Thursday, January 06, 2011

Towards a Sustainable Agriculture with Meat Rabbits

A new litter of bunnies has been born on Thomas Farm! They are the next generation in the meat rabbit project that Meeting School Farm Manager Ben Casiello brought with him when he came to the School last April. Ben became interested in raising meat rabbits after bringing breeding stock to Honduras after hurricane Mitch (through Heifer International) in order to replenish lost livestock.

Rabbits are an extremely sustainable form of agriculture. They reproduce quickly, are compact, and can be raised completely on grass. At The Meeting School the meat rabbits are seasonally pasture raised and during winter months are fed a combination of grain and hay. Rabbits grow quickly and the meat is very nutritious. It has higher levels of protein and lower levels of cholesterol than beef, pork, or chicken. Rabbit manure is nutrient dense and is one of the few manures that can be placed directly on plants (without composting) without causing harm. In areas without electricity (like parts of Honduras) the compact size of rabbits is an advantage. Having large meat animals leads to more waste since there is no refrigeration. A rabbit can be eaten entirely by a family for a meal.

Despite still being in an early stage of development, Ben hopes that this project will soon become an integral part of our agricultural program.

1 comment:

D said...

Hurray for practical meat animal food production! There is no better food security for meat than a herd of meat rabbits! Also if you are raising pigs, sausage using the lean rabbit meat with the abundant pork lard is a culinary practice my Cherokee partner grew up with in Oklahoma.