial quality equipment. Once again I caution you, do not buy cages water bottles and the like from pet shops. They charge 3 or 4 times as much as the same item can be purchased from rabbit producers and rabbit equipment suppliers.

Remember your initial investment in ‘Quality’ accessories will give you many years of service with minimum maintenance.

* Nesting Box (large) – $10.00
* Rabbit Hutch (large) – $24.00 -$100.00 (factory made-store bought)
* Water Bottle – $4.00
* Bottle Brush – $3.00
* Rabbits (each) – $10.00 -$30.00

Additional costs will include feed, antibiotics, supplements if needed and additional cages to separate does from bucks. Basically, the more high-tech you get with your cages, the more expensive your operation will be. You may also want to contact your local USDA Cooperative Extension Agent for more information. Your paying for their service with taxes you pay, So do use them. They have a huge amount of useful information available and it’s FREE.

** Production coefficients and prices for North Dakota rabbit producers
Mature does in flock ————- 8
Does per buck——————— 8
Litters per doe per year———- 6 – 8
Marketable fryers per litter—— 6
Fryer market weight (lbs)——— 4.5
Fryer market age (weeks ———- 8
Mature doe value —————– $15 – $20
Mature buck value —————- $15 – $20
———— Feed requirements ———————
Buck and Doe(ounces/day)————5.3

Bass Equipment Company Has a very large line of rabbit equipment available including feeders, water systems and cages of all types and sizes. Their out of hutch feeders are well constructed, work well and are not over priced.

Last but not least. Don’t forget that a few rabbits will provide you with manure for your compost pile and a very good organic garden fertilizer.

Not from the USA Please leave me comment about your home town and country.

Why is common sense so uncommon?
Don’t be shy. Leave me your comment(s)

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9 responses to “DIY Rabbit Hutch – Rabbit The Other White Meat

  1. But how do you avoid loving the fluffy little fellas?

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    • Re: sarahsmeth
      Thanks for taking time to visit my humble little blog.

      1. Never give your food a name.
      2. Don’t handle (play with) your food.
      3. Remind yourself how much it is costing to feed 8 extra mouths.
      4. Remind yourself how much 4 or 5 pounds of fresh healthy lean meat cost at my local market.
      5. Rabbits grow fast, they reach processing weight in 8 or 9 weeks, you don’t have a lot of time to become attached to them.
      6. One fryer will give me fresh meat for 3 meals.
      7. I try to remember, that just like a vegetable or fresh egg from my hens, I know how they have been treated, what they have been fed and what if any medication they have received.
      I try to remember that 8 fryer rabbits are food to feed me for 2 months.

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  2. TOKG, I am re-blogging this as it is a REALLY good source of info – including your comments!!! This is also perfect for the urban farmer who is looking for a small livestock animal that isn’t off the beaten path (I’m looking at you cuy).

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  3. Reblogged this on agropedia and commented:
    Perfect for the Urban Farmer as well…

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  4. It’s me from the green tomatoe fiasco last year!! I liked this blog but must tell you, when we were kids my Dad was going to raise rabbits to sell to the local meat market. It is hard to keep nine children from falling in love with their special rabbit. The first time my Dad took them out and butchered six of them, Mom cooked them and pull them on the table ‘Just like chicken’ all we kids could see was Calico, Buttons, etc. The hundreds of dollars my Dad spent in setup was sold to one of his friends, rabbits and all for twenty dollars the next week. Not because of us kids BUT because my Dad had gotten deathly sick at all the blood, shutting his eyes when he killed the six. I always wondered why my Mom had to ring the chicken’s necks in our family. After that I knew.

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  5. Re: jsnapp62
    Grinning, And that boy’s and girls is why you never allow anyone to Name your ‘food’!
    Happy Gardening

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  6. I would like to take the chance of saying thanks to you for the professional direction I have usually enjoyed viewing your site. I am looking forward to the commencement of my school research and the complete groundwork would never have been complete without coming to your blog. If I could be of any help to others, I’d personally be happy to help as a result of what I have discovered from here.

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  7. In The Edible Suburb, we call rabbits ‘our secret weapon’. They provide the best fertilizer anywhere, great meat, fur if necessary, and are really quiet. Our goats, pigs, and other assorted fauna could learn a few things from them, that’s for sure. Thanks for the post.

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