Rabbits versus Chickens for Post-Apocalyptic Protein

Have you thought about your fresh meat options for your post apocalyptic needs? I know in my mind, when I factor in current space, time and money restraints, it always comes down to a debate between Rabbits and Chickens. Now, don’t get me wrong, fish and goats are both options too, but they require a bit more space and/or specialized equipment.

So a brief look at both first:


Starting population – Chicken’s prefer company, a single chicken will be lonely and nervous, so you should get at least 3, and if you want procreation at least one of them needs to be a rooster.  You don’t have to have a rooster, you can get quite a lot out of a flock of chickens even without a rooster.  Chicks can run you anywhere from $.50 to $5 a chick.  “Straight run” chicks means you are getting an unsexed group, which average 50% male/female ratio, your actual ratio may vary.

Reproduction Rate – If you have a rooster, and if you have a variety of chicken that likes to “go broody” and sit on eggs, you can just about replace your flock every year if you wanted.  Some chicken varieties have had the “broody” bred out of them, and they won’t sit on their eggs, as a rule.  You may have to take a more active role in reproduction with these, and invest in an incubator if you want to have chicks.

Food – corn based chicken feed is what most producers in America feed chickens.  However, chickens will happily eat bugs, leftover garden produce, meal waste and grains.  Layer chickens (egg makers) will need some calcium supplement for optimal egg production. This can be as simple as egg shells.

Special needs – Chickens are stupid, so they have to be babied.  They will drown in their water pans or be eaten by neighborhood animals if you don’t work to avoid it.  Heating during cold weather is needed, they are originally tropical birds.

Multiple Uses – Two forms of protein , eggs and meat. Feathers could be collected for pillows or down comforters. Egg shells can donate calcium to tomato transplants. Chickens can help keep tick populations down.



Starting population – If they aren’t related, you can start with one male and one female, 2 females would give you a better breeding pool. $2.00 is pretty common in rural areas, I can find adults for sale for $5 at my farmer’s market. Specialty breeds could set you back 10-15.

Reproduction Rate – Do it like bunnies, is a saying based on fact.  The gestation time of a rabbits is about 31 days. Medium sized breeds of rabbits are ready to begin mating at age 6 months.  So,  6 month old rabbits can start pumping out litters of 6-12 every month if they are left to their own devices.  That’s not very healthy for the doe though, so don’t do that. Get enough cages that you can separate the bucks and the does.

Food – a hay based pellet is often the feed of choice. A couple of raised beds planted in dandelions would give them great summer supplement nutrition. They’ll also eat garden waste, but they aren’t as omnivorous as chickens are.

Special needs – Extra water during hot spells and a forceful hand in controlling reproduction is all you really need.

Multiple Uses – Rabbit manure is a great garden amendment. According to the University of Maine, fresh rabbit manure has an analysis of 2.4-1.4-0.6 NPK ratio.  Rabbit fur is very soft and could be sold. Rabbit meat is very healthy and tasty. Baby rabbits could be sold as pets.


Final Decision?

I think I want chickens, I’m more familiar with them and I think they’ll be less hassle. I love eggs, eggs are way more versatile than rabbit meat. Although, after writing this post, I’m craving roasted rabbit….. Mmmmm

What do you think? Rabbit or Chicken?

– Calamity Jane

56 comments… add one
  • j.r. guerra in s. tx. October 2, 2012, 8:41 am

    I vote chicken as well, a chicken tractor moved about your yard will keep it sort of mowed if yard is compromised of natural plants, not lawn. Does need to move though, chicken dung is high in nitrogen and will burn plants if left in place too long. Roosters are loud though – consider that if you are near neighbors, that may cause some resentments. Fresh eggs distrubuted will smooth over some of those feelings though.

  • gat31 October 2, 2012, 9:14 am

    l remember as a kid my grandmother had both. The rabbit pens had 3 compartments. the does, the male. and the breeding section.She rotated the male and does and raised the babies for food. Underneath the pens she had worms we used for fishing and selling.
    Seems to me if you have the room, get both. They are both good for many things.

