There is so much to this that I could talk for hours about how to make a profit raising rabbits. Before I get into the tips and profit potential of raising rabbits I want you to know this one thing.
To create a consistent income, you need to be strategic in every aspect of your business. — Yes, I said business. Because if your goal is to make any amount of money in your rabbitry you have to think about it as a business.
The times for cute bunny kisses and letting your heart melt is for when you are out doing chores and enjoying being out with your rabbits.
As rabbit raisers, learning how to swap between roles as a business owner and heart-led rabbitry owner will serve you extremely well.
Raising Rabbits For Profit Isn’t Bad
Here is something you may start to feel as a business owner, especially if you are producing livestock. People will want to make you feel bad about producing more animals with all the bad in the world.
Especially if you raise meat rabbits. You have to be ready to handle the people who do not support eating animals at all. So be ready to have reasons for why you raise rabbits or why you have meat rabbits.
Here are two main things that help me.
- You owe it to your rabbits and all of your other animals to be financially stable.
- No one has infinity symbols in their bank account and you have to generate income to support the animals you do have.
The Top Business Tips You Need To Know
There are things that you will learn along the way but some of them you have to accept here and now if you want to raise rabbits for profit.
Your Rabbitry Needs People
Now that might be a “duh” statement but hear me out. I talk to so many people who want to make money in their rabbitry but they don’t want to put in the effort it takes to get those people.
Like it or not the world is on this little device in their back pocket that gives them the answer to all of their questions. If you want to make money you have to go where the people are. Where they spend their time. And that is online.
Whether that is a social media platform or website you need to be doing at least one thing that allows people to find your rabbitry online. You can read more about that here.
Keep It Presentable
I can not tell you how many places I have been that are not picked up and look pretty scary. Like you’re not sure if you are going to take home fleas or if there might be a junkyard dog coming around the corner at any moment.
Making your property look nice does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money. Your barns and sheds do not have to be professionally designed and manicured. It is not necessary to have the newest equipment.
When people come to pick up an animal or come to learn about the rabbits you have. The buyer just wants to see a clean, well-kept living area for the animals, and to not see trash lying around.
Pro tip: walk the path that your visitors will walk from the time they park to the time they pick up their animals and leave. Look around for trash that might be laying around that is easy to miss.
Keeping the property clean and presentable will go a long way to making a good impression on buyers. If they are impressed when they come to visit they are more likely to recommend you to others. Simply keeping the trash picked up, the yard mowed, and animal waste under control will be one of the best things you can do to make a good first impression.
Know About Your Rabbits
Many people feel like they don’t know anything when they buy their first few animals. As a breeder, you will be asked a lot of questions. Pay attention to what you are being asked and start being ready to answer those questions. If you are able to answer most of their questions they will feel like you put their mind at ease.
Whatever you do, DO NOT make something up. If they hear something down the road that contradicts what you said that is not an opinion-based question and if they were talking to someone your name will come up and that could really harm your reputation. — Unless that person is of great character and doesn’t name-drop but that is pretty hard for anyone to do.
You don’t want to mislead someone and that gets around. Protect your reputation.
Just say you don’t know but will find the answer for them. I have had rabbits for over 20 years and I still don’t know a thing about litter training a rabbit. It is not something I do so I can not speak to that topic. Be willing to say that and they will respect you for it.
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Be Honest In Your Dealings
The statement “honesty is the best policy” is true even in the animal world. If an animal just does not sound like a good fit for their family tell them so. If a family who is looking to buy a pet for their small child, or someone who is a bit timid should not purchase a large high-strung breed.
The safety of the buyer should always come first. If the people insist that they want the animal, go ahead with the sale unless you think it will endanger the animal. You will walk away with a clear mind because you told them what they were getting into.
Now if you think they will cause harm to the animal I would have on your website, sales posts, and anywhere else that you reserve the right to decline a sale.
Set Honest Pricing
If an animal is not worth the price you normally sell your animal for, lower the price. Every breeder will have a few babies that come from their best rabbits that just are not quite what they should be.
But also don’t sell yourself short. If your animal is not even to the age of leaving their mother and someone is asking for a discount. Don’t accept. You can make that call you know!
Some people will ask for a discount but that is what they do all the time no matter what. It is no reflection on you or them.
If someone has contacted you about buying an animal, respond back as quickly as you can within reason. This is one of the key things that gets me more business than anything else.
You might not be able to get to it right away but when you have ten free minutes send a quick email. Most phone calls will take less than 10 minutes. So ask when a good time would be to call them back.
Be clear about when you will respond to messages.
I have “office hours” listed on the rabbitry page to help people understand that I might not answer back on a weekend or after a certain hour at night.
The Number Isn’t Everything
If I don’t drive anything else home let this point be it.
Remember, you don’t need to have a large number of breeding stock to be successful. I have met several breeders who have a lot of nice animals but they struggle to keep up. They are not able to share on social or build awareness so they lose sales and have to sell cheaply.
The most successful rabbits build slowly and have less than 50 animals.
Now don’t get me wrong, having a large number of animals isn’t bad if you can keep up. But don’t get so far in over your head that you resent what you are doing.
There are many different income streams that you can create in your rabbitry. Check out this post to help you get your income ideas flowing.
Be Smart With Your Money
There is no need for the most expensive equipment or the latest tool because something bigger and better has come out. There are many different ways to get the job done without paying a high price.
Keeping up with the newest things will burn through your profits quicker than you know. Trust me I get it. I LOVE new things. But it is not worth the loss in business growth just for something new.
Be Smart With Your Investments
Ask yourself if this new thing will help you get a job done faster, make a job easier, or help you bring in more money in a roundabout way.
Check In Other Departments To Save Money On Equipment
Just because an item was not in the rabbit section does not mean you can’t find something that might work in another department. For large breed rabbits look in the dog or horse department for combs and brushes. Most of the time they are much less than rabbit grooming supplies and the larger brushes will help you get the job done faster.
The dollar store is a wonderful place to look for inexpensive tools that will do just as well as the ten dollar item at the animal supply store. Read more about saving money in your rabbitry here.
Find Ways To Leave An Impression
Create a customer experience that makes them so surprised and awed that they come back to you again and again. They will tell their friends and acquaintances about you and those they hear are looking for what you offer.
One fun way that I always get raised eyebrows is having an automated waiting list and a calendar so they can schedule their visit so we don’t have to go back and forth trying to set a time that works for them.
They think it is really cool and saves both of us time. So it is a win on both sides.
- Around Christmas time I like to send Christmas cards to all of the buyers I have their full addresses for that bought from me in the past year. Anything you can do to encourage people to recommend you to others will go a long way.
- Have thank-you cards prewritten if you don’t have time to write them as the buyers come. You can also put 2 or 3 business cards in the thank you card. This makes it easy for them to recommend you to others. It also makes it seem like you care and are not looking to get rid of them after you have their money.
- Just be open and talk with them. If you don’t rush them they will not feel pressured and have buyer’s remorse down the road.
These core principles will help you with making a lasting impression on your buyers. Give it time and you will grow your rabbitry you just have to be persistent.
Finding your market In Raising Rabbits
If you are looking to raise rabbits you have to find the market that best fits your skills and also is a market you are willing to get into.
Personally, I have no real desire to raise meat rabbits and sell rabbits for meat. I could. But I don’t have the desire to do what is required.
And that is what you have to do. You have to find the corner of the rabbit market you want to get into and go after that with everything you’ve got. And STICK WITH IT don’t give up on your dream of what your ideal rabbitry looks like.
Yes pay attention to the market demands but also be uniquely yourself.
How Much Space Do You Have To Raise Rabbits
When you are choosing the corner of the market you want to be in you have to consider the space you have. If you want to raise meat rabbits you not only have to have the space to raise healthy rabbits. You also have to have a space to dispatch and butcher the rabbits. In the US you have to be licensed to produce food for human consumption. That is a lot of extra space that people might not have.
Here are some tips in regards to thinking about the space needed to raise rabbits.
When it comes to outdoor cages, a good rule of thumb is to allow at least 5-6 square feet of space per rabbit which is about 10 pounds or so. This gives them room to move around and exercise. You’ll want to ensure each rabbit has enough space to stretch out comfortably.
