17+ Tips On How To Start A Rabbitry On A Budget

When you are learning how to start a rabbitry on a budget it can feel a little daunting because you feel like you need to have all of the best things right from the beginning. But that is definitely not the case. If your rabbits are healthy and dry thats all that matters.

Start with what you can and build up as your rabbitry grows whether or not you plan to sell rabbits or keep them to supply your family with meat.

how to start a rabbitry on a budget intro image

Some of my first hutches were interesting to say the least. Colors were arthouse and some were DIYs that would make a designer say burn it and start over. But they worked and allowed me to grow.

Don’t compare your chapter one to someone else’s chapter 15. You don’t know the story that got them to where they are. All you can do is work to improve your own story and get better over time.

Know Your Goal For The Rabbitry

The most important thing you need to work through before you start your rabbitry is what is the goal of your rabbitry. Having a clear goal will save you time and money when you know what you are working towards.

Are you in it for the meat? Wool? Do you want to get into showing or are they for your kid’s 4H Projects? Maybe just for some cute, quiet pets?

Or maybe you want some top-notch compost for your garden? Whatever your rabbit dreams are, knowing your goal will help you build a successful rabbitry one that stays focused so you don’t look up one day and find yourself with more rabbits than you can handle and so many different breeds your brand can’t sort out the chaos.

Different rabbit breeds can serve multiple purposes, so it’s essential to choose wisely. Take the angora breed, for example. With their long, luxurious wool, they are perfect for creating cozy hats and scarves. But they are also a meat breed and they are higher priced pets so if you are looking to have a profitable rabbitry they are a good breed that will contribute to higher profit margins to consider.

Do You Want To Sell Rabbits?

When determining your rabbitry’s goals, consider your personal preferences and potential market demand.

Are you do you want to provide high-quality meat? Or maybe you want to cater to the pet market with pedigreed rabbits?

Knowing who your audience is will ensure that your rabbitry is not only enjoyable but profitable too.

So, whether you’re cuddling baby bunnies or collecting their droppings for some garden fertilizer, knowing your goal for the rabbitry is the first step to starting your rabbitry on a budget.

french lop kit

Tips For Setting Up Your Rabbitry On A Budget

Setting up a rabbitry doesn’t have to break the bank. With a little creativity and resourcefulness, you can have a thriving rabbitry without draining your wallet. Here are some tips to help you set up your rabbitry on a budget.

I’ll go into more detail later on these but here are some quick tips to get you started.

1. Start small and expand gradually: Instead of investing in a large number of rabbits right from the start, begin with just a few rabbits. This not only reduces initial costs but also allows you to gain experience and understand the needs of your rabbits before scaling up. — Keep reading down to the rabbitry business strategy section to find out how it will help you in business.

2. Utilize free or low-cost materials: Look for opportunities to repurpose or acquire materials at a minimal cost. Rabbit cages can be made from repurposed items like old bookshelves or wooden pallets. Check local classifieds or online forums for used rabbit equipment or ask friends and family to gift you rabbitry supplies for your birthday instead.

3. DIY feeders and water containers: Avoid expensive commercial feeders and water bottles by making your own. For example, you can create a homemade feeder using PVC pipes or repurpose old plastic containers as water containers. Just ensure they are cleaned thoroughly before use and will hold up to chewing from your rabbits.

4.  Start with patience: Whether you are starting your rabbitry with meat rabbits to feed your family or you are wanting your rabbitry to pay for itself patience will be the difference of giving up or moving forward. When you have unrealistic expectations on time you will make decisions out of desperation. The results will never be as good as they could be.

Remember, starting a rabbitry on a budget requires resourcefulness and creativity. By finding cost-effective solutions and using what you already have, you can set up a successful and sustainable rabbitry without breaking the bank.

Get Scrappy With Your Supplies

When it comes to setting up your rabbitry, it’s time to get resourceful, my friends. Being a savvy rabbit farmer doesn’t mean emptying your wallet on fancy equipment.