  • irishdutchuncle October 2, 2012, 9:41 am

    The management probably won’t allow me to keep a rooster in the apartment. They allow dogs, in some of the buildings. they allow cats. you pay extra rent, if you have “pets”. Wabbits are vewy vewy kwiet, they might be OK. (they do replace the carpeting here, after most long term tenants, anyway. the units show nicely, especially the ones with the new style kitchen…)

    the time is NOW, to identify feed sources and alternatives. pet store food probably isn’t going to be available or economical. I’m afraid my protein source will be “rice and beans”, (with ocasional bits of SPAM thrown in) pigeon, and squirrel.

  • riverrider October 2, 2012, 10:21 am

    you can die of starvation eating rabbits only. a fat source must be included. chickens have stored fat. plus i just can’t look the cute bunny in the eye and butcher him. i raised them as a kid. several times they all just up and died, no idea why. raised chix too. a weasel got in one night, killed every last one of the flock. that could be fatal post shtf. i’m opting for chix, maybe two seperate coops this time.

    • D'ja'c October 2, 2012, 9:20 pm

      We do chickens. Egg hens year round and meat chickens in the spring. Check out http://riseandshinerabbitry.com/ for great info on raising rabbits. Rick has been featured on the Survival podcast with jack spirko and on the human path podcast. He dispels the idea of rabbit starvation. I like chickens cause they are dual purpose. Eggs and meat. 7-8 weeks From chick to freezer. We did 50 this year in chicken tractors and pasture,then slaughtered and butchered them ourselves. Grain is getting so expensive though I plan on doing a more free range breed next year. Gonna do some rabbits for variety also SOoooo easy to reproduce. They seem better for self-suficiency. Also I’m working towards the joel salatin method of pasture rotation. Chickens are also great for cleaning up the garden and rototilling before planting the winter rye and winter wheat.

      • Joe (PreppingToSurvive) October 3, 2012, 9:53 am

        We have both rabbits and chickens. Chickens are great – they are dual purpose (eggs and meat) and can help with controlling pests, roughing up your garden spot, etc. Look up Joel Salatin as D’ja’c recommended.

        Rabbits do have some advantages as well. They will probably be easier to keep through the winter after TEOTWAWKI since they can exist on wild edibles more easily than chickens. They have a higher percentage of meat to them.

        However contrary to common belief, you cannot get 3 rabbits and 6 months later have 50 of them running around. They do require the right conditions to proliferate like that.

        Thanks for the great post, Calamity.


      • Mat August 16, 2017, 1:12 am

        This is so old nobody will probably ever read it, but in case it is useful for anyone, here goes… The “Rabbit starvation” myth has roots in real events, as many myths do. There have been documented cases in history where arctic explorers who were starving due to harsh conditions tried to eat the only living options still alive, and that was starving rabbits. Rabbits generally have a small amount of fat, but starving rabbits do not.
        My understanding is that it is not likely to get protein poisoning, or “rabbit starvation” from eating healthy domestic rabbits. Protein poisoning would occur if you ONLY ate any animal that was starving and had 0 fat. The only reason that it has never occurred with most other animals is that they do not survive.
        This is at least the understanding I have based on the research that I have done.

      • Matt August 16, 2017, 1:13 am

        This is so old nobody will probably ever read it, but in case it is useful for anyone, here goes… The “Rabbit starvation” myth has roots in real events, as many myths do. There have been documented cases in history where arctic explorers who were starving due to harsh conditions tried to eat the only living options still alive, and that was starving rabbits. Rabbits generally have a small amount of fat, but starving rabbits do not.
        My understanding is that it is not likely to get protein poisoning, or “rabbit starvation” from eating healthy domestic rabbits. Protein poisoning would occur if you ONLY ate any animal that was starving and had 0 fat. The only reason that it has never occurred with most other animals is that they do not survive.
        This is at least the understanding I have based on the research that I have done.

    • sillyMe October 7, 2012, 12:36 pm

      The truth about starvation from eating only rabbits is that you must in fact eat ONLY rabbit (or other very lean meat) for about 6 months. So if you intend to ONLY eat chicken or rabbit then MAYBE chicken would be better. I intend to have rice, vegetables, beans and other fresh and preserved foods and therefore the so-called rabbit starvation will never be a problem.

