Rabbit meats is very commonly consumed all over the world and is used in making different delicious dishes which might include soups, stews, barbecue and roasting of the meat. You may find many Rabbit breeds for meat which is not only suitable for consumption of adults but also for kids.
Rabbits are one of those animals or pets which can be easily raised and their maintenance and other expenses are very economical. You can build rabbit hutch by looking at different Rabbit hutches plans on the internet, and the items needed are usually those which are available at home or can be purchased at a low cost rather than purchasing a commercial hutch which is comparatively expensive.
The feeding of the Rabbits is not expensive either and so you can easily raise them for food or just having them as pets, however remember that not all Rabbit breeds are suitable for eating but only a few types of meat Rabbit breeds.
The Rabbit meat falls in the category of white meat and is safe for consumption by people who are suffering from different diseases and also for those people who are on a strict diet and are cutting down fats in their diet.
Rabbit meat is one of the best white meat which is available in the market and has many benefits. They have digestible protein which is low on fat; in fact they are almost fat less. Since there is no fat, the meat of Rabbit contains low calories and is cholesterol free making it highly recommended for cardiac patients, those who have cholesterol problems and those who are on a diet and want to lose weight.
Another benefit of Rabbit meat is that they comparatively have lower sodium content which makes them safe for consumption by those people who have blood pressure problem due to sodium intolerance.
Rabbit meat also have a good amount of phosphorus and calcium, it helps in normalizing the metabolism and is also highly recommended for cancer patients going under radiation therapy because it lowers the dose. If you are suffering from atherosclerosis, eating Rabbit meat on a regular basis can actually prevent it.
You may also be interested in reading our other similar articles such as rabbit hutch plans.
People slaughter the Rabbits, the skin and the meat goes for consumption whereas the fur goes for making of different items. Unlike other animals, inbreeding can occur in the Rabbits and there is no harm in it, they won’t be prone top diseases or have deformation in their offspring. Raising Rabbits for meat can be a good and money making activity. If you are thinking about raising rabbits, then here are our 17 best meat Rabbit breeds list:
1) New Zealand Whites
These rabbits originated in America and not New Zealand as the name would suggest. These are friendly, fluffy, white, large, smart, love to cuddle, and they have good meat to bone ratio of flavor meat. There is everything to like and nothing to dislike about the New Zealand White meat rabbit breed.
New Zealand rabbit fur colors can be white, black, red, or a mixture of all three colors. The most popular color is pure white and these are the color that is bred most often. The New Zealand rabbits are the ones most often used to portray the Easter Bunny each year because of their pure white fur and easy going nature.
These meat rabbits get very large and will weigh in at 11-12 pounds when mature. They will need a lot of space to move around in and they are happiest when around people. This a fast growing breed that will reach 8-pounds in 8-weeks.
2) Californian Rabbits
When raising meat rabbits, this breed is a good choice because of its versatility. The California rabbit can be used for meat, as a loving pet, and as a show rabbit.
White soft fur covers the body and the ears, nose, and legs have black points. They enjoy interacting with humans and will follow you around and want to be cuddled.
California rabbits will reach a mature weight of 9-10 pounds and have a good bone to meat ratio. They originated in California in the 1920s and are a cross between Himalayan rabbits and Standard Chinchilla rabbits. The breed is healthy and has a life expectancy of up to 10 years when kept as a pet.
3) The American Chinchilla
These meat rabbits were originally bred for their grey fur and had rather small bodies.
The focus of breeding the American Chinchilla is not for pelt production but food and an adult reaches a mature weight of 9-11 pounds with an excellent bone to meat ratio. This a favorite meat rabbit to use to create smoked meat.
The docile nature and fast growth rate make this one of the best rabbit breeds for meat for beginners. Females produce large kittens and have excellent mothering instincts, so this breed is ideal for adding to your farm when raising rabbits for meat.
4) Flemish Giants
We found this, one of the largest meat rabbit breeds, as it reaching a mature weight of 15-pounds and can reach up to 20-pounds. Originally from Belgium, Germany, they’re very popular in the United States as pelts and meat. These large rabbits provide an excellent meat to bone ratio and the mild flavor is a family favorite.
Fur color ranges include white, sandy, light gray, steel gray, blue, and black. The docile and friendly temperament of this gentle giant breed makes it a great choice for raising as a meat rabbit.
The only challenge when raising Flemish Giants is finding enough space for them to roam around in. These rabbits are the size of a small dog and need space to move around in while remaining safe and secure.
These fast growing large rabbits have a voracious appetite and will cost a little more than other meat rabbit breeds to raise.
5) Silver Foxes
These are great homestead rabbit and also fall in the fancy category and for producing meat. These breed are also very rare and may weight 10 to 12 pounds. As the name suggest, they have silver body with black shading, just like a silver fox.
6) Champagne D Argent
Also known as the French Silver Beauty and Champagne, this meat rabbit breed originated in Champagne, France.