The key thing to remember is if your rabbits are safe, clean, and dry that’s all that matters.

  • Look in other animal departments to see if they have the same tool for another animal at a better price. (a comb is a comb whether its for rabbits, dogs, or horses)
  • Ask for rabbitry supplies as gifts.
  • Look on Facebook marketplace or Craigslist for scrap wood to build your own hutches or second-hand equipment. 
  • Old hutches can be repaired and painted. 

My Rabbitry Must Haves

[lasso type=”list” category=”rabbit-care-supplies” link_id=”5406″]

Ugley Equipment Does The Job – Upgrade Once You Have Cash

When you are starting your rabbitry it can be hard to go with the option that is more budget-friendly but my be visually repulsing.

But it’s better to focus on functional but inexpensive equipment when you’re getting started. It’s better to not have as much money invested if you decide raising rabbits isn’t for you. On top of that, you are still figuring out your property, what works for you, and what works best for the breed you choose to raise. 

Prioritize having the essentials and keeping costs down. 

Buy water bottle nozles and simply repurpose old juice or soda bottles. Give them a good cleaning, and they’ll make perfect water containers for your thirsty bunnies.

Remember, the key is to start small and reinvest your profits. Once your rabbitry is generating cash flow, then you can consider upgrading to higher-quality equipment. Budgeting and reinvesting will help you improve your business over time.

So don’t fret about pretty equipment just yet. Focus on giving your bunnies a safe and comfortable space to thrive. Ugley equipment may do the job, but once you have cash, THEN you can level up your rabbitry.

french lop kit looking out of the cage

Saving On Rabbitry Housing

These multiple hundreds of dollar rabbit hutches with runs attached are the worst things out there for rabbits. They are cheaply made and the rabbits have access to the painted walls which I have seen rabbits get sick on. 

Look for hutches second-hand or build your own.

I started with hutches that I could find on Craig’s List and even repaired a few before I could use them. They don’t have to be pretty if they do the job, and are secure with no sharp things poking through.

In this case, I never paid more than $75 for one that could work for at least 2-3 rabbits. Today you might have to spend about $150 to find one but its still cheaper than spending several hundred. 

Pro tip -If you get rabbit hutches where the waste falls to the ground you don’t have the expense of bedding. And you can use the poo in your gardens or just to fill in holes and level out landscaping.

If you want to see more about what your rabbitry housing needs to have then read this post.

A Word Of Warning About “Alternative” Feeding Options

If you are raising rabbits for meat you should definitely not be skipping on rabbit feed. Here is why.

The formulated pellets ensure that the rabbits grow well and get all the nutrition they need. I you try to supplement with veggies and hay you are depriving the rabbit of the nutrition it needs so you will ultimately end up with fewer pounds of meat for the same amount of feeding.  

I also have some strong opinions about feeding rabbits anything but pellets so make sure to read this post. 

rabbits eating

Always Buy Feed From A Farm Supply Store 

Always buy your feed from a feed supply store. Not Walmart. Even if you are paying for the most expensive feed at a feed supply store the price doesn’t come close.

Rabbit feed is about $17 dollars per 50 pounds. This is a far cry from the $10 for a 8-pound bag of feed in the pet section.

Bowls and Feeders

I never buy bowls intended for rabbits from a pet store. The prices are way more expensive than if you go to another section in the store.

Bottles are a waste of money because they leak more often than not and you run the risk of your rabbits running out. Not something you want happening in the summer months.

If you have bottles that work then awesome. But they have never held the water for me.

I buy cage cups from rabbitry suppliers like Pointer Hill and these strong rubber bowls for water.

two black french loo kits

Start With Just A Few Rabbits

When you have a lot of different breeds you are going to have a hard time developing the quality of your animals. On top of that people will have a hard time knowing what to come to you for. Do you raise this breed or that breed? No one knows. Its ok to test the waters but do that on the side.