    • Wags April 4, 2017, 11:32 am

      I know this is a old post but had to comment as this is false information. You can only get rabbit starvation from wild rabbits, and even then as long as you include the organ meats and the fat on the inside of the body cavity you will not die from rabbit starvation. The problem with rabbit is that fat is on the outside of the carcass not mixed in between meat fibers you have to make sure not to remove it when you butcher. As for domestic rabbit they will have some of what I call ear shaped fat on their back and more fat in the body cavity and it’s remarkable for cooking and baking. I’ve been raising rabbits for 11 years and stopped buying and eating chicken 9 years ago. As far as meat, rabbit is all we eat and we at far from starved! The best part is 3 round bales of alfalfa/orchard grass mix feeds my 2 bucks, 8 does and approximately 260 kits a year. Plus all garden waste and vegetable scraps from the kitchen. They are a remarkable money saving and survival food if your willing to do a little work every day for them.

      • Wags April 4, 2017, 11:37 am


  • Spook45 October 2, 2012, 10:21 am

    While I love both for this purpose, I would pose a few points to consider. 1) Non one cares t ocuddle with a chicken. They are not cute cuddly pet type animals. Some folks dont like to eat rabbits because they are to easily identified as pets. 2) Rabbits dont lay eggs, while they do readily reproduce, they take more feed and care and are a little harder to free range than chickens. 3) see two, they dont lay eggs. The eggs are the better source of protien, and when they stop laying, you can always eat the chicken! The main point here is that most folks are not sentimental about chickens, they are easier to maintain, and you get get more bang for the buck, its a twofer, eggs and chickens:)-

    • mojack September 5, 2016, 5:59 am

      that could be that chicken are the closet relative of the tyrannosaurus rex

  • Spook45 October 2, 2012, 10:24 am

    Also, as a side note, it is a historical fact that during the 15 to 1800s, all the settlements tat had chickens survived outbreaks of disease, harsh winters and various other calamitys, the ones who didnt, well……..the word RAONOKE comes to mind. They disappeared

  • smokechecktim October 2, 2012, 11:47 am

    we have two laying hems that give us two blue eggs every day. We have 3 ltttle ones that are growing quickly. Omlets, scrabble, fresh baked goods with unbelievably golden yolks compared to the store eggs. I’d stick with chickens and maybe hunt a few Wabbits.

  • child of Odin October 2, 2012, 12:21 pm

    I currently have rabbits. They are pets, for now. Kids love them, pelts will be useful, droppings best fertilizer I’ve used. That being said, I want chickens too. Love eggs, free pest control, etc… I think both is the best solution for me, but everyone has different needs. I also want meat/milk goats, sheep, and geese, turkeys, but, lol, need better location first.

  • Ace Riley October 2, 2012, 12:36 pm

    how long does each take to get to ‘market weight’? it would be crazy to pay more in animal feed then meat/eggs you get from the animal. what about goats? milk and they can mow the lawn/fields…

  • ZombieOp3 October 2, 2012, 12:44 pm

    I have done a lot of research on chicken, rabbit and fish raising (which I have extensive experiance in). So when I get my setup up and running I plan on establishing an Aquaculture hydroponics system for rich quick turnarouond of organinc food for myself and the rabbits by using trout or perch waste as fertilizer. In turn I plan on using the rabbit waste for heartier vegetables for my family and the insect attraction and cultivation as a suitable source of protein and minerals for my chickens. Also I have all three animals that I can turn around and use their pelts, feathers and meat for supplemental income and or bartering. I try to think outside (no box required) on how many uses I can get out of each decison I make for these types of survival questions.

  • T.R. October 2, 2012, 12:46 pm

    chickens and pigs …………….pigs are not fussy about their diet and also breed fast , thats why a lot of island in the Caribbean chose both groups because they do well in limited space .

    • lee October 2, 2012, 1:59 pm

      The ONLY thing that will hold pig is a skilet.

