Why isn't rabbit cheaper? Aren't they sorta born pregnant?

soozMay 25, 2012

Okay I know they're not born pregnant, but I do know they procreate quite young and are very active in that area. With rabbit as a food source for people, why is it so expensive at the store?

If I want it, I have to order it special and it runs from $8.99/lb to $12.99/lb. Is it because I live in the city and cannot get it from a local farm (no local farms in my area) that raises them as food?

Just wondering!

Smiles,

Sooz

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triciae

I'd guess it's supply & demand. Lots of folks don't want to eat Bugs Bunny, I'm supposing, so low supply?

You are welcome to the bunny living under my hydrangea hedge! :)

/tricia

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:18PM
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cookie8

ha ha. sorry. Yeah, probably supply and demand. I have yet to try it. How do you prepare it? I have increased the amount of protein and fats that my family eats so I would give it a go.

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:27PM
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lindac

In order to make a product "economically viable" you have to have an efficient and inexpensive way to produce it. I don't believe we have "factory rabbit farms" like we do hogs, nor "Rabbit feed lots" where young bunnies are fattened for the market.
Besides their preferred food of petunias and broccoli sprouts are expensive!!

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:30PM
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arley_gw

It has to do with the feed conversion ratio. Rabbits aren't as efficient as, say, chickens. For a given amount of food, a chicken will produce about twice as much edible meat as a rabbit will. Looked at another way, it takes twice as much food for a rabbit to gain the same amount of weight as a chicken.

If there was a bigger demand, industry would respond, breeding rabbits for more efficiency, and eventually the price would go down. However, in the US there's still a stigma about rabbit ("Ewww! You're eating a BUNNY!")

One thing the industry could try to do is to develop an ugly breed of rabbits! It might make consuming them a lot more acceptable.

I'm with you, though; I wish rabbit were more readily available. For a small farmer/homesteader, rabbits make eminent good sense. You can skin a rabbit in less time than you can pluck a chicken.

If you're interested in rabbit raising, the book at the link is excellent. When I retire I hope to get into that.

Here is a link that might be useful: storey's rabbit book

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 3:41PM
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arley_gw

Cookie, you can substitute rabbit into just about any chicken recipe. It's a lean meat, though, and benefits from a moist cooking process.

I have browned the rabbit pieces then added broth, and pressure cooked it; that's simple and quick.

One of the most delicious dishes I've ever made is a French rabbit dish, 'lapin en gibelotte'. It's a fricassee made with rabbit, bacon, mushrooms, butter and white wine. I made it according to Craig Claiborne's recipe in the New York Times International Cookbook, but that recipe isn't available online; the one at the link is similar, if I recall correctly.

When cooking a rabbit, don't throw away the liver. It's delicious, and I don't care for most liver dishes.

Here is a link that might be useful: lapin en gibelotte

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 4:10PM
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sooz

When I was growing up, one of my paternal grandparents' friends--second cousins, third cousins? from Italy--close to them in what's now the Northridge area. The area used to be quite rural, and my grandfather himself, who lived off Parthenia Street, raised chickens and grew cantaloupe. He'd get the rabbit from his cousins, and they'd get the chickens and fruit from my grandfather.

I don't recall the rabbits being fed petunias or broccoli sprouts, just veggie scraps. :O)

The "paisano" cousins raised and sold rabbits as a food source. My grandfather would cut the skinned rabbit into pieces, dip them in egg then breadcrumbs, and fry them in olive oil with some garlic.

I enjoy that, but sometimes, I'll put the rabbit pieces in a crock pot and pour a good portion of some rustic red wine over it, and add chunks of onions, potatoes, carrots and rosemary.

To me, the taste is very similar to chicken, but the meat is sweeter.

Smiles,
Sooz

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 5:02PM
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lindac

I have a dim recollection of being a very young child and being at my grandmother's and my uncle shot a rabbit in the field across the street and my grandmother was in the basement gutting and skinning it and I was not supposed to watch as it was gory. But I peeked around the corner and saw most of the action.
There there was discussion about it being safe to eat.....and my mother insisted that I not eat any and there was some anger and we went home and left the rest of the family to their wild rabbit.....which my mother was sure carried tuleremia! Amazing what is stored in the back recesses of the brain!!!
As for the cute factor....not much cuter than a baby lamb.....and their meat is delicious!!
Linda C

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 6:05PM
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ynnej

This discussion reminded me of something Denis Leary once said- "We only want to save the cute animals, don�t we? Yeah. Why don�t we just have animal auditions. Line �em up one by one and interview them individually. 'What are you?' 'I�m an otter.' 'And what do you do?' 'I swim around on my back and do cute little human things with my hands.' 'You�re free to go.' 'And what are you?' 'I�m a cow.' 'Get in the truck, ok pal!' 'But I�m an animal.' 'You�re a baseball glove! Get on that truck!'"

