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Pricing Rabbits – It’s Too High?

June 8, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hear quite a few people online comment about the prices we give for rabbits. Usually with “that much?!” Well here’s the thing. Step on the other side behind the scenes here for a few minutes.

My foundation buck a few years ago was $75. He was Best Opposite Sex Giant Chinchilla at the ARBA Convention last time it was held in Louisville. So yes, I had to drive to Louisville to get him and some others. I had nothing to show so that was just buying. Most of the Giant Chinchilla stock that isn’t bred here – the line that was purchased in was between $50-80. Each.

How about the group of New Zealands for $10 each – $70 in that outlay – and every one of them died. That means some expensive dog food. There’s the occasional freebie, or breeding prospect that’s $10-20 – *if* they live to produce a litter it’s good.

OK so that’s the initial rabbits. Then there’s housing – something we need a lot more of! The megahutch I’m planning – 6×12′ – will cost about $400-500 and house 16 breeders. Wire hutches are about $25-30/hole. I have several that need repairs so some holes out of commission now as they’re unsafe to house rabbits.

Then there’s feeders ($5-10 each), watering (bottles or line about $5-6 per hole). This is just *basics* to care for those animals that produced the baby folks are looking at.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANow let’s talk about feed – $12-18 per 50#. Right now we’re using 3-4 of those per week. Hay $3-5, bedding $5/bag of shavings. All things needed to care for those animals and keep them dry and comfortable on both wire and solid floors.

There’s the $75 misting system and about $80 in fans to keep them cool and alive during the hot hot summer. Another $20 in heat lamps to have on hand to keep litters from freezing in the winter.

This doesn’t touch the power, water and labor. It is lessened somewhat by using leaves as bedding to stretch the shavings. If we add oats ($20), beet pulp ($10) or other things to the ration it’s an increase.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe spend time with the rabbits not just caring for them but handling them. We don’t want animals that freak out if you pick them up, or that bite or do a Godzilla imitation when you reach into their cage. We have one litter raised in the kitchen!

We monitor health, and strive for healthy rabbits. This has not been an endeavor that is cheap. It’s true good housing and feeders etc last for years – I have some that are 10-12 years old. In that time feed has nearly doubled.

So in view of it’s roughly $4-5 per week to keep the adults cared for, and the offspring are 6-8 weeks old – $20 is too much? Think again! Think of the real cost of buying a cheaply produced, $7 rabbit that dies before you get it home or within a week of getting there. Think about the difference between sickly and attitudes and healthy that are friendly. $20 is too much for our “just rabbits.”

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFrom a meat standpoint that’s about 3 pounds of the leanest, highest protein meats you can find. From a breeding standpoint, they produce those long, well muscled offspring that make those heavenly rabbit enchiladas and other dishes.

And when we say purebred stock starts at $50 – that’s not out of line with what others charge for purebred stock. These are quality animals and we want them going to homes that value them, that are interested in conserving these rare breeds.

Feel free to shop elsewhere if it’s too much. As with the cheapest items, sometimes cheapest really isn’t the best value. We’re not a volume pet store supplier, or churning out thousands of meat rabbits. When we crossbred it’s not random sticking two rabbits together. It’s with considerations of what we can reasonably expect from a goal from a given pair of rabbits. We have the opportunity to barter, but know what we need to get for a small amount of profit, even just considering feed, water, care and maintenance of the parents.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. June 8, 2013 8:33 AM

    Reblogged this on LearnAboutRabbits and commented:

    What’s the true costs behind that rabbit you’re looking to buy?

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