Hopefully we have evolved beyond that caveman mentality and raising animals for meat will one day be a thing of the distant past. I foresee humankind living on plant proteins and fibres one day in the not so far future and raising animals a passing phase of evolution.
But back to the rabbits. I started with 3 Flemish Giants from Holland, two does and a buck. The does were sprung out by the young dogs I had then and were killed, and I still have the buck. I acquired an excellent doe from another breeder and since then, a third doe and a different buck. I was planning to raise the rabbits for sale as breeding livestock for others,though so few people are interested in raising rabbits for meat here. If it ain't beef, chicken or pork, in that order, then these locals ain't interested. Most have not eaten rabbit.
So, along with the cutbacks of many animals due to the high cost of feed and medicines and such, the rabbits are going too. I do have 4 Angora rabbits as well and was thinking of dual purpose rabbits instead. If the Angoras don't sell as future breeding stock, then they can be kept until adults, the fiber harvested and then butchered for the meat. They grow faster than the Flemish Giants, which take a good 6 months to be of a size and quality for butcher. That is a lot of time invested in the rabbits, though the hay, alfalfa and grain is not that much. I use organic grain and a large bale of alfalfa.
What I do not enjoy is cleaning the cages. Rabbits stink! I had a mother rabbit in the porch with her litter of 5. She kindled in the chicken coop in March and the babies would have frozen or been dinner for the chickens so I caught the mamm and moved the group to a kennel in the porch. I did not have to do much except to feed and water the mother and later the babies, but in just a few days, the porch was stinky. Gross.
So, the Flemish Giants will be departing. I have been trying to sell them for breeding stock and have sold some, plus some of the babies born in the chicken coop too. Some babies got out through the small wire and have been yard bunnies all winter. Now that gardening season is here, those bunnies have to go for sure. I will catch them with the net slowly and when I have them all, they are going to the butcher shop. The original doe and buck will go the critter sale in May and then just the Angora bunnies will be left. That is enough for this farmer!
One mother rabbit reverted to her wild nature and dug a burrow in the 3 year old manure pile in the sheep pen. She is smart. The burrow is on the sunny side of the pile and there is inherent warmth because it is still composting, so the little ones will be toasty. She completely covers the entrance to the burrow after she feeds the babies,but she watches from afar. I uncovered the burrow and moved away and she came and covered it back up, then moved off to watch some more. Smart cute bunnies. Hard to raise these furry sweet natured little bunnies to eat. Yup, it is, so it isn't anymore.