How to Raise Backyard Rabbits

Rabbits are a great multi-purpose addition (or beginning) to any 21st century homestead.
Aubrey Vaughn
August/September 2007
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Dutch (top) and Netherland dwarf (bottom) rabbits make cute, quiet and inexpensive pets for kids and adults.

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Don't let their small size and cute reputation fool you, rabbits are a great multi-purpose addition (or beginning) to any 21st century homestead. From pets and 4-H projects to terrific sources of wool, meat and manure ? backyard rabbits make a fun, easy project that fulfills a variety of needs. With minimal time, space and financial requirements, raising rabbits is a great introduction to homesteading, or, for the more established, a simple way to make a little extra money.

As with most animals, different rabbit breeds are naturally suited to different purposes. Mini rex is the standard for pet rabbits, followed by Dutch, Mini-Lop and Netherland Dwarf. Famous for their luxurious fur, Angoras are an excellent breed for wool while Californian, New Zealand and Giant Chinchilla are bred for their tasty, high-quality meat. Regardless of their purpose, rabbits in general produce potent, relatively weed-seed-free manure. The average rabbit will generate 1 pound of manure per week, or about 50 pounds each year! Less likely than some other manures to burn your plants, it makes great fertilizer and is a good choice for plants that need heavy feeding, such as roses and azaleas.

Rabbits have basic needs ? shelter, food and water, and a cozy place to nest. If you're adopting a couple of pet rabbits, the most economical approach is to purchase a hutch, since you'll need just one habitat. Building two or more, however, generally costs less than purchasing multiple pre-made models, and building is as quiet and simple as the critters you're building for. Basic carpentry skills are sufficient for constructing the feeder, nesting box, watering device and wire hutch (wire is light and durable, and the rabbits will soil and gnaw on a wood hutch). With a few materials and regular household tools you'll be well on your way to a successful rabbit enterprise!

You can learn more about building a wire rabbit hutch in this e-handbook from Mother Earth News. It offers detailed hutch-building instructions, plus tips for creating the best living space for your rabbits and a great guide to additional sources.

Do you raise rabbits for food, meat, manure or even just for fun? Share your tips and stories by posting a comment below.

Post a comment below.


9/5/2013 2:20:32 PM
this really kills me, For one,,, this is like religion,,,, If you dont agree with that religion, dont try to convert others to your religion because evidently, thats why they have their own belief anyhow.... same goes for eating meat, or eating greens all the time,,, Ive tried some vegetarian food, some of it isnt bad,,,, but, meat just tastes better to me and others,,, So, in conclusion, Im raising my own rabbits, and hope to start a nice large rabbitry one day... There has been talk about letting people raise horses for meat.... and really, I stand by it,,, and if they do, I will.... If it SUSTAINS my family from having to eat this other crap sold in stores,,, so be it,, MY CHOICE, NOT YOURS... or other animals,, food is food when your hungry even for vegetarians. its wrong to force your beliefs onto someone else,, whether it be vegetarian, religion, or whatever the case may be,,, FREEDOM OF FOOD..... This situation plays in all ways of life,,, so,,, if you want your veggie's, dont put down farmers... If you wanted too, raise the ingredients to make your own tofu... if thats even possible... but, no one should put you down for it either,,, and i would respect you for wanting to do so,,, I appologize to everyone else in this post.. but thanks for the good article... it will come in handy,,,, FREEDOM OF FOOD !!!!!!!!

7/11/2013 10:42:17 AM

Could someone please help?? We have 1 each male and female rabbits. The doe has given birth twice now and all of the babies died during the first day both times. We separated them when she started pulling out her hair. Not sure what happened. The first time she did not seem to be taking care of them; the 2nd we were not home so not sure although 2 were still in the nest and 2 were other places.

7/6/2013 11:38:35 AM

     Im really suprised that peolpe think that eating rabbits is cruel! lol! Peolpe eat cows all the time, but oh yea, thats some how different... Any ways, I got two pregnat does from a friend of mine for about $40.00. One had 8 babies on June 21 2013, and they were due July 4th 2013. At first I was worried, but they are all now 2 weeks old, and big and healthy, except one that got squised by the mom. So right now, I have 1 pregnat doe, one mother, and 7 plup babies! I have been feeding the nursing doe and pregnat doe all the food they can eat. So for sure, the mother wont eat the babies. And now, the bunnies are almost ready to eat there own food, and i will start to ration the mother 6 ounces of food per day. 

5/5/2013 9:42:40 PM

Vegetarian is an old indian word.[translation lowsie hunter] Every thing on this earth will kill and eat anything that it can kill and eat. I have been hunting and eating animals all of my life includeing rabbits. I raise and eat chickens,ducks, rabbits, cows,pigs,and catfish. I even raise[and kill and eat]a large garden. People have been doing this as long as people have been on this earth. Now people like Howe try to say it is somehow wrong! i am sure that raiseing and eating my own food is a lot greener then People like Howe buying their food from some store. Get a life! 

4/18/2013 8:25:04 PM

4/18/2013 8:25:03 PM

4/18/2013 8:25:03 PM

Ona Rhea
2/5/2013 5:54:29 PM
On another note......any suggestions on the most (kid) friendly rabbits out there? Also, what in your opinion is the best hutch? (Design, brand, ect) :)

Ona Rhea
2/5/2013 5:52:17 PM
I'm trying to figure out why so many people are FREAKING out over some people not liking the idea of eating rabbit. :P I have seen only a few posts about people not liking eating rabbits but a TON of people complaining about those few people not agreeing to eat rabbits!!! LOL! Move on. FYI I am a tree hugger AND I'm not against eating rabbits! I seen a person make a comment about those "tree hugging, anti gun blah blah blah.... Everyone needs to STOP putting people in "categories"! Gah! One brain celled one way only minded simpleton is what it makes you look like. Eating meat, not eating meat, as long as we have RESPECT (I know this is a foreign concept to a few of us now) for the earth, the creatures we live off of and each other we should all be fine.

Aubrey Guttery
1/27/2013 9:44:48 PM
I need a himalayan buck to breed with my doe. I need a suggestion.

john lievsay
7/10/2012 4:57:22 PM
Thank you MEN for your informative article and your continued wisdom for our rapidly deteriorating nation. As always keep up the good work and again, Thank you!!!

aslan Roars
6/17/2012 6:17:08 AM
This is so strange! A blog called Mother Earth that, well essentially, kills her children. Wow!!! I thought Mother Earth People were full of love and compassion for the earth and her animals... I must say, very, very bizarre!

Mahmoud Kased
4/24/2012 5:32:20 AM
Lmfoa dude same thing I was wondering when I read it

Zoe Stevens
4/22/2012 12:44:23 AM
Dafuq did I just read...

4/12/2012 9:03:27 PM
We have raised rabbits in cages and love to let them out and play in a safe/fenced area. This year, we got part of our backyard fenced and let them run free. I had to move plants and edible plants that I was growing back there, but the rabbits are cheap entertainment. Our big one, Jack Black, comes most of the time when we call him; we give him carrots, lettuce, oatmeal (raw), which he will eat out of our hands. We got them (2 males) to be pets and the fertilizer I use in the garden. When they were first in the cage, I collected their manure and made it into compost tea, great for all garden plants!!! Now I am trying to figure out how to collect the manure, when they run free! We would not eat rabbits, but we have had a few mean females that we gave away to others.