  • 20 Something October 2, 2012, 12:49 pm

    I have never had chicken or rabbits, but I think if I were to choose one it would be chickens. It seems to me that you get more variety of food per amount of feed needed with chickens, although I think that chickens would require a larger initial cost with the housing for them. They also seem like they would be better barter value: adult chickens, chicks, meat, and eggs. With rabbits you only get adult rabbits, baby rabbits, and the meat. But again I’ve never owned either and I’d imagine having both would be the best overall option.

    • child of Odin October 2, 2012, 6:16 pm

      And the fur, which may or may not be valuable. But useful

  • wolverine6 October 2, 2012, 2:50 pm

    Very informative article…thank you for addressing it so quickly. I think I may go with both if I am able to convince our city council to allow hens in the city limits, as I am just inside them. Hopefully one day my wife and I can move to our dream BO location or least out of the city. Keep up the great work on the blog! I look forward to reading everyday and find the information invaluable!

  • Elaine October 2, 2012, 3:20 pm

    I adore rabbit roasted or fried (hey I am southern and I really dont care about pc diets) That being said, i’d take chickens any day- eggs, meat, feathers, compost.

  • not applicable October 2, 2012, 4:04 pm

    For 100’s of years in Europe, farm Geese were common for their down, eggs, meat, and fat. Also they are great “watch dogs”.

  • Ray October 2, 2012, 4:13 pm

    Well……. Then the snakes come , baby bunnies and chicks both bring’ em to the house. Foxes ,coyoteys and bears( yep, bears) all flock to the free and captive food. So do dogs, cats, minks,woosels(been reading to much winny the poo to the munchkin) and barn rats. If Y’all gonna keep pened up stock ,get you a good dog that won’t suck eggs. Not much you can do about Hawks ; thats just an every summer hazard. I’v raised and love to fry both.

    • child of Odin October 2, 2012, 6:20 pm

      Snakes are easy… get Guinea fowl. Taste like chicken, kill snakes. The other hazards… well, man has been trying to real with hat for millennia, lol, but agree on a good dog.

      • Tricia October 11, 2012, 3:30 pm

        Yeah but Guinea fowl are very noisy. Fine if you don’t have fussy neighbours.

        • child of Odin October 11, 2012, 11:10 pm

          Hmm, yeah, but so are roosters. And if you have that many neighbors, you probably ly don’t have a lot of snakes anyway.

  • Flintlock October 2, 2012, 8:33 pm

    I blundered into chickens–six chicks as payment for a TV fix, then had to raise some more thru last winter and got to keep half of those. I end up with two flocks totaling 21 including three roosters in two coops. Free range to me means they roam beyond sight of the coop, and the roosters protect the flock. They were supposed to be “easter egg” birds that lay multi-colored eggs and are totally mixed as to breed. I recommend this as to one ‘breed’. Three hens are naturally broody–and with chicks are amazingly entertaining.
    Keep the coops OFF the GROUND–lock ’em in at sundown and you won’t have many problems.

  • ThatguyinCA October 2, 2012, 10:40 pm

    Definitely chickens. If you have a piece of land you intend to farm a “chicken tractor” is a good idea. Let them do some of the work. Rabbits breed fast but you didn’t mention Rabbit Starvation (just Google it, I’m too lazy to explain). No such issues with chickens. If food is a problem, a supply of fresh eggs is more valuable than rabbit pelts in trade. Also, you metioned rabbit poop as being a good fertilizer but so is chicken poop (if not better). When it comes down to it though, the final decider is the diet of chickens is more broad (they will eat just about anything) which makes feeding them less of a drain PLUS they love pests (ants, termites, ticks, etc.). Chickens! Hands down.

  • ThatguyinCA October 2, 2012, 10:53 pm

    Saw someone esle mention goats and pigs. Goats, for me, would be preferable to rabbits (mainly for the milk). They can be kept in the same space as a dog (just not in the house). They will eat any vegetation you put in front of them. Pigs are a little more work and they TRULY will eat anything (also good way to dispose of the bodies of intruders, why bury them when you can turn them into something edible without resorting to cannibalism).

