People will often ask if it’s possible to make money on rabbits.
Raising rabbits is a lot like the blogging world in some respects. There are some people, like the Pioneer Woman, who make money on their blogs because they have a massive following and sponsors. But for every Pioneer Woman there are 5,000 people who opened their free blog account and post on occasion and make nothing.
Kinda like rabbits.
There are people who run commercial rabbitries who are able to make money for themselves selling meat rabbits. There are some people who have worked very hard on their lines and can make money on sales for their rabbits that actually support them in their retirement.
But for the average person, rabbits can be a bit of a money pit, especially if you’re addicted to buying new stock all of the time and you haven’t clearly stated your objectives.
For our family, we have three priorities for our rabbits:
1. To provide a healthy meat source for our family, where we know what is in the food we are eating. In this respect we are paying about $3/lbs for rabbit meat when we process on a 10-week schedule. That takes in to account the amount of food consumed by mama while nursing the litter and the amount of food consumed by the individual rabbit until butcher time.
2. To produce show animals that pay for themselves. We enjoy showing. I get it that not everyone does, but we find it to be a lot of fun for our whole family. Showing a rabbit is not terribly expensive, but it does take money in gas, entry fees, purchase of carriers to get them to and from the show, and incidental costs while there, like a soda. If we are able to sell stock to cover the cost of our show experience we consider that a fun experience that pays for itself… and that’s a win-win. As time has gone on our rabbit sales have also slowly chipped away at the initial purchase cost of our cages and supplies. We have a depreciation schedule for this so I’m not expecting to break even but, it’s happening slowly!
3. To allow this hobby to bring our family together. This is a purpose that doesn’t have a price tag, but so many of the hobbies we see as options are not whole family events. We love to go snowboarding, but now that we have kiddos it’s a bit of a scheduling nightmare to figure out how to manage all the childcare so we can hit the slopes. Rabbits aren’t like that for our family – we come together to take care of the daily husbandry tasks and when we go to shows we are often en masse with the kids and have found rabbit people to be extremely welcoming to well-behaved children.
We also recognize that rabbits have become our family hobby. Hobbies of all types exist in the world, but usually you expect to have a bit of expense involved whether it’s buying a specific size of knitting needle or yarn, or a special rope perfect for bouldering. Hobbies come with a price tag – ours also comes with fur!
The first year we had rabbits I fretted quite a bit over the monthly budget allowance we had going to the animals, thinking we would never break even. We sell our animals to people for show and starting their own meat operations, and have gotten a fairly steady stream of people who are interested in purchasing the poop — ‘bunny berries’ — for their gardens, which brings in a little extra cash. Now that we’ve been at it awhile, we also have been able to scale back our regular costs significantly to basically food and shows.
That has left a little extra room on occasion to save for bigger upcoming expenses. Dollar by quarter we are able to set money aside… and just a few weeks ago I was able to completely pamper myself by buying a Keurig coffee maker using our rabbit profits! So now we’re caffeinated as we pet our bunnies, a crazy combination! Ha!
I suppose when it comes down to it, it’s about your priorities. I would never recommend rabbits to someone as a money-making proposition. If you’re interested in a rewarding hobby with lovely relationships with others and potential to make a healthy lifestyle choice, this might be right up your alley!