A mature Champagne d’Argent weighs between 9-12 lbs and has full shoulders, deep hindquarters, long ears, and soft fur. They are born black and slowly turn silver with the silver color starting on their stomach and slowly working its way across the body.
The body is wedged shaped, the ears are long and erect and the fur is short and very soft.
This is a healthy breed and has a docile nature when socialized as a young kitten.
7) Cinnamons Rabbits
This is a rare breed that can only be found in the United States. Cinnamons are not only good meat rabbits but are also ideal for pets, shows, and fur.
They reach a large size of 9-11 pounds when mature and will need a lot of indoor or outdoor space to move around in. These are very friendly, docile rabbits and love to jump around and play.
They make great pets, get along well with other animals, and have a life expectancy of 5-10 years. Cinnamons have good meat to bone ratio with a wedge-shaped commercial body type. Thier fur color is the same as ground cinnamon, with a dark stomach and an orange underlying tinge.
Their nose and the outline of their ears and feet is dark smoky grey and they are highly prized for their unique coloration.
The blue pelts of the Beveren (also spelled Beverin) rabbit are highly prized. The large size makes it a good rabbit breed for meat too.
This breed originated in the town of Beveren, located in Belgium, in the late 1800s It was initially raised as a meat rabbit but the soft, blue pelts made them more desirable as a pelt rabbit breed for a few decades. Now things have changed and once again they are raised as a meat rabbit breed on homesteads.
Beverens are friendly, active, and intelligent. The females have large litters and make good mothers. The females weigh 9-12 pounds and the males weigh 8-11 pounds. They have a good meat to bone ratio and the pelts have many uses around the homestead.
9) Satins rabbits
This is a cold hardy meat rabbit breed that will thrive outdoors in cold climates. They boast a thick fur that is also heralded for its beauty of uniquely shiny fur that is textured. These meat rabbits commonly weigh about twelve pounds when fully mature.
Originally from the United States, Satins have a dense coat, medium build, broad, arched body with strong legs, broad head, and sturdy, upright ears. Their dense coat allows them to live outdoors in snowy, cold, winter environments.
Fur color depends on the region in which the Satin was bred in. Black, blue, white, chocolate, chinchilla, and siamese are common in most countries. In the United States copper, red, and broken colors are common too.
The United Kingdom has the widest color range of Satins that include bronze, chocolate, castor, cinnamon, fawn, fox, Himalayan, ivory, opal, and lynx. The soft, shiny, warm fur is in high demand so this rabbit breed will provide you with fur for making garment making or to sell in addition to meat.
Satin rabbits are calm, friendly, and good-natured making them a good choice of meat rabbits to have around children. Their extraordinary shiny fur makes them popular for raising as show rabbits but they do have a high meat to bone ratio that makes them one of the best meat rabbits too. Satins are fast growing and will reach 5-pounds in 8-weeks.
10) Rex Rabbits
These rabbit breeds we have in our list are soft and plush were developed both for the purpose of fur and meat. When mature, they may weigh around 8 to 10 pounds and may come in a variety of blue, amber and spotted patterns ion their color. The Rex can give you some good meat and is perfect for homestead.
11) Florida White Rabbits
This is a mixed-breed that was created by crossing an albino Dutch, an albino Polish, and a New Zealand White rabbit. The result was the small, flavorful meat rabbit called the Florida White.
This compact, sturdy meat rabbit always has white fur and pink eyes. The head, feet, and bones are small and this breed will provide you with a meat ratio of 65%. The rabbit is smaller than many other meat rabbit breeds but the meat to bone ratio is much higher so the overall harvest is higher.
This breed is hardy, healthy, docile, and quick to reach maturity. The adult weight will be around 6-pounds. The smaller size also makes this a good choice of meat rabbits to raise in small spaces.
Their easy going nature makes them good to keep as pets and they have a life expectancy of 5-8 years. They are a hardy, healthy meat rabbit breed and females produce 6-8 kittens per litter.
12) Palomino Rabbits
These are good meat rabbit breeds for homestead and are also bred commercially for meat purpose. They have a good temper and so can be great homestead and may weight 8 to 11 pounds.
13) Altex Rabbit
This rabbit breed is a commercial breed intended to produce bucks that will keep the population of Altex terminal cross fryers strong. All the bunnies in the litter sired by an Altex buck are used for meat and fur.
The Altex breed gains weight rapidly and will reach a mature weight of 13 pounds and it’s one of the best breeds for meat. The Altex has a docile temperament and is easy to handle so this breed also makes a good pet. Shedding is not much of an issue if you choose this breed for a pet. Altex rabbits have short white fur and will develop grey fur on their upright ears and grey markings around the nose.
Altex rabbits originated in the United States and have a fleshy build. They get along well with other rabbits and develop a close bond with them. They are happy living indoors or outdoors and thrive on a diet of vegetables and hay.