    Bookmark   May 25, 2012 at 7:48PM
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Islay_Corbel

It's very healthy meat. Here's a link to a load of recipes to perhaps try something different.

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 2:57AM
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agmss15

I think that they require more processing for less meat. That and lack of demand mean that rabbit is a specialty product ie expensive.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 3:17AM
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dcarch7

A couple of rabbits are trapped inside a hole. A couple of hungry foxes are circling outside.

One rabbit says to the other, "Don't worry, in a little while, we will out number and overwhelm them."

- - - - - - - - -

A pair of rabbits can produce up to 800 young in one breeding season. In two seasons there will be 160,000 rabbits.

dcarch

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 8:39AM
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ruthanna_gw

All the year 'round farmers' markets in our area sell whole cleaned rabbits. They're most often sold by poultry purveyors and average about $3.49/lb., although I have seen them priced as high as $4.69/lb.

I like to stuff a whole one with a bread dressing heavy on celery and marjoram, both of which have a perfect affinity for rabbit, and braise in white wine. I also like rabbit in a mustard sauce or in a pie awhen the meat is simmered and removed from the bones.

    Bookmark   May 26, 2012 at 12:20PM
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flwrs_n_co

My paternal grandparents had a rather large garden and raised rabbits. They were very frugal people and never let a scrap go to waste. I don't think it could have been very expensive to care for the bunnies or they never would have done it. My favorite meal was when my grandma would make rabbit (she cooked it various ways--pressure cooked, roasted, and braised), parsley potatoes, red cabbage, and homemade dinner rolls. Yum! It's weird because even though I loved the bunnies and helped my grandfather care for them when I visited, it never bothered me to eat rabbit. It's delicious! I wish I could find it at our farmers' market.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 2:14AM
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arley_gw

dcarch: those numbers are pretty impressive. For the home rabbit raiser, here's another way to look at it: if you have one male rabbit and ten female rabbits, once you start breeding them you can eat a rabbit a day forever. (I like rabbit, but I don't think I could eat it every day.) And that's without a particularly aggressive breeding schedule. (By the way, the males and females are referred to as bucks and does, just like deer.)

Most folks who raise rabbits just for their own consumption don't have that many, maybe one buck and two or three does. However, if you have a specific breed that people want, you can always get rid of excess ones. There's an argument that you might as well buy pedigreed rabbits of a certain breed; breed for excellence and sell those, and the ones that aren't quite as perfect end up on the dinner table. They taste just as good.

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 9:00AM
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arley_gw

Hey, I mentioned maybe someone can breed an ugly rabbit. Turns out Texas A&M-Kingsville has done just that, although that wasn't their precise goal. They are developing a hairless or mostly hairless rabbit that can tolerate high temperatures. That really would be a boon for third world countries, many of which are in hot climates in which regular furry rabbits wouldn't thrive.

Check out the picture; looks like a cross between a shar pei and Droopy Dog.

Here is a link that might be useful: furless rabbit

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 10:47AM
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annie1992

When I was a child Dad bought me three rabbits, a buck and two does. We put them in the chicken coop. In a year we had 119 bunnies, and that didn't count the ones we ate, we gave away, etc. I never did manage to sell one, no one here wants a bunny. You literally cannot give them away, then or now. Dad finally opened that door and let them go. When the boys go rabbit hunting at the farm they still get white bunnies, black bunnies, golden bunnies with white feet. They apparently adjusted quite nicely to the habitat because that was at least 40 years ago and their offspring still are everywhere in Norwich Township in spite of the flourishing fox population.

And now I have a family of them in the backyard eating my plants. Of course, my theory has always been that if I feed them, I get to eat them, but there's some rule or another about shooting a gun within the city limits.

funny, though, if I try to uy dressed rabbit to eat, it's about $5 a pound. We raised them to eat for a while but eventually no one had the stomach to kill them so we quit.

I will tell you that you should not put rabbit in a crockpot unless youw atch it carefully. It'll fall apart and then you spent a lot of time picking out all those tiny little bones.....

Annie

    Bookmark   May 29, 2012 at 11:07AM
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