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Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 542
Vegetarians/Vegans read no further.

Everyone else, do you know anyone who is doing rabbit for meat on a small scale? If so, please post or email me. I've designed rabbits into my permaculture plan but would love to talk to someone who is actually doing it. The Solviva book got me going on it again....Chickens for eggs are first but want to start preparing for rabbits as well.

A former member
Post #: 188
I plan for rabbits as well. They are a great joy to have and an excellent and easy source of meat. On the other hand, they are so sweet and gentle that it is very difficult to kill them. I became too close to the first litter my New Zealand white, Mary, had and had to give them away instead of eating them.

I have been watching for cages, but I think I'm going to have to make my own since most cages for sale are so small. There's another problem - don't ever take them out to play with them in the grass because when you see them suddenly realize that they can run and jump it will break your heart to put them back in the cage, and it will break their heart as well.

There is a way to cage them in a pen outdoors in a way that they could have a more natural way of life. I've never seen it done and don't know if it would work, but I have the site bookmarked and will look for it. I would like to try it one day but will have to start with large cages.

Lisa, have you decided what breed you will get? I enjoy having babies of different colors and have bookmarked a site on that as well. http://www.permacultu...­ I haven't seen any Satins advertised and it may be hard to find them.

A good doe is important and I really lucked out with Mary. She had more than 10 per liter and took good care of them Once we had a late spring cold spell that came after she had pulled the nest apart to keep the babies from getting too hot, so she needed to pull fur again to make the nest warm and cozy. She pulled so much fur that you could see her pink wrinkled skin! She also accepted babies from other's litters and I watched as she would let the orphans nurse longer if they were younger than her own.
David S.
Washington, ME
Post #: 245
If it is any consolation, rabbits do not live a long time. I think a spayed rabbit will live 8-10 years but often they live less than five dying suddenly of heart attack. Having had a house rabbit in the past, I would never do it again. It liked eating through sheet rock and hiding in the wall. I had rabbits when I was growing up. They aren't great pets. Sometimes they are sort of friendly but may bite unexpectedly.


I have been thinking about getting some type of pigeons. I had racing pigeons and other breeds until my twenties. In spite of the bad rap they get as "rats with feathers", it really isn't true. They don't stink the way chickens do and are much easier to clean up after and maintain. You can let them out and watch them fly all year round. They can free range a bit. The meat is excellent. If you get kings or runts, they are larger than a cornish hen. Racing pigeons are 50% larger than a street pigeon. Rollers do aerial acrobatics. There are several hundred domestic breeds. One pair of pigeons can reasonably produce 6-8 birds a year (or more). Two birds every 4-5 weeks. They aren't that cheap to feed but then what is these days. I know a guy who has them in town and he explained to me how he feeds them relatively inexpensively.


A former member
Post #: 110
Hi Lisa,
I know you already know this but with both the Common Ground and Cumberland fairs coming up, there ought to be 4-H ers etc. who could give you ideas and support and you might even find someone in your area who is willing to be your 'mentor' who will come to your house and help you when it's time to slaughter until you feel comfortable with it. We once had a house bunny that stayed in a small pen that we got at the Cumberland fair. Years later, I said to myself 'never again' but having them in a greenhouse for heat and for food is a different thing. I know someone in Freeport whose son raised them outside in a warren where they could dig and burrow (to a point) and if that's the set up you have in mind, I could hook you up with her. I don't think she slaughtered them though.

Ted M.
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 106

You know, your question got me to wondering whether there is an alternative to rabbit for meat, and I think I found one - the Andean Cuy, aka the Cavy, aka the Guinea Pig. I know, they're great pets and cute as all getout, but historically they've been raised as food in the Andes regions of South America.

This from Wikipedia:

Guinea pigs (called cuy, cuye, curí) were originally domesticated for their meat in the Andes. Traditionally, the animal was usually reserved for ceremonial meals by indigenous people in the Andean highlands, but since the 1960s it has become more socially acceptable for consumption by all people.[126] It continues to be a major part of the diet in Peru and Bolivia, particularly in the Andes Mountains highlands; it is also eaten in some areas of Ecuador (mainly in the Sierra) and Colombia.[127] Because guinea pigs require much less room than traditional livestock and reproduce extremely quickly, they are a more profitable source of food and income than many traditional stock animals, such as pigs and cows;[128] moreover, they can be raised in an urban environment. Both rural and urban families raise guinea pigs for supplementary income, and the animals are commonly bought and sold at local markets and large-scale municipal fairs.[129] Guinea pig meat is high in protein and low in fat and cholesterol, and is described as being similar to rabbit and the dark meat of chicken.[2][130] The animal may be served fried (chactado or frito), broiled (asado), or roasted (al horno), and in urban restaurants may also be served in a casserole or a fricassee.[131] Ecuadorians commonly consume sopa or locro de cuy, a soup dish.[131] Pachamanca or huatia, a process similar to barbecueing, is also popular, and is usually served with corn beer (chicha) in traditional settings.[131]

We've had several Guinea Pigs as pets and I can attest to their docility and relative hardiness. Not sure how they'd do outside in Maine, but if they're native to the Andes mountains...
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