Rethinking Rabbit Meat as a Survival Food

7190737616_df74ac43a4_nWhen I first started blogging I wrote the post, Why Rabbit Meat is Not the Best Survival Food and while my intentions were to spread accurate information, I was wrong.

Completely false. Not true. Inaccurate. No bueno.

You get the picture.

One of my worst fears about blogging is not being criticized but being wrong for the sake of ignorantly spreading false information.

There’s enough half-truths and misinformation already out there – we don’t need anymore.

So, I apologize for wasting your time and misleading you.

Why Rabbit Meat Probably IS the Best Survival Food

In the original post I argued that rabbit is a good but not the best survival food because of its “low fat content.” I concluded this because of hasty research. I referenced one book that described a condition called “rabbit starvation” and based my whole opinion on that one article. Actually, it wasn’t even a whole article, it was an excerpt in a book.

Rabbit starvation is a real condition but only in a specific set of circumstances. Rabbit starvation could happen if a starving person ate ONLY wild, half-starved rabbits – not plump, lazy rabbits raised in a cage by an attentive owner.   Backyard-raised rabbits have fat around their kidneys and also offer organ meat as a fat source.

After I published the post, I did more research and read that even Native Americans were recorded to dig deep holes and keep rabbits in them to feed them and fatten them up before eating. The first domesticated rabbit, maybe?

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In the original post there was also a debate as to whether chickens or rabbits were best in a survival situation. Some thought chickens were better while some thought rabbits were. I still have no first-hand experience, but from what I know now I think raising rabbits is more effective in a hypothetical SHTF scenario.

To me, it all comes down to input vs. output. It seems that the equipment, effort, and time needed to produce rabbit meat is less than that of producing chicken meat. With minimal effort you can get eggs everyday from a chicken (which is a high-nutrient food- don’t let anyone tell you otherwise) but if you want the meat, you’ll have to use an incubator to grow new chickens because once you harvest your chicken it’s bye-bye eggs.

Baby rabbits don’t need an incubator to grow; the mother takes complete care of them. All you need is a nest box.

There also is the time factor. As the Florida Hillbilly points out:

If you put eggs in an incubator the same day you bred your rabbits, you would be harvesting rabbit a month before you could harvest the chickens, or expect to start getting eggs.

 Learning New Things and Making New Friends

One of the biggest opponents of my “low-fat theory” was The Florida Hillbilly. Being an experienced rabbit breeder himself, he wrote an article refuting my claims. And shared it in the post’s comments.  While he was cordial about it, it was still a humbling experience. BUT having taken the stance of being a life-long learner, in the end I welcomed the criticism.

What’s better is that our families have even become friends and we’ve gotten together on numerous occasions.

Here’s the other Wannabe Homesteader and the Florida Hillbilly in sunny south Florida.

DB

He even gave us some of his canned rabbit meat to try. Looks like canned alien but it tastes good- just like chicken. It lends itself well as an excellent replacement in any shredded chicken recipe.

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The Final Word…For Now

The consensus among the comments in the original post was that rabbit is an excellent edition to any backyard homestead but just like any other food, should not be consumed by itself. But if you find yourself in a SHTF scenario, meat rabbits have plenty fat so you don’t need to worry about rabbit starvation either.

We recently bought a rabbit hutch and should get into rabbit breeding soon. So, stay tuned for yummy rabbit recipes in the not-to-distant future!

Looking to Get Into Rabbit Breeding?

Check out Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits on Amazon (affiliate link):

rabbitbook

 

Top Photo Credits: Marcin Wichary and Jessica Reeder

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