Meat Rabbits as a Sustainable and Affordable Protein Source


TAMUK Composite Rabbits

In the spring of 2020, we decided to venture into meat rabbits and stop raising meat chickens.

One of the reasons being rabbits are much more sustainable: you don’t need to order meat breeds from a hatchery or try and breed and/or hatch with low success rates in some of the more traditional broiler breeds.

We bought a breeding trio consisting of two does and a buck. We decided on the TAMUK Composite rabbits bred out of Texas A&M as they are a mix bred for heat tolerance. With our 100°F+ summers, that was important for our area. Rabbits do not tolerate heat well and are sometimes known to die in temperatures over 85°F. We make sure each rabbit gets a frozen 2 liter bottle on any day over 85°F to snuggle up to cool off.

One of our does took three separate breedings for have a successful litter, the other was successful on her first breeding. Both proved themselves to be great first time moms, both having litters of five their first time. The litter size should increase with subsequent litters. At about 8 weeks old I was able to successfully sex the kits and separate by gender so as not to have any unplanned pregnancies. At 16-17 weeks old they were harvested.

Their dressed weights {cleaned and gutted} averaged 5.5 lbs per rabbit. Once I knew the weights, I calculated that it cost me $1.25/lb to raise the rabbits. Of course this doesn’t account for their shelter or any accessories such as water bottles, or my daily time spent caring for them, but those types of things can be used for many years and so I did not factor in those costs. Just pure feed costs. I didn’t account for hay as I feed them what my goats waste, and supplement them with lots of forage from around the property and greens I grow in my garden.

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