When it comes to starting your rabbitry just start with 3 (1 buck and 2 does) or 5 (2 bucks and 3 does) rabbits at a time. Two bucks works great so you have a backup in case something happens to your buck.

BUT if you are raising them to sell to other breeders or homesteaders then you do want to be able to sell unrelated rabbits. So I always have at least two bucks on hand but three give you a little more wiggle room.

But unless you have 30+ does (female rabbits) you don’t need a ton of bucks. A buck can service about 2 does a day and any more than that I would say you are running the chance of the litter not taking. A more energetic breed could do a few more but not by much.

The key to remember is you need to keep things trim or you are racking up the expense with every mouth you feed.

two french lop rabbits

Don’t Keep More Rabbits Than You Have Room For

It’s time to talk about something super important: don’t keep more rabbits than you have room for in your rabbitry. I know it’s hard to say no to those cute faces but nobody has infinity symbols in their bank account.

On top of that rabbits will fight. I have had siblings as young as 9 weeks old break skin because buyers were taking too long to come to pick them up and I didn’t have enough room to separate them.

Why is this such a big deal? Well, let me break it down for you. When you have too many rabbits crammed into a space that’s too small, guess what happens?

Stress city, that’s what. Rabbits need their personal space, just like we do. — Imagine being trapped in a tiny room with a bunch of rowdy roommates. Stressful, right? 

Overcrowding can lead to all sorts of health issues, from respiratory problems to increased aggression. And when you are raising meat rabbits they are not going to fill out as well when they have to compete for food.

It’s also not good for your rabbitry business if you choose to do that. When you are feeling stressed about the number of rabbits you have your customers will sense it in your tone and you will make choices out of inspiration. Instead of what is best for the rabbitry and your business.

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Have Strong Standards For Your Rabbitry

If you want to run a successful rabbitry, you need to have some strong standards in place.

Having strong standards means setting the bar high for the quality of rabbits in your rabbitry. It’s about making sure you’re breeding rabbits that meet breed standards, have good health and temperament, and overall, just top-notch bunnies.

If you have rabbits that are constantly struggling with poor health or genetic issues it’s time to say goodbye.

Why is this important? When you have high-quality rabbits, it’s like having a secret weapon in your arsenal. These bunnies are more likely to produce healthy offspring, which means more successful litters and ultimately, a profitable rabbitry business.

The better quality of rabbits you produce whether you raise rabbits for meat or something else you will also increase word of mouth.

french lop buck sitting posed for showing

Cull Rabbits That Don’t Mesure Up

Now, you may be thinking, what happens if you have rabbits that don’t quite measure up?

Culling is the process of removing rabbits from your breeding program that doesn’t meet your standards. It may sound harsh, but it’s necessary to maintain the integrity of your rabbitry. You can simply sell it to someone as a pet if you don’t want to add it to your freezer for meat. 

How you do it is up to you. But the goal is to not have it represent your rabbit farm brand and bring down the quality of your product.

Know Your Rabbit Breed Really Well

 If you’re starting a rabbitry, you better know your rabbit breed really well. The reason for this is rabbit breeds all have their quirks which can make raising them a challenge.

But on top of that knowing your breed will help the success of your rabbit farm as a business. The more rabbit breeds you have the harder it is to become known for one breed and its also harder to develop strong lines that are good quality and meat the breed standard.

french lop rabbit sitting posed

Reinvest When You Can By Upgrading Or Making Things Better

It is so easy to see things that you do need for your rabbitry and be tempted to stretch the budget and make things a little tight. Instead of feeling down about not having all the things you want for your rabbitry, I want you to do this.

Make a list of the things you want to get an upgrade as you can and the money comes it.

When you are focused on just one thing you want to make better in your rabbitry you don’t feel the strain financially or mentally with aaaaallll of these things you feel like you need to make improvements on.

