A rabbitry is a place where rabbits are raised or farmed for business purposes. This sort of concept is not new as humans have been raising rabbits as pets and for food for centuries. Rabbits are raised for meat, angora wool, breeding stock, and sometimes for laboratory use. Also note that they are also raised for their skin or hide, and according to reports, more than 4,000 farms sold almost 500,000 rabbits nationally.
Steps on How to Start a Rabbit Farming Business in 2023
Table of Content
1. Conduct Market Research
Even though it sounds like a straightforward business concept, there are numerous ways rabbitries to fail during the crucial first year of operation. Owing to that, when starting this business, you must conduct a market survey. Research your local market and check the demand for the specific variety of rabbits in your locality. In addition, note the local farms that are already raising rabbits in your area and find out what you can about their marketing policy.
a. Who is Your Target Audience?
Truth be told, your target market in this business will depend on the exact rabbit products you intend to sell and your business objectives. Nonetheless, here is a detailed breakdown of the prospective markets to target for your rabbitry.
- Selling Rabbit Meat: Friends and family, Farmer’s markets, High-end or local restaurants, Grocery Stores, Owner of dogs that consume raw dog food, Commercial dog food companies.
- Selling Rabbits As Pets: local pet stores
- Selling Rabbit Pelts: Commercial Industry, Homesteaders, Crafters
- Selling Ready-to-Use Fertilizer with Rabbit Manure: Gardeners, Hobby Farmers Landscaping Companies
- Selling Rabbit Fur as Fibre: Etsy, Flea Markets, Crafters, Knitters, Fibre Artists, Spinners, Woollen Mills, Yarn Shops
- Selling Pinkies: Snake Owners, Pet shops
b. Is Rabbit Farming a Profitable Business?
Yes, in recent year’s rabbit farming has become a popular micro-livestock farming business. Agreeably, it tends to require hard work and a good amount of dedication, but it also has the potential to generate good primary income as well as additional income streams.
Rabbits are one of the more profitable species to raise. These animals give birth to large litters, and their offspring tend to grow fast and reach either market or breeding weight more rapidly than any other species. In addition, they do not need large amounts of space in contrast to some other species, and they are also quiet, easy animals to breed.
c. Are There Existing Niches in the Industry?
No, there are no existing niches in the rabbitry industry. Unlike chickens, rabbits don’t lay eggs or produce any other sustainable by-products while they’re alive. Note that aside from meat, the only other commercial rabbit product is fur. However, unlike sheep’s wool, rabbit furs are not harvestable while the animal is still living.
d. Who are the Major Competitors?
Rabbit meat is not common in the United States. Companies have tried to introduce rabbit meat to the mainstream market but this has witnessed several backlashes from the public. For this reason, rabbit meat is targeted mainly towards a small audience of homesteaders, and breeders. Also, since rabbit meat is not common or in demand in the United States, there are no research, development, and major competitors, aside from local farmers who breed and sell rabbits.
e. Are There County or State Regulations or Zoning Laws for a Rabbit Farm?
Yes, some municipalities allow rabbits to be kept as pets, but that’s different from raising rabbits for slaughter. In most places in the United States, rabbitries– even hobby farms – are not allowed on properties zoned for residential use. In other places, raising rabbits (and other small livestock, such as chickens) may be permitted, but slaughtering and processing them may be prohibited.
Whether you decide to raise rabbits on your property or choose a suitable location zoned for small-scale agriculture, you will need to understand what you can and can’t do with your rabbitry operation, and these regulations tend to vary widely from place to place.
e. Is There a Franchise for Rabbit Farming?
No, there are no franchise opportunities for rabbitry business in the United States. Instead of investing huge amounts of funds or even life savings in a large-scale rabbit operation, experts advise that you begin with a hobby farm and then expand once you have created well-oiled customer relationships and a sustainable business model.
f. What Do You Need to Start a Rabbitry?
- Detailed business research
- Business plan
- Adequate funding
- Substantial capital
Memorable Business Name ideas for Rabbit Farm
- Rabbit Brooders
- Milo Organic Rabbit Farm
- Free Bunny Farm
- Hutch Breeding Centre LLC.
- Fleshy Bunny Farm
- Home of Bunnies
- Premium Rabbits Inc.
- Furry Wonderland
- Tending to Critters
- Groomed Bunnies
- Rabbits Zone
- Purebred Bunnies
- 12 Love Rabbits, Inc.
- Big Ears, LLC.
