Published by City Farmer, Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture


Rabbit Raising in Cities

Pan-American Rabbit Science Newsletter
1998, Vol3(1) p18:
Visit My Rabbit Science Site
Robert A. McCroskey (Bob)
9043 184th Street, Surrey
B.C., Canada V4N 3T7
Tel: 604 882 1278
Fax: 604 882 2030
Bob McCroskey

Are there any studies that mention rabbit raising in urban areas?

Answer (1)
One study details production in family-managed rabbitries in Sokoto Metropolis in Nigeria. Rabbits are used for a cheap meat source in Nigeria, and evidence of small scale rabbit raising in backyards abounds in Nigerian cities. Herd sizes range from 3 to 19 rabbits, with a ratio of 1 male to 3 females. Average rabbitry is 10 rabbits, but 60% had less than 10 rabbits. Most frequent types of housing were cage or living room or garage or open yard or shed. Rabbits raised in garage or living room were kept on concrete floors. The entire herd is housed together in a group. Sanitation is mainly done by sweeping. Some of the herds kept in cage or open yard are kept on the ground, not on concrete. This allows burrowing to escape the heat. Rabbits kept in a shed used the deep litter system. The other forms, garage and living room are unconventional and have obvious shortcomings. For feeding, Amaranthus was the most popular greens, along with garden trimmings and leftovers, kitchen waste, grains, lettuce, carrot leaves and other leafy vegetables. While greens were placed on the floor, grains were served in bowls. The rabbits did best in cages, rabbits kept in garages did the worst, due to poor ventilation and filthy conditions. (from Hassan W.A., Owolabi R.O. (July 1996) Production performance of domestic rabbits in semi-arid zone of Nigeria. Proc. 6th World Rabbit Congress, Toulouse, France. Vol. 3, 359-363).

Answer (2)
Now let's go over to Cuba, and see about some city rabbits there. Since 1991, there has been in Cuba a proliferation of rabbit raising in urban and suburban areas. But nobody really knew how many rabbits were involved. Then in 1993-4, there was an outbreak of Rabbit Haemorrhagic Disease. In order to implement control measures for the disease, a census of the entire rabbit population of the country had to be taken. This revealed that 23,558 rabbits lived in the urban areas of Havana City Province. (from Ponce de Leon R. (July 1996) Production system and technical improvement of rabbit breeding in Cuba. Proc. 6th World Rabbit Congress, Toulouse, France. Vol. 3, 410-406)

Answer (3)
A survey of rabbit production is done every 4 years in Hungary. About 98% of Hungary's rabbit production is done in small scale enterprises. Over 31% of rabbit breeders have 6 to 10 does. Only 17.2% have over 20 does. More rabbits are being kept in wire cages, and in bricked buildings. Regarding place of living and level of education, rabbit breeders in the survey represent the composition of the entire population of the country. The average age of the rabbit producer is 41 years. Of the people in the most recent survey, 28% are retired or disabled pensioners, 36.4% are manual workers, 12.7% brain or office workers, 7% students and 16.4% unemployed. This unemployed group is new to the survey; more and more people are in poor living conditions as a result of social and economic changes and try to make some extra money raising rabbits, although in many cases with little success at achieving a profit. (from Kustos K., Szendro Zs. (July 1996) A survey on the working conditions of small-scale rabbit farms in Hungary. Proc. 6th World Rabbit Congress, Toulouse, France. Vol. 3, 377-380.)

Then of course, there is our large rabbitry here in a suburban area of the City of Surrey!

Also in this issue: What can be used for rabbit toys?

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Revised December 1, 2001

Published by City Farmer
Canada's Office of Urban Agriculture