Raising Rabbits: I'm a Hare Raising Kid

A young lad with a few years of experience raising rabbits offers some advice on the subject.

| July/August 1981

MOTHER EARTH NEWS feels strongly that youths can be creative "doers," working toward more ecological and self-reliant lifestyles whether their tasks be raising chickens on a farm or maintaining rooftop container gardens in the city. To support the endeavors of our often overlooked "underage" citizens, we're glad to publish well-written articles from younger children and teenagers concerning projects they've undertaken.  

One day while we were riding home from town in our pickup truck, my mother caught me by surprise by asking, "Steve, how would you like to try raising rabbits?"

Since my sister had been keeping horses for several years and my brother had just started a dog kennel, the idea really appealed to me. After all, I was the only one in my family who didn't have something to raise and lavish attention on. Besides, I figured that having a few hutches of bunnies would give me a chance to stretch my allowance (which never seemed to go far enough). I've always hated asking my parents for extra money, and I hoped my rabbits would bring in enough cash so all I'd ever have to ask my folks for would be a ride to the bank!

I've been keeping the critters now for two of my 13 years. During that time I've really learned a lot, and I'd like to share some of what I've discovered with you. (When I was starting out, I made some shameful mistakes. I'll tell you about them, too.) So read on. Maybe you'll decide that you want to raise rabbits.

Know What You Want

One of the hardest things about getting started in rabbitry is deciding what kind of bunnies to raise. There are 30-odd American breeds, so you'll have to do some research before you choose. Once you know what type you're interested in, study up on that variety until you can recite its characteristics in your sleep. (Also, be sure to check at your county courthouse or police station to discover whether keeping rabbits is against local zoning laws.)

Make sure the kind of bunny you decide on will be comfortable in your area's climate. Florida, for instance, might not be a cool place (ouch!) to raise woolly Angora rabbits. Find out if the breed you like is good for whatever use you'll want to put it to. Some types of bunnies, like Belgian hares, are suitable only for show. Others, like New Zealand Whites, are excellent for meat or show.

12/18/2012 12:13:52 AM

I enjoyed this article very much. I didn't know the 4H was for all ages; I'm going to check it out as something my son and I can do together.

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