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Anyone have stories of intentionally letting meat rabbits go feral?

 
Sue Miller
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Location: NE Oregon
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I've raised a lot of rabbits in cages with pellets over the years. Now that I live on a larger acreage I toy with the crazy idea of just letting them loose to fend for themselves and harvesting the meat as needed. We have acres of forest and brushy areas that would provide food year around. Maybe they would just become coyote magnets, maybe they'd disperse and I'd never see them again, maybe the entire county would be overrun with feral rabbits and it would be traced back to me! I'm imagining a worst case scenario of my yard and garden infested with rabbits, burrows everywhere. Best case scenario--free meat! I'd love to hear stories from people who have tried this or have seen it done.
 
Dale Hodgins
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We had meat rabbits running wild on our farm. They eventually reverted to a more wild type. More lanky with less meat.

Australia and many small Islands have had enormous troubles because of feral rabbits. They make easy prey for eagles and other creatures that are accustomed to hunting the Swift wild variety.
 
R Scott
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Not intentional, but it did happen. I was tractoring them and several escaped. A few survived for about a year and a half. Yes, there was coyote pressure. But they were really hard on the orchard and garden and I would have had to do them in myself.
 
Sue Miller
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Dale Hodgins wrote:We had meat rabbits running wild on our farm. They eventually reverted to a more wild type. More lanky with less meat.

Interesting that they changed type. If I remember correctly they cannot interbreed successfully with wild rabbits so it must have been natural selection.
 
R Ranson
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If there aren't wild rabbits of the same variety in your area, it might be good to double check if you're likely to face criminal charges for it. This will depend on your area and the whole invasive species attitude where you live.

That said, it would go a long way towards food security to have a self-sustaining hopping protein source on the farm.

How about a compromise? Some sort of rabbit tractor supplemented with pellets and hay in the winter?
 
Sue Miller
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R Scott wrote:Not intentional, but it did happen. I was tractoring them and several escaped. A few survived for about a year and a half. Yes, there was coyote pressure. But they were really hard on the orchard and garden and I would have had to do them in myself.


It makes sense they would tend to hang out exactly where one wouldn't want them-- in the garden where the eatin' is the best.
 
Andrea Redenbaugh
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Not feral exactly, but I had a friend who kept them in a community setting. He had about a 12x12 ft pen with the fence buried 12 in deep all the way around. He gave them garden scraps and a few pellets for feed. They had some stumps and a house to nest and rest in. I think he had about a dozen mamas and a couple males. When he wanted meat he just used a net to grab a bunny. This was in upper Michigan and they stayed outside all year.
 
Sue Miller
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R Ranson wrote:How about a compromise? Some sort of rabbit tractor supplemented with pellets and hay in the winter?


I have been considering a rabbit tractor scenario but the need for a wire bottom is what holds me back on that. And nutritionally they are getting such a small selection of plant types in a given "set".
 
Melissa Limes
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I had this same thought when I kept rabbits, then I found out that I like the meat of wild rabbits way more. My new plan is to create a few rabbit edens. I'm thinking there could be a brush pile in the middle or something they'd like for a home, surrounded by a perimeter of raspberry bushes, with clover and other tasty plants for them planted throughout and maybe even a water source put in. Then repeat this a few times in different locations since they're territorial. With any luck, I think a place like this would attract the wild ones and I could set a trap in their runs when I decide I want rabbit for dinner.
 
Sue Miller
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Melissa Limes wrote:I had this same thought when I kept rabbits, then I found out that I like the meat of wild rabbits way more. My new plan is to create a few rabbit edens. I'm thinking there could be a brush pile in the middle or something they'd like for a home, surrounded by a perimeter of raspberry bushes, with clover and other tasty plants for them planted throughout and maybe even a water source put in. Then repeat this a few times in different locations since they're territorial. With any luck, I think a place like this would attract the wild ones and I could set a trap in their runs when I decide I want rabbit for dinner.


I love it!
 
eric koperek
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TO: Sue Miller
FROM: Eric Koperek = erickoperek@gmail.com
SUBJECT: Feral Rabbits
DATE: PM 2:18 Sunday 22 May 2016
TEXT:

1. No need to let domesticated rabbits run free. There are plenty of wild rabbits in your area.

2. You can have all the rabbit meat you want -- as long as you are willing to FEED wild rabbits.

3. The easiest way to do this is to establish one or more feeding stations around your property. This is simply a spot where you dump vegetable scraps or other food on a DAILY basis. Wild rabbits are quickly attracted to feeding sites and will visit them daily.

4. Set traps or snares AROUND feeding site = away from feeding station. Move traps frequently or rabbits will outwit you.

5. Save and process rabbit pelts. Use to make winter coats, boots, moccasins, and blankets.

6. Save rabbit bones and use as organic garden fertilizer.

ERIC KOPEREK = erickoperek@gmail.com

end comment
 
I agree. Here's the link: https://richsoil.com/wood-heat.jsp
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