I thought I would try to describe for you how we raise rabbits at the Shamrock and Thistle Farm.
We believe in keeping our animals in as natural a habitat as possible. Rabbits, therefore, were not created to live in wire cages suspended four feet from the ground. While we understand why this is a common practice (rabbits like to burrow) we think we have found another way - a better way.
Another secret to preventing burrowing that we have pieced together over the years is this: Keep the rabbits on fresh pasture. They would rather be eating than escaping any time. Provide them a plain 360 degree line of sight around the box. That means no walls. We set up a temporary wall (the plywood lying on the ground in the picture above) if a storm comes through to keep rain and wind off of them. If they can see there is no danger they will not try to escape. And lastly, give them a box to crawl into or on top of. For some reason, they like to sit on top and look around.
The whole process from 1 buck and 4 does to 30 or so rabbits ready to eat is about 80 days with this method. 2 weeks courtship and mating, 4 weeks in a nest box, 30 days in a range shelter.
the result is very happy rabbits, lean tasty meat, and the most humane way of providing rabbit meat for our customers.
One additional note: we are trying to research the regulations for the sale of rabbit in the state of arkansas and no one seems to know what that is. The USDA refers us to the UofA Ag-Law Center, the law center refers us to the USDA. The USDA will take "voluntary" inspections but if a grower does not volunteer then it falls under the FDA. The FDA is interested in rabbits only for their pharmaceutical uses (don't ask. I am sorry I did).
So we hope to be offering this tasty meat for sale at our local community markets soon.