You are able to see this is the thing you are focusing on saving to buy and when you are tempted to buy something else you can ask yourself “is this thing worth setting myself back before I can buy what is on my list?”

Business Tips For Starting A Rabbitry On A Budget

Here are some business tips for starting a rabbitry on a budget.

1. Start Small: When beginning your rabbitry, resist the temptation to go big right away. Starting with a small-scale operation allows you to learn the ropes, make mistakes, and figure out what works best for you. Begin with just a few rabbits, preferably 3-5, and gradually expand as you gain experience and confidence.

2. Utilize Existing Space: Look around your property for existing structures that can be repurposed as rabbit housing. Whether it’s an old shed, garage, or unused space in your backyard, repurposing these areas can save you a significant amount of money. Just make sure the space is well-ventilated, secure, and provides adequate protection from predators. — DO NOT let your rabbits run loose on the ground. Read this post for more info on rabbit housing.

3. Breeding, Sales, And Marketing Strategy: To ensure a profitable business, you need a successful breeding and sales strategy. Focus on breeding high-quality rabbits that are in demand, such as those with desirable fur, meat production traits, or specific breeds. Establish relationships with reputable breeders and start marketing EARLY to potential customers to increase the chances of selling your rabbits quickly.

Starting a rabbitry on a budget may require some extra effort and creativity, but with these tips, it is completely doable. Remember, the key to success is to stay focused, be resourceful, and never hesitate to ask for help or advice from experienced rabbit breeders but still be respectful of their time.

Plan What To Do If Rabbits Don’t Sell

So, you’ve got your rabbitry up and running, you’re raising some adorable bunnies, and everything seems to be moving along just fine. But what happens when you have a surplus of rabbits that just aren’t finding their forever homes?

It’s important to have a plan for these unsold bunnies to ensure responsible breeding practices and control the numbers in your rabbitry.

This goes back to one of the reasons I say to start small. When you don’t have a reputation built up yet you don’t have people chomping at the bit to buy baby rabbits from your rabbitry. Until you get a consistent flow of customers starting with one litter at a time would be a good idea.

What To Do With The Extra Rabbits

One option to consider is butchering the extra rabbits. I know, it may not be the most pleasant thought, but it’s a practical solution. By butchering the extras, you can not only control the population of your rabbitry, get pounds of meat to feed your family, and you don’t have to list your rabbits at a low price and they end up with someone who won’t take care of them well.

Responsible breeding includes being prepared for what to do if rabbits don’t sell. Don’t let those unsold bunnies become a burden. Instead, have a plan in place to either butcher the extras or utilize them for meat production. 

This is where learning to make data-driven decisions instead of heart lead ones comes into play. 

It’s a practical approach that ensures you maintain control of the numbers in your rabbitry and avoids any potential problems down the line.

Do Not Put Anything On A Credit Card To Start Your Rabbitry

When it comes to starting a rabbitry, there’s one thing you should never, I repeat, NEVER do – don’t put anything on a credit card. There is no guarantee that any business will succeed. There are so many variables that could come into play and feeling like you have to make it work to pay off debt puts you in a desperation mindset.

Start by setting aside a little money from each paycheck, and cut back on those unnecessary expenses (do you really need that fancy coffee every morning or that tv streaming service?)

By avoiding the credit card trap, you’ll be able to start your rabbitry on stable financial ground. And let me tell you, there’s no better feeling than not owing a soul and having money sitting in the bank that is yours.

Save Up 6 Months In Feed Expenses

I want to talk to you about the importance of saving up a solid six months’ worth of feed expenses before you jump into this wild rabbit adventure.

In any business, there are ebbs and flows of sales, and raising livestock is no exception. Having a padding of feed money will help you not get stressed when sales are slow. 

Grab a pen and paper because we’re about to crunch some numbers.

Start by determining your monthly feed bill using this handy-dandy equation: [(Number of rabbits) x (daily feed ration per rabbit) x (30 days)]. That’s your basic monthly feed expense right there.