- Assorted Rabbit Ridge
- Meat and Fur Lane
- Classy Rabbits
- Bunny Haven
- Rabbit Race
- Fulfilled Hares
- Ear and Tails
Register your Business
a. What Type of Business Structure is Best for Rabbitry?
Livestock farmers in the United States can form businesses under one of the five basic business structures: sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company, partnership, corporation, or cooperative. However, note that the difference between entities boils down to ownership, governance, liability, taxes, and farmers’ short and long-term goals.
Nonetheless, an LLC may seem like a win-win business structure owing to the liability protection it offers on a limited basis, but it is still recommended that you discuss your options with a lawyer. Understanding the correct paperwork to file and also your tax obligations are very vital when establishing a business entity.
b. Steps to Form an LLC
- Choose a Name for Your LLC.
- File Articles of Organization.
- Choose a registered agent.
- Decide on member vs. manager management.
- Create an LLC operating agreement.
- Comply with other tax and regulatory requirements.
- File annual reports.
c. What Type of License is Needed to Open a Rabbitry?
- General Business License
- Health and Safety Permit
- Zonal Permits
- Signage Permit
- Operational State Facility Inspections (If you have a large farm facility)
d. What Type of Certification is Needed to Open a Rabbitry?
Although there are no known certifications needed to open a rabbitry business in the United States, here are a few livestock farming-related certifications to consider.
- Organic Standards and Certifications
- Organic Production and Organic Food
- Animal Welfare Certification Programs
- Fair Trade Sustainability Alliance
- Quality Grading and Inspections.
e. What Documents are Needed to Open a Rabbitry?
In the United States, depending on your business structure and objectives, here are some necessary documents you will need to open a rabbitry business;
- Business and liability insurance
- Federal Tax Payer’s ID
- State Permit and Building Approval
- Certificate of Incorporation
- Business License
- Business Plan
- Employment Agreement (offer letters)
- Operating Agreement for LLCs
- Insurance Policy
- Company Bylaws
- Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)
f. Do You Need a Trademark, Copyright, or Patent?
No. In the United States, animal breeds or biological processes for the production of plants and animals are not patentable. However, since brand recognition is very necessary for any small business, you can obtain a registered trademark to help protect your brand.
Generic marks, such as “farm” or “agriculture” are not allowed to be trademarked; but if a brand name or logo contains a generic term then a disclaimer can be used to note that no exclusive claim is made to that term. Immediately you’ve determined that the name of your business aligns with the qualifications to be trademarked by the USPTO, you can apply online in about an hour and a half without a lawyer’s assistance.
Do your Cost Analysis and Budgeting
a. How Much Does It Cost to Start a Rabbit Farm?
To start a rabbitry business, expect to spend around $4,000 to $60,000 depending on the size of your establishment, the number of rabbits you intend to start with, and the breed you choose to purchase. The above estimation takes into consideration 3-5 rabbits plus 3-6 months of feed. Note that it takes at least three months to breed and raise a successful litter to the age they can leave your rabbitry.
b. What are the Costs Involved in Starting a Rabbit Farm?
- Hutch Plan: $220
- Cost of the hutch for Breeders (3 ft x 10 ft, 8 compartments): $400
- Cost of the hutch for Non-Breeders (3 ft x 10 ft, 10 compartments): $400
- Cost of Breeders: $750
- Hutch for Young Rabbits after Weaning: $350
- Predator Protection: $300
- Baby cages: $170
- Feeder and waterers: $540
- Concentrate Feed for Young Ones (40 gm X 302 young ones per batch X 60 days) – $1,480
- Concentrate Feed for Adult Buck (50 gm X 30 Bucks X 365 days): $3,200
- Concentrate Feed for Adult Does (80 gm X 70 Does X 365 days): $4,490
- Medicines and Medical Care: $400
- Miscellaneous: $1,000
c. What Factors Determine the Cost of Opening a Rabbitry?
- Business Size
- Rabbit Breeds
- Rabbit Meat Processors
- Production Costs of Raising Rabbits
d. Do You Need to Build a Facility?
No, rabbit farming is a very good business and does not need much facility like poultry, which makes it a better choice if you are not financially stable. You can also start a rabbitry at home if you have adequate space to accommodate it, and it does not require massive acres of land even if you are going into commercial farming.
