Someone asked us once how much it would cost to replace one of our meat rabbits. It was difficult to give an answer to that question because I value my rabbits in a much different way than a pet owner would value a rabbit. This came about because one of our neighbors dogs got into our barn and killed a litter of kits. These particular neighbors are very irresponsible pet owners and don’t value the lives of animals in the same way that we do. They thought that it would be super easy for us to replace the litter (since rabbits breed so often was their reason) and that they could pay there way out of the problem. We did not allow that to happen partially because we couldn’t come up with a price and we also felt that if we allowed them to pay there way out, it meant that we were fine with their dog coming over and disturbing/ killing our livestock. When coming up with a price for each rabbit you have to take many things into consideration. First you need to figure out what you will be using the rabbit for.
If you are just selling them as pets its roughly $20.00 per rabbit unless it is a specific pedigreed rabbit. Pedigreed rabbits can sell for quite a bit more depending on the breed. We sell our Pedigreed Rex for $45.00 each.
Selling a rabbit to a breeder as breeding stock you are able to ask for a little more per rabbit, about $30.00 per doe and $20.00-$25.00 for bucks (again that is for non pedigreed rabbits). The reason that you can sell them for a little more as a breeder is because the person buying it from you will get their money back after the first litter.
Now for the processed prices. We try to use every part of the rabbit that we can. Processed prices are higher than the pet or breeder prices. To me each rabbit processed is worth about $41.00. Here’s how I got to that price. We sell the meat for $7.00 per pound. Each rabbit weighs about 3 lbs processed for a total of $21.00 in meat. Then we make key chains from the back feet which we sell for $5.00 each, at two feet per rabbit we are at $10.00 in key chains. Lastly, we have the furs which are typically $10.00 or higher depending on the quality of the fur. The processed rabbit is probably worth more that than but we will low ball it for now.
Ok, lets look at this one more way. Let’s figure out the value of a litter of kits that is killed by a predator. How do you value that loss? Let’s do some math quick and figure out what the loss would be for a litter of 8 kits (that’s our average litter size). We will say 4 are male and 4 are female just to make it fair. If we were planning to keep all as breeders for ourselves it would be impossible to value that loss. Here’s why. Our meat rabbits are bred and cross bred to produce kits that give us everything that we want in our meat rabbits. You can’t put a value on the time, research and data collection that it took to get the kits how we want them. Our males are not valued as high as the females. Yes, the males are still important but they are a little easier to replace then the females. We are also able to use the males for breeding quicker than we can use the females. The males are ready for action at about 3 months old. The females are not ready to breed for about a year.
Each female kindles roughly 10 litters over their life time. If each litter averages 8 kits we are now talking about 80 rabbits from that one doe. Now lets venture back up to our processed price. At $41.00 per rabbit processed and 80 rabbits per doe, we are looking at $3,280.00 from that one doe. So if we lose 4 does, we are looking at $13,120.00. I know this is just hypothetical and that it would not be realistic to consider each doe at a value of $3,280.00. But what would you value it at ? I still don’t have an answer to that question. If we take it one step further and say that half of the 80 kits that the doe produced were also female and kept for breeding, we are looking at $131,200.00 for just the females.
We put a lot of time into our rabbits. Running the rabbitry is very enjoyable to us even though it is a lot of work. To avoid potential predators after the dog incidents, we have moved our rabbits to a more secure location. We thought this was a necessary step to protect our rabbits and profits.