I have been rabbit farming for the past couple of years now as a means of generating extra income from home, and often times the money earned doesn't seem to feel like it is worth my efforts... Then I see the smile on a childs face when they hold their own Pet Rabbit for the first time and I start to realize my efforts were well rewarded from the simple joy it created in the life of a child.
As a child, I raised rabbits... Or at least tried to... My Father raised hunting dogs that eventually won the battle over my attempts to build a strong enough Pet Pen to house my rabbits in and I became frustrated and wrote it off as a loss... But I never really gave up on he idea of someday raising rabbits, and now I suppose that day has finally arrived.
Over the years I worked many jobs that taught me everything I would need to know to be successful in my home based business... From business management to construction and several points in between, it seems the journey was destined to lead me to where I am today... Rabbit Farming in the beautiful mountains I love to call home !
My construction skills have taught me how to build my Pet Pens & Breeder Hutches strong enough to withstand an occasional stray dog or coyote trying to get at my rabbits... My business management skills have taught me how to price my products to enable me to create a reasonable profit, but at the same time give my customers great deals above other breeders and Pet Pen Suppliers ! But I suppose the most important aspect of all is the fact that I have always loved animals of all types, and have learned to take on the responsibility of taking care of my animals 7 days a week, 365 days a year...
I have found that most people that try to raise rabbits soon grow tired of the endless responsibility and decide that the work involved isn't worth the money they are making from all their efforts, so as soon as the project has started, it seems to end... But for those of you that are dedicated to meet your goals in life, I can't think of a more demanding and rewarding experience ! Not everything in life is about how much money you can make... And the rewards of Rabbit Farming won't always be measured in dollars and cents.
I wrote an article for Associated Content shortly after building my first set of breeder hutchs that some of you may be interested in reading... (I'm a Published Author as well as Rabbit Farmer) ... Since that time I have changed the designs of my "Outdoor Rabbit Breeding System" to make them more portable and easier to care for your rabbits, but the principals involved in "Rabbit Farming" are still the same, and I hope that any of you that are interested in "Raising Pet Rabbits" as a hobby or extra income, will take the opportunity to read my article... Just follow the link below...
Managing the cost of any business you choose to venture into will help determine how profitable your new business will be, and managing a rabbit farm is very much the same... A certain amount of venture capitol will need to be invested in order to get your small business off the ground, and more times than not, the process of showing any capitol gain from your investments can be a painfully long and drawn out process.
Housing for your breeders and their offspring is by far the largest expense you will have to endure when you first start a rabbitry, and if you are experienced in construction, you will find that you can save a small fortune by building your own Breeder Hutches and Pet Pens. What you save in money you will spend in time designing and building what you need, so try to keep in mind that "Time is Money", and many of you will feel buying your Hutches and Pens is a better investment... As long as the quality of the Hutches and Pens you choose are durable and will last for years to come.
Growing into your new business is probably the best option when you are just getting started, so always be on the lookout for great deals on quality Pens and Breeder Hutches that you will need in the future as your business expands. Sometimes people that are opting to get out of the rabbitry business will sell all their equipment for next to nothing. Even though these Pens and Hutches are used, they still have a few good years left in them with little to no repair required... Just a good sanatizing and they will be ready to use.
Your next largest expense will be your breeder stock... By studieing the market in your area, you will better be able to determine which rabbits you should choose to raise. Having a variety that covers several market potentials is always a good option, but you must be prepared for the extra housing that will be required for each breed. I personally have 15 seperate housings for my rabbits and will have to expand very soon because of the different breeds I have choosen to incorperate into my farm. I currently offer 8 different breeds and plan to add at least 4 more before the start of the next Easter season to help capture a larger portion of the pet market.
Feed and water will be the least of all your expenses, and by pricing your rabbits at a reasonable rate, you will find that selling enough rabbits each week to provide feed for your entire farm is very possible... But you must plan ahead to make sure you have rabbits available each and every week to sell. By setting up a breeding schedule that offers one or two pregnant rabbits every week to ten days helps to insure you always have plenty of baby rabbits for your customers to choose from when they visit. This will also give you a chance to raise a few of your choice rabbits for replacement breeders.
When you have a breeding cycle such as I do ( 10 day cycles ) there is always the chance of overstocking your facility unless you have the proper outlets to sell the rabbits you are producing. I sell hundreds of rabbits from home every year, but there are certain times of the year when rabbit sales will slump... This is typically during the summer months from June through September.
In past years I would slow my production down to only a couple of breedings a month to avoid having more rabbits than I knew what to do with, but since the beginning of my rabbitry, I have made several contacts that are willing to purchase my rabbits on a year round basis.
May and June are typically the months when I pick out potential breeders for my next Easter Season, so the rabbits I set aside for breeders have to be housed seperately until they are old enough to breed. I put potential Females and Males in seperate pens until they are ready to breed, and usually by this time, I have customers that are looking for breeders as well. These rabbits that I raise for breeders will sell in November and December for $25.00 and up depending on the breed and whether or not they have been proven as a reliable breeder. Thats to say, I won't take a loss on the extra rabbits I breed, but I will have the extra feed cost as well as time and space invested in them.
Flea Markets seem to be a good place to sell your young rabbits in the summer months when your normal sales are off, because once someone sees a Baby Bunny in person, it's hard to resist the temptation of buying one. I know a few people that use Flea Markets as their main outlet for Pet Rabbit Sales, but when you have as many rabbits to take care of on a daily basis as I do, the extra work involved in Flea Market Sales and the time involved make it hard for someone like myself to undertake. One weekend a month would be about all I could handle as long as I take 40 plus rabbits at the time.