Note that rabbits can be raised by the free-range method but it is most advisable to keep them in a house or cage. A good number of rabbit breeders prefer outdoor living quarters to allow them to experience fresh air as well as sunshine. Meanwhile, experts note that rabbits benefit more from being indoors than outdoors, especially since it makes it less easy for them to be trapped by predators like snakes, dogs, and pests which can harm them.
e. What are the Ongoing Expenses for Running a Rabbit Farm?
- Concentrate Feed for Adult Buck
- Concentrate Feed for Adult Does
- Concentrate Feed for Young Ones
- Medicines and Medical Care
f. What is the Average Salary of your Staff?
- Farm Manager(Owner) – $66,478 per year
- Farm worker/Rabbit keeper – $32,305 per year
- Farm Security – $31,500 per year.
g. How Do You Get Funding to Start a Rabbitry?
- Raising money from personal savings and sale of personal stocks and properties
- Raising money from investors and business partners
- Sell shares to interested investors
- Applying for a loan from your bank/banks
- Applying for business grants and seed funding from the government, donor organizations, and angel investors
- Source soft loans from your family members and your friends.
Write a Business Plan
a. Executive Summary
Rabbit Brooders intends to venture into rabbit husbandry at our farm in Montana. Montana trails only Wyoming in farm size, averaging a whopping 2,156 acres, and the average cost of an acre in the Treasure State is the lowest in the U.S.
At Rabbit Brooders, we intend to buy breeding stock from farmers in Montana. We intend to feed and breed the rabbits, and within this period, we expect the rabbits to increase in number and reproduce quality kindles that can produce super grade white meat. We will then sell the meat and make profit. Note that we will continuously do this throughout the year.
b. Products and Service
- Selling Rabbit Meat
- Selling Rabbits As Pets
- Selling Rabbit Pelts
- Selling Ready-to-Use Fertilizer with Rabbit Manure
- Selling Rabbit Fur as Fibre
c. Mission Statement
At Rabbit Brooders, our mission is to provide high-value animal protein and healthy fat-free rabbits to customers at very good prices. Without doubts, we appreciate our relationships with current and future customers and intend to communicate our appreciation to them through our outstanding product quality, personal service, and efficient delivery. We also intend to provide a safe, friendly working environment for our employees.
At Rabbit Brooders, our vision is to produce high-value animal protein that can be marketed to the whole of Montana.
d. Goals and Objectives
- Reach annual sales of more than $250,000 in our first year of operation
- Create jobs as we grow our operation
- Produce rabbits with quality meat
- Build a sustainable farm that can survive off its cash flow.
e. Organizational Structure
- Farm Manager(Owner)
- Farmworker/Rabbit keeper –
- Farm Security
a. SWOT Analysis
- Rabbit Brooders will breed rabbits of high quality
- Experienced owner-operator
- Good breed of Bucks and Does
- Inadequate Capital
- High feed costs
- Little negotiation power with buyers owing to growing competition
- The demand for rabbit meat is massively growing in the United States.
- Business opportunity for growth remains exceptional. Opportunities range from selling breeding stock, rabbit meat, tanned pelts, wool from angoras, pets, and rabbit by-products such as manure and earthworms.
- Well-oiled alliances offer sources for referrals and joint marketing activities to boost our business reach, increase our market share and profit.
- Internet potential for finding more customers. Many rabbit businesses are not fully utilizing the internet to find potential customers.
- Acquiring a good van for the distribution of frozen rabbits to restaurants, cold rooms, eateries, and hotels.
- Possible disease outbreak
- Dwindling in rabbit meat demand
- Low market prices for rabbit meat
- Any alterations in government regulations
- Increase in feed cost
b. How Do Rabbit Farming Businesses Make Money?
- Selling Rabbit Meat
- Selling Rabbits As Pets
- Selling Rabbit Pelts
- Selling Ready-to-Use Fertilizer with Rabbit Manure
- Selling Rabbit Fur as Fibre
c. Payment Options
- Payment via bank transfer
- Payment via credit cards
- Payment via online bank transfer
- Payment via check
- Payment via mobile money transfer
- Payment via bank draft
d. Sales & Advertising Strategies
- We at Rabbit Brooders intend to start by sending out introductory letters coupled with our business brochure to our target market in the agriculture industry, restaurants, and hotels that require rabbit meat
- We will market our business in agro-allied and food-related magazines and websites
- We also intend to list our rabbit farm on yellow pages ads (local directories)
- We plan to print out flyers and business cards and strategically drop them in offices, libraries, public facilities, et al.
