In an urban environment, or even in a suburban environment with HOA rules to abide by, you may think your options for raising your own livestock are nonexistent. That’s where Nick Klein of Hostile Hare comes in.
Once you get past the cute, fuzzy-bunny factor, it turns out rabbits are a surprisingly efficient alternative to growing your own meat source. Plus, Nick’s rabbits are white with beady red eyes, so getting over the bunny factor, i.e. aversion to the thought of eating what is typically considered a pet, might not be as tough as you think.
In the event of a food crisis, or if you’re interested in going full-on local, home-grown organic and being in control of the meat you ingest, one female rabbit can produce all of the protein you need for an entire year. In fact, one breeding female will produce 320 pounds of live food, which translates to about 215 pounds of edible meat per year.
And with an efficiency of 6 to 1 compared to cattle, perhaps Nick is on to something. Nick can produce six pounds of rabbit with the same amount of feed it takes to produce one pound of beef. Not only that, but rabbits are cheaper and easier to raise.
Apparently, the United States seems to be one of the few country’s with an aversion to rabbit meat. In France, many restaurant-goers pay what would translate to around $40 USD for a pair of rabbit livers, which is something that Nick simply feeds to his turtles.
Not only has Nick developed a cheap and clever alternative to producing his own meat, but he has harnessed the rabbit pellets to produce biofuels, in a system he has nicknamed “Hareoponics.” In fact, the meat was just a fortunate byproduct of Nick’s initial search for alternative fuels.
A self-proclaimed alternative-energy geek, Nick originally experimented with everything from algae production and used vegetable oils for diesel replacement to fermentation of cellulosic materials for alcohol, and even electrolysis, when he came across a 1930s technology called gasification.
Gasification is the process of turning biomass into a gaseous fuel that can then run an internal combustion engine, turbine, heat pump, or whatever it is you want to become a flammable gas. But Nick needed a pelletizer, something that would turn biomass into pellets. It turns out, rabbits happen to be one of the best pelletizers in nature. So much so, he’s even created a rabbit pellet-powered flamethrower… as you’ll see on tonight’s episode of Doomsday Preppers:
Nick’s alternative fuel journey began years ago with five rabbits. But if you’ve ever had five rabbits, you know you won’t have five for long—and soon enough, Nick had 50 rabbits.
Back in the early days, Nick began selling the bunnies as pets, but soon maxed out the pet market and still had a surplus. That’s when his farm-boy roots kicked in, as well as the lessons of food storage that had been instilled in him at a young age. If the refrigeration cuts out, rabbits don’t need it, and the meat can be canned and stored for a long period of time. He soon realized this is urban livestock at its best, and his company, Hostile Hare, was born.
But that didn’t mean his initial quest for alternative fuel ended. In fact, it evolved into the three-step process he calls “Hareoponics,” a means of harnessing and converting the rabbit’s natural waste. The process starts with the trays underneath the rabbit cage that carry the waste to a general collection area where the solids are separated from the liquids. The liquids then go to biofilters that convert ammonia into nitrites and then nitrates. From the biofilters, it goes to a hydroponic garden, where vegetables are suspended in water. There, the clean water goes back to the fish tank–and so concludes the circle of self-sustainability, and one more reason Nick believes that rabbits truly are the ultimate urban livestock solution.
Don’t miss an all-new episode of Doomsday Preppers: Be the Prep featuring Nick Klein this Thursday at 9P.