3/7/2012 2:49:24 AM
It is amazing to me that when Noah came off the ark and scarificed animals that God himself enjoyed the sweet savour. Yet some of you do not want to eat meat, well that is your choice in the matter. Come to think of it Hitler was a vegatarin and did not like the Jews. Come to thins of it the same person that started planned parenthood read the same book as hitler did and now people beleive that they will get by for killing inocent children while they are in the womb. But the angle of God told Hagar when she ran away from Sarai that she was with a child and that it would be a boy. So for you that think abortion is alright then go to So for you out there that do not like to eat rabbits that is your choice. Mother earth news is not telling you to raise or even eat rabbits, there is big problems in this world that are going to get even bigger. They are just being informative on a single subject and you get a picture of bugs bunnie in your heads and go on a rampage against them. If you want to trust in the american government or the federal reserve that is not even apart of the american government then that is your choice. So take care and God Bless ! Edward

rabbit feeder
7/15/2011 1:13:57 PM
Hi, I need help. Saw a rabbit in my backyard and don't know what I should do. I have been putting a carrot in the backyard to feed it but don't know if that's a good idea or not. I'm not a pet person but I don't want the cute little bunny dying or getting run over to run across the street for food. It's been eating the carrots and I tried to give it some salad but that's still there. What can I do? What else should I feed it, or should I not feed it? I also think it has a mate because I saw two of them the other day. I think they made a nest in back of the garage, should I worry?

4/17/2011 9:17:09 AM
I find this quite interesting that we as humans can't have sides on the issues like this without one side being more superior than others. The people saying that being green means being one with nature are half right. The part that they are getting wrong is that doesn't mean that you must not eat meat in order to achieve that. The bottom line is that if you don't like and agree with the particular topic at hand, don't read it. I love how people drool at the mouth waiting for the chance to inform somebody how their views and opinions are wrong. MEN isn't trying to eforce anything here. They are just saying that there are homesteads that do this and giving the benefits. Grow up people, if you don't eat meat fine. If you do eat meat fine.

11/18/2009 2:44:08 AM
Subia 5/18/2009 5:49:25 PM Subia, Subia, Subia . . . . Stan Dvoskin! I was enjoying reading the comments/discussion on what's turned into a meat or no meat topic until I came across your comment: "Radicals (be it vegans, Muslims, anti-abortionists, anti-gun groups, and many others” Correction: Muslims are not radicals. If you mean extremists of any religion then say extremist NOT Muslim And now the COMPLETE quote "Radicals (be it vegans, Muslims, anti-abortionists, anti-gun groups, and many others (and again, I'm only talking about the radicals in these groups) . . . AGAIN the part you MISSED???? "(and again, I'm only talking about the radicals in these groups)" -----you know what was meant. Nothing wrong with calling a radical Muslim a radical Muslim. Grow some thicker skin and read the whole comment for the spirit in which it was written. I can't stand when folks scream blue hell if someone posts their thoughts only to have someone else pull a couple of words out of context or point out grammar or punctuation errors, using that to call the author uneducated or racist or whatever else. . . For your clarification, you (or I) would be hard pressed to take ANY type of organization in the world and not find a radical in it somewhere. THAT is the point that was being made.

5/18/2009 5:49:25 PM
Stan Dvoskin! I was enjoying reading the comments/discussion on what's turned into a meat or no meat topic until I came across your comment: "Radicals (be it vegans, Muslims, anti-abortionists, anti-gun groups, and many others” Correction: Muslims are not radicals. If you mean extremists of any religion then say extremist NOT Muslim. You seemed to be impressed by Dean Chapman’s comment but he also said: “Intolerance, ignorance, and lack of respect for all things is why we live in the chaos of the world today. Think before you say anything.” Good advice for you Stan Dvoskin…don’t you think?

1/22/2009 8:46:50 AM
cont. Many also use the heat from the compost to heat water and homes/greenhouses making them very eco friendly, and yes some of us even capture and use the methane to keep it from causing damage. We all have the right to eat and think what we want, but do not believe that just because you eat only vegetables that you are not killing animals and humans to do so.Support your local organic farmers, they are the only way to repair this dying planet.

1/22/2009 8:38:15 AM
ok first let me say I am a tree hugger, I suppose as I believe in doing all we can to save the earth. I am also a farmer that raises livestock for food,a responsible fisherman and have hunted and will again if I need the meat. I think some of you that talk of all the cruelty of raising and killing animals should think a little more before you make such comments. The vegetables you eat, unless organic and grown on your land or very near it are killing animals ,people and the earth. Most vegetables are still raised with chemicals that are destroying this planet, polluting the water and killing wildlife. The land much of them is grown on in large commercial farms has been stripped of all trees and the wildlife have lost their homes.They have been transported thousands of miles in trucks that spew pollution into the air.They are raised with poisons that are causing malformation and disease in humans and animals.They are being raised with no concern for the amount of water they use and very little of the waste are recycled in any way.Not to mention all the wildlife and humans that are killed while it travels to your local store.Even if you buy organic vegetables at the supermarket chances are it has been shipped thousands of miles,was a variety that has no taste or nutrition and may not have been grown safely, remember that human and omnivorous animal waste is organic and is used in many countries for food crops without going through a proper composting. Raising rabbits/birds and fish for family consumption,if done the right way is very earth friendly and on an organic farm there is practically no waste, everything is recycled every bone all the blood and organs,feathers, fur, everything can be used on the farm either in compost or as feed for other animals. most small organic operations sell locally, use very little gas or diesel to grow or deliver the products,respect and rebuild the land they work naturally,use much less water per pound of food produced.Many al

11/8/2008 3:33:05 PM
And, in MY opinion, using rabbits as meat isn't a ridiculous idea. If they weren’t suppose to be meat, then they’d be a plant. And we could still eat them. My dream is to get land, and make food for my family, and more. The "more" part I plan on giving to the hungry and poor, for free. I mean I obviously can't feed the whole world, but it's the little acts of kindness that matter. So maybe if your against the idea of breeding animals for meat, make some gardens. Of course keep what you like/need. But you could also give, maybe to some families in need that are in your community. Something like that. Instead of beating eachother up about our opinions, let's help those who are unfortunate enough to not have a choice. Let's give them a choice.

11/8/2008 3:23:16 PM
Maybe some in this topic should consider arguing against what you really believe is wrong. Animal Cruelty. Donate to animal cruelty shelters, boycott buying pets from petsmart (who supposedly get all their animals from careless money hungry “breeders”), challenge big meat markets and push them to have better, cleaner facilities and animal treatment. Don’t beat down on the small farmer/backyard people. Just because someone breeds animals to make meat, doesn’t mean their cruel.

11/8/2008 3:20:05 PM
Animals have survived all this time among eachother by setting boundaries. It was like the Special Law that was never broken. All species that come to my mind set up boundaries between others of the same species, whether they live in groups, or alone. The subject and controversy between vegans/vegetarian humans and omnivour-humans makes me think (as do other many debated, highly effective/important topics) that a political/economical/social/mental, even physical “war” will be apon us if we can’t set our differences aside. Let’s actually learn from the animals that we talk about. If we can set boundaries, where opinions and values aren’t violated and inconveniently opposed of, maybe we can stop this oncoming “war.” Those who don’t grasp the “war” concept, think about it. All of the legal crap that could be done to either side, will just create turmoil and upset. Who wants our children, their children, and so on to live in that kind of world and environment. Everyone has opinions about what’s better and what’s not, what’s right and what’s wrong.

Mrs. C.
11/6/2008 8:37:59 PM
It amazes me how many people have forgotten that we are hunters. While some may choose to live off of salads, that is their choice. Rabbits are a good source of protein and if tanned correctly provide a wonderful amount of warmth in gloves, hats and linings. Just like a cow is steak and leather and pigs are ham and the cute little lambs can be wool or lamb chops animals serve a purpose. Trust me an alligator never things twice about eating us if he's hungery nor a shark, nor a mountain lion.

10/30/2008 5:38:26 PM
I love bunnies as pets. I raised a science room bunny for a retired teacher in my backyard free range for several years until he moved on. For a few seasons, he had a little pal who didn't make it through winter. I recently moved to a more rural area with 10 acres and I can't wait to raise a whole big bunny family. I'm liking the idea of using the "bunny barn" method. I think it would be closer to a normal family dynamic. The difference in my big bunny's personality once we got him a friend to play with was enormous. I wonder how I could incorporate the 'free range' concept into the bunny barn practice. Would they return to nest like free range chickens? I will just have to try it. I could stand to lose a few rabbits to the field should it not work as planned. Anybody heard of this idea before?

