Rural System, Inc.
 Sustained rural lands; sustained profits

The Rabbits Group

Raising rabbits has been done by many 4-H youth, and Easter-time stimulates some interest in them. Raising rabbits is a good example of non-profitable activity unless it is done on the proper scale and in the proper areas. There is not high demand for the now-almost-unknown meat. Chicken suffices and is popular. Rumors are that fur is no longer widely acceptable. In the face of these obstacles, we nevertheless propose a profitable local production industry with marketing done elsewhere.

The elements of the proposal are:

Involvement of youth and many people, even at a very small scale, in Rural System, Inc.

Computer-aided selection from among the breeds:
  • Alaska
  • American
  • Angora
  • Belgian Hare
  • Bevern
  • Blue Vienna
  • Californian
  • Champagne D'Argent
  • Checkered Giant
  • Chinchilla
  • Cinnamon
  • Creme D'Argent
  • English Spot
  • Flemish Giant
  • Florida White
  • Harlequin
  • Havana
  • Himalayan
  • Lilac
  • Lop
  • Netherland Dwarf
  • New Zealand
  • Palomino
  • Polish
  • Rex
  • Rhinelander
  • Sable
  • Satin
  • Silver
  • Silver Fox
  • Silver Marten
  • Tan

The objectives are for optimizing on size, metabolic efficiency, meat yield, fur quality, pelt quality, and local appeal.

Ideas and practices will include:

This may be the group from which a "climate-friendly farming" project is initiated. This includes the major GIS components that allow animals, trees, and crops to be carefully placed to receive optimum water and temperature and insolation during a growing season (See a related project at

The following is from ATTRA (2003) National Sustainable Agriculture Information Service

QUESTION from Virginia: What are the inspection and chilling requirements for on-farm rabbit processing and marketing?

ANSWER: Usually rabbits are considered a non-amenable species, meaning that they are not covered under the Federal Meat Inspection Act and, therefore, do not need USDA Food Safety Inspection Service inspection to be marketed. However, many state or local health codes need to be observed. You should contact Barry Jones or Gary Milton with the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, at (434) 947-6731, for information on Virginia's requirements for rabbit processing.

Below are three on-line resources dealing with rabbits and rabbit processing. According to these publications, rabbit carcasses should not be left in cooling water for more than one-half hour. Rabbit carcasses will absorb water, and the water is considered a contaminant. It is recommended you remove the rabbits from the water and place them in a refrigerator or cooler until your customers can pick them up.


Anon. 2003. Rabbit production: Slaughtering and dressing rabbits. Mississippi State University Extension Service. 5 p.

Anon. No date. Raising rabbits: Helpful suggestions for beginners. Cooperative Extension, Washington State University. 12 p.

Graham, Paul P., Mark S. Price, and Norman G. Marriott. 1998. Rabbit processing. Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech. 6 p.

Development costs for stock, facilities, labor, and marketing are about $100,000. Profit estimates:

Perhaps you will share ideas with me
about some of the topic(s) above at

Maybe we can work together
... for the good of us all
... for a long time.

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