July 20, 2012

Why eat rabbit?

We started raising meat rabbits late this past winter.  We started out small with two does and a buck.  We found that there was a demand locally for quality rabbit meat and we knew we could educate ourselves and meet that need. 

Most people seem to shy away from rabbit.  It's not a delicacy, but it's also not common, every day dinner fare for most Americans.  Up to the Depression, rabbit was pretty common in homes.  Wild rabbit was hunted and was part of the regular game that was eaten in households.  After the Depression, factory farming started to take hold and rabbits weren't part of that grand scheme. 

Because of this, rabbit isn't as easy to find and you have to really search it out to find it unless you hunt it yourself.  It's a shame because rabbit is one of the healthiest meats you could eat.  I did a quick online search and found many lists of the benefits of rabbit meat.

1. It is one of the best white meats available on the market today.
2. The meat has a high percentage of easily digestible protein.
3. It contains the least amount of fat among all the other available meets.
4. Rabbit meat contains less calorie value than other meats.
5. Rabbit meat is almost cholesterol free and therefore heart patient friendly.
6. The sodium content of rabbit meat is comparatively less than other meats.
7. The calcium and phosphorus contents of this meat or more than any other meats.
8. The ratio of me to bone is high meaning there is more edible meat on the carcass than even a chicken.
9. Rabbit meat with the many health benefits does not have a strong flavor and is comparable to chicken but not identical.
10. Rabbits are one of the most productive domestic livestock animal there is. Rabbits can produce 6 pounds of meat on the same feed and water as the cow will produce 1 pound of meat on the same feed and water.

- Source: Rise and Shine Rabbitry

The first hurdle consumers face is finding a source for meat rabbits.  Food Lion does not carry rabbit.  Check out Local Harvest for farmers in your area or even farmer's markets.  Check out the American Rabbit Breeder's Association to find meat breeders.  You would look for breeders of Californian, New Zealand or Silver Fox rabbits.  Many other breeds are used for meat but these are the big three.

The next hurdle is how the heck do you cook it??  Many people throw it in the crockpot and let it stew all day.  That's definitely an option but there are so many other recipes and creative ways to cook rabbit.  Consider rabbit tacos, rabbit steaks, grilled rabbit, smoked rabbit, roasted with herbs, stuffed... endless possibilities!  Any poultry recipe you have can easily be used to cook rabbit.

Go get some rabbit!  Then tell me what you think of it.  Share your recipe and share some rabbit love.


  1. We started a small rabbitry this spring as well. I had raised rabbits in the past so when we started homesteading they were one of our first additions. They take up little space, are inexpensive to get started with and easy to dress so they make an excellent meat source. Rabbit pot pie is a favorite around here as well as rabbit and rice and rabbit and dumplings.

  2. We raise our rabbits on pasture in movable pens so we get the added benefit of a constant, mobile fertilizer. We need to add more working does though because we're not producing quite enough meat for our customers AND us.