If you’re considering outdoor hutches, it’s important to weatherproof them to protect your rabbits from the elements. This can include adding a waterproof cover, insulating the hutch, and ensuring it’s situated in a sheltered area. I have my rabbit’s cages hanging in a leantoo-style rabbit hutch and it works great.
When determining the space requirements for raising rabbits, consider the number of breeding rabbits you plan to have, their breed, and their individual needs. Don’t forget space to have litters and a nest box for the does cages.
Larger breeds may require more space, and if you’re raising them for meat, you’ll need grow-out cages to keep litters of rabbits you are growing out to see if you want to keep them. Or if you are raising rabbits for meat you need to have a space where they can live and not be with their mother the whole time.
Also, keep in mind that rabbits after the age of 10-12 weeks will start to fight with each other. If you are raising meat rabbits is not as big of a deal. But if you are raising pet rabbits or rabbits for show you need to be able to separate them before this happens.
What Income Streams Would You Enjoy Producing
As a passionate rabbit raiser myself, I would love to have every rabbit breed that seemed interesting as an income stream that I could potentially produce from my rabbitry.
With my skills, interests, and expertise in rabbit care, I could definitely see myself enjoying raising angoras for their luxurious fiber. The idea of creating beautiful yarn from their soft fiber is not only enticing but also an enjoyable hobby that has a profitable income stream potential. But do I REALLY want to deal with that fur and do I even have the time? Not really.
See those are the things you have to think about before just jumping into every income stream that seems interesting.
It’s all about finding the right balance and pursuing what feels both enjoyable and economically viable.
What Breeds Do You Enjoy And What Purpose Do They Serve
While I don’t want you to hate the breed you raise and only choose one for the income, you should choose a breed that has income potential. — Since that is your goal… I mean you wouldn’t be reading this post if it wasn’t.
Before you skim the rabbit breeds just for looks I would have your goal of raising rabbits and then find a list of rabbit breeds that serve that goal. Then choose from that list. That way you don’t see a breed you really want that doesn’t serve you. Then you end up saying “oh well, let’s just get both” and then you have double the expenses.
DO NOT just google a breed and trust that the images that show up on page one of Google are accurate. I get so many people coming to me wanting a color of french lop that either is not accurate or that tells me the rabbit is probably a mix. Go to the arba.net look at breeds and then go from there.
When it comes to raising rabbits for a specific purpose, it’s important to do your research. Finding bloodlines with the necessary qualities for good production rabbits can make all the difference in the success of your rabbitry.
Whether you’re focused on meat production or fur quality, there’s a breed out there that’s perfect for your needs. And when you find the right breed of rabbit and don’t get sidetracked with all the other breeds. You will have a profitable and rewarding rabbitry.
Selecting your rabbit breed
Like I already said, choose your goal first then look for rabbit breeds that support that goal before skimming the different rabbit breeds so you don’t get attached to one that doesn’t support the goal.
A good goal to set for your rabbitry and rabbit production should look something like this.
I want to raise [THE RABBIT BREED] because their main purpose is [WHY YOU WANT TO RAISE THEM, FOR MEAT, FIBER, PET MARKET OR SHOWING] because I want to produce [ THE NUMBER OF POUNDS OF MEAT OR THE INCOME YOU WANT TO MAKE].
When looking at meat rabbit breeds here are a few top contenders that stand out.
- New Zealands are known for their fast growth and large size, making them a popular choice for meat. – They tend to be the most common and the ones you see at county fairs.
- Californian rabbits also make the list with their excellent meat production qualities and gentle temperament.
- The American Blue and White breed is prized for its high feed efficiency and meat-to-bone ratio, making it a top contender as well.
- The Silver Fox is known for its beautiful fur and flavorful meat.
- The Chinchilla breed, with its thick, meaty body, is also a top choice.
Production costs of raising rabbits
Raising rabbits can be a rewarding venture, but it’s important to understand the production costs involved to ensure profitability.
Feed expenses are a significant factor, as the cost of providing quality feed to your rabbits can add up over time. – Which is why I push so hard for you to be intentional with the breed you choose and not keep freeloaders or rabbits that don’t serve a purpose.
