Six Options for Culls

Group of White Rabbits --- Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

Group of White Rabbits — Image by © John Lund/CORBIS

One of the ongoing issues of raising rabbits is that rabbits breed like… rabbits. Which means you might possibly run into a situation where you fee like you have rabbits coming out of your ears!

It’s a wise idea to have an end game in mind before you ever breed your rabbit at all. It’s not only unwise to indiscriminately breed a living thing, it can also be unethical to overload yourself past the capacity of your rabbitry. Rabbits are such a versatile animal there are several options for utilizing rabbits you want to cull from your own breeding program. Here are just a few ideas:

  1. Help others get started raising rabbits. It’s always a joy to help others start their own urban homestead or make conscious choices about their food sources! Check with your local feed store to see if you can place an advertisement on their bulletin board about your rabbits for sale.
  2. Fill your own freezer. There is a beautiful sense of thanksgiving in knowing that you are providing for your own needs (and that all meat doesn’t come on a styrofoam tray filled with miscellaneous chemicals).
  3. Fill someone else’s freezer. We have a good friend who has an auto-immune disorder. Purchasing food that doesn’t cause their body to go into attack mode has become more and more challenging; our rabbits are one of the only meats she can eat at this point and providing them for her has been a blessing! Consider talking with your local food bank about families that might appreciate a healthy infusion of meat (be certain you’ve looked into the laws regarding providing food for human consumption in your area. In our area we can only sell the live rabbit without regulation.) There is a facebook group you might find interesting: Rabbit Breeders Feeding the Hungry.
  4. Raptor Rescues/Rehabilitation. Check to see if your area has a bird rehabilitation center or preserve. Many birds of prey live off of rabbit and donations could be considered a tax write off depending on your area and regulations.
  5. RAW/BARF Feeding. More and more dog and cat owners are turning toward non-processed foods for their pets. One of our friends has seen a life-saving turnaround in their dog after switching from a major name brand dog food to a “whole food” approach with her pet! Check your local Craigslist or ask around at pet shops for contacts of people who might have a need for rabbit.
  6. Snake Feeding. Snakes love rabbits in the wild or domesticated. The snake breeders in our area will not feed live animals so their snakes do not develop aggression, which makes me feel better about this outlet! While I am not a snake-lover in any way, my spouse is and has regularly reminded me snakes need to eat, too. {yuck!}

You’ll notice I don’t include pet sales in this list. Many people do sell rabbits as pets and we have done so on occasion. More and more we frown against it however, as rabbits really aren’t genetically inclined to be cuddlers and the closer breeders get to the pet market the more ground is lost against breeding in general and specifically for health, vitality, dress out percentages, and self-sufficiency. This is a personal opinion, so take it with a grain of salt, but I would avoid pet sales. We have also discovered the expectations of a pet owner are quite different from those of a commercial breed rabbit owner and thus can be challenging.

We’d love to hear of your outlets for culls/excess rabbits in the comments!

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