First off, the meat production factor. Rabbits have a much smaller carbon footprint than other animals because they convert calories into pounds more efficiently. According to Slow Food USA, "Rabbit can produce six pounds of meat on the same amount of feed and water it takes a cow to produce just one pound." Furthermore, rabbits are a healthier meat. The quality of their protein is very good, they are high in good fats, and because they are a pseudo-ruminant they have higher levels of CLAs [Conjugated Linoleic Acid] which are high in the Omega-3 fats that you find in grass fed-beef and lamb.
Moreover, rabbit tractors (think mobile chicken tractor but with bunnies inside) help keep weeds and grasses cut low and their manure is one of the best to apply to a veggie garden. Though high in nitrogen, rabbit manure is safe to apply to crops without first composting it.
We were very excited to introduce backyard rabbits to our farmstead operation with our buck Kale and our two does Buttercup and Dottie. Unfortunately, my carpentering skills let me down and unable to create a run/ hutch system that would keep the neighboring Cherry Lane farm guaranteed free of of bunnies, we are having to depart with our rabbit operation. The same qualities that make bunnies a fantastic source of animal protein for a homestead, make it a nightmare for vegetable growers, and the thought of having a wily un-neutered female rabbit on site can cause some farmers to have nightmares of torn up rows of cabbage and demolished seedlings. We, as fledgling farmers, completely understand the stress and fear that comes with trusting others in doing their due diligence to make sure your livelihood isn't being put at risk, so though we are sad to see the bunnies go to another homestead, we're more than understanding of the situation that is leading to this loss.
Thus, the rabbit operation will have to wait until I have my own farm where my carpentry skills will be able to meet my needs for seedling/ crop security. Until then, I'll just have to support my friends as they raise one of the most sustainable forms of meat and courageously dispel the 'easter bunny cute' syndrome.