There are also occasional expenses for buying new feeders and equipment as your rabbitry grows or supplies just get warn out.
Different factors can affect the profitability of raising rabbits, including variations in feed cost, processing expenses, and fluctuations in the sales price of products sold. It’s important to think about these factors when calculating your potential earnings BEFORE you end up knee-deep in rabbit manure.
To calculate the profit from your rabbitry on a yearly basis.
- Estimate the AVERAGE price you will be able to sell your rabbits or goods produced for.
- Then multiply that by the AVERAGE number you can produce for that year.
- Take your total expenses from that year. – (or your projected expenses) and subtract that from your total projected income.
Now why am I being so pussy about AVERAGE? Because when raising animals there are things that will happen that you just can’t control. You NEVER want to base business decisions on the best possible outcome because there is no guarantee that will happen.
My french lops can produce litters as large as 7-8. But the average size of litters that make it are 4-5. That is a difference of a few thousand dollars. Make sense?
By carefully monitoring your production costs and being mindful of potential revenue, you can make informed decisions to ensure the profitability of your rabbitry.
How Pedigrees Add Value To Your Rabbits
You might be wondering if you should pay the price tag of a pedigreed rabbit… Well, let me tell you that if you want to raise quality rabbits and get paid well for them. Having a pedigree is a must.
Pedigrees are like a roadmap of your rabbit’s ancestry and while most people may not recognize the names the people who care will often decline a rabbit if it doesn’t have a pedigree.
The pedigree highlights the genetic background that can contribute to the overall health and vigor of your rabbits. As well as showing the size potential of the rabbit because weights are supposed to be included in the pedigree of each of the animals shown.
By understanding the genetic diversity within your rabbit’s lineage, you can help minimize the risk of inbreeding depression and contribute to conservation breeding efforts.
Maintaining detailed records of pedigrees and lineages is critical for making informed breeding decisions. It not only ensures the health of your rabbits but also adds to the profitability of your rabbitry in the long run. Without this information, you risk unknowingly breeding rabbits with genetic issues, which can lead to significant financial losses and potential harm to the rabbits.
In professional rabbitry, record-keeping is important for tracking breeding-stock weights, productivity, and overall health. This helps you make informed decisions about which rabbits to breed, resulting in healthy and thriving litters.
So, whether you are a seasoned breeder or just getting started, understand that pedigrees and record-keeping are key to adding value to your rabbits. Let’s keep those pedigrees organized and those records detailed for the benefit of our beloved rabbits.
If you want to learn more about pedigrees and creating a pedigree check out this post.
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Bookkeeping For A Rabbitry
Bookkeeping is BORING but it’s an important of knowing if your rabbitry is profitable or not. It helps you see where you have money leaks and where you could perform better.
You will not be nearly as accurate if you try to estimate or just “keep it in your head” no one is that good.
Keep a spreadsheet of when you buy feed and track the income from your rabbit sales. – You can find one here in my shop.
Just take the time to do it once a month and it won’t take as long as you might think. Seeing the numbers can be extremely motivating once you get a handle on them.
Income Streams for Your Rabbitry
Let’s dive in and take a look at some great ways to bring in some extra income while doing what you love. Don’t get dollar signs and think you can do them all right away. Start with one income stream and get it working so well its like second nature to you. BEFORE you try adding another one.
Selling Rabbits As Pets
Selling rabbits as quality pets can be a lucrative venture if done right. The key is to market them effectively and highlight their value to potential buyers.
Ways to increase the perceived value of your rabbits:
- By explaining in your marketing that you do your best to produce rabbits to the breed standard held by the American Rabbit Breeders Association. People may not fully know the breed standard but when they know that a person is sticking to that standard they see value in that.
- Have a pedigree for your rabbit.
- Have strict standards that you hold your rabbits to.
- Exclusivity by having less inventory. – If something is hard to get people will pay more.
- Marketing your rabbitry to get people to feel connected to your rabbits.
- Be informative and provide easy access information for people who buy from you.
These customers are willing to pay top dollar for high-quality stock that has the potential to do well at rabbit shows. (This is a side rant but NEVER make a promise that a rabbit could win a show. You can’t keep that promise and there are too many variables.) By explaining the value of your rabbits and the care you put into raising them, you can justify selling them for multiple hundreds of dollars.
