Rabbits of One Earth Farm


In our quest for livestock that were a healthy choice for both us and the planet we researched the gamut of domestic livestock species. Almost all modern livestock breeds are unsustainable in that they require a constant and considerable input of energy from sources external to the farm – in the way of fossil fuels, supplements, feed, antibiotics, veterinary care, and so forth. Indeed, even most traditional and heritage breeds of livestock are not sustainable. Their environmental footprint, however small, is still too big for our shrinking planet; and the health considerations for our bodies far outweighs the ‘pull’ these fellow time travelers still have on our hearts.

Enter Oryctolagus cuniculus, the European wild rabbit. This new comer to the process of domestication first appeared on the scene as a bonafide livestock species in the 1600’s when controlled breeding of the species was in its infancy and most specimens were kept by monks and lords. Today – particularly in those countries famous for their cuisine – rabbit is still alive and well as a gourmet meat entre. Rabbit is surpassed only by the ubiquitous broiler chicken in its ability to efficiently convert feed into meat, but unlike the grain dependent broiler, the rabbit does not compete with us humans for food. It actually broadens the available niches from which we humans can glean food.

"The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way its animals are treated.”  - Mahatma Gandhi

Here at One Earth Farm our rabbits relish a steady stream of weeds from the garden, they scramble to devour the branches pruned from the orchard and berry patches, and they enjoy a diet of hay, root crops, cabbage, and winter squash throughout the winter. We do still feed a portion of pelletized rabbit feed, but as with all of our livestock it is our goal to return them to a less processed whole food diet that is both more sustainable and more natural.

This species is as well suited to our cold Wisconsin winters as any we have, and rabbits only require a cool shady place to while away our steamy summers. Add to that their beauty, their endearing gentle habits and their huge contribution to our kitchens and a more rewarding, less demanding livestock species is yet to be had.

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