8 to 88 Rabbits and Wrigglers is a cage system to easily produce rabbits for meat, fiber, waste products, red wriggler worms and worm products.

Project Overview

Project Type: Farmer/Rancher
Funds awarded in 2023: $11,078.00
Projected End Date: 01/31/2025
Grant Recipient: Promise Hill Farm
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Project Coordinator:
Donna Bennett
Promise Hill Farm

This project was awarded a grant but the grant was not accepted due to changing work circumstances.


No commodities identified


No practices identified

Proposal summary:

     Rabbit meat is very healthy to eat but raising rabbits but raising rabbits solely for meat is no longer profitable.   People raise rabbits and laboriously shovel manure or carry manure pans.  Red wriggler worms are most often raised by constantly having to carry food to them, then remove trays or dig for the vermicast.   These jobs are dirty and physically taxing.   Sometimes the manure is hard to dispose of so is wasted.  A non-traditional rabbit and worm housing design can solve these problems.

    The USDA Economic Research Service says over half of the US farmers are women.  FERN, the Food and Environment Reporting Network, says over a third of US farmers are over 65 years of age, but nearly one third are beginning farmers, many are quite young with limited cash and land.   The USDA says nearly 1/5 of our farmers are disabled.    Some senior, disabled, or very young farmers have physical problems handling the work of traditionally raised rabbits.

    Raising rabbits and worms using the proper type housing can solve problems because it’s  cheap to start up, can be done easily, has multiple income streams, and has quick turn around time.

Project objectives from proposal:

  The holistic practice of rabbit farming done with my project is largely dependent on a certain caging/housing system I’m developing for the rabbits, red wriggler worms, manure, and urine.

My housing system offers these advantages:

  • Ample sized wire cages which are cleaner for rabbits and offer fewer opportunities for disease organisms to live and grow than wooden pens or pasture
  • Ergonomically designed cages that are easy for the farmer to access the animals and provide feed and water for the animals
  • Automated watering system which keeps clean water constantly available without using individual bottles or bowls that must be constantly cleaned and refilled
  • Feed and hay delivering equipment to aid in ease of use and safety of the animals
  • A built-in simple manure drying and collection system
  • A built-in simple urine collection system
  • An effective method of recycling bags in which the rabbit feed comes
  • Built in worm bed with easy access to collecting red wriggler worms and vermicast.
  • The modularity of the caging system which makes it easy to expand.

The products that can be harvested from this system include:

  • Rabbits for meat
  • Live bunny rabbits
  • Angora wool
  • Cull rabbits for animal food
  • Dried and bagged rabbit manure
  • Rabbit urine, which is an excellent natural, chemical-free insect repellent and insecticide
  • Red wriggler worms
  • Vermicast

   This system will show that the rabbit and worm products business provide excellent business and responsibility training for youth and new farmers, as well as demonstrating ecological concepts and recycling.  This project will allow live demonstration to hundreds of people at farmers’ markets, fairs and farm and garden related shows and conferences.  It will demonstrate sustainable farm-to-consumer healthful meat production, and the usefulness of the rabbit waste to create garden related products.  Consumers will witness the entire workability of the farm.  It also will demonstrate how physically easy it can be to accomplish due to the ergonomically designed cages.

    All costs of the housing system will be carefully documented showing how farmers can engage in raising rabbits for a much lower investment than other livestock enterprises and have a return on investment in as little as a few months.

    I will write a manual or book completely describing why to use this system, how to use the system, and how to obtain or build the housing system so that other farmers can easily duplicate the system.  Also marketing advice for the various products will be included.  I’ll also develop a social media group that shows the housing system, documents the demonstration fair, show, and conference sites and offers technical tips using the various products offered.   This social media site will also explain the ecological reasons behind the entire project.  These outreaches are to  show the consumers and would be producers an organic, physically easy and systematic way to produce very healthy meats, yarn-type fiber, fertilizers, and insect repellant in a small amount of space while recycling and without waste.

    I will recruit students of culinary classes at Hocking Technical College and West Virginia University to develop innovative recipes and marketing strategies for rabbit meat.

.    My project will show the ecological aspects of managing the manure and urine so that they are no longer considered just waste, but instead feed red wriggler worms and produce fertilizers and natural, chemical-free insect repellent and insecticide in a salable manner.   All these things can be accomplished without dirty and heavy physical demands from the farmer by using the housing system I am designing.

Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture or SARE.