Part of running a rabbitry that doesn’t eat up your entire paycheck is making sure that you are saving money where you can.
Raising rabbits can be as expensive or as affordable as you want to make it. You can choose to buy the most expensive supplies, equipment, and top of the line tack. Or you can choose to go with the lower-priced items that will do the job.
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Animals are my weakness, if I had unlimited funds I would be the modern-day Ellie Mae Clampett from the Beverly Hillbillies.
The Mindset Of Saving Money In Your Rabbitry
Remembering to make sure your wants don’t come before your needs
If you think of it as a hobby or “just for fun” and are not serious about the financial side. You will end up spending way more then you realize FAST. If you are smart with your money and you have extra then the stress of the bills is gone.
I want you to have fun raising your rabbits and enjoy spending time with them. I don’t want you to have that feed bill hanging over your head.
Stick To Your Financial Goals
Picture it. You are at a livestock sale, swap
You have made a few sales and are ahead right now for your income goals. If you buy that beautiful animal this would put you back in the red finically speaking.
You are tempted to move money around from your personal account to cover the cost. The heat rises to your forehead and the weight on your shoulders is more then you can handle.
We all have been there. It is so hard to keep walking in those instances but once your emotions settle you will be so grateful you passed.
It is a wonderful feeling to have your animals make you more money then they are costing you and it is doable. But you have to stick to your boundaries.
Know Your Weakness
If it is hard for you to pass up a good deal or a rabbit that you think is adorable. Don’t put yourself in that situation, to begin with. Put your blinders on and DON’T LOOK. I know what it’s like to have those heart-strings pulled and unless I have the intention to buy anything at all I won’t be looking.
Maybe you don’t have trouble passing up purchases but how about keeping that adorable baby that is
Know Your Numbers
There are a few areas you know to know your numbers to help you save money and to make smart choices.
First, you need to know your expenses.
When you know what your cost is you know what you need to make. Your most common expense is going to be feed right? So I want you to get a good ballpark of how much feed you go through on an average week (or month if you only have a few rabbits) and figure out what your monthly bill is.
Then you also need to a lot a certain amount for supplies. Once you are established you likely won’t need to buy new things as much. However, it will be a good idea to have a small amount put away every month in order to spread those bigger bills out.
Keeping a spreadsheet or some other way to track the income and expenses is necessary. It’s not fun but it is a must. It is not easy to remember off the top of your head how much feed you have bought over the past summer and a “rough estimate” won’t cut it. It is easy to forget something and when you check your bills and amount leftover often. You will get more comfortable with saying no to a purchase that is not right for your rabbitry.
Know Your Sweet Spot With Your Number Of Rabbits
Keep a reasonable number of animals. This is where so many people get in over your head. It is easy to say “how what is one more” but the truth is that every extra mouth you are feeding takes a little bit more and a little bit more away from your true goals.
This will take some time to figure out the balance between producing enough and not having so many they are eating more than producing. The best thing to do is start small and slowly add to the herd.
For more on how to assess the animals, you do have read this post on assessing your livestock and how to cut back.
Saving Money On Feed
You have to be a little more careful when it comes to rabbits and trying new feed. When you are trying to find the right brand you want to feed your animals the best you can as well as what is right for them but it also needs to be affordable.
Many breeders and livestock showers make a judgment of how good a breeder you are by the brand of feed you buy. It can be a status symbol sometimes but one I HIGHLY encourage you not to fall into.
I always tell new animal owners who come to the rabbitry, is to feed what works for you and your animals. There can be subtle differences that make a huge difference in what feed your rabbits will like.
I was feeding a brand of feed for close to 3 years and they did great. Then consistently the whole herd was eating less and less. So I decided it was time to change.
Paying a higher price does not always mean it is better quality. Ask the people who rase the breed you do or want to raise and see what they are feeding and also see what is available near you.
Supplementing Feed To Save Money
You can supplement pelleted feed for other things BUT here is the issue with that. If you are not feeding a rabbit right they won’t grow to their full potential. If you are raising rabbits for show or meat then this is going to be a problem.
I caution you with hay.
I know a lot of people feed hey but I personally don’t do it and I wrote all about it here in this post. Bloat is a silent killer for rabbits. Mold can grow in hay that you might not ever notice it causing bloat and loss of rabbits. It is not worth the risk to me.
Fodder is a great option.
However, I do think fodder is a great option and a whole lot more healthy. You take a bag of oat, barley, or wheat and sprout it so it looks like fresh grass. If you want to learn more about growing your own fodder I have a full post about that here.
Supplies and Equipment
When getting supplies for your rabbitry
If it is for the safety of you or your animals and is something you are likely to use or deal with regularly. Then, by all means, keep your family safe. If you are looking to buy something like a tool or gadget that will “make your job easier” think about it for a couple of days before you buy.
You want to make sure you will use the item and it really will save you time and it’s not just that shinny new thing people are talking about.
When shopping for grooming equipment, cages, or crocks and bottles or items that do not go bad try finding it gently used. Craigslist is an animal lover’s friend.
Check Other Departments
Unless they are having a sale never buy rabbit supplies from a pet store. Their stuff is outrageously overpriced.
For brushes and combs or clippers try looking in all the departments that could have them. If you are in a local farm supply store check the dog, horse, cattle departments. Those areas tend to be a lot cheaper. And if you have a bigger breed like me a larger comb or brush gets the job done faster. So that’s a win!
So there you have it. I hope these ideas got your wheels turning and will help you save some green in your wallet. Have some other ideas? Share them with me in the comments.