If you keep a pet rabbit, you surely don’t want to be thinking about rabbit meat or the cost thereof. Maybe you know someone who is a rabbit meat lover. You know how much you paid for your beloved pet, but how much does rabbit meat cost?
On average, rabbit meat costs $6.59 per pound on the low end and $18.00 or more on the high end for a dressed rabbit. Rabbit meat is pricier than other options because rabbits need to follow a strict diet and they are more expensive to keep than chickens, for example.
Ready to learn more about rabbit meat prices, which rabbit breeds are the best for meat production, and where you can buy rabbit meat? We’ve got all the details for you.
What Is the Average Price of Rabbit Meat?
Depending on where you buy, expect to pay between $6.59 per pound of plain meat and up to $18.00 or more per pound of dressed rabbit.
At Gourmet Foodstore, for example, you’ll pay $50.82 for a 2.5-3 pound whole rabbit from the US (which works out to $18.48 per pound).
In comparison, you pay $43.99 for a whole 3-pound rabbit fryer from the US on D’Artagnan. So here, you’ll pay $14.66 per pound of rabbit meat.
How Much Do You Pay for a Meat Rabbit on Average?
On the other hand, a meat rabbit’s price can range from $50 to $100; however, you can buy a New Zealand bun for as little as $10.
If you just breed the rabbits, you can sell live rabbits to commercial meat processors for $1 to $2 per pound, while if you process the meat on-site, you can sell the rabbit meat for $5 to $7 per pound.
5 Best Rabbit for Meat to Buy
If you want to profit off rabbit meat, don’t even bother setting traps and trying to trap the wild buns that run across your property every now and again.
There are rabbit breeds that have been specifically bred for the job, and these meat rabbits are bigger and “fattier” – or should that be meatier? – than other domestic or wild rabbits.
And should you be looking to buy rabbit meat, then these are the best rabbit breeds for eating.
1. New Zealand Rabbit
A popular meat rabbit is the New Zealand rabbit. The medium- to large-sized rabbit breed generally weighs between 9 to 12 pounds when they are mature. However, the kits grow quickly, weighing 8 pounds by the time they are 8 weeks old.
The rabbit also has a commercial body shape, which is what rabbit meat breeders ideally want. A commercial body shape means that the rabbit has a well-rounded and muscular body.
You may think that New Zealand rabbits were bred in New Zealand and live there, but this rabbit breed originated in America in the early 20th century.
2. American Chinchilla Rabbit
A breed that was originally bred for their chinchilla-like fur and meat, the American Chinchilla rabbit has a stocky, commercial-shaped body.
An adult American Chinchilla rabbit weighs between 9 and 12 pounds, so they are a similar size to the New Zealand meat rabbit.
The first Chinchilla rabbit was bred in 1913 in France, and 6 years later, they were exported from the UK to the US. Here on American soil, breeders developed the American Chinchilla rabbit through selective breeding.
Breeders wanted the Chinchilla rabbit (from France) to be bigger so they could be used in rabbit meat production and in the fur trade industry.
3. California Rabbit
Another popular choice for rabbit meat, the California rabbit (also called the California White rabbit) is actually a fancy breed that was bred for their beautiful white fur and for rabbit meat production.
Once fully mature, a California rabbit weighs between 8 and 11 pounds. The California rabbit also has a muscular, stocky body.
One requirement for meat rabbits is that they need to be fast-growing, and their kits have a good meat-to-bone ratio.
In 1923, a Californian man by the name of George West crossed a Himalayan rabbit and a Standard Chinchilla rabbit to create the Californian rabbit.
4. Satin Rabbit
The Satin rabbit breed is a large rabbit that also weighs 12 pounds when it’s fully mature. The rabbit has a broader, commercial body shape, so there’s a good amount of meat on their bones.
In Indiana during 1934, Walter Huey bred the Satin rabbits by inbreeding his Havana bunnies. The Satins were originally bred for their fur that has an amazing texture and shine, and let’s not forget to mention the translucency on their fur edges.
Even genetic testing at Harvard University proved that these buns were something special.
Because of their large size, the Satin rabbits are bred for rabbit meat production too.
5. Champagne d’Argent Rabbit
One of the oldest domestic rabbit breeds in France, the Argenté rabbit breed has been around since the early 17th century. Since this time, the rabbit has been bred for its meat.