    Getting back to rabbits they only have one advantage over everything esle. They are QUIET. If keeping a low profile is required then you gotta go rabbit.

  • Twelvetoe October 3, 2012, 6:02 am

    Something else to keep in mind is how many recipes require eggs as an ingredient. For me this is the deciding factor between the two. It would truly be a TEOTWAWKI situation If I was no longer able to enjoy the Wife’s blueberry muffins for want of an egg!

  • Pierce October 3, 2012, 8:50 am

    I’ve lived in the city pretty much all of my life, not downtown mind you, but the city. And we had both rabbits and chickens, I guess the city doesn’t care much around here, especially since we were near the area with most of the horse stables. Rabbits do breed like crazy, we started with just 4 rabbits as presents from mom, and ended with 40 in no time, never eat them though, they were pets, but very low maintenance (at least in normal days). Chickens were awesome, fresh eggs every day and never had bugs in the backyard, the rooster we had did make some noise, but only in the morning. So I vote chickens, eggs being the deciding factor. Also, we had the “easter” chicken somebody mentioned, but ours layed multiple colors, could be something neat for the kiddies.

  • Anne Ollamha October 3, 2012, 11:23 am

    If I had room for it, I’d go with both. Chickens provide eggs, meat and feathers. Rabbits can provide meat, fur and/or wool depending on the variety. If I could only choose one, chickens.

  • Mayah October 3, 2012, 4:20 pm

    Very few chickens need supplemental heat and chickens are not as stupid as you make them out to be. I was surprised at the misconceptions you put forth in the chicken section. Yes, chickens sometimes drown, especially as baby chicks. But don’t toddlers too?

  • Inglebreight October 4, 2012, 12:29 am

    It seems most here have not raised chickens. I have. They do not lay if stressed. If SHTF and you’re counting on eggs, you’d better hope the environment is comfortable for your birds. If you can’t be certain of that, rabbits are the safer bet.

    • MSCountry October 5, 2012, 4:20 pm

      I was just thinking the same thing! Having had chickens for years myself, it’s not uncommon for them to go off laying during stressful times. Of course, if you are looking at egg production there’s fall molt, and, depending on the breeds you choose and where you live, some won’t lay for months during the winter when we people would be looking for protein the most. To cover all the bases I would (and am) raising both.

      • D'ja'c October 16, 2012, 9:28 am

        After a while with laying hens you learn about lighting. Chickens apparently react to daylight for their laying habits. When the days get shorter their production goes down. The need 14 – 15 hours of daylight to encourage egg laying. Try using a flood light with a timer to lengthen their exposure to light. I’ve done morning and dusk. Also I’ve done just morning and let them have a natural sunset. ‘Course the rooster crows at the break of dawn. YMMV. Science says it has to do with light to the optic nerve that causes them to lay. They were just made to reproduce in the warm weather with longer days and more to forage. Hope this helps!

  • khbostic October 4, 2012, 12:27 pm

    I had rabbits back in 1981 for about a year.Dad picked a few up at the flea mkt,for 6 bucks ea.We ate em regular,supposed to be better for the cholesterol.
    My grandparents had 120 in a colony during WW2 ,meat was being rationed ,they had a sm restaurant.They used any chicken recipe for rabbit,also sold butchered rabbit on the side.
    The problem I had was the pellets for rabbits cost 6 .50 a 50 lb bag back in 81,I ended up going thru 30 bucks worth in 6 wks,& for the meat ,it was about the same as hamburger at the time,but ya didn t have to care,process ,etc on the haburg.So I went out of the rabbit sideline,ended up butchering 50 rabbits the last 5 weeks,froze,refridgerated,gave some to neighbors,relatives.My favorite was oven broiled 2 or 3 in a big roaster with 1/2 gal water,& 1/2 doz chicken bullion cubes,sugar ,pepper,& after cooked,also with B B Q sauce on them.

  • JamesD October 4, 2012, 1:13 pm

    The biggest problem I see with chickens is that if there is a bird flu outbreak, you could loose your entire flock.

