Five Reasons To Raise Rabbits on the Homestead
I am a school nurse and care for the kiddos at a couple of local elementary schools. Yes, I am “Nurse Kevin” by day and “Sulae” the homesteader by…well…whenever I am not nursing which happens to be much less as of Sunday where I was also a home health nurse and now I Raise Rabbits and homestead. Well, I’m still a school nurse too.
So, the phone rings on the way from one patient to the next on Sunday and the nice people that use to bring us compost from their goats call and asks if we want some rabbits. Yes! I have been wanting rabbits in a bad way. However, we are not set up yet to take any bunnies in. We are actually still moving in from a fall move and have been working hard at getting settled. Time has not been on our side.
There was no need to think about it. I have two indoor bunnies now and they make a good bit of poo poo for the compost. Chickens and rabbits are definitely in the forecast for Back to the Homestead and “thinking about it” was…well…what was there to think about. Let’s just jump in with both feet.
There are five reasons to raise rabbits on your homestead. Sure, there are more reasons than five; but, let’s keep it simple.
- Manure. We all poop. Yep, every single one of us. To run an effective homestead with a productive garden you have to have poop. Plain and simple and with no other ways around it. Manure is the substance that feeds the soil and all the microbes that live within. It inoculates the ground and feeds the life that feeds your plants. And rabbit manure is ready for the garden…right out of the bunny’s booty. Take the “bunny berries” and work them right into the topsoil around your plant. The NPK rich addition will offer a boost to your garden plants. NPK Value of Rabbit Manure = N- 2.4 P- 1.4 K- 0.60
- Feeds your worms. We’ve all heard the benefits of Vermicompost with red wigglers worms. Next to the manure from a bunny, worm castings are probably the best substance to add to your garden and compost. If you want more red wigglers and their castings, you’ll want to feed them rabbit manure. We plan to fill a bathtub with a carbon-based substance such as leaves, straw or shredded newspaper and raise worms. We’ll add other substances and place the bunny hutch over the worm bin (click here for a video on a bathtub worm bin we built in Tennessee). Add 300-400 worms per square foot of surface area. Get red wigglers here.
- Consumes table scraps, food processing scraps and grass clippings. Do you want a reason to quit mowing the yard just a bit earlier? Sure you do. You’ll need fresh grass clippings to feed your bunnies. Rabbits love grass. Provided you have not stooped so low as to call in a lawn service to “green” your lawn, you can feed your rabbits your lawn clippings as well as parts and pieces from processing foods during canning and other processing such as making sauerkraut. Mow until you have enough to feed the rabbits and then stop for the day. The next day, mow a bit more and then feed. Soon, you’ll be right where you started from. Think of it as “harvesting the lawn” and not mowing the lawn.
- Fur into Fiber. Believe it or not but there are some rabbit breeds that are bred for their fur. I have not done this before and am by no means an expert on rabbit fur, but there are some breeds of rabbits such as the angora rabbits whose their fur can be harvested (with a live bunny remaining) and their fur can be spun just like wool from a sheep. Imagine how many bunnies would produce the surface area of a grown sheep and the amount of space and resources these rabbits would require over a sheep. Hummm…that sounds like an article for another day…not to mention another couple of bunnies for Back to the Homestead’s future.
- Meat. Okay…this is a hard one. And, actually one we will not elaborate on. You can eat rabbits. Most of us know this. Here on our homestead, we find the value of the first four more valuable than the time and effort necessary to (not to mention the emotional taxing nature of) process a rabbit for the dinner table. With that being said, we homestead now not because we have to; we homestead now so we’re ready when we need to. Having the capability to “make” more bunnies from lawn clippings and food scraps and having a protein source is very valuable…if the conditions were bad enough. Most rabbits are ready for slaughter at 13 weeks.
There are so many more reasons to have bunnies on the homestead. These five are just a very small sample. Consider these five and add 6) companionship, 7) helps teach children responsibility, 8) don’t require much space, 9) make extra money selling the baby bunnies and 10) they breed like rabbits to keep the cycle going on and on and on. There is every reason raise rabbits to your homestead.