As the rabbit, called French Silvers because of its stunning silvery coat, was exported to the UK in 1920 and then to the US sometime afterward, American breeders decided they wanted a bigger rabbit.
Through selective breeding from the UK Argenté de Champagne stock, the US Champagne d’Argent’s coat became silkier and more refined.
The American version of the rabbit also generally weighs a maximum of 12 pounds, and it has a commercial body that’s ideal for meat production.
Moreover, the Champagne d’Argent is also considered as the “Black Angus” version of rabbit meat.
Black Angus beef has a marbled appearance that makes the meat more tender, juicer, and tastier. The meat of the Champagne d’Argent is considered to be the tastiest of all commercial rabbit meat.
Other Meat Rabbit Breeds
There are some other meat rabbits too:
- Silver Fox rabbits
- Standard Rex rabbits
- Florida White rabbits
- Cinnamon rabbits
- Palomino rabbits
- Flemish Giant rabbits
- Harlequin rabbits
- Standard Chinchilla rabbit
- American Blue rabbit
Benefits of Rabbit Meat
When compared to other meat sources like pork and chicken, rabbit meat is a whole lot healthier.
Here are the many benefits of rabbit meat:
1. More Digestible Proteins
If you compare rabbit meat to beef or chicken, you’ll find that it contains digestible proteins at a higher percentage.
2. Low in Fat
Rabbit meat is also the lowest in fat.
Three ounces of rabbit meat has 3 grams of total fat, which is 4% of the daily value for a 2,000-calorie diet. Bunny meat contains 0.8 grams of monounsaturated fat, 0.6 grams of polyunsaturated fat, and 0.9 grams of saturated fat.
Because the meat contains healthy fats, it also has less cholesterol (104.6 milligrams for 3 ounces of rabbit meat).
3. Low in Calories
Another nice benefit to eating rabbit meat is that it’s low in calories. So you can reduce your calorie intake while not having to worry about eating bland-tasting meat.
A 3-ounce serving of rabbit meat has 147 calories, while the same serving of chicken has 203 calories, pork has 206 calories, beef has 213 calories, and lamb has 250 calories.
4. High in Minerals and Vitamins
Rabbit meat is also a great source of vitamins B3, B12, and E, as well as minerals like calcium, selenium, and phosphorus.
5. Low in Sodium
If you need to follow the DASH diet or are concerned about high blood pressure, then rabbit meat is ideal since it is lower in sodium compared to other meat.
Bunny meat has 38.3 milligrams of sodium for a 3-ounce serving, while for the same serving size, pork has 52.7 milligrams of sodium, chicken has 69.7 milligrams, lamb has 61.2 milligrams, and beef has 61.2 milligrams.
Where to Buy Rabbit Meat?
The best places to buy rabbit meat would be at your local butchery (if your butcher can special order for you) or online.
Buy high-quality rabbit meat at these 6 online retailers that specialize in specialty meats:
- D’Artagnan – well known for a dedication to sustainability and meat that’s free from antibiotics and hormones; rabbit meat is sourced from humanely raised California and New Zealand rabbits
- igourmet.com – California and New Zealand rabbits are sourced from naturally bred and raised stock on farms in Iowa; sells yummy rabbit sausages
- Nicky USA – sells superior quality specialty meat like rabbit liver and whole fryers
- Marx Foods – rabbits are sourced from a Spanish family-run rabbit breeder
- Prairie Harvest Specialty Foods – rabbit meat is sourced from farms in Iowa, and the company sells whole rabbits or hindquarters
- Gourmet Foodstore – sells whole rabbit, boneless strip loin, boneless saddles, bone-in hind legs, and bone-in saddles; rabbit meat is sourced from Pel-Freez in the US that’s committed to natural, additive- and preservative-free meat
To read more about the top 5 places you can buy rabbit meat and what they have available, check out our article on where to buy rabbit meat.
Other Alternatives for Rabbit Meat
Alternatives for rabbit meat are:
- Duck thigh meat
- Chicken thigh meat
My Last Meaty Thoughts
And there you go. Rabbit meat is typically more expensive than other animal proteins, but the meat does have a lot of benefits if you want to incorporate bunny meat into your diet.
If you want to start breeding rabbits for meat production, choose medium to large size rabbit breeds that have a commercial-shaped body so there’s a good meat-to-bone ratio.