7/10/2008 3:54:22 PM
Obviously, some people have never had their children get hungry and couldn't afford to run to the store to feed them. I have been in that postion before... it's not a pretty picture. We have tought our children to look at animals that were raised for meat as food to survive. So when porkchops, rabbit stew, or what ever the meat was on the table, was something they enjoyed and appreciated. By the way, the animals still were givin names by the kids. These children are grown and have children of their own now. They have taught their children the same way. When pork chops were set on our table, the grandchildren knew that we raised them and always commented as such...."Granny, Arnold sure is good!"

crystal lou
11/15/2007 12:00:00 AM
I don't understand why everyone is writing to complain about this article, I would not write to your local vegetarian magizine and complain that there are not enough meat articles. This magazine was started years ago for people who wanted to live off the earth. If you are a tree huggin, non animal eating type, why would you even read this magazine. There are plenty out there for you. Leave us our magazine and stop trying to make our lifestyle something ugly.

m d_4
11/6/2007 12:00:00 AM
If we're not supposed to eat animals, then why are they made out of meat?

Lisa Laventure
10/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
I think we all need to realize that each person will have pets as hobbies or be true farmers and raise food. It all depends on your economic need. Groceries stores overflow with food, but most have been raised or farmed on the petro-chemicals. Not everyone has space to raise their own beef or pork that is more acceptable as a farm animal. This article provides options. Don't get all bent out of shape that this is not your thing. I have adorible bunnies, but if I had to feed my family because of economics, they would suddenly become rabbits and be apart of our daily menu. What about primates that are disappearing off this planet! Maybe if we introduce quick breeding rabbits, the other species may make a comeback because they are all becoming endangered species as they feed the starving world.

Gloria Robinson
10/24/2007 12:00:00 AM
We raised rabbits for years. When the kids were little they had their pet 'bunnies' and their pet 'bunnies' had baby 'rabbits'. We ate 'rabbit' meat, not 'bunny' meat. Some of you don't see the difference between the two. Well, in all reality, there is no difference. Other than the 'bunnies' had names and the 'rabbits' were food. Just like the unnamed chickens, geese, turkeys, pigs and cows. Oh and by the way we didn't name our vegies either.

Delia Reed
10/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
For historical examples of gentle vegans visit this page and click the many links. Sorry, the URL name is inflammatory, but the articles on Charles Manson and Pol Pot are very interesting.

Amber Stevenson
10/19/2007 12:00:00 AM
This article is appalling and horrific. In no way shape OR form is breeding OR slaughtering rabbits good for the earth. Get a grip. This is not an eco-saavy or eco-friendly magazine. The author of this article & their chief editor must have not taken notice of the environmental devastation that overpopulation of animals does to the earth. What about the left behind by products of rabbit slaughter? What about killing an innocent, loving, intelligent animal? Have you ever owned a rabbit??More importantly, have you ever interacted with one? They have the intelligence of a three year old. Would you slaughter your 3 year old? In my opinion you should take up a topic that youre familiar with. PLEASE. DO US A FAVOR!Do you pick up a National Geographic and read about how deforestation is good for the Earth? No!

Kristy Watkins
9/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
To EVey. Abusing dogs, beating them, starving them, forcing them to fight and suffer their wounds, shocking them with electric probes and pumping them full of steroids is a FAR cry from caring for, loving, feeding and eventually killing, in a quick suffer-free method, rabbits. The only reason you people are getting so worked up is because when you think of "rabbit" you think of cute tiny little Thumper the bunny. I have a pet bunny rabbit, a Dutch named Clover. I also have two pet chickens, a rooster and a hen. My family raised goats for a time, we never milked them or used them for meat. I do however eat chicken, and I eat rabbit when my dad hunts for them. My family raised 3 pigs to eat too. There is a difference between abusing an animal and eating one. And I applaud those of you who choose a vegitarian lifestyle, but you should not think y9ourself better than everyone else for it, it does not make you the pinnice for holy morality, I know plenty of vegitarians and one vegan. They are no better than anyone else I know, they still cheated on tests in highschool, one still drank and drove, one stole a 500 dollar ring from her mom once. Just because you eat or don't eat something doesn't make you an Insta-saint.

Lisa Erwin
9/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
Rabbits meat is lean and nutritious. Moreover, it takes much less feed to produce a pound of rabbit meat than it does a pound of beef. That's worth considering in a world that doesn't succeed in feeding its hungry.I'm all for raising animals humanely (on pasture). As for whether we eat them or not, both choices have implications. For us to eat meat, an animal must die. But should we eschew meat, a meat animal no longer has a reason for being born or hatched in the first place. So is a short life better than none? Maybe not on a factory farm, but perhaps on an intelligently, humanely managed one.If we all become vegans, what happens to the panoply of domesticated animal breeds raised for meat? Are they important as polar bears are important, or black-footed ferrets?I'm not judging anybody's choices; I just don't see the answers as simple ones.

E. Hans
9/7/2007 12:00:00 AM
Oh Boy... The PETA(People Eating Tasy Animals) members are out, aren't they?! Backyard rabit raising has been an intragal part of homesteading for many years & I'm glad to see you publishing such an article. This is the type of article that helped your magazine thrive from it's 1st issue.Keep up the good work!

devo devora
9/6/2007 12:00:00 AM
to joyce in florida;you could also place used coffee grounds (free from starbucks) in your bin of rabbit droppings. i use coffee grounds directly on/in ant piles to discourage them. it is also good to mix w/compost. just don't use directly on plants, must be mixed.

Rosemary London
9/6/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am amazed at the comments of some on this subject,you cannot force others to think as you do Thank Goodness !! We have rights and free will I raise rabbits and chickens for meat also lots of vegetables.Humans are omnivores but if you wish to eat only vegetables then that is your decision and I would not interfere.

Alden Owen
9/4/2007 12:00:00 AM
From the responses I have seen to the article about raising rabbits, I must conclude that all of the people responding negatively, must be vegatqrians. Because, if they are not vegatarians then they have no right to talk about the wrongs of killing animals for food. So, if you eat meat in any form please refrain from making negative remarks about how some of us get our meat. I myself raise several kinds of animals for meat and what I don't raise I buy from a friend. The point of all this is if you eat meat someone somewhere killed it.

Richard Dean
8/31/2007 12:00:00 AM
you know i think its funny about how we think food just apears on the self at the grocery store. Dont you think some one has to raise it or grow it ??? ...Come on people wake up and smell the bloody coffee with out the farmer i would say about a 1/3 of the people would starve because they dont have the basic knowladge of how to grow foods and to butcher animals. nevermind bites tounge before i piss off the tree huggers who go to the store and buy the socalled free food

Dean Chapman
8/31/2007 12:00:00 AM last post. I own a farm which were refer to as a 'barter farm'. There are several small farms (<10 acres) in our area (Upper Peninsula of Michigan). A barter farm is a concept of several small farms working together to specialize in one or two particular crops and/or animals to 'barter' with the others. Some are good at gardening, others good at raising beef, and others raise hay and grains. I raise (for the group) rabbits, chickens and turkeys. We keep milking goats for ourselves, but contribute the others to the group. We (collectively) live a very good, healthy life. We have no other common ties (religion etc) other than being a small farm and sharing the fruits of our labor. I can choose between a multitude of garden, fruit and meat varieties raised locally by friends. If I choose to not eat rabbit, its my choice as is if I choose not to eat green beans.If you dont like it, dont eat it!!!! If you want more info on establishing a 'barter farm' community, or info on small scale rabbit raising there are a bunch of resources. Or, drop me a line, and I will be HAPPY to assist you in anyway I can. askelfarm@yahoo.comBTW I raise about 100 rabbits each year. Also 200-250 chickens (plus about 100 laying hens for eggs and stock replenishment), 25 or so turkeys, and a variety of water fowl. I get beef and pork plus a wide variety of produce in trade.WE HAVE NEVER ISSUED A RECALL OF OUR FOOD!!! Eat healthy, eat happy, and eat locally produced food. Dean

Delia Reed
8/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
I was a vegan for 8 months. I lost my hair, it broke off in chunks. It used to be down past my bottom, but broke off till it was neck length. My skin got dry. I was not in the best health. Dr. Weston Price studied the healthiest people all over the world and he found no vegans in superb health. He found all heavy meat AND FAT eaters in superb health. High cholesterol eaters. No heart disease. See Know Your Fats by Mary Enig PhD. Grains are very hard for humans to digest. They have a lot of antinutrients in them that protect the seed from germinating at the wrong time. We have to soak them and cook them to death to be able to get any good out of them. our digestive tract is too short and lacks the organs to do us much good. Veggies and fruts are great, but we can't digest the cellulose. Vitamix is the way to go to get the goody out of those.

