Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

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Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by jjstyle on Thu Feb 15, 2018 12:06 pm

Hey everyone!

So I have been experimenting with rabbits for about a year now. My vision and goal has been to raise them in a natural way and environment.
What I did was I build several 4'x2' hutches and set up large pens on grass and moved the rabbits as needed to keep them on fresh grass.
I fed them with redmills commercial rabbit pellets, plenty of fresh water.
The we fed hay and fresh veg from our garden.

I had no issues with them burrowing to escape as they we content with the big pen and were fine as long as they had fresh grass.
I had no issues with disease or infections, predators, none of that was an issue.

What I have painfully learned is that some of the rabbits that I bought did not do well under these conditions.
from my best guess is that they have been bred and house in such a way that they had little to no immune system.
I did notice that as the baby's were born and kept in this set up the adapted just fine.
I lost 6 rabbits that I had bought over the past year.

Going forward I'm going to mainly keep the rabbits I buy in larger indoor cages and on good weather days I will give them a run for a few hours.

I'm going to focus this year on breeding, I have two does left and I believe at least one is pregnant at the moment.

If anyone has New Zealand Whites or Californian or a mix of either then get in contact if you would like to sell or exchange.

There are so few of these breeds I can find in Ireland so it would be great if we could set up our own connections.

Regards

JJ

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Drowned_pig on Sun Apr 15, 2018 10:19 am

Very interesting JJ we haven’t ventured into rabbit meat myself due to bad memories of an appalling rabbit stew my mum once cooked for my father
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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Sun Apr 15, 2018 3:35 pm

Although being partial to rabbit pie, rabbit stew and roast rabbit, I have never kept rabbits as I keep myself well-supplied with the wild variety. But a neighbour of mine went in for rabbit breeding one time and he wouldn't allow anyone into the shed he kept them in unless they were dressed in special overalls and disinfected their boots etc. I think he kept at it for about twelve months and then he packed it in.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from trying it and, if the venture be handed over to a child, it's probably a very good way of teaching him or her responsibility and respect for farm animals.
As for myself, a stroll across the woods and fields on a Friday evening with the old double-barrell gives me enough rabbit dinners for a week or two!

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Guest on Mon Apr 16, 2018 9:54 am

We have kept Rabbits off and on over the years and will do it again. If there was plenty of the wild ones around I would not bother of course, but they are few and far between. What makes keeping Rabbits an ideal proposition for the budding self suporter is that they are easy to keep, take up next to no space, breed freely, feed can be easily gleaned from the wild, the pelts can be useful, the meat is high in protein and low in fat, and more healthy meat can be produced in a given area than any other stock animal. So many good reasons if only a back garden is available, as was our case for a while.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by jjstyle on Mon Apr 16, 2018 4:51 pm

My new approach keeping rabbits seems to be working so far. I have 2 pregnant Does at the moment, one will be giving birth any day now and the other is about 8 days behind her.

Hopefully I'll be filling my freezer and belly with some good quality meat soon.

If only we had wild rabbits I'd go the route of hunting but I have seen 1 wild rabbit in the past 2 years we have lived here.

I'll keep you all updated when the kits are born.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Torc on Sun Jun 10, 2018 8:09 pm

We have a major infestation of rabbits just like the one in that Wallace and Grommit film. The boreen has several suicidal ones sitting in the tyre tracks and they have moved in around the house and garden. If I walk once around the house I will see at least a half dozen.

I am unarmed but will soon be putting up notices looking for hired guns to come and blast the critters. Apart from foxes, what natural preditors do rabbits have? I was hoping that their natural predators would come and take advantage of this food bounty. I see the occasional fox but wonder if there is a bird, such as a kestrel, that might be encouraged to come live here.

All advice welcome.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Guest on Sun Jun 10, 2018 9:08 pm

Do you have Buzzards? They keep our local rabbits in check. It sounds like you need more than natural predation. Do any of the young lads keep Ferrets any more? Great craic ferreting.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Torc on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:36 am

No buzzards. I just had a look at the Birdwatch Ireland website and Co Clare seems to be a buzzard-free zone.

Unless 'ferreting' is an app, the young lads would not have heard of it; it's a different world now.

There are many 'new Irish' living in the nearest town and I imagine some of them may have the skills of trapping and cleaning rabbit. I might try and have a chat with some of them. Also, I am putting the word around to see if there is a gun club that might organise a shoot.

My last resort is to invite any gun owners on this site to come for a day's shooting - I'll supply the coffee and the sandwiches.

I fear that if steps aren't taken, some land owner will resort to poison and destroy the place.

Last queston; is there any government or local council agency that would be able to help?

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by marlin vs on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:46 am

I keep them in check for the local golf course and also the local sports complex and supply a lot of my friends and a Chinese man that will take all the game and rabbit I can give him, several times he has cooked them up for myself and a couple of my shooting buddies but in my opinion all you taste is the sauces and no real taste of the rabbit,this was yesterday bounty.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by marlin vs on Mon Jun 11, 2018 9:47 am

Where abouts to you live?
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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Torc on Thu Jun 14, 2018 1:41 pm

The wild west.

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by Sean Ph'lib on Fri Jun 15, 2018 4:32 pm

Torc wrote:The wild west.
Are you talkin' Oklahoma?

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Re: Meat Rabbits, What I've learned.

Post by marlin vs on Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:36 am

Torc wrote:The wild west.
Sorry but too far to help you out.


Last edited by marlin vs on Tue Jun 19, 2018 9:37 am; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Wrong spelling.)
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