Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

“Start Up Cost and Break Down: Raising Rabbits For Meat”

First snow with our Rabbits.

Start Up Cost: (Housing, Food, Animals, Misc.)

So, obviously because we had never done this before, there was a “start up” cost to get the items needed to begin raising our Rabbits. Building the hutches, getting the feeders/waterers, making the nesting boxes, and getting a small animal tattoo kit (for the pedigreed rabbits)— that all cost us around $520 total. My first “Rabbit Hutch Post” has a cost breakdown and a supply list, if you are also looking at building your own hutch! (We did 2 hutches, but they have slight differences when compared to each other. They can both be found in the Rabbitry section or in Archives). The 5 Rabbits themselves (3 does, 2 bucks) cost a total of $395.

However, please note, pricing for the actual animal can change with different locations, breeds, breeders, etc. A lot can vary with that. I did still want to add it though, so you can see the exact cost breakdown of our Rabbitry’s start. We also have all of our Rabbits pedigreed. That can too, change the pricing.

We have this book- good info for beginners!

Food Cost, Per Year: (Hay, Pellets)

Per year with 5 Rabbits (including the 3-6 months we will have kits during a year) it costs us about $340 dollars for their hay and pellets. The way we have it worked out is, we sell the litters from one doe, while the other 2 does litters we keep for meat purposes. Out of the 3 does we have, selling 1 or 2 litters from the one, a year, (with an [rough] average of 6-8 kits a litter) we will hopefully be making the money back to pay for all their feed costs! Making it so the rabbits essentially pay for themselves.

Doing it this way, will also be more efficient for our current amount of space! Right now, we don’t have enough room to have more than 2 litters going to the freezer at a time, so we had to plan it out carefully. This feed cost, does not include all the scraps from garden, and the pasture time we hope and plan to give them during the Spring and Summer. So with that in mind, I’m interested to see how this may change (or not change) our feed costs at the end of this year.

Our buck, Blackie (one of two).

In total, we did everything at about $860, not including the $395 it cost to buy our specific Rabbits ($1,255 to be exact with that).The only yearly cost will be on the feed, which is the $340, but again, should be made back and paid through selling a litter (or about 6 rabbits a year).

How Much Meat Will We Be Getting?

We are a family of 3, with #4 coming in a few months for reference. On average, does can have 6-8 (although some can have up to 14!) kits per litter. For our current size family and space, we will breed them anywhere around 2-3 times a year— depending on health, and quantity of course. The rabbits will give (an average) about 4lbs of meat, per rabbit. We will be getting, hopefully, around 96-128 lbs of meat per year from our litters.

This for us, means we will not have to spend as much money on our chicken meat, because we will be trading our chicken, for rabbit meat this year! I will update you on this and if we even saved money with that, at the end of 2022. We still plan to eat chicken meat, as we do still like it, but I want to try the trade off this year to see how it goes for us and to see if we can save any money at all, by doing so.

Also a good book! Has some different housing designs as well!

Breeding Begins Now!

We bred all 3 does today (January 7th) to get some litters in February. This breeding is mainly as a “trial run” to see how they all do! We are hoping for healthy rabbits; the does and their litters! Two pairings were switched, since my last posted update, as well. I had one doe who (on her 2nd time now) seemingly hated being bred with our solid black buck, so I decided to try switching bucks, and it worked! She was still not in love with the process, but was much calmer! I had 3 “fall offs” with everyone so I’m hopeful for good results.

Pairings:

  1. Solid chocolate buck x Broken castor doe #1
  2. Solid black buck x Broken castor doe #2
  3. Solid black buck x Blue otter doe

We have decided to wait for the second round of litters to process any of them for our meat, as well. That way we can get a good handle on the first time breeding and litters. If everything goes smoothly, the next round of litters should be around June sometime!

Updates to come! February 7th is the due date!

Blog, Evergreen Rabbitry

“New Experiences In A Beginning Rabbitry: Real vs False Pregnancies”

Flopsy, and Cottontail. 2 of 3 breeder does.