When marketing your rabbits, it’s important to cater to different customer types as well.
Some people are looking for a quality pet to bring into their home, while others are specifically seeking out rabbits for 4-H projects or rabbit shows. By understanding your customer base and tailoring your marketing approach, you can maximize your profits from selling live rabbits. With rabbits, it can be as simple as including posed pictures of your rabbits in addition to the cute pictures people who want a pet would want to see.
Remember, the key to success in selling rabbits is to effectively market their value and the benefits of purchasing from you. With the right strategy, you can turn your passion for raising rabbits into a profitable business.
The price of rabbits has a lot of different factors. But the main ones are the breed, color, age, market you are selling to, and the conformation.
A very common breed like the New Zeland that is mediocre quality, has no pedigree, and is intended for meat production can be as low as $10-15 a head. But if the rabbit has great conformation, a quality pedigree and is a show animal can go for several hundred.
But then there are breeds that start at $30-$50 and go up to $300-400 like the holland lop. This is why you need to learn the breed, the market you want to get into, and want is required to make those goals happen.
Raise And Sell Rabbit Meat
Raising and selling rabbit meat can be a rewarding and profitable venture. To get started, you’ll need to ensure your rabbits are well fed and healthy. A balanced diet of pellets and a smaller amount of QUALITY high protine hay will be the best way to grow them out.
When it comes to butchering, it’s important to do so quickly and efficiently to minimize stress on the rabbits and ensure the quality of the meat. Litter management is also important for keeping the rabbits comfortable and not over packed in one pen once they are old enough to leave their dam will reduce the risk of disease.
As for selling your rabbit meat, there is a growing market for this lean and nutritious protein. Farmer’s markets, high-end restaurants, grocery stores, and online platforms are all potential avenues to explore.
Rabbit farming holds great potential for profit, especially with the increasing demand for lean and sustainable meat options. One major profit source in rabbit farming is, of course, the sale of rabbit meat itself. This can be marketed through various direct sales channels, such as farmers’ markets, local grocery stores, or even through online platforms.
According to Selina Wamucii – Read their rabbit market prices here.
- The market value in the US is $2.65-5.31 per pound.
- And wholesale price is $1.86-3.71 according.
Leveraging social media is also a key marketing strategy, as it allows for direct connection with potential customers and the ability to showcase the unique qualities of rabbit meat. When customers are feel connected to the animals and the raiser they are willing to pay more.
Key factors that contribute to profitability in rabbit farming include efficient production methods to keep costs low, strategic pricing strategies to ensure competitive pricing while still maximizing profit, and strong marketing efforts to reach the target audience. With the right approach, rabbit farming can be a lucrative venture for those willing to put in the effort.
Selling Rabbit Pelts or Leather
If you have considered repurposing rabbit hides by selling rabbit pelts or turning it into leather? There is still a market for homemade crafts or leather workers using these hides, and it’s a great way to make good use of the whole rabbit after processing the meat.
As for the tanning process, you can either tackle it yourself or outsource the task to a professional.
Potential buyers for rabbit pelts include the commercial industry, homesteaders looking for sustainable materials, crafters who appreciate the unique and versatile nature of rabbit hides, and leather workers. There’s a lot of potential in this market, and it’s a great way to add value to the rabbits you raise.
Pelts and fur just don’t go for as much as they used to. Most can be sold for around $8 a piece. But if you are processing rabbits this is another way to use up the hide that you might otherwise throw away.
Rabbit leather is going to get you almost double the price so its definitely worth looking into.
Sell Rabbit Fiber
There are a variety of potential buyers and markets for this unique product, including Etsy, flea markets, crafters, knitters, fiber artists, spinners, woolen mills, and yarn shops.
To obtain rabbit fiber, you can either shear or hand-pluck long-haired rabbits such as the Angora rabbit.
Raising long-haired rabbit breeds requires careful care and maintenance to ensure that the fiber produced is of high quality. Regular grooming and a balanced diet are crucial to keeping your rabbits healthy, and ultimately, to producing top-notch fiber for the market. When at rabbit shows I rarely see breeders raising more than 10 at a time due to the amount of work that kind of rabbit fur takes.
