BUNNY BUSINESS! Rabbits For the Table Might Mean Money!

I have been giving some thought, off and on over the past few months, to raising rabbits for fun and profit! There are plenty of rabbits in pet stores but these are for the pleasure of the kids who badger their parents into buying them for them, mainly because they are so cute. Hamsters and Guinea Pigs and even, in this rodent infested country, mice are also popular pets of late. They do a rather piquant guinea pig in Peru but a bit fiddly for my taste. Give me a rabbit any day.
Of course part of the problem is that rabbits are an introduced species and have never featured on the menu of many restaurants. If they weren't already here I would never suggest introducing the little pests, but seeing as how someone beat me to it, why not go commercial?
Rabbits are high in protein, 20% in fact, compared to only 17% in chicken and 19% in pork with beef coming in higher at 22%. What makes bunnies better business is that they are so much easier to breed and raise, even more so than chickens. Chickens will often die on you in large numbers during the rainy winter season, pigs take a fair amount of space and work and cows need grass which can be in short supply for the hobby farmer on a small size property. Rabbits however, need relatively little space and can be tended twice a day and then left to their own devices.
If you buy a buck and two does to start with, make sure you give them each their own cage and run. Remember they are burrowing animals so don't leave them with access to the ground unless the floor of the cage and run is made of wire. They'll burrow under a fence and be off in no time! Make sure they have a closed in, burrow like area with torn up newspaper as a carpet out of the sun. A separate box within the run or cage will suffice.
Remember, when the doe comes into season, she'll become restless and agitated, even go off her feed. Her external genitalia will enlarge and become inflamed. Get her to the buck! Don't take the buck to her or she might kill him. Does will also eat their young if you handle them too soon after birth, so leave them well alone for a few days! These gentle, fluffy creatures can be vicious and lethal to each other, good thing they don't grow too big!
Feeding them vegetable matter, table scraps (vegetable only) and even banana peels, melons and bread will keep them happy but always give them plenty of clean water. You can feed them in the morning and again at night, a good job for the kids.
There really isn't that much more to it, there are plenty of web sites that give detailed advice on raising rabbits. A doe will have maybe 3 or 4 litters a year with up to 10 kittens per litter. The gestation period for a rabbit is about a month, less (28 days or so) for a younger doe. After two months the kittens are weaned and you can breed the doe again. Five months from birth the rabbits are ready to sell. So from two does and one buck, in two months you can have up to 20 more rabbits. If half of these are does, seven months later you can have another 200 rabbits, plus by then the first two does will have had another litter. In seven months from then, the busy (and lucky buck) can make another 200 rabbits from the first batch, plus 40 more from the original does, plus another 200 from the second generation (or is that the third), plus.....oh dear, I lost count!
If the average rabbit dresses out at even 500g, then by only killing the bucks and breeding the does, you could easily be selling off hundreds of carcasses a month. If you opened a diner and sold rabbit stew and other meals to get the public into buying the meat, you would have a secondary business as well as an outlet for your production while the market developed the taste for rabbit.
How much to charge? Up to you, as they say. If you can get the vegetable scraps cheaply enough why not go for parity with chicken? If you made $2 a rabbit, then selling two hundred a month would net $400. On top of that you have the skins. There starts a third business, tanning hides or making fur felt for hats! All the information you need is on the Net and pet stores selling rabbits are in all the larger towns. What's stopping you?