Rachel Clifford
8/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
Dear Readers and Comment(ers) -QUIT BEING IGNORANT!! There - I've typed that out in plain view!!! Now, this is my last post to this article because I'm just too hurt by the oppressive and disheartening statements left by so many. So many of you are earth friendly and creature friendly - okay - got that, but whatever happened to people friendly? I'm not going to rehash everything I've posted. But....*THIS ARTICLE DOES NOT ADVOCATE THE "SLAUGHTERING" OF P E T ANIMALS!!! *THIS IS AN EDUCATIONAL ARTICLE!!! *THIS ARTICLE ENCOMPASSES DIFFERENT POINTS OF VIEW ON RABBITS!!*READ WHAT IS WRITTEN NOT WHAT'S BETWEEN THE LINES AND WHAT YOU THINK UP IN YOUR NARROW MINDS! Educate yourselves! The universe does not exclusively revolve around you and your point of view. This article is meant for diversity. Or have you "ETHICAL" people forgot that??? I'm tired of being called "cruel" and "inhumane". I ADORE my animals!! I always have but I have made the DISTINCTION between what I find as a pet and what I find as livestock. DO YOU KNOW THE DIFFERENCE?? ARE YOU AWARE AND EDUCATED TO THOSE DIFFERENCES?? I'm tired of those of you thinking that your "pure" way of life is the ONLY way of life. Well, honeykins - Your life isn't the only life out there.ACKNOWLEDGE THE COMMUNITIES THAT MAKE UP OUR WORLD - And quit being so oppressive. Ethical and kind, my tail!Oh, and Mother Earth - I wouldn't trade your publication for any other in the world. Thank you!~r

M Powell
8/30/2007 12:00:00 AM
Good Lord, look at the chaos this article stirred up ! I enjoy reading Mother because i'm steering my life towards responsible self sufficiency. I dont eat any commercially raised meat, but i do eat wild game and chickens i raise myself and have thought several times about rabbits. If you want quality meat, you either have to hunt it or raise it. If you dont want meat, SKIP THE ARTICLE. It's amazing to me how some folks freak out over the thought of eating Organic Free Range Venison, but chomp right into a fatty grease burger from Xdonalds. Sure... little bunnies are cute, but so are guinnea pigs, and millions of guinnea pigs are eaten in Peru.

Amy D
8/29/2007 12:00:00 AM
Working for sustainability is like a journey toward peace and harmony. I don't see how a person can live in peace and harmony with Earth when they are killing another sentient being for pleasure. Most Westerners do not *need* to eat other animals for health and well-being. They really kill for taste pleasure and greed, disguised in some moral argument about "the way it's supposed to be," convinced that because Mom and Dad ate animals it must be required.I think the reader who commented that raising rabbits for meat kept him going when he did not have other work summed it up well: he didn't even have to give up cable! I'm sure the hundreds of rabbits he killed would have appreciated the noble sacrifice they made. I challenge others to really evaluate how "noble" your own reasons for killing animals are.BTW, rabbit rescues frequently intervene with rabbits neglected and abandoned by small backyard breeders, and many of the rabbits surrendered to shelters by individuals also bear breeder tattoos.

Jane Hare
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am vegetarian, and becoming vegan. I also keep rabbits, all mine are rescues. Keeping rabbits in a all-wire mesh hutch is absolute cruelty. If they are left lying on wire mesh they rapidly develop sore hocks, I have two wooden hutches which are cleaned regularly and do not smell or become unhygenic. All my rabbits get running about time while I am there at home, (which is the majority of each day). They are litter-box trained and happy. They all have very different personalities and have enriched my life beyond words. If you are prepared to eat these animals, why do you stop there, why not eat cats and dogs ? And if you won't even consider this, why berate those who choose to keep rabbits in humane and happy situations and refuse to eat them too ?

Elizabeth J. Yoder
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
P.S. As an ethical vegan, I am opposed to all consumption of animal products--not rabbits only. And please don't assume ethical vegans (meaning those who are vegans for ethical reasons) consider ourselves morally superior. We try to do what we consider the right thing--like most other humans. Part of that is speaking up when we think someone could be persuaded not to kill or abuse animals.

Elizabeth J. Yoder
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
This is the last straw. I thought I had subscribed to a truly ethical green living publication. Now I find it advocates slaughtering animals for food, apparently portraying the practice as compassionate and even spiritual. (And to make itself look thoroughly ridiculous, this self-described "original guide to living wisely" carries advertising for cigarettes; how is smoking wise?) I have cancelled my subscription and asked for my money back. What a disappointment!

Dean Chapman
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
This will be my last post on this subject as is always the omnivores and the herbivores cant find a mutual ground here or anywhere. Rabbits are great pets. The are also great meat stock. We raise both on our farm. We also raise chickens, some are pets (show quality), some are egg layers, and some are meat. I personally have a great respect for all our animals. But, being a meat eater, a distinction has to be made between pets and livestock. You strive to do your best for all. There are humane ways of dealing with both sides of this issue. I respect our animals and I also enjoy the company they provide.Oh, as a side note, dogs and cats are routinely used as food stck in many parts of the world. What are we trying to do here? Is it save the rabbits, or discuss alternatives to feed our family? This is a topic that will never be agreed on. MEN provides a great forum (here and in print) for those of us just trying to make a living feeding ourselves and families. The information is written for a broad section of society. Please continue to read the magazine. Choose what topics appeal to your life style. Stop being so critical of those who dont support your way of life (either way). Realistically we do need a sensible balance for all things living. Tolerance is the key. Intolerance, ignorance, and lack of respect for all things is why we live in the chaos of the world today. Think before you say anything. Try and understand the other persons point of view.

Jeff Patrick
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
J Hare- I did not read anyone berating those who choose to keep rabbits in humane and happy situations and refuse to eat them.The only ones being attacked are those who choose to eat some meat with their potatoes. M Manahan- Makes the Key statement - These are prey animals to be eaten by fox , hawk ,(& human).How many hungry children could be fed with the $100,000.00 you have spent on 200 prey animals.How many of you who hate the raising of pray animals to kill them , support the right to kill human babies?MEN -I am looking forward to reading your for food fishpond article .

Delia Reed
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
For an excellent site on the health benefits of meat and milk, organicallt raised and For the Ploy of Soy same sites. Let these vegans live on soy and destroy their fertility and create osteoporosis. This will create a shorter life for them and prevent them from having healthy children and being able to nurse them. Their myopia will kill them off in a few generations and we won't have to fuss with this anymore.

