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Raising Rabbits for Meat (PDF)
Rabbits are one of the most sustainable, nutritious, and economic meat sources available. They can easily be raised in a variety of locations and climates, and require less space and infrastructure than many other species of livestock.
Raising Rabbits for Meat is the how-to guide to help you succeed in starting and running a home rabbitry for a steady source of meat or income. Coverage includes:
- The history of the domestic rabbit
- Information on breeding, housing, and harvesting
- Tools to help you succeed with your program
- An emphasis on heritage breeds.
Raising Rabbits for Meat provides a solid foundation for success in raising rabbits and is ideal for anyone interesting in starting a small rabbitry for home use or to market rabbit meat as a business opportunity.
Eric and Callene Rapp have owned and operated the award-winning Rare Hare Barn since 2005, the largest heritage-breed meat-rabbit enterprise in the United States, supplying heritage breed fryers to local restaurants. They have over 50 years of combined experience handling nearly every species of domestic livestock, and are active members of The Livestock Conservancy. Callene is also a regular contributor to Grit Magazine. They live and farm in Leon, Kansas.
"As our culture moves toward more honest sources of meat, the rabbit continues to be one of the most efficient and nutritious options. Eric and Callene Rapp have a wealth of experience which they share in this detailed and personable guide. The Rapp's dedication to breed integrity and to rabbit health are exceptional, and this book will be essential for anyone interested in raising rabbits — from the homesteader to the commercial farmer."
Meredith Leigh, author, The Ethical Meat Handbook and Pure Charcuterie
"So you think you want to raise rabbits?!? Everything you need to know to do it successfully and enjoyably is contained in Raising Rabbits for Meat, co-authored by the most comprehensive rabbit-rearing couple of our time, Eric and Callene Rapp. Readers will not only receive information gleaned from decades of experience but they will become engrossed in the Rapps' engaging delivery. Raising Rabbits is destined to become the single authority on all aspects of creating and maintaining a successful meat rabbit business and should be on the bookshelf of every livestock farmer out there and those who aspire to raise rabbits, poultry, or other stock as a business."
Hank Will, Editorial Director, Ogden Publications
"You may have noticed that I've never written about raising rabbits. That's because it was a complete disaster when we tried — with three different breeds! If only I'd had this book back then, we might have been enjoying homegrown rabbit all these years. The Rapps tell you everything you need to know, from setting up your rabbitry to buying your first rabbits, and from breeding and kindling to harvesting."
Deborah Niemann, ThriftyHomesteader.com, author, Homegrown and Handmade, Ecothrifty, and Raising Goats Naturally
"Kudos for Raising Rabbits for Meat. It is a useful tool that is fully loaded with the knowledge that newcomers will need for success in building a rabbitry from the ground up. The common-sense practical advice coupled with the Rapp's notorious wit make the book a delightful read."
Jeannette Beranger, Senior Program Manager, The Livestock Conservancy
"Raising Rabbits for Meat is very well written and covers everything from having a plan when you start out; to housing, cages, feeding and watering; selecting breeding stock; kindling and processing, etc. Even after raising heritage breed rabbits for years there are still many ideas in the book that I can use to improve my management practices. I'm looking forward to adding it to my reference library."
Donald Richey, DVM, Columbia City, IN
"Rabbits have been considered pets by many over the last several decades, but their original purpose for human domestication was to provide a healthy meat source for a family in a minimal space. Since 2003 when they started The Rare Hare Barn rabbitry, Master Breeders Eric and Callene Rapp have collected vast amounts of knowledge about rabbit breeding and care. They have now created a go-to book of raising rabbits for meat: including the history, nutrition, care, harvest, and consumption. This is a comprehensive guide that is perfect for the beginner, but still useful for the experienced breeder."
Alicia Boor, Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Agent, Cottonwood District, K-State Research and Extension
"Well-organized and detailed, Raising Rabbits for Meat is an excellent resource for anyone considering meat rabbits as a family food source or farm enterprise. It will help you decide if raising meat rabbits is right for you, and how to manage every aspect of husbandry involved, including feeding, breeding, health, processing, and selling. Beginners and experienced rabbit-keepers will find plenty to learn and benefit from in Raising Rabbits for Meat."
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