In this post, I wanted to share why rabbits should be your top homestead animal. If you’re dreaming about homesteading, or you’re already into self-sufficiency then you should consider keeping rabbits! Rabbits have so many positive attributes on the homestead. Let’s see if I can convince you to add them to your homestead!
Why Rabbits Should Be Your Top Homestead Animal
You don’t have to have a lot of acreage to raise rabbits! No need for sprawling pastures for these little guys like you would need for cows. Rabbits fit neatly into a corner of your property in relatively small hutches. You do want to provide them with enough space in their cages to hop around, stand up, and keep out of the rain though.
These furry friends don’t eat very much when you compare them to a few other homestead animals. Pigs eat a crazy amount of food! Not rabbits! A bag of rabbit pellets can last you for a long long time. This is because you can supplement their feed with things like grass clippings, as long as you grow a diverse variety of greens in your grass. As in, you don’t have an HOA approved lawn. 😉 Rabbits can also have a few treats from time to time. Things like kale, apples, and lettuce can be given as a treat once in a while. Make sure your rabbits always have access to hay, which is really just dried grass. And of course, they need a source of fresh water available all the time!
Feed to Meat Ratio
Rabbits are excellent at converting the little feed they eat into meat. In fact, they are THE BEST at this task when compared to other homestead animals like cows and pigs.
The furry coats rabbits wear make them an excellent choice for northern homesteaders. Their fur makes them extremely winter hearty. They don’t require any heat source in the winter, not even here in Canada! If you live in a warmer climate you’ll want to be careful that your rabbits don’t overheat in warm temps. Some people like to freeze water bottles and then put one in for their rabbits to lay up against to keep cool. Alternatively, in the winter months, rabbits like to drink warm water in their bowls. Like drinking a tea! This will help keep their water from freezing as well.
One of my most favourite qualities of rabbits is that they are very good at self-sustaining their population. Too good, if you don’t watch it! Rabbits don’t require you to purchase new chicks from the store as meat chickens do. They don’t have heat cycles that are spaced out by weeks or months either. Their heat cycles are very quick! Mama rabbits are so amazing because they will nurse their babies for 6 weeks! This means that you don’t have to keep watch over little ones as closely as you would chicks. Of course, the kits will start to eat mama’s pellets once they begin to hop and discover the pellet bin, but they will also continue to nurse.
Poop! I mean GOLD! The manure rabbits create is like garden gold! Unlike other manures, rabbit manure is not “hot” and it can be applied directly to your garden without needing to be aged or composted. And boy will it make your garden grow! Rabbit manure is a gardener’s friend!
If all of these other benefits weren’t convincing enough, rabbits are THE cutest homestead animal you can own. Okay, Highland cows and lambs are pretty high up there. But rabbits are way cuter than turkeys or pigs, especially as babies.
So what are you waiting for!? Go get some rabbits to add to your homestead!