Before you get started with any business venture you need to consider legalities and insurance. Make sure to see what regulations there are in your area that cover selling animals and animal products. Then check with your insurance agent about your homeowner or rental insurance policies; you may need to have a rider to cover your business.
You may want to consider not allowing people in your rabbitry to protect your rabbits from outside disease and unneeded stress. Most people understand when you tell them that you have a close rabbitry. You can provide pictures if they want to see the breeders, cleanliness, etc.
Now lets talk about the 5 ways that you can make money with backyard meat rabbits!
Let me start by saying that I do not advocate making your rabbits a full-time business or getting into rabbits for the sole purpose of making money. The best thing you’re going to do with backyard meat rabbits is to feed yourself and your family. If you want to see more about raising meat rabbits, see my article on Getting Started with Meat Rabbits. This miniature livestock is an amazing addition to your backyard farming efforts and can be raised by even the smallest urban farmer.
It is great to be able to make money with backyard meat rabbits BUT please remember to be responsible with your livestock. Don’t take on more than you can clean up after and feed daily. Even livestock deserves to live to live a good life!
How to Make Money with Backyard Meat Rabbits
Selling Poop – Yes, selling rabbit manure can make you money with backyard meat rabbits. This is gardening gold my friends! Gardeners don’t always want to raise a rabbit/s themselves but most know they value of having rabbit poo for their garden ( see Rabbit Poop Fertilizer for more information ). You can sell small bags for those wanting to add a bit to their gardens, up to garbage bags full for composts. Make sure they you use bedding that you can either rinse off the droppings or is all natural and easily composted as well. Personally I keep my rabbits off the droppings with pans; I line those with newspaper which doesn’t have to go into the bags at all.
Selling Kits – If you have good breeding stock you could make money by selling their offspring. Now you’re going to
Selling Breeders – It is rare that anyone producing meat from their backyard wants to get rid of proven breeders; but it happens. You can sell a doe ready to breed or that has bred once or twice, for a good amount of cash; bucks for a bit less. People just getting into rabbits are usually eager to start their rabbitry and want rabbits ready to breed. I do not recommend selling a doe that you know is pregnant – it can be very stressful for them and they may lose the pregnancy.
Selling Pelts – This market will depend greatly on the quality of your pelts. In warmer climates you may not get enough or thick enough fur on the pelt to be attractive to crafters. But if you do there are people who will pay for tanned pelts to make a variety of products. There is a market for those who want to tan their own pelts. You’ll need to freeze individual pelts to preserve them until purchase. It does take some skill to keep a pelt in good condition during processing.
Selling Processed Rabbits – There are several different avenues to make money with your backyard meat rabbits after processing. There are some areas that you can sell processed meat for human consumption – but you’ll definitely need to be up on your state’s regulations for that. But another way to sell them is to the pet food industry! You can start small by offer fresh or frozen rabbits to reptile owners that just want to feed their pets. Some dog and cat owners prefer to feed their animals a raw diet and will purchase processed rabbits for this purpose as well. Additionally, if you have a bigger set-up, you may find larger producers of dog food will purchase processed rabbits for their productions. You’ll need a good deep freezer if this is the route you decide to take to make money with backyard meat rabbits.
Bonus Option – Selling Pet Rabbits – I am putting this as a bonus option because it is not one that I have done much with. I don’t like to sell pet rabbits because they usually end up back at my house. Rabbits are great for pets if you know what you’re getting into; but people often don’t know much about rabbits at the time of purchase. I absolutely DO NOT sell rabbits during the month of Easter because those consumers are often the least informed and just wanting something cute for their kid’s basket. However, if you feel comfortable with your buyers this is another option and a great way to give your retired breeders a chance to live out their full life cycle.
So there you have it, 5 ways to make money with backyard meat rabbits…and a bonus option. I hope this helps you make some cash to cover your feed, housing and other homesteading efforts.