I’ll confess something right here… I only have one group of livestock that pays for itself, plus earns me money. This money gets eaten quickly by animals I can’t sell or raise as efficiently. These fantastic animals who bring in some money for feed and vet bills are my Belgian hare rabbits. Jup, the skinny ones with no meat on them. I don’t butcher them for food or for their pelts, I just sell them as pets.
Breeding and selling pets aren’t automatically the most attractive things to be doing for a homesteader. I used to think it didn’t fit the self-sufficiency, living off the land-idea. But high feed bills for the chickens and ducks have made me change my mind. My rabbits eat less than a 25kg bag of rabbit pellets per rabbit PER YEAR. In addition to this I buy hay and straw, large bags of ‘ugly’ carrots when there are nests to consume these. I cut white willow shoots, collect acorns, grasses, comfrey,… Green waste from the kitchen such as cabbages, turnips, potato peels also go to the rabbits. The biggest cost to raising them are the vaccinations against RHD1&2 and myxomatosis.
Until now I’ve only had Belgian hares in their typical reddish tan color. This caused a lot of pet shoppers with children to buy somewhere else. They’d prefer to have animals in different colors. Well soon, I’ll be able to supply.
I bought this beautiful black male all the way from Holland, from a breeder in the Rotterdam area. He could show me the parents and grandparents on site and show me their characters. Almost all rabbits this man had were gorgeous, very friendly, healthy hares. I’m hoping the offspring inherit this great personality.
Click here to see my post on rabbit breeding stock