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17 Best Meat Rabbit Breeds for Homesteads

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.

New Zealand Whites meat rabbits breeds
New Zealand Whites meat rabbits breeds

 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.

Californian meat rabbits
Californian meat rabbits, 9-10 pounds weigh

  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.

The American Chinchilla rabbit breed
American Chinchilla meat rabbit breeds, weight 9 to 11 pounds

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.

Flemish Giants Rabbit Breeds
Brown Flemish Giants, one of the largest meat rabbit breeds, weight of 15-20 pounds

5) Silver Foxes

Silver Foxes are great homestead rabbits 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.

Silver Foxes rabbit breeds
Silver Foxes meat rabbit breeds, weight 10 to 12 pounds

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.

Champagne D Argent Rabbit breeds
Champagne D Argent or French Silver Beauty and Champagne meat Rabbit breeds

 7) Cinnamons Rabbits

This is a rare breed that can only be found in the United States. Cinnamons rabbits 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.

Cinnamons Meat Rabbit breeds
Cinnamons Meat Rabbit breeds, weight 9-11 pounds

8) Beveren

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.

Beveren Rabbit
Beveren Rabbit, origin Belgium

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.

Satins rabbit breeds
Satins brown meat rabbit breeds, weigh about twelve pounds

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 rabbits can give you some good meat and is perfect for homestead.

Rex Rabbit breeds
Rex meat Rabbit breeds, weigh around 8 to 10 pounds

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.

Florida White Rabbits
Florida White meat Rabbits, meat ratio of 65%.

12) Palomino Rabbits

Palomino Rabbits 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.

Palomino Rabbits
Palomino Rabbits raised for meat, 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.

Altex meat rabbit breed
Altex meat rabbit breed, originated in the United States

14) Harlequin

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.

Harlequin rabbit Breed
Harlequin rabbit Breed, weight of a female Harlequin is 6-9 pounds

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.

Belgian Hare
Belgian Hare, Rabbit meat is lean, dense, Females weigh 8-9 pounds and males weigh 6-8 pounds

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.

Himalayan Rabbit
Himalayan meat Rabbit, medium sized meat rabbit

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.

Dutch Rabbit
Dutch meat Rabbit, female weighs about 5-6 pounds, male 4-5 pounds

Ending Note!

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

About Farhan Ahsan

My name is Farhan Ahsan,I am web enthusiast, writer and blogger. I always strive to be passionate about my work. I started my work at the beginning of 2007 by engaging myself with detail reading and exchanging information with others. Since then things and times have changed, but one thing remains the same and that is my passion for helping and educating people, building a successful blog and delivering quality content to the readers. I always love to write about gardening, sustainable life, off grid living and homestead farming.

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  1. It is illegal to possess rabbits in the state of Queensland, in Australia.
    The fine is $10,000 from memory.

  2. Just did a Google search….
    The fine now stsnds at $44,000.

  3. Dr. Abdul Azeez Sheikh.

    Please furnish availability addresses cost etc. to promote them.

  4. As a breeder of meat rabbits for over 10 years, I prefer Palominos. They have the best temperament, especially with children, and they are a much hardier rabbit than Californians and New Zealands. If you live in an area where heat is an issue, I would strongly suggest Palominos. They are able to handle the heat much better than most breeds than my other breeds.

  5. I live in the Indiana, and the Southeast Ohio area. What breeds are best for keeping in colder temps, in winter? I am thinking of breeding for our homestead.

    • Cold weather is not usually much of a problem for rabbits. As long as it is well protected from drafts and has a constant supply of liquid water a rabbit (and even newborn kits in a well-made nest) can withstand temperatures to -20° F without additional heat. On the other hand, temperatures above 90° F, or 85° in high humidity can cause death. It is vital that rabbits be cooled on hot days.

  6. Purebred Flemish Giants do not make good meat rabbits. The Flemish is bred to have a large strong bone structure rather than a large meat mass. They are bred for balance, not meat. They mature slowly, often taking 1 to 1-1/2 years before they are fully grown and few get larger than 18lbs. However, a Flemish crossed with a meat breed often produces wonderful meat rabbits. Popular choices are Flemish/Californian and Flemish/New Zealand. These cross breeds tend to grow quickly into large fryers with plenty of meat, making a Flemish-Cross the perfect homesteader’s meat rabbit.

    • Dreamcatcher Ranch

      I most prefer my Pure Flemish for meat purposes. At 7-10 lb carcass vs 5 lbs it works better for us. And no they are not all bone.

  7. We are just starting to raise rabbits in the mid michigan area, we are looking for a stock to start out with so please email us if you could if you are local so we can purchase a couple. Looking for 1 buck and 2 does to start with. Have a large 5 pen hutch

  8. I had a hard time finding cost analyst information on raising rabbits for meat when I first started. I want to share with the community what I use to calculate cost and give the community what my costs are. I raise my rabbits to 12 weeks over 8 or 10 weeks before slaughter. I do this because it lowered the cost per pound for meat. If you want a copy of the excel spreadsheet I created or have questions, you can email me at stephen.wayne.downs@gmail.com.