Marjorie Manahan
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
Regarding your article "How to Raise Backyard Rabbits" The article suggests an irresponsible way to contribute to preying upon another species. These poor innocent domestic creatures make wonderful companion pets and are not meant to be eaten, used for fur and used for their by-product, manure. Rabbits take much more care then you point out. Pet rabbits need to be protected from pretators, since they are prey animals. They should not be left in the back yard to be eaten by a fox, hawks, get fur mights, ear mights, fly strike, flees,etc. They are the third most abandoned animal in the U.S. That means they end up in Humane Societies and rescue organizations, hopefully to be adopted but many get euthanized. Your article suggestions are contributing to social problems. You can't possibly think this is good for the environment, Mother Earth. Plese do your homework before writing articles such as this. Go to to better inform you and your readers. I am a House Rabbit Society Member, foster Mom and protector of these loving, beautiful creatures, who are not meant to be abused by humans. They are already at the bottom of the animal food chain. Four years ago our HRS Chapter filed its first tax return as a 501c organization because we raised $25,000 to keep our 75 bunnies in foster homes, this past year we raised $100,000 to keep our 200 bunnies in foster homes.Tell me your suggestions are not contributing to social animal wellfare issues!

Rachel Clifford
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
Dear Readers - *Sigh* I am very disappointed in some of the responses to an educational article.If you want to be vegan, be vegan. If you eat meat, eat meat. If you use rabbits as livestock, raise them. If you use rabbits as a pet, pet them. BUT! Each and every one reader needs to be aware of others and to not degrade people or opinions. That's oppression and not people friendly. The distinction needs to be made that rabbits can be used for both pet and stock. Don't call someone cruel because of how they live their life. I have been an avid rabbit breeder since 1987. I breed, raise, show, and unfortunately at times, must kill a rabbit. I don't like it but I know some of the other breeders view rabbits like any other livestock. I do, but - I adore each and every one of my rabbits. I get sad when one is sold. I get upset when one has to be euthanized. I get jubilant when my does have litters. I love how their little noses snuggle underneath my chin when they want comfort. But they are not my pets and I have made that distinction. Readers - have you made the distinction that's addressed in the article?? House Rabbit Societies do serve a great purpose - to rescue abandoned PET rabbits. Ah yes, the joy of Easter six months later when kids realize that their rabbit isn't so cute and the parents release them into the forest believing that the domesticated rabbit will live in the wild. THAT'S CRUELTY and why I don't sell my rabbits as pets. Abandonment to any living creature is cruel. However, those of you in House Bunny Business - PLEASE, PLEASE do not call someone cruel if they are trying to survive and provide for their families. Same goes to the hierarchy of vegetarianism. Please, please - do not call someone cruel because they choose to eat meat and act upon it. TO TELL SOMEONE HOW TO LIVE IS OPPRESSION!!So I plead to all who read this comment and others - BE AWARE, BE CONSTRUCTIVE, BE KIND - otherwise, who is r

Stan Dvoskin_2
8/28/2007 12:00:00 AM
DChapman...Bless you... the voice of reason was disparately needed.The lack of tolerance some people have for those who look at things differently than they do is what's lead to the hate and wars (some verbal like this thread, others more real and violent)... Radicals (be it vegans, Muslims, anti-abortionists, anti-gun groups, and many others (and again, I'm only talking about the radicals in these groups) who believe that they are absolutely right and anyone who doesn't agree with them are absolutely wrong don't help the world... they just make it more divisive, and that divisiveness is what escalates into hate and wars and eventually deaths.I know that sounds overly dramatic, but it's not a far stretch, given some of the rhetoric I've heard in this thread.Stoney

S Byrne
8/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
Well stated RClifford!

YT Karashinksi
8/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
Why more killing? Why raise more animals -- and we all know that not all of them will be raised OR killed humanely -- when the earth itself is becoming less available for suporting livestock operations, even "small " ones like this -- Lets raise vegetables, organically -- raise beans, organically, including soy.

8/27/2007 12:00:00 AM
This article seems to be directed toward backyard rabbit keepers, not "factory farmers". While eating rabbit may be distasteful to you, there's a big difference between backyard rabbit raising and factory farming. I don't think arguments about the squalid conditions in commercial animal facilities apply in this case. :-)Peace, Plaster

Rachel Clifford
8/26/2007 12:00:00 AM
Dear Readers - You undereducated, unresearched, narrowminded, and ridiculous individuals!! I have officially had enough of the "its soooo cruel to eat rabbit" line. So, again - I will perch on my soap box.The United States is one of the most culturally advanced nations in this world; with an abundance of lifestyle alternatives. One of these alternatives is eating an animal, a rabbit. Some individuals in this bracket D E P E N D on a rabbit for income and family stability. Not because they chose that lifestyle but because it is a part of who they are as Americans that depend on agriculture.This article is meant to encompass those individuals who can see the promise of raising rabbits; or those interested in it. This article does not advocate eating a dog or a cat - Americans wouldn't tolerate that. Americans have not used dogs or cats as a part of a diet. Other countries in this world do. A fact of their lives. Wake up! Open your eyes and ears to the communities that surround you.This article is meant to show how raising an animal brought to America for FOOD purposes, can be used for a multitude of ways: food, fur, companionship, professional showing, and using it's waste to make your gardens bloom and flourish. This article does not say "Go out to your nearest Animal Shelter or Pet Shop, purchase a rabbit and kill it so it may be served next to your hummus." This article illustrates how using a natural alternative, a healthier and cheaper meat alternative, is better than going to a market and buying beef, chicken, pork, or turkey that has been marinated in growth inhibitors and zapped with radiation that is expensive. This is an educational article.Get over yourselves! KNOW ALL LIFE'S COMMUNITIES AROUND YOU BEFORE YOU GO OFF SAYING SOME ARE CRUEL! BE AWARE!There, I have so much more to say - but maybe, just maybe - some readers will go "Gee, I have a lot to learn about the world I am a part of."A

Jenn Stofferahn
8/26/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am extremely disappointed by your recent article promoting the exploitation of an animal as part of a "homestead" in harmony with the Earth ecosystem. Thanks for hopping on the haute cuisine train and trying to popularize rabbits as a food source in this country instead of what they REALLY are - wonderful, intelligent companion animals for millions of Americans.I will be telling all of my friends and colleagues in the environmental community that your magazine is, once and for all, a total sham and not worth the recycled content paper it's printed on.Way to go.~Jenn Stofferahn

Sheila Foy_3
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am amazed, totally amazed at the ignorance dispalyed in this thread. You should teach your childern that their food was once a warm furry living animal and that animal gave its life so that others oold live - teach respect for all living things along with the pleasures of a pet. Even plants have feelings and shy away from threatening hands. There is a thing called a "food chain" - be thankful humans are just bout the highest on that chain ( when we are careful ). I would venture that 99% of small farmers treat their livestock with respect and careing, it is to their advantage, and when we do get around to processing we do it with the least amount of sufering possible - after all meat is tendered if the processing is kind.50 Years ago everybody knew where their food came from - now kids think it is divinely delivered in plastic in the supermarket. Deliver us from the day the System collapses - all of you bleeding hearts will starve to death, while those who know the truth of where our food comes from will survive.Have you ever thought of where dog food comes from ?????????????

Leila F
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
To practice a true, consistent, environmental lifestyle, you should all refrain from eating meat, and using animal products. Eating animals is a less efficient use of our resources than eating a plant-based diet. It is also ethically sound. While I agree with some of the comments that it is unacceptable to ignore the origin of your food that comes pre-killed, the solution is NOT to kill animals yourself. The ethical solution is to have a vegan lifestyle. visit or for more information. Rabbits are sweet, affectionate animals. I am sad to see promotion of their use as food and clothing.

Colleen Fox
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
This article made me feel sick. Rabbits are beautiful and caring little animals and the thought of breeding them with care only to slaughter them for their meat and fur leaves me cold. I am so sick of shutting up where the welfare of rabbits is concerned. I concede if it is okay to kill and eat the third most popular companian animal, then it is okay to eat Fido and Kitty! If this happened the waves of outrage would be felt far and wide. Think about it, it is really the same thing......

