Thank you for visiting The Wannabe Homesteader. This post, “Why Rabbit Meat is Not the Best Survival Food” is not entirely accurate and I have written a follow-up post explaining why that’s so. You can read that here: Rethinking Rabbit Meat as a Survival Food. Rabbit meat is, in fact, an excellent food source especially in survival/lean times. Please read the comments others have left below to learn a wealth of information regarding rabbit meat and rabbit breeding.
I was under the impression that raising rabbits for meat was a great way to supplement my family with organic meat, especially during a time of crisis where food may be in short supply.
Turns out I wasn’t exactly right.
The other day I was checking for rabbit recipes in my Nourishing Traditions cookbook and low and behold, there were none.
So, I checked the index to see if rabbit was mentioned anywhere in the book and it was:
Turns out rabbit meat is so lean that if a person ate it exclusively they could develop something called “fat-hunger” also known as “rabbit starvation.”
Rabbit eaters, if they have no fat from another source- beaver, moose, fish (or chicken, pork, or beef)- will develop diarrhea in about a week, with headache, lassitude, a vague discomfort. If there are enough rabbits, the people eat till their stomachs are distended; but no matter how much they eat they feel unsatisfied.
Some think a man will die sooner if he eats continually of fat-free meat than if he eats nothing, but this is a belief on which sufficient evidence for a decision has not been gathered.
-Vilhjalmur Stefansson, The Fat of the Land featured in Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon
If I were in a survival situation and had only rabbit meat to eat without any sort of olive oil, coconut oil, or lard then I would probably be in trouble.
But at the same time, if I were in a survival situation and only had rabbit meat to eat, you bet your butt I would eat it fat-free or not.
But the the issue remains- should a person include rabbit meat as a back-up plan for survival situations?
No, there are better sources of balanced nutrition.
The reason rabbit breeding is popular among preppers (especially suburban and city dwellers) is because it takes so little space to do it and they breed well, like rabbits.
Before you know it, you’ll have so much rabbit meat in your freezer you won’t know what to do with it all.
Rabbits are easy to breed, maintain, kill (not like I’ve ever done it but that’s what I hear) and dress for cooking.
That’s why the hubs is so gung-ho about it. We don’t have the acreage for cows or pigs but we do have enough space and grass for rabbits.
But here’s the kicker- if you have a backyard big enough for rabbits then you probably have a backyard big enough for a chicken coop as well. Heck, I’ve heard of people keeping chickens in their apartments.
And nutritionally-speaking, you get a lot more mileage out of chickens than rabbits.
With chickens you have the eggs, meat, liver, bones, and feet (for a nutrition-packed broth) all at your fingertips!
Meanwhile with rabbits, you get dangerously-lean meat and the livers. Oh, you can get furry rabbit feet for good luck which you may end up actually needing in a SHTF scenario.
Now That We Hashed That Out
My advice would be to put your efforts into keeping backyard chickens and if land is limited, find a local farmer to buy grass-feed beef and organ meat in bulk to store in your freezer.
You could also get a little boat and fish to help keep your protein sources varied.
What I’m Going to Do
The hubs has his heart set on breeding rabbits so that’s still in the plan. And when I cook the rabbit meat, I will always make sure to eat it with some sort of healthy fat.
We are definitely getting backyard chickens, grass-fed beef in bulk and further down line we are planning fishing and hunting trips.
What about you? Are you going to take your chances with rabbit meat or are you finding other sources of protein?