Rabbits can be the best prepper livestock if you live in the city where "livestock" like chickens or goats are prohibited but "pets" are allowed. Rabbits are good breeders and vegetarians eating grasses, plants, and hay. They produce some of the cleanest, healthiest meat (white) there is. Many rabbits can be raised in open bottomed pens and pastured to get their own natural food (grass). The most common rabbit breed used for meat production are New Zealand whites. Some of our links below talk about other breeds.
In our Prepper Handbook sustainable food plan chapter, three doe rabbits and one buck will feed us 4 pounds of lean healthy white meat every week or 208 lbs per year. Four weeks after mating, rabbits give birth to about 5 to 8 kits, which can be processed for eating in about 8 – 10 weeks.
Ideally you would stagger breeding the does about 4 weeks apart which provides a steady supply of young tender rabbit for eating. Two does and a buck, fed commercial food, can raise 180lbs / year of meat; I would figure about half to 2/3 of that for free range rabbits.
In the wild, there can be up to 3 to 5 rabbits per acre. However, I estimate that a fertile one acre pasture with good grass and strips of sorghum planted about 20' apart could sustain up to 10 rabbits. Some of the sorghum would need to be harvested in the summer and saved for winter.
We could raise 5-8 rabbits from 1 buck and 1 doe on 1 acre every 12 - 14 weeks and eat a 4 lb rabbit every second or third week. This would be your best place to start after you had a few chickens. and Basic Preparations in place.
Add a second doe and a second acre to raise 10 to 16 rabbits every 12 - 14 weeks to eat a rabbit almost every week.
Add a third doe and a third acre to raise 15- 24 kits with 4 breeding rabbits (28 total) to eat a rabbit or more every week. Any extra rabbits will be great for barter.
The important thing is to get started now; don't wait!
Blog Table of Contents
Mother Earth News on Raising Rabbits
Raising Rabbits on pasture
Omlet - source for rabbits and more
Complete Sustainable Living Plan
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