Before you start producing rabbits, you must identify your market. Rabbits are raised not only for meat, laboratory use, breeding stock, and Angora wool but also for their skins and for youth programs.
When raising rabbits for meat, you must consider the availability of slaughtering facilities, type of packaging required, transportation cost, and potential buyers.
Restaurants, wholesalers, custom meat stores, and individual buyers are the main purchasers of rabbit meat. Traditionally, rabbit prices tend to be lower during the summer months because of high supply, so marketing during this time may be more challenging. Rabbits are typically slaughtered as fryers at about 10 weeks of age. Often considered a delicacy, rabbit meat is white, fine-grained, and delicately flavoured. It also is high in protein and low in fat, cholesterol, sodium, and calories.
Laboratory rabbit production has the potential to be a very profitable enterprise, but the requirements for entering the market make it difficult to become established. When producing for laboratories, hospitals, or universities, you must be licensed and must meet the requirements for the breed, age, weight, and any other characteristics that are specified. You must raise the animals under controlled conditions, and the facility must be highly sanitary and strictly monitored. It is recommended that you start your business by selling through an experienced supplier for a while before dealing directly with laboratories.
If you choose to market breeding stock, establishing a reputation for raising high-quality animals is critical. You can develop your reputation by maintaining accurate and detailed health records, exhibiting rabbits at shows, and advertising in rabbit journals and farm periodicals.
The market for Angora wool is small, and the wool is usually sold directly to individuals or organizations buying for mills. Some producers choose to spin the wool into yarn and market it directly to the general public. Angora is high-quality wool often used to manufacture luxury garments and therapeutic clothing for people with arthritis and other joint diseases.
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