- Raw wool can sell from about $8-$12 an ounce.
- Spun wool that is ready to be crocheted or knitted can cost anywhere from $20-$80 depending on how long the skin is.
Selling Fertilizer with Rabbit Manure
If you’re looking for a natural and effective fertilizer, then rabbit manure might just be the answer you’ve been hoping for. This stuff is gold for your plants, with its high nitrogen content providing a real boost to growth and productivity.
One of the great things about using rabbit manure as fertilizer is that it can be applied directly to your plants without any risk of burning them. This means you can give your plants a quick and immediate nutrient boost without worrying about causing any damage. — Just make sure you don’t pull the manure right from under the spot where the rabbit pees often. Make sure you let the waste compost a bit before using it or pull the dried bunny barries.
Potential target customers for this product include gardeners, hobby farmers, and landscaping companies. Whether you’re tending to a small backyard garden, managing a hobby farm, or working in the landscaping industry, rabbit manure fertilizer can be a game-changer for your plants and crops.
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Rabbit manure can bring in anywhere from $5-$15 a pound. And rabbit poo weighs A LOT. But it is going to depend on your market and how presentable you can make it.
Choose your market (your ideal customer) intentionally when it comes to choosing your income streams.
The main thing here is you want to make sure the manure doesn’t get contaminated with fungus or mold. Which is easy to do. Someone would not be happy if you ruined their garden with some kind of disease.
Build a Worm Farm with Rabbit Manure
I have thought about doing this for years but have never pulled the trigger and there never seems to be enough time in the day to get it done.
Rabbit manure is a fantastic fertilizer and adding worms to the mix can create a powerhouse of nutrient-rich compost for your garden.
Let’s dive in and explore how you can set up your own worm farm using rabbit manure.
1. Choosing the right location:
Finding the right spot for your worm farm is crucial. You’ll want to place it in a shaded area to protect the worms from extreme temperatures and direct sunlight. It’s also important to keep it near a water source for easy access when it’s time to water the worms.
2. Building the worm bin:
You can build a worm bin using a variety of materials such as plastic tubs, wooden boxes, or even repurposed barrels. The key is to create a space that allows for air flow and drainage, while also providing enough room for the worms to do their thing.
3. Adding rabbit manure:
Rabbit manure is a fantastic addition to your worm farm as it’s high in nitrogen and other nutrients that can supercharge your compost. Be sure to mix the rabbit manure with other bedding materials like shredded paper or leaves to create a balanced environment for the worms.
4. Caring for your worm farm:
Once your worm farm is set up, it’s important to regularly check on the moisture levels and the overall health of the worms. Feeding them a balanced diet of kitchen scraps and rabbit manure will keep them happy and productive.
The Use And Value Of Worm Castings
Worm castings, also known as vermicast or worm manure, are like nature’s own organic fertilizer for your garden or agricultural operation. These nutrient-packed pellets are a byproduct of vermicomposting, a process in which worms breakdown organic material such as food scraps and garden waste into a rich, soil-enhancing substance.
The benefits of using worm castings are numerous. They contain a valuable mix of essential nutrients like nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium, as well as beneficial microorganisms that improve soil structure and water retention. This not only boosts plant growth and yields, but also helps to maintain the long-term health and sustainability of the soil.
Who to Sell Worms To:
Potential customers for worm sales include fishermen, bait shops, and people who use composting bins.
Fishermen love using worms like nightcrawlers as bait because they’re super effective at attracting fish. Bait shops are always on the lookout for high-quality worms to stock their shelves and meet the needs of their customers. And let’s not forget about folks who use composting bins – worms are fantastic at breaking down organic matter and turning it into nutrient-rich compost for gardens and plants.
Worm casting prices vary but on Etsy worm castings sell for about $15 a pound.
If you are going to start a profitable rabbitry raising pet rabbits, sell rabbit pelts, or produce rabbit meat. All successful rabbit farmers need to do one main thing and that is to think about their marketing and who is willing to buy the product. Market it in a way that resonates with that customer. AND pay attention to your numbers.
Focus on those things and you will grow as a profitable rabbitry.