Rabbits are a great source of good protein, while being low fat. A 3 oz. serving of rabbit meat contains 28 grams of protein, 4 mg of iron, 204 mg of phosphorous, and 292 mg of potassium. Rabbit meat is higher in protein than beef or chicken, and lower in fat.
The younger rabbits, or a “fryers”, weighs between 1.5-3.5 lbs and are approx. 3 months old. This meat is often used like chicken in recipes and is virtually indistinguishable from chicken in most casseroles. The latter being a great way to serve it at family functions without cousin Sally from knowing she ate a bunny. Mature rabbits weigh more than 4lbs, often up to 10 or 11 lbs, and is 8 months old or more. The meat from older rabbits is usually tougher than the fryers and can take longer to cook. It’s sometimes used in recipes in place of beef, though it’s more comparable to duck meat. The meat from older rabbits is often of a stronger in flavor as well. For some the “wilder” taste of mature rabbit meat isn’t desired. For that reason, this meat is better to put into recipes with other strong flavors such as chili, casseroles, meat pies, and the like.
Rabbits are quick to harvest as well; you can harvest them in as little as 3 months. A Doe rabbit’s gestational period is roughly 32 days, and a 10 lb Doe can produce 320 pounds of meat per year. Rabbits eat very little, and require much less space than almost any other meat animal as well.
Often zoning laws will still allow you to raise rabbits in most backyards even when other meat animals have been banned, such as chicken, goats, and cows. For that reason, you’re not required to buy farmland to raise your own meat.
You should be aware though of “Fluffy Bunny” syndrome and make sure before you start raising rabbits that you’re able to do all that it requires. Many do not have the stomach for killing rabbits, and it can be easy to become attached to the rabbits that you’re raising. Children are the most susceptible to this, and it can become a real issue. While rabbits are for the most part quiet, you’ll want to be wary of neighbors, as they and PETA can make life difficult for you.