I’ll be the first to own that rabbits have always struck me as rather dumb pet material. I’ve been around a few rabbits over the years and they were skitterish fur balls. (Obviously, I’ve never much liked them.)
Then my son married this sweet little gal and she served up rabbit for dinner one night. I didn’t want to offend the new DIL so I fiercely pretended I was eating chicken and managed to keep my face pleasant throughout the meal.
How could you eat the cute little bunnies?
Later I could admit it was a tasty meal, but rabbit? Are you kidding me? I may not like them, but I don’t eat them!
No Getting Away From It
Well, it wasn’t long before my husband and I were living on the family property and I had to come to terms with my bunny dilemma. I was avoiding rabbit dishes (something I could do at a family potluck) and getting suckered into holding cute little baby bunnies every time a litter arrived (who can resist them, honestly?).
About that time, I started giving more thought to the processing of meat. Somebody had to raise, butcher, and process it all. And, no, I’m not particularly happy about it, but it is a reality. Why was I being so squeamish about doing the work personally? (I’d also seen a deer, turkey, and cow being butchered by then.)
I think I had been just so far removed from how food is processed that it was a shock to me. I still wasn’t sure I wanted to eat rabbit, but it was becoming more normal and those who had done the butchering had done so humanely. I respected that.
So What’s a MIL to Do?
I did a little reading and found that rabbits have been food for much of history. My brain ticked that into place. So eating rabbit is not really that strange to many cultures of the world.
I did a bit more research and found that rabbit meat is amazingly lean and healthy (and the rabbits on the property were raised with good feed and all the grass they could eat). I was a bit bummed that the rabbits were butchered at 12-14 weeks, but most of the store-bought chicken I’ve eaten was butchered at about that age. The rabbits were well cared for, well feed, and led a predator-free life. (In the wild most average about a year because of disease, predators, and seasons of lack).
This article contains affiliate links. If you click and buy, I make a commission. My rabbits thank you for helping to pay for their bunny treats. ❤
OK, OK, I Give In
I was beginning to see the wisdom of growing our own sources of meat. I started eating bits of rabbit at family potlucks (I was actually queasy at first). I eventually talked to my sweetie about raising them. He was for it and would help with the butchering (our son had done all the butchering previously).
So I bought a doe.
I raised a few litters and learned to eat rabbit without freaking out. I still find someplace else to be when the guys are butchering, but I can do my part in raising rabbits for meat as part of our homesteading life.
Now don’t laugh at me, but I’ve actually come to like rabbits and see their little personalities. I even have one as a pet. Sheesh. I’ve gone over the edge.
At any rate, if you can learn to see rabbits as a part of the animals on your homestead, they can be a very good source of meat for your table.
Reasons to Raise Rabbits
Over the last few years of raising rabbits, I’ve come to appreciate what rabbits bring to the table (pun intended). Here are some of the plusses.
- rabbits are fairly easy to raise
- startup costs can be low
- low maintenance
- they don’t take up a huge amount of space
- you can feed naturally to cut feed costs
- good feed to meat ratio (and kits grow up fast!)
- you know what goes into the meat
- you can raise them ethically (give them a good life)
- they are quiet
- does can have several litters a year
- rabbits are relatively easy to butcher
- rabbit meat is healthy and tasty
- raising your own meat gives you some food security
- their poo is great fertilizer!
Related Reading: The Best Meat Rabbit Breed - Can you guess?
rabbit pot pie © David Fedulov / Unsplash
young kit © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead
store packaged meat © Daniel Albany / Pixabay
Newton © Lori / Dandelion Hill Homestead
Pinterest image / rabbit pot pie © David Fedulov / Unsplash