  • child of Odin October 4, 2012, 5:27 pm

    You don’t have to use the pellets. I did at first, but found they prefer alfalfa hay more. At $25-30 a bale, you get food for half a dozen for about 8 months, and might.e are a larger meat breed. Also, they’ll eat corn, carrots and other garden produce (no lettuce) and weeds from the yard. I give them our garden gleanings. All the pellets are is compressed alfalfa, made for pet owners to keep down the mess.

  • ORRN on LI October 4, 2012, 8:28 pm

    Here on LI I have 7 hens in a small coop built by the Amish, non heated or lit. Their first winter was a record snowfall year, they do not lay during the winter/less sunlight months though. I am trying to keep it as natural as possible, but I guess in a post apoc time, I would place a light in the coop to get eggs during low sunlight months. So many pros, very few cons to the chickens, I’m gonna stick with “the girls”. I can’t rave enough about this site, great insightful topics, keep them coming.

  • pure_mahem October 5, 2012, 7:42 pm

    I think Variety is the spice of life and a lil bit of everything is what will make a shtf scenario feel like a vacation. I’ve scene some coupe designs that incorporate windows to help add light and warm up the coupe. A good light for just light and not heat would be the solar garden lights but with putting light in the chicken coupe you would also have to worry about security and it being seen at night. There are breeds that will lay all year around as long as they are not stressed in other ways. The main thing to consider would being sure you can provide the food needed to raise which ever animal you choose. My personal choice would be to raise Chickens, Dairy Goats, Pigs, and Rabbits in that order as I only have 2 acres and although rabbits would consume less food than the pigs the meat from the pig would be more valuable to me. I simply could not produce enough feed to justify cows even though I would love to raise some. If my feed source got cut off at the local Blue Seal I would be screwed as I would not be able to feed them properly.

    On the Rabbits deal if you could some how raise Hares you could set up a Warren type setup I haven’t seen much on this but I recall seeing it setup on a movie a long time ago where the guy buried hinged lidded boxes with clay pipe running down into them. Just broad casted food into the pen and when needed to harvest one you just thumped the ground and they would run to there warren where you would block the pipe and just reach in the box. Seemed like a good idea and you got a free range effect vs. having to clean cages all the time.

  • roachboy October 6, 2012, 11:12 am

    I’m planning to get some chickens. The pest control is a great bonus, ticks can be deadly now, let alone after SHTF. Not to mention a healthy hen will lay an egg a day or so (According to my grandmother who had about 500 up in minnesota) Whereas with rabbits there’d be a bit of a delay before getting the meat.

    Rabbit starvation can be avoided but you need to eat more than just the standard meat, eyes and so on. Probably be better as a stew than a roast if you’re dealing with picky eaters.

  • Frank October 9, 2012, 2:46 am

    We have rabbits, and had ducks. We are down to 4 rabbits at the moment. The kids and the wife all didn’t like the rabbit meat, after trying quite a few recipes. I think it had more to do with the fact that it wasnt’ chicken than that it didn’t taste good. Several times they said it was pretty good.

    The ducks were astounding egg producers, much better than chickens and the eggs are larger, as well. The ducks are really great in cold weather, once they are fully feathered. We lost several to hypothermia early on. The meat tastes more like beef or pork than chicken. Really pretty good tasting, those ducks.

    Something you might not have considered is pigeons. They taste just like the best of chicken, but mature much faster, can be let out to fly around, gather a lot of their own food, feed their babies pigeon milk, and are cool.

    Tbat’s all I’ve got for you, my friend!

    • GoneWithTheWind October 9, 2012, 3:59 pm

      Pardon an uninformed question. Are duck eggs essentially the same as chicken eggs in that they are simply egg white and yolk inside such that neither I nor my family could tell the difference? If I put two duck eggs into a bowl and scrambled them and two chicken eggs into a bowl and scrambled them would the resultant cooked scrambled eggs look and taste the same? Also how do you keep the ducks laying eggs don’t they by nature lay a clutch of eggs and then sit on them and not lay anymore?

