Friday, September 23, 2016

Why We Raise Dutch Rabbits

There are a lot of different breeds of rabbits and many are good for meat production. We did a little research and tried an assortment before we finally chose to raise Dutch exclusively. Here's a look at what we found:

1. Dutch are the perfect size for our family of 2. 
  On average we get a 2 pound carcass when they are dressed at fryer age. The meat to bone ratio is really good. One fried rabbit is plenty for a meal. At this age a stewed rabbit will also make 2-3 good dinners (such as rabbit stew, noodles, pot pie, etc...) There is no need to continue to feed a grow-out past this point.

2. Dutch are cheap to feed.
  We buy a 50 pound bag of rabbit pellets about every 5-6 weeks but we never let the feed barrel go empty so I can't say exactly how much they eat. Every morning I grab a few hands full of hay left in the goat hay feeder (that would have ended up on the ground) and distribute it between the rabbit cages. I also supplement with some yard goodies- clover, plantain, dandelion, etc... This is all we need for the breeders (2 does, 1 buck) and the grow-outs.

3. Dutch are easy keepers
 By the second breeding a Dutch doe has usually got the mothering thing down. Except for the occasional loss from nest box escape, ours have done a really good job of raising offspring to the weaning stage with no help from me. We don't treat our rabbits like pets but none of the Dutch have ever shown any signs of aggression. 

Those are the main reasons we really like our Dutch rabbits. 

6 comments:

  1. Raising rabbits fo the table is something we have talked about, we were looking at Californian whites, might have a look at Dutch now, we are not ready for it yet perhaps in a year or two thanks for the info

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    1. You're welcome! I'll be looking forward to seeing your rabbits next year!

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  2. Gosh, I wish I had my spouse on board for developing this aspect of homesteading. He's not into the butchering thing and wasn't even able to cut a rooster's throat two years ago when we tried our hand at processing a few birds. How do you get past all of the "cute nose-twitching" to actually killing and processing a rabbit??????

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    1. That's an excellent question! In all openness, it was not an easy step for me and I couldn't even begin to share the full development in a comment. Look for a blog post about that soon!

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  3. We have just stopped keeping rabbits because we need to build better hutches for them. Our previous rabbits were more domestic in size, but still gave us good sized meat meals. I am not sure if we can get Dutch rabbits here in France, but will look out for them when we do keep rabbits again.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by! I'd love to see your hutches when they're finished!

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