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Introduction to keeping rabbits for meat

 Rabbit is a big part of spanish cuisine. It is put in Paella and various other dishes. For what meat you get when you buy a rabbit here it is quite expensive but we both have fond childhood memories of eating it and absolutely love it in Paella.

We have only had the rabbits for about 1 month, they are very easy to keep and feed and they are also getting quite friendly with us. All the information that I have found about feeding rabbits is different. Some say yes feed them vegetables and others say not to as it can harm them. In our eyes, wild rabbits eat anything vegetable they can get their mouths on, so why say they are bad for domesticated breeds? We feed our rabbits on basic pellets and supplement this with the odd carrot, cabbage leaf or salad stuff. They love it!

Rabbit housing

Kev built 2 cages with sleeping compartments using palletes and wire netting. We want to be able to let them have a run outside so he is going to build a run out on the land that is moveable. It will have a wired base to stop them digging their way out, and be partially covered at the top to give them shade. We will only be putting the rabbits together when we want them to mate. At all other times they will be seperate.

The idea of getting a pair is to mate them and produce baby bunnies. These will be the ones that we slaughter and eat. Hopefully they will do us proud as we have already had people asking if they can buy them from us.

November 2012

Today we put the rabbits in a run together...again. Supposedly they are very easy to breed but we have had no luck as yet. They seem to be enjoying each others company (so to speak) but the female just isn´t getting pregnant. We think that this time of the year is too cold...perhaps it is out of season for them. But we will keep trying.
As you can see from the photo they have enough grass and weeds to go at. We are hoping that we can use them to help keep the weeds down as the run is moveable. This will save us money as I will not have to use the strimmer as much and we won´t have to give the rabbits as much food.
Eventually we will build them a proper run so that they can be out most of the time without us having to take them to it.  They seem to have really enjoyed being able to run around and eat the grass.

June 2014

This video shows our kits born this year in their new warren. It took us about 3 days to build this run for them. We wanted to make it as natural as we could. For the tunnels we used old bits of water pipe and put them into 25 litre plastic containers. We have linked them and then buried them so that the kits can run underground from one to another. As we have had no rain this year yet...nothing is growing in the run but we aim to place a range of plants and herbs to allow the bunnies to browse as they would in the wild. What do you think? Leave us a comment, we would love to hear your thoughts.

 Rabbit update Jan 2014

Wow so much happened for the rabbits in 2013. We decided that the run you see above was not really practical for our way of life. So with some visitors help we built 2 permanent runs for Stew and Dumpling. They have an open hutch with a sleeping compartment but the best thing is they can go in and out as they please. 

In July 2013 Dumpling finally gave birth to 7 little kits!!!!! We had a massive problem with one of the cockerels flying into Dumplings run. Unfortunately he managed to kill 5 of the little kits within the first 3 days. Hence he is no longer with us!

The two remaining kits grew strong and healthy. They were both escape artists and we very often found them running around the land playing with the ducks and chickens. We must admit to being surprised that they didn't run off but every night they would be back in the run with Stew.

Stews run is smaller than Dumplings and with 3 rabbits in there it was getting a little crowded. We also wanted to have a go at building a little warren, to make their life a little more natural.

When we had visitors in September the run was built. We used a plastic container and pipe to make the warren nest and just covered it with soil. 

We are hoping this year to develop this idea and make the same for Stew and Dumpling. The kits, now fully grown seem to love it and snuggle down together in there to sleep.

We now need to build a 4th run to be able to separate the young bunnies and start breeding from them too.

We think that this year we should be able to provide ourselves with lots of rabbit for the table.

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