    Main formula’s
    (((365/2)*2)/50)*16 cost of food a year for male
    (((365/3)*2)/50)*16 cost of food a year for female
    ((((42/1)*3)/50)*16)+((((14/1)*4)/50)*16) cost of food per litter for fryer’s to reach 12 weeks 8 in a litter
    Formula breakdown
    365 is days in a year
    the /# is how many days to go through feed
    the *# is pounds of feed gone through in /# days
    the /50 is for 50lbs or food bags of pellets
    the *16 is price of pellets
    the litter cost is longer due to the increase in feed consumed in the last 2 weeks before slaughter

    Northern Kentucky feed costs
    0.125 Cost of Alfalfa per pound
    0.32 Cost of Mana Pro per pound
    Alfalfa is about 60% cheaper than Mana Pro pellets

    Below is output data from my cost analyst if I eat all I produce

    fpy stands for feed per year
    I raise my rabbits to 12 weeks before slaughter and that is why I have a higher hanging weight

    Pellet feed
    Flemish/New Zealand
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $1,049.28
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    3.5 Average Hanging weight
    336 Total meat produced
    $3.12 Cost per pound of meat

    Hay feed
    Flemish/New Zealand
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $419.71
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    3.5 Average Hanging weight
    336 Total meat produced
    $1.25 Cost per pound of meat

    Below is output data from my cost analyst if I eat 60% and sell 40%

    fpy stands for feed per year
    I raise my rabbits to 12 weeks before slaughter and that is why I have a higher hanging weight
    Rabbit sale price is based on my area selling as meat rabbits

    Pellet feed
    Flemish Giant
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $1,049.28
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    57.6 Fryers to eat 60%
    38.4 Fryers to sell 40%
    960 income from sale $25 each
    5 Average Hanging weight
    288 Total meat produced
    $3.64 Cost per pound of meat
    $0.31 Cost per pound offset by sales
    $-89.28 net loss

    Hay feed
    Flemish Giant
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $419.71
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    57.6 Fryers to eat 60%
    38.4 Fryers to sell 40%
    960 income from sale $25 each
    5 Average Hanging weight
    288 Total meat produced
    $1.46 Cost per pound of meat
    $- Cost per pound offset by sales
    $540.29 net income

    Pellet feed
    New Zealand
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $1,049.28
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    57.6 Fryers to eat 60%
    38.4 Fryers to sell 40%
    576 income from sale $15 each
    3.5 Average Hanging weight
    201.6 Total meat produced
    $5.20 Cost per pound of meat
    $2.35 Cost per pound offset by sales
    $-473.28 net loss

    Hay feed
    New Zealand
    males females litters
    1 3 12
    $116.80 $77.87 $58.24 Cost fpy
    $116.80 $233.60 $698.88 $419.71
    Meat produced
    96 Fryers produced a year
    57.6 Fryers to eat 60%
    38.4 Fryers to sell 40%
    576 income from sale $15 each
    3.5 Average Hanging weight
    201.6 Total meat produced
    $2.08 Cost per pound of meat
    $- Cost per pound offset by sales
    $156.29 net income

    I hope you find this information useful.

    • Awsome
      Thanks folks

    • When you say you sell 40% of the rabbits at $25 each, are you talking about live rabbits or are you getting $5 a pound for rabbit meat?

    • Something you should consider as well is the pelts. If you aren’t planning to use them for your own projects, you can sell them online for others to use. Also, the rear feet of the rabbit can be preserved and sold as real “lucky” rabbit foot. You might also look for a Falconry group in your area, I know in my area, they are willing to just buy the rabbit heads.

      With a little extra work, you can make 7 to 10 dollars per processed rabbit as well.

  9. we live in SC & have been wondering which breed/s are best, it can be mild in winter but in the upper 90’s in the summer, any suggestions?

    • Bunnies are built with the incredible ability to keep warm in cold temperatures. In the wild they don’t hibernate over winter, but come out to play and feed even on sub-zero nights. But they are poorly equipped to handle hot climates. If you are going to raise rabbits in an area where it reaches over 85* Fahrenheit in the summer, you need to prepare to help your bunnies keep cool through the hot weather and here are some tips :http://rabbit.org/faq-warm-weather-concerns/
      Rabbits with thick or long coats of hair, overweight, and young or old are also a factor when selecting breed for rabbit.

      As about rabbit breed for hot weather you can consider newzeland and californian rabbits and preferably Palominos rabbits as suggested by Linda Buckingham (unfortunately not included in the list) above.

  10. We raised rabbits (Californian) in Northern California. Heat definitely was the biggest problem. We made a “misting” system to keep them cool on the hot days. This also allowed for normal feeding to keep the growth rate up.

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