      • Calamity Jane October 10, 2012, 12:26 pm

        I asked my duck-raising mother in law, and here’s her response.
        “As far as I am concerned, duck and chicken and turkey eggs are interchangeable when used in cooking, or making scrambled eggs or omelets. Duck eggs are a little bigger than the other two, and some bakers are of the opinion that they beat up with more volume….(as do goose eggs! Some bakers think duck or goose eggs are the ultimate for baking….they are much bigger though, and you have to measure them by volume).

        To me, duck eggs are a bit more “rubbery” when fried….I prefer chicken or turkey eggs for that.

        As far as taste goes, eggs are eggs are eggs…except in the case of marsh ducks…their eggs as well as their meat reflects what they eat – wild celery-fed ducks are great-tasting, otherwise they taste like mud…

        Ducks are seasonal breeders, therefore seasonal layers. And they don’t lay near as many eggs as chickens do! That being said, there are several breeds of duck that were selected and developed as layers – and you can get nearly 200 eggs a year from them. So if you want to keep ducks for eggs, go for runner ducks (the ones that look like bowling pins, LOL) or Khaki Campbells (which were developed for egg-laying), rest of the breeds will produce between 40 and 80-100 eggs a year. There are some commercial crosses for egg ducks….Metzer Farms has two commercial strains of ducks for egg-layers… They have a website

        You “can” keep ducks like pekins and rouens laying longer than normal, by removing their eggs daily, they will keep laying for a while, in an attempt to produce a clutch to brood. Pekins, though, are strictly meat ducks – think Long Island Ducklings – don’t lay very many eggs each year, and don’t go broody, you have to incubate them or give them to someone else (broody chicken, broody duck, or Silkies, which are nearly always broody and will attempt to brood anything, even a rock!) Rouens are big heavy dark feathered ducks (look like the wild mallards, only way bigger) that will raise a brood of 10-15 ducklings each spring – and rarely more than once a year.

        Hope this helps!”

        • Frank October 11, 2012, 8:11 pm

          My experience with ducks is with khaki campbells, and Pekins, which I had concurrently. Khakis hold the record for egg production with one hen having laid 364 eggs in a years time. My hens produced well over 300 in a years time, so getting 200 eggs a year is way low. My Pekins were seemingly in competition with the Khakis, and produced way over 200 eggs during the same time period. The ducks had the run of the yard, completely free running, so they were able to supplement their protein and greenery intakes substantially. The end of the line came when my kid didn’t put them away for the night and they met their end in the form of the local coyote pack. Nothing but a few feathers.

      • Frank October 11, 2012, 8:20 pm

        Dear Gone,

        As Calamity Jane said, ducks bred for egg production produce lots of eggs, all year long. I mentioned below that one Khaki hen laid 364 eggs in a year’s time. That’s pretty much unbeatable. My Khakis were fabulous egg layers. The eggs are a good bit larger than even extra large chicken eggs, and the taste is really good. The yolks are richer tasting, and darker orange. They cook up pretty much just like chicken eggs, regardless of the recipe. I’ve also had Rhea and Emu eggs and they are good as well. My experience with the kids and wife are that if they aren’t aware of the difference, they can’t tell the difference, and in fact usually think the duck eggs taste better. You will need to purchase egg cleaner and follow the directions carefully to avoid any sickness from your eggs. We tried to use dish soap on ours to begin with and several family members got upset stomachs from the eggs.

        • GoneWithTheWind October 14, 2012, 11:36 am

          Thanks for the info, I am almost convinced. Let me explain what is still unclear to me. When we go on a family camp I usually cook breakfast. The usual, eggs cooked to order, bacon, hash browns and pancakes. Sounds simple. But in fact everyone is particular about the eggs. Some people will get sick to their stomach if the scrambled eggs are overcooked to totally dry. Others want eggs over hard and if anything jiggles they can’t eat them. Others will turn away and try not to get sick if you even mention eggs. For reasons I don’t understand most/many people are egg-phobic and can only eat them under exacting conditions. I cannot imagine what these picky eaters would do if the egg had the slightest difference from a chicken egg or even if they simply knew they were duck eggs. So a more pointed question then is if you had two chicken eggs and two duck eggs and you prepared scrambled eggs or eggs over easy and put them in front of finicky eaters they wouldn’t know the difference either by looks or taste?

