Buying pasture-raised meat rabbits

So you decided you want to buy some meat rabbits. They’re tasty and sustainable. But what does that look like to buy a rabbit or rabbit meat?

What is it like buying meat rabbits from the Rocking A Ranch?

We sell our rabbits between 8-12 weeks of age. At this point, they weigh between 5-7 pounds. (Some of the smaller ones, such as a runt, may weigh slightly less.)

Pasture-raised rabbits do grow slightly slower than cage-raised rabbits, and are typically mature around the 12-week mark. Why? Cage-raised rabbits are restricted to a small space. They don’t have room to run around and “waste” growing energy.

However, on the Rocking A Ranch, we raise them in a colony, meaning they get to spend their time with other rabbits in a large open area, chowing down on grass, hay, and pellets as they choose.

When they are moved out of the main breeding colony and into the grow-out tractors, they are moved to fresh grass every day and always have hay and pellets available to them until they are ready for processing.

Currently, we sell purebred California rabbits and New Zealand/California mixes.

Buying rabbits

We sell our rabbits for several different uses. By helping us know what you want to do with your rabbit, we can make sure you have the correct information and resources you need.

Price of rabbits

We sell our grow-outs for $20-25 per rabbit, depending on their size. There may be a discount for buying more than 3; always ask if this is something we’re currently offering!

Proven does and bucks are sold on a case-by-case basis regarding age, if they are pedigreed, and their parenting skills. Please reach out to see if we have any of these breeders available and what we’re asking for them! Another option is to join our email list, as they get the first pick on litters, news about what’s for sale, and more.

If you want to buy a California rabbit for meat:

Important note: we can process meat for your consumption only; this means no reselling of the meat. Please reach out to see if we have processed rabbits available or to be put on our email list to be notified when we have rabbit meat. There is an additional $5 processing fee to buy rabbit meat, bringing the total to $25-30/rabbit.

If you want to buy a California rabbit for breeding:

Please let us know! I will be happy to tattoo their ear for identification before they leave and give you the records we have for the rabbit you’ve chosen, including date of birth, parents, and more.

If you want to buy a California rabbit as a pet:

California rabbits can make wonderful pet rabbits as well. We’ve used them for petting zoos and more! Let us know you want a pet rabbit, and we’ll provide you with the records we have, listing date of birth, parents, and more.

Why are meat rabbits so sustainable?

One of our California does at a petting zoo, letting people experience farm animals up close!

Rabbits are the ultimate sustainable meat source. Their meat “is higher in digestible protein and lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than chicken, beef, or pork” (Modern Farmer). The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) reports that a rabbit requires four pounds of forage to make one pound of meat compared to beef cattle, who need to eat seven or more pounds of feed to create one pound of beef.

While rabbits are small, they are mighty—and reproduce quickly. This equals a lot of meat without a significant environmental impact.

[Rabbit meat] is higher in digestible protein and lower in fat, cholesterol, and calories than chicken, beef, or pork.

Modern Farmer

Just as important, rabbits on pasture are restoring the ground and soil. Rabbit manure is a rich source of natural fertilizer that doesn’t burn plants. It contains approximately 2 percent nitrogen, 1 percent phosphorus, and 1 percent potassium. Additionally, it has four times more nutrients than cow or horse manure and is twice as rich as chicken manure (MSU). This means that as rabbits are chowing down on the grass, they are replenishing the soil to provide even more, healthier grass in the coming months and years.

Why are rabbits sustainable? They produce a lot of meat on less grass and grain than most large animals and make the soil around them healthier as they do so. They’re super-bunnies.

What does it mean to be “pasture-raised” or “colony raised”?

Some pasture-raised California meat rabbits chowing down on lettuce.
Some of our pasture-raised rabbits chowing down on lettuce.

The typical setup for rabbits is a cage. Each individual rabbit has a separate cage or hutch. They are kept off grass and provided only carefully chosen pellets and hay.

Pasture-raised rabbits do grow slightly slower than cage-raised rabbits. Why? Cage-raised rabbits are restricted to a small space. They don’t have room to run around and “waste” growing energy.

However, on the Rocking A Ranch, we raise them in a colony, meaning they get to spend their time with other rabbits in a large open area, chowing down on grass, hay, and pellets as they choose.

When they are moved out of the main breeding colony and into the grow-out tractors, they are moved to fresh grass every day and always have hay and pellets available to them until they are ready for processing or their new home.

Published by Daleen Cowgar

Daleen Cowgar is a full-time content writer and social media guru. She also lives and works on her family farm, the Rocking A Ranch, where she helps raise beef, goats, rabbits, and more. When she's not ranching or writing, you can find her trekking a backpacking trail or traveling the galaxy through a book.

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