Pro Tip: Take the amount you feed daily and pull out 7 days worth then weigh it. You can multiply that times 4 giving you about how much one rabbit eats each month. — (I raised the same breed of rabbit for probably 10 years before I knew exactly how much “just one” ate. I knew I how much I went through each week but I had not had “just one” rabbit since I was ten years old. Until my in-laws asked me and I tripped all over myself because I thought it was laughable that I didn’t know.)

Once you get your monthly feed bill you can multiply that by 3-6 in order to find out how much you need to save up. 

I know this might seem unreasonable but the peace it brings you is well worth the effort in case sales come slower than you planned at some point. 

Don’t expect marketing and sales to be easy

Don’t expect marketing your rabbitry and making sales to be easy, it’s hard for any niche. 

Whether you are selling rabbits for meat, show rabbits, or baby rabbits for pets you have to show up consistently. 

Choose the one platform that you will grow and keep operating until it feels like second nature. The beautiful thing about marketing these days is it can be done for free on social media. Which is great when you are on a tight budget. 

Continually take pictures of what is going on every day in your rabbitry and save them for later. As long as its not some kind of event that people can tell by the picture it’s out of date you can use those photos multiple times and several weeks or months after.

With livestock, the main goal is to show what life is like with that animal. So people can envision having one for themselves. If you are selling rabbit manure, meat rabbits, or a special breed of rabbits you need to share the BENIFITS of that product. 

Don’t expect marketing and sales in the rabbitry industry to be a walk in the park. But with determination, education, reputation-building you can make a name for yourself and thrive if you continue to show up. Even on the days you don’t want to.

Start Creating Content For Your Rabbitry The Day You Start

This is where I see people mess up. They wait until they have litters born and almost ready to go before they start posting about them. Its not just the rabbits you are selling. Its you as a brand. Start creating content from the day you start planning your rabbitry.

Content can take many forms. From informative blog posts to tutorials, videos, and social media posts, the possibilities are endless.

Use these platforms to showcase not only your rabbits but your rabbitry and how you operate. Provide valuable information about their care. Rabbit lovers are always looking for tips and tricks to take care of their animals. Especially if you have your own unique way of doing things.

By creating content from the get-go, you’ll establish yourself as an expert in the rabbitry industry. People will turn to you for advice, trust you as a brand, and spread the word about you and your rabbits. When you are on a budget content marketing is the best way to go. It takes time to build but is so worth it once people start coming to you on what seem like autopilot.

Reinvest In Your Rabbitry

If you want your rabbitry to last for the long hull you are going to have to reinvest in your rabbitry.

Now, I know what you’re thinking – “I just want to make some money, not spend it all back into fluffy tails and twitching noses!” But reinvesting is the key to taking your rabbitry to the next level.

I tried to do everything like marketing and building my online presents for free for a long time. Sure it worked. But I grew so much more when I was willing to invest in the tools that helped me grow. And in some cases when I use tools like social media schedulers I could create batches of content for a long time out and not have to worry about it for a long time. 

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Better Breeding Rabbits

One area where you can reinvest is in improving the quality of your breeding stock. Investing in pedigreed rabbits with better conformation and production qualities will not only make your rabbitry more attractive to potential buyers but also lead to healthier and more productive litters. 

Upgrading your equipment and Expanding:

Look for ways to make your life easier when it comes to doing chores on your homestead or rabbit farm. Plus, with a larger space, you can increase your capacity and meet the growing customer demand.

Marketing And Long Term Growth

This is where rabbitry owners want to skimp. But the honest truth is this is the area that will grow your rabbitry name the most. Create top-quality product and market them to get the word out. But it takes time to learn and consistency to work. 

By reinvesting your profits back into your rabbitry, you’re setting yourself up for even more success. It’s like compound interest. So, resist the urge to spend all your bunny money and reinvest in your rabbitry’s future. Your long-term success and profitability will come if you are patent and strategic. 

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