  • khbostic October 11, 2012, 12:53 pm

    child of odin ,thanx for the heads up on using a bale of hay alfalfa on rabbits for 8 mo,maybe your speaking of the giant round bale.
    I thought I d chime in on lice treatment I saw that s with chickens.Wash hair with kerosene ,K1 fuel,let sit up to 5 to 10 minutes,& rinse it out twice.If conditioners available,use it afterwards.Beats the store bought stuff at pennies on the dollar.Another reason people do rabbits
    I never did anything with the fur,but theres the ole lucky rabbits feet.I dried mine inside the back windshield…They say luck was in using them as bait to shoot other critters when hunting,like some hunters put out a salt block or corn ,& plant clover for deer.Might catch fur animals,fox,mink,weasels are their cousins,wolf,you can eat wolf & use their fur for anything,coats,hats,vests,leggings,as well as keeping them off your stock.The Indians ate their dogs before they would starve,as a buffer zone.How bout pellet guns for squirrels,pigeons,chickens,wild rabbits that come up on the caged ones? 35 bucks over at defenderknives.com or shelterdist.com.My dad was in the marines in ww2,they teach them to eat rattlesnake.My dad got one back in the 60s,gutted,skinned,maranaded one overnite.Looked like chicken neck meat,& they say it tastes like chicken,too.

  • khbostic October 11, 2012, 1:16 pm

    I also thought I d say they need to cut loose a mess of rabbits all over the third world to combat world hunger ,with 1 out of 8 going hungry in the world today.
    Look at Australia.Its history was that the domestic rabbits got loose,in no time multiplied out so much they had to put up thousands of miles of rabbit proof fence.Its buried 18 inches under the ground,which is what you need to do if you keep a colony on the ground,like next to the garage,& /or use the garage in winter for them,my grandfathers arrangement ,the whole side of the garage turned into anoter room with chicken wire & a rood overhead,like a chicken enclosure.He was originally from a 500 acre land grant farm in Minnesota/Canada border.Later,migrated to Detroit,where this set up colony was,in Hazel Park,suburbs.
    Me,I had 3 hutches I made with refrigerator racks I got from the junkyard,some hardware cloth ,wire,chicken wire,& 2x4s,nails & such/with my dads help. they were 3 1/2 ft off ground on legs 8 ft long ,going up to about 6 ft high,& 3 1/2 ft wide…I just tied the doors on with fence wire tacked on with roofing 2 in nails,& tied the doors close,but others can use padlock hasps& hinges if you want to.
    Oh,I saw a movie they were chasing chickens;try the net,blanket,make a net from twine /nylon or paracord like a hammock,or fish gilnet.I also mention I saw a electric drill attachment that is used to defeather birds once in a “whole earth catalog”.They also had mail order chicks company addresses which you might find on search engine.A incubater I saw said use a heat lamp tied on a stick,stuck into a freezer ice chest/styrofoam,& a thermometer.You want to keep eggs at 120 degrees.If too hot ,move heat lamp back,if too cold,move it closer to eggs…

  • Marc October 17, 2012, 11:09 pm

    feel stupid to rebury this article but add something.

    My family used to breed rabbits as a hobby with some revenue on the side. During spring and summer, the rabbits were put into a movable cage without flooring. Meaning to say that the rabbits were just grazing for food half of the year and eating hay for much of the rest of the year.
    We used pellets at times I guess but just imagine the practicality of having your livestock eat grass. That is why chicken would seem ridiculous. Why would you feed grain to chicken instead of just eating it yourself. O.o….that seems like a luxury in a post-apocalyptic world.
    Producing meat in general is very uneconomical compared to simply growing grain and vegetables.

  • Hutches for Rabbits October 18, 2012, 12:27 pm

    Well one thing is for sure rabbits are far more cuddly than chicken, and they are more trainable then a chicken, so Ill leave it to yourselves to draw up the conclusion if they are more intelligent or not

  • Anonymous December 26, 2015, 4:06 pm

    I think Rabbits are better because Chickins are so loud and Bunnies don’t say a peep.


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