For the sake of discussion let’s say that some kind of SHTF situation occurred. Whether it is widespread civil unrest, nuclear war, financial collapse,,, something has happened to disrupt food shipments as well as infrastructure.
How do you plan on providing fresh vegetables, fruit and meat for your family? In other articles we have discussed gardening, beans, squash, potatoes and chickens (only to mention a few topics we have discussed). So lets talk about rabbits for a little bit.
- Easy to raise
- Eat a variety of grass
- Reproduce like crazy,,, well, they reproduce like rabbits
- Easy to butcher
- Easy to cook
- Do not require a lot of space
- Do not make a lot of noise
- Large enough to feed a small family
- Manure makes excellent fertilizer
In the late 1980s my first wife and I got some rabbits from a guy in Orange, Texas. Unlike the New Zealand white rabbit and the California white rabbit (Californian rabbit ), my first rabbits were no-name breeds. They were just something for the kids to pet. My job required a lot of overtime, as in I worked 50 – 80 hours a week for a month – 6 weeks without a day off. I did not have enough time to take care of the rabbits with so little time off, so my wife and I sold them.
Around 1992 or 1993 a few buddies of mine and I spent a weekend at the hunting camp. We took our shotguns out to a field, flushed out a rabbit, along with some squirrels that were harvested that same day, potatoes, a few other things we had around the camp and we had a stew for dinner. 20 years later and I still remember that stew like it was just a few weeks ago. The amount of time and energy expended hunting rabbits would be self-defeating post SHTF. Why hunt rabbits when they can be raised and ready to be butchered at anytime?
Starting with Rabbits
Since I have not had rabbits in over a decade, I am going to start over as if this is a new project.
Easter rolled around and there just happened to be a guy selling “Easter rabbits” in a parking lot next to the local walmart. After my wife, my daughter and I finished shopping we stopped by to look at the bunnies. There were two bunnies left, so we bought the last two. My wife and my daughter both wanted a bunny, so they both got one. The rabbits were 6 weeks old when we bought them.
The seller said the rabbits are the Californian rabbit breed. I did not intend to start out with a couple of California white rabbits, that is just the way things worked out.
After buying the two rabbits my wife, my daughter and I went to Tractor Supply in Jasper Texas. Tractor Supply just happened to have some rabbit starter kits with cage, water bottle, rabbit food, bag of hay,,, and a few other items. Funny how that worked out, Tractor Supply had rabbit starter kits on Easter weekend.
California White Rabbit
The Californian is an excellent meat rabbit. Since we are looking at raising meat rabbits for a long term SHTF situation, the Californian works out well.
A doe will throw anywhere from 8 – 12 kits in a litter.
Californians have a fast growth rate, reaching 4 – 5 pounds in around 8 – 12 weeks.
An adult Californian can weigh in the 8 – 12 pound range.
Build an outdoor rabbit hutch with a section for each rabbit.
After my wife and I get moved to the farm we plan on building a 20 foot X 16 foot chicken coop. On the wall opposite from the chicken yard I am considering building a row of rabbit hutches, one row inside the coop and a row outside the chicken coop.
We will probably not buy any more rabbits until we get moved to the farm. After we get moved, and the chicken coop built, we will probably expand to around 6 or 8 rabbits. For the next batch of rabbits I am considering New Zealand whites.