Although we have researched a ton about (Standard Rex) Rabbits and how to care for them, what to expect when breeding, and all of those things. We still don’t have much experience with it! We’ve only been at it since this last June, so in total, about 5 months. If you have followed along, you probably expected (as did I) baby Rabbit pictures everywhere, around the 20th of September! Unfortunately, baby Rabbits never came.

First Breeding: Expected Litter

We decided to do one breeding with 2 of our 3 breeding does in August, to get September kits, just before it got super cold out. All precautions were taken, as they bred for the first time— both the buck and the doe’s first time! That went smoothly, he fell off quite dramatically, twice! I took that as a good sign, and expected a litter in 31 days. We bought a Rabbit the very same day, who also got bred (at the breeder’s) for the first time as well. The breeder had said, the doe never lifted her tail, but there was still a chance she could be expecting. I originally didn’t expect her to be, but both Rabbits started acting different around half way through. I got high hopes there would be 2 litters, for sure.

I saw them looking a bit bigger, acting different (affection wise), eating different amounts of hay and pellets, and drinking more water. So, I became hopeful that both breedings had turned out successful! The day before the due date, one doe pulled just the smallest amount of hair, but enough to see tufts of hair, in the hutch. I figured she was in the process of doing such, and I had just interrupted it. The due date came and went, and still no good reaction to the nest boxes and no hair pulling, any further. I am assuming, after thinking on it, that the doe who pulled hair, had a false pregnancy. She did just move to a new place, around different bucks and such, so that makes sense. Where as the other doe, wasn’t showing any signs at all really. I think, she never showed signs and I was just hopeful for her to be, and that was all.

 I never knew how difficult it would be to identify a true pregnancy, from a false pregnancy! Or how to tell if that’s even what happened, with them.

Probably going to get this, for some of our messier Rabbits!

Waiting Until Spring: More Hopeful

Now, I have decided that since they both did not take, and it is now Fall,  I will try again in the spring time, hoping they will be more willing to try again! I’m starting to think its better this way, as there were a few times, one of my does escaped! I had to fix and tighten, a couple things on the hutches. I will just continue preparing our set up, for the baby Rabbits, this Spring. We cannot wait to have them, and gain that experience! I’m sure once we have a few litters, it will be much easier to tell the difference between a true and false pregnancy, in the does that I have. Once we get into the swing of things, I may try to breed them through Fall/Winter, but that all depends on how it goes, and how my Rabbits handle their pregnancies!

Rehoming a buck:

Tyrell, is one of our breeder bucks. You may have heard of him, if you have followed along on our social media page, or I’m sure I’ve mentioned him on one of these Rabbitry posts. We bought him a couple months ago, now. He is a 1yr old Blue Rex Buck. His previous owner, was going away and had to get rid of her Rabbits. So, I saw his picture, he looked healthy, and we decided to buy him! However, as we are still very new to this, we are still learning what to look for, quality wise, in the Rabbits we get. So, we brought him home, and looked at him, compared to our other Buck and we just aren’t sure if we want to breed him for our Rabbitry. 

Like I stated previously, we are fairly new to this, and are still learning what to look for. We want the absolute best quality, considering we will be selling to people. He is a great tempered buck, nice coat of fur, but for a breeding buck we aren’t too sure, and that’s what we needed him for. He just doesn’t fit our personal standards, so far. In our Rabbitry, we got Rex Rabbits for being, versatile. He just doesn’t seem very versatile (as in being for meat rabbit and pelts, garden fertilizer, show rabbit, etc).

Tyrell.

With that being said, we have decided to try and re-home him, to someone who can get better use of him. With us, we need any room we can get and we cannot afford to have a buck who does not breed for us, currently. We are planning to do meat in the future, but not at this moment in time, as I know most people just cull the unwanted Rabbits they have. We just couldn’t with him, and not knowing really, where he came from at a year old now we didn’t feel comfortable, with that option. That is why we have chosen the route, of rehoming. 

We have yet to find him a home, but we sure hope someone pops up soon! because he sure is a great buck, and we need to get a new breeding buck soon, for our Rabbitry.

That is all the news, and updates for us right now. Wish it could have been more exciting, and had tiny little rabbit pictures, but its where we are with that! Was it hard for you, to distinguish the difference between true and false pregnancies, in your does when you first started out?