raising rabbits for pel-freeze

greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

i would like to hear from anyone that has raised rabbits to sell to pel-freeze rabbit processors. i live in sw missouri 50 miles east of springfield mo. would like any feed back on how things worked out also if you have raised for anyother processor how did it work out? i would like to raise rabbits for a part(full) time income and feel i must have a processor that will buy all that i can raise i feel that a stable market is really important for what i want to do. rabbits are the livestock of choice for me as i have a bad back and think i would be able to handle the work. i have raised rabbits before but never more than 6 does at a time. also when i talk about full time income i would like around $10,000 per year. thanks gail

-- gail (gef123@hotmail.com), May 13, 2000


Gail, talk to your county extension agent -- they should be able to point you towards somone who is doing what you are talking about and can give you good advice. I think it would be expensive to jump into that big an operation full time, though -- it might be wiser to start small and grow into it.

-- Kathleen Sanderson (stonycft@worldpath.net), May 14, 2000.

thank-you for your response. i do not intend on going big at first i have raised rabbits before and only intend to start with at most 10 does. by making the cages and at most in doubles i feel i could always cut back to a herd or just a backyard rabbit raising with 3 does which would allow me to have 2-3 rabbits a week for home consumption. i guess what i am looking for is if anyone has raised for pel-freeze have they had trouble with the acceptence of their rabbits or in payment. thanks again for your response and my county agent may be able to tell me if anyone locally have had sucess with selling to pel-freeze. if i do go into this i will let this forum know as i think a rabbitry on our homestead could be a good home income producing activity. i must admit i would really like the rabbit manure to put on my rocks(garden) to help in producing more of my own food. thanks gail

-- gail (gef123@hotmail.comil), May 14, 2000.

Gail, My family sold rabbits to Pel-Freeze many years ago. They sent a truck up from Arkansas, to Kansas. they had a regular route and pick- up date and time, bought live bunnies, between (I think) 4-6 lbs. That size brought the premium money and so did the white bunnies. You got less money for over 6 lbs and colored bunnies. You could contact Pel-Freeze for information. We had a rabbitry in the garage, but a lot of people with a small amount of rabbits sold to them. I would be interested in finding out if they still send a truck to Kansas. They had cut down the stops here and the last I heard only came into Kansas at one town, I think it was Cherryvale. If you get their phone no. I would like to talk to them too. karen

-- Karen Mauk (dairygoatmama@hotmail.com), May 15, 2000.


If you get any additional information please shre it on the forum. I would be very interested in what you find out. If you have a phone number can you pass it along and I'll try to find out more information if possible. Do they have a web site?

-- Jim Tanner (tanner_jim@hotmail.com), May 15, 2000.

Iv'e raised rabbits all my life (38), both for pet, show and commercial meat. I personally had the best luck doing my own butchering and selling from my door. Grocery stores weren't very interested in advertising, so they didn't sell well there. Private processors always have a complaint(inbreeding, 10 minutes late after a 5 hour drive, ...) I did sell to a route buyer, who in turn sold to pel-freeze. I always made sure I got paid NOW. Not when they arrived etc. I was told pel-freeze only bought from "route men" not individuals. They used to have an 800 phone number and the employees I talked to were helpful and pleasant. I can't find the number now or even know if they still have it. If your dream is to live from the income, it's very unlikely. You have to have a GOOD feed, that is also INEXPENSIVE which is a contradiction of terms. Insurance companies consider them pets as we found when our barn burned to the ground and we lost $20,000 worth of equipment including 800 breeders. So they weren't covered. I figured if I broke even in any 1 month I was doing good. At that time I was breeding 40-50 does per week, averaging 10-12 fryers (per litter) live at weaning (5 weeks), 7 litters per doe per year. Work life of a doe at this rate is 2-3 years, so you always have to save replacements(or buy them). It's not an easy job as most people think to keep them all healthy, and if they do need antibiotics or something, theres a 30 day withdrawl for the meat-they still eat, but you cant sell them by law, because of the drug. You also have to watch out for ventilation, bad bedding hay, moldy feed, preditory animals, peta, people just wanting to see... all can carry diseases on their shoes & cloths so you don't want visitors in the barn. This means you can't leave for a couple days and have someone do your chores. I could tell you a lot more if you want, but there are also rewards. let me know if you want more info.

-- (smjranch@excite.com), May 18, 2000.

When I raised rabbits for PEL-FREEZE fifteen years ago they had drivers with trucks that had stops at several feed stories. you could get some breeders together and take your fryers to PEL-FREEZE on your own. Back then they were very picky about color,weight,health,and feed. They have not changed much,rabbits are cute and cuddly but to make aliving raising them, is nice dream, they get sick real easy too, and there is false pregancies to deal with. I would not depend on rabbits for a living. I had three hundred does and my wife and I still worked at other jobs. Try and find a local market for your fryers, And do several things make money. let me know how things go.

-- Darrell Brake (clutchchancefe@aol.com), July 04, 2001.

There's a small animal processing coop around Columbia that will take rabbits, chickens, ducks, geese, etc (all small livestock) and process for a small fee, like a buck or two per animal. It should be up and running by now. If you have these folks process your rabbits you can direct market to groceries as well as individuals, its an FDA approved facility. I'm guessing its probably at least a 4 hour drive to get there for you (sounds like you're around my area, Douglas/Wright county and around in there). I don't know how well rabbits would tolerate the travel in hot weather or if the travel distance would make it worth your while.

I would suggest raising them for your own family for awhile and see how it goes, then try to pick up some local customers if it seems to be working out for you. You'll have a better idea of the work involved after you've tried it for awhile. Remember work increases exponentially as bunnies increase linearly ...

-- Sojourner (notime4@summer.spam), July 04, 2001.

Moderation questions? read the FAQ