More and more urban homesteaders are getting curious about raising rabbits. It is often times the ultimate goal to become more self sufficient and rabbits can help with that. In fact they may be one of the easiest and best ways to help you further your self sufficient homestead goals. How so? Why rabbits?
Well there are a few reasons why someone might choose to introduce rabbits to the homestead…besides the cute factor. I have a few rabbits myself… giant chinchilla rabbits and red new zealand rabbits. We love having them and the new zealand’s we have had since they were itty bitty so they are very much socialized and willing to cuddle up during some Netflix binge sessions. But I digress…why rabbits?
Rabbits produce some of the very best manure a gardener could ever ask for. It is GOLD I tell you and all gardeners need manure for their compost. Your family can have some adorable pets and they poop out the best garden fertilizer. It might sound crazy to raise animals for their poop but if you are a serious gardener and homesteader then you know the value of good manure. Compost or use it directly, it doesn’t even need to be aged. Fresh rabbit manure is higher in nitrogen than chicken, cow, horse, pig, sheep or goat manure. If you want compost tea you can make that easily by soaking the pellets in a couple gallons of water, its perfect for houseplants and for flowers, like roses.
It is also cost effective. You can buy a 50lb bag of food pellets at a tractor supply store for $7-8 and you can grow your own fodder as well. We grow grass from wheat seeds and we regrow scraps such as carrot tops and lettuce for the greens. They also like fruit scraps.
Many folks can’t have cows, pigs, or goats on their property. In urban areas it is not uncommon for these types of animals to be forbidden. That leaves some other options such as ducks, chickens, quail, or rabbits. The fastest meat production comes with rabbits and most will raise chickens for the eggs, not their meat. Rabbit is a tasty, nutritious, lean protein source. All parts can be used as well if you have dogs and like to feed them raw foods. If you have a couple does and a buck you can provide your homestead with a good supply of meat all year. Taking control of your meat production is a wonderful thing and cattle farming might not be an option. Look into rabbits if you want your own meat source.
If meat rabbits are not your thing maybe you want some lovely angora rabbits for their luscious wool. Spinners and crafty types would surely not pass up a home grown wool source! Angoras are gentle and seem to love all the attention they get from grooming and the harvesting process is completely painless. You also get all that poop for the garden!
Creative kids might also like to have them as pets and make some money off of them…ie the manure, wool, etc. There are so many reasons to embrace rabbits and bring bunnies to the homestead this year!