This is one of the oldest rabbit breeds and was developed in the late 1800s by cross-breeding a semi-wild Tortoiseshell Dutch rabbit with wild rabbits.
The Harlequin rabbit is large and colorful and makes one of the best meat rabbit breeds because of its meat to bone ratio. The average weight of a female Harlequin is 6-9 pounds, males will weigh slightly less. Harlequins are ready to be butchered in 8-10 weeks.
This rabbit breed is good-natured, intelligent, and they make good mothers, producing up to 10 kits per litter. The average lifespan of this breed is 5-8 years. These rabbits will have two fur colors with markings that make their coat look striped. The fur is short, dense, and soft, and the pelt can be used for creating warm outerwear.
15) Belgian Hare
The Belgian Hare has a long slender body and long hind legs. The typical fur color is red with black ticking, but the breed can also have tan or chestnut colored fur.
Their large size makes them one of the best rabbit breeds for meat. Females weigh 8-9 pounds and males weigh 6-8 pounds. Females have good maternal instincts and make excellent mothers. They typically give birth to 4-8 kits per litter and have a slow growth rate.
Rabbit meat is lean, dense, and ideal for raising on a homestead. The high reproductive rate will provide a steady supply of fresh meat and soft furry pelts. Belgian Hares have a good disposition and are safe to keep around children.
16) Himalayan Rabbit
This is a medium sized meat rabbit that has a white body and color points on the ears, feet, and nose. The colors can be lilac, blue, or chocolate which makes this breed resemble the Californian rabbit breed or a Himalayan cat.
The female will weigh around 6 pounds when mature and the males weigh 4-5 pounds. Himalayans have typically been raised for their pelts but make good breeding meat rabbits for a homestead. Their litters can produce up to 12 kittens at a time and will be ready to butcher in a few months.
This breed has a calm and friendly disposition and is well suited to life on a homestead.
17) Dutch Rabbit
This is the smallest of the breeding meat rabbits on our list of the best but it’s still a good rabbit to raise on a homestead.
The female Dutch rabbit weighs about 5-6 pounds when grown and the male weighs in at about 4-5 pounds. They have distinct markings that include a white blaze on the nose, white collar around the neck, and white saddle on the back. The breed is compact, round, and has upright ears.
Dutch rabbits are friendly and easy going and make ideal pets as well as breeder animals. This meat rabbit breed is ready to start reproducing when the female is 4-months old and can give birth to up to 12 kittens per litter.
Dutch rabbits make excellent mothers and will foster kits from other mothers when needed.
As we all know, while selecting white meat as a cheap source of protein that is easily digestible, the first one that comes to mind is chicken, fish and some game birds as well. But rabbits can also be raised for meat in addition to being a pet. There are wide options to consider such as the one we showed in this article.
Here we have prepared a questionnaire to answer some common questions.
Is rabbit a good meat to eat?
Rabbit meat is an excellent source of protein that we need for a healthy life. Protein helps in building and repairing our muscles, skin and blood. Rabbit meat is also a good source of iron that makes our blood. We need blood that flows through our body to keep us active and strong.
Which rabbit breed is best for farming?
Fleming Giant is the largest meat rabbit breed with a weight from 15 to 20 Pounds. They have a good meat to bone ratio and growth rate. They have broad heads, long ears and dense fur that can be in a color of black, blue, fawn, light gray, steel gray, sandy, and white. Their meat tastes just like chicken meat and they have a good balance of fat and lean muscles that makes their meat juicier.
What’s the best bedding material to use for rabbits?
There are a number of bedding options you can consider such as shredded paper, straw and dust extracted hay. The best type of bedding for rabbits is soft straw that is warmth and comfort especially when you are raising rabbits outdoors. However pine and cedar shaving should not be used as a bedding material as they are toxic that can result in liver complications.
When do rabbits start breeding?
Rabbits can breed all year and can conceive any time. However, mild temperatures such as in March and September are good to breed. Most rabbits are ready to breed when they reach 4 to 6 month but it’s better for them to become pregnant not earlier than 6 month to avoid complications. Some breeds that are larger or dwarf can start breeding at an age of 6 to 8 month.
Michigan State University, April 24, 2017 – Author: Michigan State University Extension, “Rabbit Tracks: Breeding Techniques and Management”, https://www.canr.msu.edu/resources/rabbit_tracks_breeding_techniques_and_management
MDPI, Published: 3 January 2023, “Meat Quality in Rabbit (Oryctolagus cuniculus) and Hare (Lepus europaeus Pallas)—A Nutritional and Technological Perspective”, https://www.mdpi.com/2077-0472/13/1/126
Oregon State University, “Raising Rabbits for Meat—Providing Basic Care, Part 1”, https://extension.oregonstate.edu/podcast/living-land/raising-rabbits-meat-providing-basic-care-part-1