Dean Chapman
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM all the plants and the poor fuzzy rabbits will starve. The big evil human ate the bunnies dinner. When all the rabbits die from starvation where will be be then? Get over it people, rabbits have a place in the food chain and I thank god I am a few steps higher. I love and respect each and every animal on our farm (see previous posts) but I also realize where our food comes from. It doesnt just magically appear in neat shrink wrapped packages out of no where. Give me a break. If you want to cry about food, look at what the Chinese have done to our food system in a few short months. Oh, and please stop tricking those lovable little fish by dangling a victimless, mutilated, and tortured worm in front of them crucified on a sharpened piece of steel (ie: hook).If you dont eat animals dont.....but dont take food out of my mouth. Eat your plants. I prefer to share mine with the animals.

greg wait
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
I don't know where to begin. Your article on rabbits is filled with inaccuracies, and gross misconceptions about rabbits. It is so poorly researched, and addressed as to the needs of rabbits that you not only do a great disservice to rabbits, but also to the readers. You have entered the realm of animal cruelty. Please retract the article.

Judi L
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
I have been a rabbit rescuer for 12 years. While they may be a source of wonderful protein, so are soy beans, chick peas, lentils, and a lot of other legumes. I am sickened by the idea of raising any animal is less-than-humane circumstances, and can only imagine how these backyard rabbitries are kept. My bunnies are part of my family and live in the house, with the guinea pigs, dog, and birds. I really don't care how wonderful many of you think this is for 3rd world countries.. you can feed people for a lot less with whole grains and legumes, and no living being suffers for it, either.

Gary Loewenthal
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
When will our morals evolve past dominating and killing other beings for pleasure?To undo our estrangement from the earth, we must strive to show respect and feel sympathy for the individuals from other species who share it with us. We cannot create a more peaceful and just world if we continue to practice "might makes right."

June Booth
8/25/2007 12:00:00 AM
How to Raise Backyard RabbitsOne can only say "how could you print an article such as this?" Rabbits are wonderful caring animals and to think yuo would use a backyard to raise and then slaughter them is beyond my understanding. One does not have to go to these extremes in this day and age, we are not a third world country that depends upon anything to survive. We are in the US and should be setting an example to our children on how to treat animals, God knows we have enough bad examples already. Let your child know th epleaseure of a rabbit that lives indoors with them, collect their waste for manure from their litter box but let them have a decent life in your home and learn from them how to enjoy life.

Dean Chapman
8/24/2007 12:00:00 AM
Take your chances.....spin the wheel.....what you eat today may be recalled tomorrow!!!! I would rather know what Im eating......raised by me, processed by me, cooked by me, and enjoyed by me!!!That includes meat, fruit, and vegetables. 100% natural, 100% chemical free, 100% organic, 100% disease free, and 100% raised by me. Food source that is born, raised and consumed without ever leave my food is safe for me and my yours??????????? Who do you trust? Yourself, or USDA inspectors (or lack of inspection)???? I have never issued a recall on food I raised on my farm for myself and my family!!!!!

8/24/2007 12:00:00 AM
This discussion is hilarious. Hey, those of you that don't want to kill animals, please don't. However, this is still America, and we have the freedom to live as we choose. MEN is an educational forum, and this article is just that. Those of you who think breeding them for food is cruel, I hope you don't eat veal. If you do, find out how it is done (severe animal cruelty). I hunt, fish and garden. A friend of mine once told me that when the world goes to crap, that he was coming to live with me, because he knows there will always be food on my table. I grew up with country parents, and I know how to live off the land IF I HAVE TO. MEN is giving you information to use if you have to or ever want to. Don't stop MEN.

Ros Lamb
8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
This is sickening - is the writer truly advocating that breeding rabbits should be done as a hobby when there is already an over-population? Shelters are bursting at the seams with rabbits that were bred as a 'good idea' or in breeding mills for sale at petstores, then dumped when the sudden interest wears off and the reality of the commitment these animals needs kicks in - and what happens in most cases? There aren't enough people able to give them a good NON-BREEDING home and they get killed, that's what happens.We see in the article the 'cute' face of a Netherland dwarf - yes, a beautiful rabbit, but then they all are - yet your writer advocates breeding them to kill and eat! Make your mind up! Are they a lovely animal that you want to have as a pet (I do, but I'm prepared to give time, commitment and most of all love to my rabbits) or are they a commodity like a can of beans? If so, we don't need the cute pictures, thanks.To encourage people, and especially children, to see any animal this way stinks. Come on - this is MEANT to be a civilised society!

Esther Raichart
8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
And, yes we do respect and honor all of our animals, plants and trees. They truly provide for us.

Esther Raichart
8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
Trying hard to be a vegetarian means you still eat meat. Do you know where that meat comes from, or do you hope that because its labeled organic, that its treated humanely? Did you know that a vegetarian/vegan diet takes more energy overall than eating small amounts of meat? Especially rabbits, who dont require that much energy input. First growing the grains, the mechanical processing of them, the storage, the transportation, then you cooking them (and they require longer cooking times, sometimes as much as 3-4 hours). There is very little left over from the process, to compost. On the other hand, meat once or twice a week,with a good vegetarian diet, will fulfill your protein needs. For that the rabbits need food (you can use grasses, herbs and produce leftovers) and then when its time to butcher there is only, storage, and cooking energy. Then you have manure for your gardens, wool for clothing.(which by the way, uses a lot less energy than your imported or recycled soda pop bottles materials.) The grain industries in large mono cultures have caused more deforestation than any other crop. They also account for most of the erosion of the soils in every agricultural region. And the US doesn't grow and keep enough here for us to eat, so we import it from other countries while their people go hungry. If you are as "green" as you say you are, you will consider small portions of meat in replacement for you high energy input diet. And I have to agree with all of the other REAL green people, if everything goes to heck in a hand bag, at least I can feed my family.

Stan Dvoskin_2
8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
All of you who are deciding what others should or should not eat, whether they should or shouldn't eat animals, and worse, those of you who are deciding WHICH animals are acceptable to eat and which aren't. Your inability to see the hypocrisy and arrogance of your position is amazing. What gives you the right to decide which animals are 'pets' and which are 'food' for others. Decide what you wish for yourself... your right and privilege since we live in a free country, but since it's a free country, others have the same right, and while you have the right to voice your criticism of their choices, they have the right to think you arrogant and a hypocrite for doing so.That said, the manner in which animals used for food are treated during their lives is something that many people who eat those animals can still deplore... hence raising your own so you know they aren't abused during their lives is certainly more noble than buying it cellophane wrapped at the store...Stoney{'holier than thou' is crap no matter the religion, even if it's veganism or thinking yourself better than others cause they eat certain animals you think should only be pets...}

8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
This whole argument is kind of ridiculous. Meat is food even if you personally don't eat meat. Meat has a face. Get to know your food. You are what you eat. Respect that plants and animals that you eat in order to survive. Honor them for the life they have given you. Thank them. Do this with great heart.

Nancy Furstinger
8/23/2007 12:00:00 AM
As someone who rescues rabbits, fosters rabbits for the House Rabbit Society and enjoys them as indoor pets along with my three dogs, I was disheartened to read your article about raising backyard rabbits for meat. As the third-most popular pet in the U.S., rabbits have unique personalities and are intelligent, gentlecreatures. They suffer in agony, being bred and massacred onfactory farms and in backyards. What next? Perhaps you'd like to turn my dogs into Labrador lasagna and Rottweiler ratatouille as they do in Korea? Most developing countries have severe overpopulation problems--would you advocate cannibalism? I hope Mother Earth will focus on publishing articles about people who treat animals with compassion.

Sheila Foy_3
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
Joyce - put the feet of your sawhorses in cans of water with a bit of oil on top of the water - the ants go in but do not come out. the cages should not be directly on the plywood but raised at least three inches so the droppings do not stay in the cage.

