Many of us have already provided the basics for our families within a budget. These should include the basic necessities such as shelter, clothing, location, security, and most importantly a stable food supply.
Family’s Nutritional Needs
I’m sure many of us have already taken the necessary steps to insure our own family’s nutritional needs will be met. Stocking up on the basics, such as rice, beans, wheat, and vegetables in the form of dry goods, is an excellent first step. However, in a long-term grid down WTSHTF situation, you must anticipate disruptions in all forms especially food.
Problems with Livestock
Many of us have livestock or chickens. However, neither of these may represent viable solutions for those of us who may be required to hunker down in suburban America. Both cows and chickens have a long history of theft in America. Rustlers and chicken thieves can decimate a herd or flock in an extremely short time, leaving your loved ones with empty bellies.
Cows May Put You in Harm’s Way
Even a small herd of a few cows can place you in harm’s way, from a security standpoint. Additionally, these large animals represent high risk to high reward ratio. They require large amounts of food and significant security to protect your investment.
Chickens Are Challenge
Chickens are excellent as egg producers. However, they aren’t exactly the most viable source for meat. Chickens take extended periods of time to mature, and the best layers are usually not the best meat producers. They can run afoul of pesky varmits on four legs who are hungry and looking for a chicken dinner. Chickens also tend to be noisy and messy and would be mostly impossible to raise in a suburban setting.
Other Difficult Options
Some other popular options that exist for farms big and small, such as goats, sheep, fowl, and swine (pigs), are even more difficult options in a limited land setting. So where can the prepper turn to supply their loved ones with a sustainable food source?
Obvious Answer- Domestic Venison
The answer is obvious. It’s domestic venison, or better known as rabbit.
Now, before anyone starts whining about killing Peter Cotton Tail, or for us southern people Briar Rabbit, give me just a few more moments of your time. You may find this difficult to accept, but regardless of whether you live on a small lot or a 100-acre farm rabbits may still be the best nutritional source for you and your family and quite possibly your surrounding neighbors and friends alike. So let’s begin.
Rabbits have been a stable food source and source of income throughout not only America’s history but on the world stage as well.
Raised and Distributed In Early Roman Rule
In early Roman rule, Spain raised rabbits and shipped them to Rome as a food source and in turn Rome distributed them to Italy, France, and England, where large fences known as paddocks were erected. These enclosures allowed the rabbits to run free and reproduce at will. This allowed for a population explosion. In smaller areas rabbits were caged individually and bred on an established schedule to maximize food production.
Essential Food Source During Both World Wars
During both world wars rabbits were used as essential food sources. In fact during World War II in occupied France, the citizens of Paris built small rabbit cages on apartment building roofs (which were flat) and raised rabbits for food. The French would gather grass from along the roads leading into and out of the city as feed. These practices allowed them to feed their families when food supplies dried up.
In the 1950s
In the 1950’s rabbits again gained popularity as a primary food source during lean times. As anyone can deduce throughout history, rabbits have been and continue to be a highly regarded and valuable food source.
Why Regarded As Valuable Food Source
Here are just a few of the reasons why they are regarded as a valuable food source. Rabbits are one of the highest sources of protein of any animal. In fact most people who consume rabbit will be full after eating a very small portion, usually 1/3 of their normal total meal consumption. Also rabbits, when domestically raised, have a delicious taste and texture. Most people actually prefer rabbit to more familiar meats, such as chicken, beef, or pork. Americans tend to favor white meat; rabbits domestically raised only produce white meat, whereas wild rabbits are all dark meat.
Easiest Digestible Meat and Offer Health Benefits
A fact concerning rabbits is that they are one of the easiest digestible meats on the planet. If the U.S. government would remove certain restrictions on long-term care facilities (nursing homes) and allow rabbit to be served to the residents, we would see some truly remarkable improvements in their overall health. Some benefits might include improved skin integrity, improved cardiac function, and increased regular bowel function, which as always is a lingering problem in the elderly.
Easy To Raise
Another reason why rabbits should be an absolute mainstay in your family’s diet is the ease in which they can be raised. Rabbits are very disease resistant. As long as you provide clean living conditions, sickness is rarely an issue. I prefer small wire cages that are suspended from the ceiling. This mostly guarantees that your tiny herd will remain disease free. Also the suspended cages mean your rabbits are safe from potential predators, such as foxes, hawks, weasels, and raccoons. An additional advantage is that their feces will fall straight through the wire cage floor into a well placed five gallon plastic bucket, making it easy to remove. This rabbit manure is a valuable asset to barter, due to it being highly sought after for vegetable gardens. Rabbits require a minimal amount of food along with daily fresh water.
Desirable Cost To Raise Versus Production
One more excellent reason to begin raising rabbits is their cost to raise verses production. Some great meat rabbits are New Zealand, Californians, and Florida Whites. All three of these are excellent meat producers with small bone structure. They are medium-sized rabbits that efficiently convert food to meat in a very short time.
All three breeds are able to be bred at approximately six months of age. They typically produce a litter of eight to twelve babies at an average rate of eight litters per year. For instance, let’s say you have four female rabbits and one buck. And for arguments sake, you breed each female the maximum amount of eight times in a year, using this formula and allowing for an average litter size of ten babies. This means you would have 320 rabbits to eat each year. But wait, at six months of age, you could begin breeding the female offspring meaning that each litter would additionally produce another 200 rabbits to eat, sell, or barter. So while others might raise one steer per year and need to maintain two cows to breed, you can raise 500 rabbits by the end of your first year. In other words, you would eat well and still have hundreds of rabbits to sell or barter.
Easy to Relocate and Hide From Threats
Finally, if outside threats start to invade your rabbit farm, then you can relocate them into a garage. If you house your rabbits in a shed building, you can secure it similar to a lawn mower. Most importantly, you can hide them from prying eyes and nosy neighbors.
Our Experience Raising 150 Rabbits Each Year
My wife and I raise approximately 150 rabbits each year in a wooden store-bought shed in the middle of a retirement community, and no one has any idea. We have a table in the building that we use to process the meat, and we catch their droppings, which we put to good use on a small vegetable garden. Not only do we get a wonderful source of delicious meet, but we also get big and health vegetables during the growing season.
Rabbits Are Highly Nutritious, Delicious, and Easy To Raise
As anyone can see, rabbits are a highly nutritious source of meat that are very easy to raise in any circumstance. They contribute to increased health of their owners and increased plant growth. Their fur can be tanned and used to make soft, valuable coats and gloves. They can easily be secured and hidden from prying nosy neighbors. Most importantly, rabbits are delicious, whether in stews, as a roast with vegetables, or prepared in my personal favorite manner– fried in a skillet.
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