Why raising rabbits is a worthwhile venture
Some people are very negative about raising rabbits while others are enthusiastic. It is true raising
rabbits is not for everyone. But I feel raising rabbits lies in the interest, real desire, sincere joy at farming and animal husbandry, willingness to work hard, and finally determination to hang in there until it pays off.
Rabbits have a number of valuable advantages that make their production quite inviting. One doe can produce 4-6 litters of 6-8 young each per year. That means one doe can easily give you 25 or more offspring per year. Multiply that number by the number of does you may have to arrive at your annual production given proper husbandry and management practices. Multiply this number then by 1 or 2 kilograms and you see the potential of meat production in rabbits.
Rabbits consume large amounts of forage - greens of many types - which people do not eat. They convert this forage into meat which people do eat. Anyone with fields or a garden will have maize stalks, sweet potato vines, fruit peelings, peanut vines, cabbage or lettuce leaves, carrot tops or any number of other greens in addition to lots of wild plants and kitchen garbage on which rabbits thrive. Many of these greens would otherwise go to waste. They would need, however, a bit of grain each day.
These animals produce a highly acceptable, very nutritious meat. When slaughtered, they give meat for a family-size meal. They are easy to prepare in a number of ways. The pelts can be used for clothing, hats, to cover bicycle seats, etc. and their use could spark a village industry/crafts project.
To start a rabbit project one does not need a large initial investment. One can begin with home-built hutches and 1or 2 does plus the breeding buck which all together represent a small outlay of cash. They respond well to good management but are surprisingly forgiving of poorer management. They give good returns for the inputs invested. Any size of project can be profitable depending upon the resources of time, money and materials the individual rabbit farmer may have.
Rabbit raising makes an excellent family enterprise. Children in the family learn about life, production, the joy and value of hard work, and cooperation in caring for their rabbits. My three children each owns one doe in our family rabbitry and are saving money for college with the returns from their doe's offspring. They are learning about the possibilities and joy of working in harmony with God and His creation to increase food production.
Rabbits fit well into a balanced farming scheme. Their manure is very valuable for vegetable gardening to fertilize the soil. Unlike poultry manure, it will not burn the plants and can be applied directly to the plant or its roots. Excess and waste from the vegetable gardening project goes to feed the rabbits, setting up a profitable cycle and aiding the balance of nature.
A rabbit farm takes little space. Rabbit production is very adaptable. The farmer can be as intensive or extensive as his condition, materials, possibilities and wishes dictate.