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2014 Grit's Guide to Backyard Rabbits - cover 

Adding rabbits to your backyard menagerie provides a number of advantages to your homeplace. Not only do these animals offer meat, manure and fur for fiber crafts, they are quiet and inquisitive companies and pets, making an excellent show animal for those seeking a champion ribbon.

If you are considering rabbits as part of your homeplace, check out the 2014 GRIT's Guide to Backyard Rabbits.

The third edition of this special issue contains everything you need and want to know about raising rabbits, whether it is for show, fun, food or fiber. Topics include recipes, putting together a professional rabbitry, building hutches and cages, feeding your rabbits (including those newborn kits who need an extra boost), showing your rabbits or entertaining your pet rabbits, gathering the right tools and learning the best routines for your rabbits, and more.

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 Rabbit Primer

Get over the 'Easter bunny syndrome' and get into raising rabbits as bona fide livestock.

Whether you're new to livestock or a seasoned animal husband, a rabbitry can be an easy and valuable addition to your family homestead. With a minimum impact on space and resources, rabbits will provide you with nourishing, sweet, all-white meat for your table, fur for capes, mittens, rugs, and other soft and warm items; and excellent manure for your garden crops – always a valuable commodity on a small farm.


Tools, Equipment and Routines

cart is one of the tools that comes in handyIt's easy to get carried away, and expert advice helps separate essential equipment and rabbit routines from optional expenses.

Your rabbits are in their hutches. Those hutches are under cover. Now is a good time to assess what you need, and what you might simply want, to keep everything running smoothly.

What about all those extra tools that make running a rabbitry go smoother – the things you'd never think about until you were helping a buddy cull a few rabbits and you had one of those where-did-you-get-that-thing moments? And where should you draw the line between essential and nonessential?

Bob Bennett has this advice, found in his book Rabbit Housing, published by Storey Publishing.


ID That Bunny

Test your knowledge of rabbit breeds and color varieties as you peruse the pages of the 2014 GRIT's Guide to Backyard Rabbits. All the photographs of these beautiful bunnies are courtesy The Livestock Conservancy. Find this article only in the magazine!

English Angora buck  English Lop buck Giant Chinchilla buck

Calming the Rascally Rabbit

Discover the many activities you and your furry friends can do together for a healthier, more enjoyable experience.

Owning rabbits, taking them to shows, feeding and caring for them – these are all rewarding pursuits that can bring a lot of enjoyment. The fun, however doesn't have to stop at routine rabbit care. You and your bunnies can enjoy more activities, many of which are lesser known to most new rabbit enthusiasts.

Samantha and Daniel Johnson explore the fun you can have with your rabbits in The Rabbit Book, published by Voyageur Press.

hopping contest for your pet rabbits

girl and her bunnyBunny Love

Pet rabbits have a way a stealing hearts and minds, turning their owners into enthusiastic and dedicated fanciers.

From childhood, many of us have known bunnies primarily for their sterling qualities as pets – cuddly, quiet and inquisitive. The most popular, according to the American Rabbit Breeders Association, are the Dutch, Netherland Dwarf, Mini Rex, Jersey Wooly (an Angora) and Mini Lop. Of these, the Mini Rex holds the top spot.


Canadian Stew recipeFarm-Kitchen Tradition

A few choice rabbit recipes from our archives.

Robert C. "Uncle Bob" Winans of Lutz, Florida, keeps several dozen rabbits on the acre of land where he and his wife retired. When it comes time to eat one of his homegrown hares, Uncle Bob doesn't rely on any cookbook, nor does he fall back on some time-honored but ordinary cooking method. What he does is invent new ways to prepare the tasty meat as he goes along. Try his Rabbit Sausage, Rabbit Fried With Grapefruit Juice, and Rabbit Soup.

George Fournier of Charlton City, Massachusetts, on the other hand, prefers to adhere to one favorite rabbit-cooking formula that has never let his family down – the Canadian Rabbit Stew in the photograph, which was handed down to his wife, Monique.

Our contributing editor, Karen Keb, also offers a number of tips and recipes for Cooking With Rabbit. Try her Braised Rabbit With Cannellini and Tarragon, Roasted Rabbit With Apples and Leeks, Rabbit Sausage & Pasta, or Rabbit Pot Pie.

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