8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
I can't agree more with the idea that Rasing Rabbits is a very cost effeciant way to get protein in you diet. I lived in an upstairs apartment, I was out of perminate work for 6 months and I raised over 300 lbs of rabbit meat in that time from 2 miniature Jersey Woolly does and 1 minature rex buck. What didn't fit in my freezer I sold fresh to my neighbors and made enough from the meat and the manuer to at least pay rent and some of my utilites (and I didn't have to lose my cable) Rabbits are the most cost effeciant feed to meat ratio that an urban dweller can have. They are quite, take up very little space, and with produce left overs from your local super market you can really streatch your feed dollar. I have since moved to Oklahoma with 100 degree heat and 80% humitity. Ever since moving here I have been trying to figure out how to raise rabbits with out them dying from excessive heat when I'm at work. So for those of you "House Rabbit" fans, see... I'm not cruel, I just realize I'm a bit futher up the food chain and my buck goes futher.

S Byrne
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
I started out with two, which turned into a dozen! I ended up keeping two from the litter and they were fantastic little buddies. Aside from being warm and soft and fun to play with, their cocopuffs provided me with enough 'umpf' to give me a 100 pound pumpkin one year!Beware though, that any hutch you build that will be in a residential area, or anywhere you've seen dogs roaming, should be made of heavy duty supplies. One of my does was killed by two dogs who proceeded to rip through the chicken wire of her cage to get at her. They tried to get my big black buck too, but he hid in his bedding where it was solid wood.I'm considering getting a couple more bunnies in the spring for pets and poop. Considering my big black buck lived to the ripe old age of 13, hopefully they'll supplement my soil for many years!

Stan Dvoskin_2
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
It must really be nice to be "Greener than thou"...Arrogance isn't pretty no matter how 'noble' the arrogant think they are.Stoney{most countries eat most animals... the US is rare in it's delicate sensibilities in what's a 'pet' and what's 'food'... Most countries don't have that luxury...}

Rachel Clifford
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
For W. Alderson:-Here's the link to the Oklahoma Rabbit Breeders Assn. Contact a breeder in your area, and I'm sure they wouldn't be bothered at all to help you. My rabbits are in a AC garage with ventilation, so my set up is a little different than yours. For D. Chapman and S. Richmond:-Thank you!For Mother Earth News:-A very large thank you for having a publication that covers a diversity of topics that educates and promotes a natural lifestyle.For the Rest:-Please, do not forget that our country is based on Agriculture, no matter how big or small the "farm" may be. To be healthy, one must consume clean, pure, and "live" food. Not food that has been marinated in chemical fertilizers or infused with antibiotics and radiation. Know where your food comes from whether it be fruit and veggies or meat. Research the benefits of having a rabbit hobby and understand their usefulness (whether they are used for food or not).We rabbit breeders are not cruel to our animals. My herd resides in a double garage with AC, heat, ventilation, individual cages, plenty of food and water, and a manure remover (me). I adore my Mini Rex, the community of show breeders and its comaraderie. Some of my rabbits are sold to 4-H kids who start a rabbit project. When I do that, I see the future of the rabbit raising in the arms and eyes of that child. Be aware of the communities around you and learn.~R.C.

Joyce Pejakovich
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
I live in Florida. I have had rabbits for 8 months. I have 5 does and one buck. The last time a doe had a litter the ants attacked the babbies and killed them. I need some help on this problem. I have wooden hutches, that sit on sheets of plywood to help keep their area clean. I clean up their droppings weekly and move their droppings to the flower bed. It would be nice if some one could advise me on how to solve this problem.ThanksJoyce

D Howe
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
I have to admit that as horrified as I was at reading your article, I understand the opinions of all of these people who do eat meat. I guess that's why I felt the way I did, I do not. And the thought of those cute fuzzy little pets getting the ax, made me sick. But, fact of the matter is, there are people that do eat meat. And the issue really is the humane treatment of the animals that are giving up their lives so that you can sustain your's. Back in the days when Indians roamed this land and they were hunting for their meat, the animal was always thanked for giving of its life so that the people could live. That's what many of the hunters today have forgotten, if you're going to kill something, eat it - don't just hang it on your wall. Respect for all living things.

T Green_2
8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
OK EVERYONE LISTEN UP !!!! When TMEN started a long time ago they were about helping people learn to grow food and house themselves. Raising rabbits or chickens can be helpful to people who still eat meat. They are not saying to eat pet bunnies, they are telling everyone the different types of rabbits you can raise. What you raise and do with it is your own business and you don't have the right to tell anyone else what to eat or not eat. If you don't want to eat meat that's alright with me! But don't gripe at the people who want to eat meat that is high in nutrients and low in pollution. Go read vegetarian times and make love to your cucumbers for all I care.

8/22/2007 12:00:00 AM
I raised rabbits for 7 years. Had 15 adults. I would butcher and sell some as well as eat some. While doing so I learned a lot about them. A good thing is that the meat is high in protein,low in fat and all white meat. For those with stomach or digestion problems, rabbit is easier to digest than chicken. For care, check with your local feed store. Also purina use to publish pamphlets on how to raise rabbits also at the feed store. Best cages are made from 1"x2" galvanized welded wire sides and 1/2"x1" on the bottom assembled with j-clips or hog rings. These are easier to clean.Read books and talk to feed store personnel to learn about them.

Dean Chapman
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
WOW!!! I read this and cant believe what some people are saying. What do you think...that chicken, cow, or pig just up and one day committed suicide and fell into nice slices and shrink wrapped packs!!!! Hello......reality is calling!!!!! I am a member of the American Rabbit Breeders Association. I raise rabbits for pets, show, and meat. Our philosophy on our farm is "I'm not feeding anything that isn't eventually going to feed me". With all thats going on in the world, contaminated pet food, anti-biotics in our meat, contaminated sea food etc, isnt it about time for us (who are able) to raise our own source of food???? If more people raised their own food we wouldnt have to depend on the mass production 'feed lots' that produce our food stock we are used to getting at the grocery store. Get real people!!! There is coming a day in the not too distant future when the only ones who will have a safe, nutritious food (meat/fruit/vegetables)will be one ones who raise it themselves. The great thing about being a human is we can make choices. If you dont want to eat rabbit, you dont have to. At the same time dont condemn those that do. By the way, our farm raises rabbits (9 different breeds), Ducks (4 breeds), Chickens (5 breeds) Goats (milk and meat), Turkeys, Sheep, and Llamas. Everyone carries his own weight in one way or another........oh, and we do all of this on 1.1 acre of land. Each and every one of them is healthy and well cared for. I love each and every one of them for what they provide....meat, fur, wool, eggs, companionship, and a good sense of well being. Thanks Mother Earth were my inspiration to return to the farm and a healthier may of life. I spent years living underwater (U.S. Navy) reading all the back issues of MOM I could get my hands on.........THANKS!!!! Any questions on managing rabbits or your 'micro-farm' feel free to email me

BETTY Joseph_2
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
We always have meat rabbits BUT when my children were small they had their small dwarf rabbits for pets. They were not required to care for any of our meat animals which also include chickens, ducks, geese, guinea & turkeys. I also did all of the "dressing" early in the morning while they and my husband were asleep or I waited until they were in school. They grew up knowing the difference between pets & food.As they got older they were given a choice whether they watched/helped with any "dressing". Mother Earth is a very valuable resource and they cater to those of us that wish for a more self-sufficient lifestyle. Thankfully, our choices to raise our own organic, non-chemically altered food has not been taken from us. Thank you Mother Earth for your continued efforts to help all of us lead healthier lives.

