Whole rabbits are an excellent food item to offer your ferrets, and provide a great source of edible bones and muscle meat. Keep in mind that unless you have a very large business, a single rabbit will provide several meals. Generally this means splitting the rabbit into pieces and incorporating it into your Frankenprey Menu.It is also important to be aware that domesticated rabbits are very low in taurine, and very lean meat with minimal fat content. As such, they should not be the primary protein that you provide to your ferrets. This is why variety is so important.
Where to get Rabbits:
- Most people are able to find pre-butchered “whole” rabbits at their local Asian Market
- If you live in an area with nearby farmlands, you may be able to find local meat rabbit breeders – check sites like Craigslist under Farm/Garden.
- Search for nearby suppliers on the Rabbit Breeders Directory
- For online retailers, see our page on Raw and Whole Prey Providers
- Home Raised
Slaughtering and Butchering Live Rabbits:
If you choose to raise your own rabbits you will have to dispatch/slaughter the rabbits yourself. Note also that some (not all) meat rabbit breeders will also require that you dispatch the rabbits yourself. Below are some How-To resources:
Below is a link by Raising-Rabbits.com that offers an excellent step-by-step on proper Butchering Technique:
Slaughtering Rabbits: How to Butcher a Rabbit
And a YouTube Playlist of videos demonstrating how to Portion a Rabbit:
As mentioned above, most people will need to portion a whole rabbit into meal-sized portions. This can be used for bone-in meat meals in your Frankenprey Menu. If you have a larger business however, you can offer the rabbit whole.
You may find it helpful, whether portioning or offering whole, to first remove the bladder and intestinal tract of the rabbit. Most ferrets will pick around/avoid eating these parts of their prey, and if bladder/gut contents leak onto the meat it will increase odor and cause the meat to spoil much more quickly. If is also helpful/recommended to remove some of the fur (or easier, the entire hide) as most rabbits have too much fur for ferrets to safely ingest. Remember that in the wild, they are primarily eating smaller prey items such as small rodents, reptiles, amphibians, and birds, with much less fur than a whole rabbit.
Below is a video of a litter of 5 week old kits eating a whole rabbit. This litter is from Misty Mountain Ferretry and lovingly referred to as “The Kodama.” Video credit to Heather Downie with Misty Mountain Ferretry.
A litter of 5 week old ferret kits eating a Whole Rabbit
All that was left of the rabbit 3 hrs later: