Chickens or Rabbits. Which to raise and eat?

wiswash

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Ive got enough yard (about an acre) to raise some little critters. Does anyone have any opinions and preferences on which to raise, chickens or rabbits? Which is tastier to eat? Easier to butcher? Less fussy to keep , feed, bed and raise? Being in Wisconsin we have some nasty winters so I have to keep that in mind too. Thanks for your thoughts
 

wifezilla

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I like poultry. I don't raise chickens because I am allergic to chicken eggs. Instead I raise ducks. Birds provide you with a more stedy supply of edibles because of their eggs. Then, if you end up with extra roosters or get a hen that wont lay, you can eat it.

I had rabbits as a kid. One bit the tip of my brothers finger off. Another one scratched me so bad I have a scar on my stomach. I have never lost a body part or gotten permanent damage from a duck :D. Another thing is rabbits are too lean. Healthy natural fats are the hardest thing to get in good supply in a diet. Ducks have plenty of good fat.

That being said, if you garden, you may want to consider rabbits anyway. Bunny poo is an excellent fertilizer and it wont burn your plants if you put it on the garden bed fresh. Duck and chicken poo needs to be composted a bit before using.

P.S. Just reread your post. With an acre you have plenty of room for chickens AND rabbits! I have a small house with a small lot and my 9 ducks and quail all have plenty of room.
 

Stubbornhillfarm

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I would agree. Why not get a few of each and see which ones you find more enjoyable? Chickens are super fun to watch and they do supply you with both meat and eggs. Rabbits so I have heard are easy keepers (my dad and uncle used to have about 100, I was little and didn't know what they were for. I think I do now! ;) ) and good meat. I think personally I would have a hard time with the fuzzy factor when it came time for the stock pot. I hunt deer and we raise cattle for beef, no problem there, but cute little bunny faces. :rolleyes: Let us know what you come up with!
 

DianeS

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I do both! If done correctly from the beginning, setting up for both doesn't make any bigger of a footprint on your land than setting up for one or the other by itself. Rabbit hutches can hang from a PVC or metal frame, and chickens walk on the ground underneath.

I like chickens because I like eggs. And then when a chicken gets old you can eat it.
I like rabbits because you don't need any special equipment to get babies. (No need for an incubator, for instance.)

Sure there are exceptions for that. Some chickens go broody all the time, eliminating the need for an incubator or heat lamps. Some rabbits resist being bred at certain times. Roosters can have bad attitudes. Some rabbits scrach like their lives depend on it.

Both have droppings good for compost. Both are fairly easy to care for. Both can attract rodents if you're not careful with food storage. Both can be at the mercy of predators if you don't reinforce their cages/hutches/coops/runs. Both can catch diseases and occasionally need doctored or humanely euthanized. If you have the right kinds of outlets, roosters give feathers that can be sold, and rabbits give pelts that can be sold. I find it takes about the same amount of time to butcher and process, although "easier" is a really personal opinion.

For housing, chickens live all together in one large(ish) coop and run. Rabbits live individually in hutches, unless you want to invest in a very large area with a concrete floor and try colony-style. So housing can be different, and the cost and dimensions should be taken into consideration.

I hope that helps! If you are trying to maximize the amount of food you can raise in a small area, I do highly recommend doing both.
 

Jared77

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If it was me.....

Id have a few layers be it EE or Leghorns, or Sex Links, or a combination of the above to get blue, or green, white and brown eggs. The layers would have a small coop/run and let the layers range when I was home. That way they can expand their diet and produce better eggs. Then in the spring Id order some Cornish Cross, or Freedom Rangers, or Colored Broilers and raise them in a tractor over the summer. That way your only wintering over a handful of birds and those layers are bred for production so you can get a lot of eggs and not have to house many hens. Many of the dual purpose breeds can give you a decent sized carcass if you find quality birds from a breeder vs the hatchery stock but they won't be the size of the meat breeds. Even then it takes much longer to get a good sized carcass as opposed to raising Cornish cross, or Rangers.

Ducks are another good choice if you don't want to get into chickens. I don't know if duck is as versatile as far as cooking options go thats something you'd have to look into.

However if you didn't have many mouths to feed (for example your just feeding you and your spouse) then it might be worth while to raise a dual purpose breed so you don't get an excessive amount of meat. Plus they don't give as many eggs as the layer breeds so your not up to your eyeballs in eggs either. You could free range the breeder birds and Id still tractor the young that you hatch in the spring that way they don't run off all their weight for fall processing.

Id also raise rabbits. A couple of does and a buck can go a long way to producing good quality red meat that grows fast and is inexpensive to raise if you got the right breed(s). Once weaned Id put the babies in a tractor with metal slats along the bottom so they couldn't burrow out but grass can still grow up between it and Id raise them to a good processing weight. Or you could contact some of the 4H groups in your area and see if anybody is selling their extra weaned babies in the spring and skip having to winter over any breeders.

You can get a lot of food for a small investment in space, time and cost.
 

hoodat

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I wish I had room for both but in my suburban back yard I don't. I looked at the advantages of both and decided on rabbits. It's easier to put the cages into otherwise unused space and I can butcher a rabbit in only 15 minutes from the kill to ready to cut up for the freezer. I hate those darn feathers.
 

lesa

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Try to find someone who has a butchered rabbit available- and see if you like it. Pity to go all that trouble and not care for the meat... I have chickens for eggs and butcher the old ones for the pot. I think rabbits are the easiest, smallest footprint "livestock", but no way in H**l I could butcher one....The chickens are bad enough. Good luck in whichever endeavor you choose- keep us posted!
 

hoodat

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I've never really met anyone who likes chicken and not rabbit; not that they taste the same but almost any chicken recipe works with rabbit. The trick is to forget the cute fuzzy bunny image. A few scars on your arrms helps rabbit raisers get over that. Rabbits aren't defenseless. ;)
 

lesa

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hoodat, I can remember reading someones journey into rabbit raising... and she said either the rabbit meat was all dark, or all light (I can't remember which).
 

hoodat

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It's all light meat but it cooks up juicy, not dry like chicken breast.
 
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