Stephanie Richmond
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I am going to have to truley agree with RClifford on this matter. How in the world did humans survive before now? We were nomads....IE HUNTERS and GATHERERS. Long ago humans understood the need to have meat in their diet and that the domestication of animals was the best way to ensure the survival of the human race. Everything has fur/feather and personality before it hits the meat market at your local grocery store. Rabbit is one of the most common meats eaten by MAN from the middles ages onward. It is still a commonly eaten meat in European countries! Just cause we don't emphasize it here in the US does not mean that it is not done! Rabbit is a clean highly digestable meat and when raised in the backyard rabbitry, is free of harmful hormones and antibiotics that are present in your packaged store bought meats that have effects on the human body (I know, i have recently discovered some of the problems myself!)In addition to this, I work in a veterinary office that sees 'pet' rabbits on a regular basis, and yet I still breed, raise, love and dress out my own rabbits in my kitchen. I can seperate the idea that other people have different interests in rabbits and completely respect them for it! I have a great respect for everything in the circle of life, and if you don't like it, keep your negativity to yourself. GREEN LIVING is not synonomous with being VEGAN. To the editors of MOTHER EARTH NEWS: I trust in your sensibilities and I congratulate you on your informative articles that have helped me and my family change our practices and think of our future.

Cameron McLaughlin
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
Once again, MEN has proven that it is an absolutely phony anti-environmentalist publication. The way to be green is to live in harmony with animals and devote land resources toward living as low as possible on the food chain. If your editors need a tutorial on this basic premise of genuine environmental stewardship, there are literally thousands of sources of remedial education for you.Why not feature a peppy article on raising dogs fo fur, food, and fun in your next issue? Or cats? Or parrots? This promotion of animals as harvestable tissue and as one happy accomplishment of a "green" way of life and of "homesteading" is the sort of garbage I expect from pro-industrial agriculture publications.Stop pretending to be "green" and offering a more advanced way of life. And unsubscribe me. Now.Northwest Florida House Rabbit ResourcesNonprofit Adoption/Education Services for Companion Rabbits

C Yoho
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I really appreciate your informative and interesting articles. We have raised rabbits and used their manure for fertilizer over the years and it does wonders for the garden! I have recently started raising chickens for meat and eggs as well, and appreciate your helpful chicken info! Keep 'em coming! Not everyone is a vegan!

Dave Riffle
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I must admit I was a little shocked when I started reading the comments. You'd think that MEN was some sort of front for a new world order or something. We have pet rabbits and chickens living in our backyard in suburban Seattle. They are pets for us, with the exception of eating the chicken eggs. However, I fail to see where some people who have made a personal lifestyle choice to not eat meat are somehow morally superior to those of us who haven't.We are fortunate to have grocery stores, etc., and I am not interested in killing animals myself, but if my children are hungry, the world goes to pot, or the stores shut down, I would not hesitate to consume a rabbit or feed it to my family. It seems the natural thing to do.Thank you

PETA PeopleforEatingTastyAnimals
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
Mmmmmm. Tasty Wabbits ;-)

Rachel Clifford
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
Dear Readers - are you all really that clueless about farming? About agriculture? How the human species on this planet survive? Are you really that uneducated? Well, here's a lesson: Professional rabbit raising for food, fur, and hobby has been in the U.S. since the early 1900’s and has been cultivated into a worldly organization. This organization advocates and educates how rabbits can be for personal use, such as using manure for gardening; to commercial use for fur and food. I emphasize advocate AND educate. It’s equivalency is to the American Kennel Club or American Quarter Horse Assn. RABBITS ARE A NATURAL AND USEFUL. Some individuals see rabbit raising as pure hobby, to show, love, and let the rabbits live out their natural lives. Others use rabbits as their main source of income just like cattle or swine. If you really want to be upset about something, the next time you see a cute little baby rabbit for sale at Easter – just think – once your kids are over its novelty and you throw it away outside thinking that it will survive because “It’s a rabbit”; you are being more cruel to that animal than a breeder.

Mary CCR
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I completely agree with CMcLaughlin. This is sick.

Dean Chapman
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
....oh by the way, The United States is one of the top 3 produces of horse meat in the world. Over a million pounds were produced last year for HUMAN consumption and exported world wide (mainly to Europe).

Lois Karasek
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I've been trying to "be nice" and send a confidential message to Mother Earth regarding my opinion of their egregious suggestions that we all should be killing animals for food, but "conveniently" their website e-mail addresses do not work. I'm glad, however, to discover that I can post an open opinion in this forum. First it was beef, then they suggested various other "farm animals," and now they propose we should be killing and eating bunnies??? Get your head out in the sunshine and your ethics back on track. If this is the kind of "green living" in tune with "Mother Earth" that you propose, I want no part of it.

D Howe
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
When I saw the subject of my Mother Earth e-mail today, I could not imagine that Raising Backyard Rabbits was something they would write about. Curious to see what the REAL issue was, I read on. And, needless to say, I was horrified - raising rabbits for food and meat....and fur. WHAT? Come on - let's get back on track. Maybe next week we'll be reading about backyard puppies. Have been enjoying what you share up until now.

L Payne
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
Unless a person is a vegetarian I can't see why they would object to the idea of rabbits as food. Rabbits are cute, soft, and warm, but calves are also playful and sweet, and turkeys are gentle, friendly and have soft, sweet voices. There isn't a species of animal that is inherently more or less suited to being eaten by humans than another. Nature requires that at some point we give the energy and nutrients of our bodies to other living entities, there is no way around it. Even humans ultimately do this.The important thing, in my opinion, is to provide your animals with a high quality life full of tender loving care, peace, and pleasure. When the time comes for them to die, you kill them quickly and as painlessly as possible, and in a way that prevents them from knowing fear. You thank them for contributing to your life. You appreciate their gift.I love animals as much as anyone, and the thought of killing them is difficult and painful for me, but I know it isn't wrong to do so. We are all part of the same natural system which requires giving and sharing of all resources, including the ones in our own bodies. Humans are omnivorous, and besides, plants have their lives to live too. In order to live we have to take somebody else's life, animal or vegetable. The point is to live lovingly, respectfully, and with full awareness of the consequences of all our actions.

Sheila Foy_3
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I live in a third world country - and am trying my best to teach people to start up a back yard rabbtry. For pennies a day the poorest people can eat meat when before the mothers and childern were pleagued with mal nutrition and sickness. They do not need to have a fridg nor a freezer. When the nearest town is 4 hours walk and another 4 hours on a bus - it is wonderful to have a source of inexpensive protien righ in your back yard. We name the "stock" and love and pamper them - the offspring are the potential meat source - they are cared for very well but not named so that when supper times comes around there is no conflict. When ever I read reactions like most of the above I think of what hipocrits those people are. I will bet that 90 % are not vegetarians, that they have never been hungry a day in their very fortunate lives and do nothing to even help the hungry. Shame on you !Mother Earth - keep up the good work - do not listen to the hipocrits.

Elizabeth Olson
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
In addition to manure, rabbits produce urine -- and it smells like ammonia. That's something to consider in an urban or suburban neighborhood.

Reality Pie
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
(I wonder if chickens raised this kind of ruckus...?)Yes, rabbits are cute, but they're also a source of high grade easily digestible protein that can help kids grow.Do you have any idea how ridiculous this entire thread looks to anyone in a developing country? Rabbits are an insurance policy against crop failure; all meat animals are. And, when I see families lining up at soup kitchens and food programs right here in the USA, I realize that we're not so far from 'developing' status ourselves.Shame on you for projecting your narrow-minded values and trying to quash the dissemination of knowledge for your own agenda. Shame on you!Reality pie is made with vegetables AND meat.

Evonne Vey
8/21/2007 12:00:00 AM
I was disgusted by your article , "How to raise backyard rabbits" God, what values are you teaching our children? You raise a pet, love it and then kill it? Isn't Michael Vick getting his just deserts for doing something like this? I'm truly shocked that your magazine would advocate something so cold, cruel and inhumane towards pet rabbits, especially in the 21st century where rabbits are now the third most popular pet in the US! You've got some catching up to do it seems to me!Evonne Vey

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