- Be present at related agriculture/livestock and food expos, seminars, and business fairs et al
- Utilize the internet to promote our business
- Engage in direct marketing
- Promote of Word of mouth marketing (referrals)
a. How Much Should You Charge for your product/Service?
According to industry reports, commercial meat processors pay around $1 to $2 per pound for live rabbits. Note that you will need to work with a non-USDA processor or locker plant, as USDA-certified facilities aren’t allowed to butcher meat from non-USDA-certified farms. If you’re able to process your rabbit meat on-site, you can look to get $5 to $7 per pound, depending on quality.
b. How Much Profit Do Rabbit Farm Business Owners Make a Year?
The amount of profit a rabbit business owner can make a year will vary depending on factors like business size, overhead, and how many rabbits are sold. A single doe will give birth to approximately 12 kits with every litter. A single doe can produce seven or eight litters every year. However, a single rabbit, when sold for meat, can make a significant gross profit of $30 -$40. Scale the one rabbit to 1000 and an estimated gross profit of $30,000 to $40,000 can be achieved.
c. What Factors Determine the Amount of Profit to Be Made?
- Business Size
- Number of Rabbits Sold
- Business Overhead/ Ongoing Expenses
- Business Management
- Marketing Plan
d. What is the Profit Margin of a Rabbitry?
Rabbits have a slim profit margin, most often falling within 35% – 65%, depending on the business location and the level of market demand. Owing to their prolific breeding capabilities, a market must be available before commencing wide-scale rabbit production.
e. What is the Sales Forecast?
The sales generated by a rabbitry will more or less depend on the size and marketing capabilities of the farm. Nonetheless owing to our detailed marketing plans at Rabbit Brooders, here are the projections and estimations for our first three business years;
- First Fiscal Year-: $250,000
- Second Fiscal Year-: $470,000
- Third Fiscal Year-: $980,000
Set Up Your Office
a. How Do You Choose a Perfect Location for Rabbit Farm?
- The climatic condition of the location
- Ventilation, cooling, heating, and lighting systems in the rabbit housing.
- Government regulations
c. What State and City are Best to Open a Rabbitry?
- Somerville, Massachusetts
- Chicago, Illinois
- Austin, Texas
- Boston, Massachusetts
- Seattle, Washington
d. What Equipment is Needed to Operate?
- Predator Protection
- Outdoor Enclosure (Pen or Run)
- Food and Water Containers
- Slaughter and Processing equipment
Unlike most businesses, a rabbitry can be very challenging to manage alone. It requires long hours and hard work. You need to consider each prospective employee before you hire. What experience do they have? Do they seem passionate about the work?
What knowledge can they bring that you probably lack? Owing to the specifics of your work, required labor may be more seasonal. Ensure to consider all these and endeavor to be honest with the team members you are considering.
Launch the Business Proper
It is not necessary to host an opening party when starting a rabbitry business. Indeed, marketing rabbit products is not so easy, so you need to determine your marketing plan before starting. You can try your local markets or the nearest town. You can also supply rabbits to pet stores where they can be sold as pets or establish a pet supply store where you can choose to sell them online or in-store and as well to individuals who may need it for either meat or fur respectively.
a. What Makes a Rabbit Farming Business Successful?
- Purchasing good breeds of bucks and does
- Feeding the bucks, does, kindles, and kits high-quality feed
- Making available the required medication and vaccination to the rabbits
- Purchasing quality breeds at a low price
- Reducing feed cost
b. What Happens During a Typical Day at a Rabbitry?
Managing several hundred rabbits is a daunting task in itself, but managing those rabbits with an eye to conservation breeding is another challenge entirely. Also, note that feeding the rabbits is not that tasking and won’t cost you a lot. Since they are herbivores, grass is perfect for them though you can feed them rabbit pellets and supplements which will complement their daily diet.
Note that your days will be spent ensuring that the rabbits are well-maintained and that equipment is kept in running order. Record keeping is also very imperative in your business. It is not enough to just note sire, dam, birth, and weaning information.
Breeding-stock weights, as well as weights of litters at weaning and processing, are the minimum statistics to be tracked. It is necessary to maintain detailed information about each animal’s productivity, as this is key to making good decisions about profitability and which animals to cull or keep.
c. What Skills and Experience Do You Need to Build a Rabbitry?
- Hard work
- Knowledge about rabbits
- Good managerial and human development skills
- Good Accounting and Bookkeeping Skills
- Team-building & Interpersonal Skills
- Excellent communication and negotiation skills
- Organizational skills.