How To Breed Rabbits

A while back we got a female Rex-mix rabbit for free (pictured on the right). Rex’s are meat rabbits, though they aren’t the most desirable of the meat rabbit breeds. The plan was to breed her and start raising our own rabbits for meat. Fortunately for us, some good friends of ours have a gorgeous male rabbit perfect for the job! Not sure what breed he is, just that he was rescued from a meat rabbit farm where he was destined to be sent to a local upscale Italian restaurant. We’ve borrowed him this week to try to make some babies.

The experts recommend that you put the female into the male’s cage, not vice-versa. She will be more accepting of his advances in a different environment, and he won’t be distracted getting acquainted with new surroundings. Once the mating has happened, the doe will produce the eggs to be fertilized, so breeding can really be done at almost any time.

The first time they mated was Sept. 26th, so I’m gonna keep a close eye on her for the next month. Hopefully they made adequate contact! If so, in about 28-32 days we should expect some bunnies!

*Hope, hope, hope this worked!!*

Kendra
About Kendra 1117 Articles
A city girl learning to homestead on an acre of land in the country. Wife and homeschooling mother of four. Enjoying life, and everything that has to do with self sufficient living.

15 Comments

  1. My grandparents lived through the Great Depression;
    I remember watching my grandma make rabbit. She wasn’t big on sauces…she tended toward the more English type of cooking…but it was delicious.

    Grandpa would kill, dress and skin it; and gramma would let it sit overnight in the fridge. The next day, about an hour before supper time; she’d take each piece of rabbit and roll it into a flour mix (with salt and pepper. She would then brown it in whatever oil or drippings she had available. After that, she added water and covered it and let simmer until the water was a gravy.

    If the rabbit meat was tough, she’d add more water, and with the lid off; she’d let it simmer down to meat and gravy.

    Salt and pepper it. She’d serve this over rice or potatoes and salad.

    Save the hides to tan and sell or use. I’m glad I liked to help her in the kitchen…I learned more than I ever knew I would!

    Debbi

  2. Our family raises and shows rabbits. We raise several meat breeds and with having three teenage boys in our house it is a great thing that their favorite meat is rabbit meat!!! If your white buck has normal fur (as opposed to Rex fur) then he is a New Zealand. The second most desired meat breed. :o)

    We butcher at 10-12 weeks of age and that usually yield a 3 lb carcass – sometimes more. Rabbit meat has less fat than chicken on it and the meat itself is made up of shorter, denser fibers. So the texture is a little different than chicken, but not much. Because of than it is higher in protein and more filling. I cook it the same way that I cook any chicken dish. Choosing slow cooked dishes are best, due to the lack of fat. When we BBQ we use the indirect method and any oven dishes are cook slow at a lower temperature. I love to crock pot it with seasonings, de-bone and use in enchiladas, Chile Verde, etc.

    Enjoy!

  3. I wouldn’t quit my day job, but yes, there is definitely a market for Angora fiber, IF you have spinners in your area. Anything from zip-lock pint and quart bags of ‘wool’ right off the rabbit, to carded and processed into roving (the strips spinners spin) to yarn.

    Angoras take a bit of care and attention (no one is going to be interested in buying matted lumps of fiber) English take the most grooming – and they are not good for meat – but French and /or Giant might work well for you. Satin Angoras are dual purpose like French, but are rare and expensive.

    I haven’t tried marketing fiber yet, so I couldn’t give you ideas on prices. I have had my rabbits less than a year, but I have had some interest. I have several friends who do sell sheep’s fiber/roving/yarn, and a local fiber festival in the spring as a venue. I will spend my winter getting some of my angora wool ready to sell. I am a spinner, and like to blend it with some soft(Corriedale) sheep’s wool to give the yarn some elasticity and make it nicer to knit.

    Your blog, ETSY, and word of mouth could all help you sell your products.

    (oops – not Californian. I now think your buck is a New Zealand)

    Blessings-

  4. Jana,

    What breed do you raise? Email me, Please! We’re looking at raising rabbits to feed our family of ten, too, and could use good advice to get started. Do you have a website?

  5. I keep French Angoras for fiber. I don’t do the meat thing, even though FAs are a dual-purpose breed and I definitely know those who do.

    Could your buck be a Californian? He’s a real cutie. Since he was ‘rescued’ from a meat place, I hope he gets to live out his days making babies, and not end up in the freezer.

    Don’t forget the bunny poo is one of the best fertilizers around. A ‘cold’ manure that doesn’t have to be composted before going on the garden – and it comes in easy-to-use ‘pelleted’ form! ha-ha.

  6. Good luck Kendra but I just have to say something a little off topic here…

    Over the last few years as a first time dad I’ve found myself saying and hoping for some odd things. Many things I definitely never would have thought of growing up. This however was just one of those things that made me laugh “Hope, hope, hope this worked!!”. Did you ever think at any point in the past that you would be hoping your rabbit was knocked up and going to have babies 🙂

    Just a random thought for tonight. Have a great night…

    • LOL, you’re right Richard. I’ve said a whole lot of things over the past two years that I never in my wildest dreams thought I’d be saying. Like, “Let’s get a pig!” and “Let’s have a baby at home!” Some things worked out better than others 😉

  7. Im terrible with recipes, I don’t measure, just throw it together but you can use rabbit in any chicken dish…even can it..don’t be afraid to experiment, your a real pioneer now. Get a hand meat grinder for any of your older laying hens or rabbits and make ground meats for sauces…any tough meat for that matter..Don’t wait till times get tougher, that’s a terrible time experiment! Do it now…I remember when we were getting prepared for Y2K (remember that?) and bought all the wheat and grinders and books…well we live on that stuff comfortably now and it took a long time to get it right! Its a science that takes years of trial and error (lots of error) but keep at it Kendra! You can do it!

  8. Great article Kendra!

    We have been raising meat rabbits for our table for many years, our elevation and cool temperatures are helpful. We cook rabbit on the BBQ, in the dutch oven, even as stir fry..I have found that butchering the day prior to cooking produces very tender meat, but cooking immediately after butchering they tend to be stringy and tough, no matter the age. I would like to see more rabbit served, it is a very healthy meat and so much easier to butcher than chickens, but so many people have a problem eating Thumper…We keep 8 does and two bucks for breeding and breed them every 9 weeks during the summer, and they feed our family of 10 very well…

  9. We have had 2 litters of babies from our rabbit. She actually escaped from her hutch and found a stray/wild suitor. She had 9 the first time, but they all died. She didn’t have a clue of what to do. My husband removed the last bunny and forgot to lock the door…she escaped again that night and I found her before church in the barn running around. 28 days later, we had 9 more babies. This time she raised 3. I gave 2 of them away and still have one. To add to our rabbit experience, we had another girl rabbit to put in with her to keep her company. She wound up being a he, so we are expecting again. I bought a dressed rabbit but I don’t know what is the best way to fix it. Any ideas or suggestions?

    • That’s really interesting Cathy. I’ve read that domesticated rabbits can’t breed with wild rabbits ’cause they have different chromosomes (I think?) and the babies will die. I wonder if that’s what happened to yours. Wow, sounds like she is determined to have babies!! You know, I’ve never eaten rabbit (so far), so I really can’t offer any advice on recipes. My husband fried the legs of one he shot once, and ate it like fried chicken.

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