Before adding a new animal to your homestead you always need to sit down and crunch the numbers. So how much does it cost to raise Angora rabbits?
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Initial set up costs $$-$$$$$$:
Rabbit Hutch or Cage $-$$$$$ The sky is the limit here. You can pick up a used hutch on Craigslist or at a yard sale for as little as $20 or you can go crazy with custom builds and spend a thousand dollars. If you are handy, a good option might be to build one yourself. A good hutch is at least 6 feet long, 2 feet wide and 2 feet tall. If you have the space to go bigger, your rabbit will thank you for it. We went for a pre-built hutch we ordered on Amazon
Rabbit Play Yard $-$$$$ Again this option is going to vary based on how deep your pockets are and how resourceful you can be with materials. If you have some hardware cloth wire & wood on hand you could build a simple, enclosed yard for cheap. For each rabbit, you should have at least 35 square feet of safe play area. Again if you have the room to go bigger, that is better. A quick online search for “rabbit x pen” will give you tons of options. Just keep in mind that if your rabbit will be using this unsupervised and outdoors you will need to be sure it is predator proof (covered top, buried wire or solid floor).
Misc Supplies $50-$75 – You will need to purchase a grooming comb, brush, scissors & nail clippers, a hay bin, feed bin & metal container for extra feed, water bottle and litter box
Rabbits $50-$250+ – Again this cost can vary widely. You can check your local animal shelter or rabbit rescue where you are bound to find plenty of rabbits. If you have your heart set on getting an Angora though, you might have a hard time finding a rescued one. Your next avenue is to contact a local breeder. Cost here is going to vary based on pedigree. If you are serious about getting a quality harvest of wool from your rabbits, it is worthwhile to invest in good quality rabbits from a registered and respected breeder. If you just want a cuddly, fun companion pet, a rescue is certainly the way to go!
On Going Costs (per rabbit) – about $18 month:
Pellet Feed about $3 month – Angoras need a good quality, high fiber, high protein feed to be healthy and to produce quality wool. You want to look for 18% protein in feed pellets. Avoid feed that mixes in “treats” with the feed. This may be hard to find at a pet store, we found our feed store has a much better selection of quality pellets. Each rabbit will only need about 1/2 cup of pellets each day.
Timothy Hay about $3 month – Fiber is a really important part of an Angora’s diet. With all that fur they ingest during grooming, they need plenty of fiber to keep their digestive systems moving. An all you can eat fresh hay buffet should be available to them every day. Expect them to go through a good size handful of hay per rabbit each day.
Fresh Greens/Vegetables/Fruits about $10 month – Fresh veggies & greens are also needed in your rabbit’s diet. Expect to feed 1-2 cups of fresh greens per rabbit per day. If you grow your own, this cost can be cut down at least during the summer months. Generally I give each of my rabbit’s half a head of romaine (I buy them in bulk at my local warehouse store) plus fresh herbs daily. A couple times a week I will add in chopped veggies, clover, dandelion, marigolds or other tasty treats. Fruit is also good for rabbits, but should be used more sparingly because of it’s high natural sugar content (once a week or so).
Litter about $2 month – We buy paper pellet litter for the rabbit’s litter box. It doesn’t stick in their fur, it’s biodegradable and is safe if the buns nibble on it.
Health Costs minimal – Generally there should not be vet bills unless your rabbit has an illness or injury. The only “medication” we give our bunnies are papaya enzyme tablets to help ward off wool block. You can get a bottle of about 600 pills for $10. We only give them a couple pills a week, so that should last my two rabbits over two years!
Monetary Benefits of Angoras:
So how much money can you expect to raise with Angora rabbits?
Raw Fiber: If you are looking to just sell the raw fiber (simply brush the bunny and sell what comes off, no other processing involved) prices range from $6-$8 an ounce. There are 4 recognized breeds of Angora Rabbits: French, English, Satin and Giant. My rabbits are English Angoras, one of the smallest breeds but a good wool producer. I can expect about 20 oz of wool per year, per rabbit, which would work out to about $140 a year (or approx $12 month) if I were to sell the wool raw.
Crafts: What do people do with all this raw fiber? They use it in a variety of fiber arts, from collages to needle felting to clothing or jewelry accents to spinning into yarn for knitting – there are a ton of options! If you have the equipment and talent to do any of these things, turning the raw wool into a usable end product will greatly increase your profits.
Compost: Rabbit manure is packed full of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, and many minerals, lots of micro-nutrients, plus many other beneficial trace elements such as calcium, magnesium, boron, zinc, manganese, sulfur, copper, and cobalt just to name a few. Rabbit manure is considered a “cold” manure, unlike chicken manure which is a “hot” manure and has to compost for 6-8 months before you use it. Cold manure has no risk of burning even your tender seedlings. You could literally take the manure right from the hutch and dump it in your garden beds. There are companies selling rabbit manure online charging $25 with shipping for a 1 pound box of poop! I don’t sell my rabbit poop, but I do use it to make my veggie garden a super star and sprinkle it around my flowers for gorgeous blooms. Not so much a monetary benefit, but it does save me from having to buy compost and increases the yields in my vegetable garden. It’s more of an indirect monetary benefit.
Don’t expect to get rich selling rabbit fur unless you have many, many rabbits and can buy all your supplies wholesale. Get an Angora because they are cute and cuddly, entertaining and lovable. If you are a crafter, enjoy knitting or spinning, definitely get an Angora – it will cut back on your craft supply costs and you will know exactly where the fiber comes from and that it was collected humanely. If you sell your crafts, being able to advertise that you raise the wool with a cute picture of your bunny can be a great selling point. If you end up turning the raw wool into a usable end product you can expect to make back the cost of the rabbit upkeep plus some. There are not huge profits to be had from keeping a couple Angoras, but they do pay for the majority of their care and when was the last time your dog did that?