Thoughts on Pastured Rabbits and Selling Meat

It’s sort kicking my butt, but I will keep up with it.  I think the rabbits are happier on pasture; I am happier seeing them on pasture.  I hate seeing them on wire.  I wish I had more tractors to put them in.  Wally and I have not had the time to do more.  In some respects it’s a lot more work having them on pasture; but if you really think about it, moving the tractors a couple of times a day is really no big deal.  It would be easier if all of the rabbits were in one location, but nothing is in one location on this farm.  Wally and I spend a lot of time on the 15 acres that most of the animals live on.  The cows and dairy goat buck are in the back pasture (10 acres).  If all goes well, I’ll be able to process most of the rabbits in one of the tractors this week and once they are moved on, I can move out another litter.  The larger litters (nine and ten bunnies) are quite crowded in a 36″ x 36″ cage; they were so crowded, I moved their mothers out a bit earlier than I originally planned.  So far, they are doing fine.

There are individuals trying to buy a lot of rabbit “on the hoof.”  They pay upwards of $1.50/lb. for live weight.  Given that a rabbit dresses out at about 50 percent of its live weight, that means they are in the rabbit for $3.00/lb. plus transportation, processing, packaging, etc.  I wonder where all of the rabbit meat is going because it doesn’t seem to be too popular to eat in this area.  It’s the same with goat meat.  It’s going to cost us $75/goat for the processing, plus transportation there and back.  We could take these same goats to the livestock sale and get close to $75 for them.  I don’t know where all this meat is going at these prices.  Apparently, even goats in poor condition are bringing good money.  Of course our goats will not go to the sale, but it’s really difficult to justify the outlay of money to have them slaughtered without a guaranty that the meat will sell.  We’ll know in a few months.

We’ve got a Jersey bull set to go to the processor on June 4.  He probably weighs 400 so his hanging weight will be about 250 and we may get 200 pounds of ground beef from him.  If we sold all of the meat at $5/pound that would be $1,000 which would more than reimburse what we paid for him plus the processing.  Except for the aggravation he caused, we do not have much time invested in him.

Chickens: the “White Rocks” are growing at a rapid pace.  They are starting to look more like Cornish X.  I just called the guy I bought them from. He offered to give me my money back! I told him under no uncertain terms was that necessary. He bought the parent birds from Murray McMurray. He kept them until they were adults and laying and the chicks I got were hatched from those eggs. If Murray McMurray had sent them Cornish X, then the likelihood of their getting to adult size, breeding and laying eggs that produced chicks with rapid growth like what I’m seeing, is not high. Murray McMurray says on their web site: “Please Note: Cornish Roaster, Cornish Game Hens, and Jumbo Cornish X Rocks are hybrids. Therefore we do not recommend breeding, they will not produce the same high quality in the next generation and due to the extreme rate of growth they will be too large at time of sexual maturity to breed successfully.” So maybe I lucked on to some really large White Rocks that will be a good addition to my breeding program.

Until later …

 

3 Replies to “Thoughts on Pastured Rabbits and Selling Meat”

  1. Hi Marnita,

    Yes, I know Lindy and that she sold goat meat in Charlotte and did well with it. We’ve had a good bit of interest in our goat meat at the Conover Farmer’s Market. Hopefully it will sell well. I need to do some research on cuts and prices. Thanks for pointing me to Puzzle Peace Farm on FB. Appreciate your help.

  2. It is all about location. Here in the SF Bay area the demand is way more than the supply. I have tried the pasture rabbits as well. Lots of work.

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