Rabbits: The Ultimate Urban Livestock?

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. 


  1. j andrews
    August 1, 2014, 1:50 pm

    Liked the show.
    I also believe that the rabbit can also feed a lot of people in a shorter time then beef and is far better to eat than chicken and healthier the most food. would lov to see more on this.
    Thanks and keep up the good work.

  2. tim
    August 1, 2014, 9:01 pm

    What were the sprouts grown in 6 days to feed his rabbits?

  3. Sal Pizzurro
    August 2, 2014, 7:53 pm

    The tool that he used to slaughter the rabbit on this episode is called a “Rabbit Wringer”. This was the company’s original design. The hanging apparatus is also made by the same company, RabbitWringer.com and it’s called a “Butcher Station”. They also sell a Captive bolt stunner which uses special rubber bands. They have been in business since 2008.

  4. TKB
    August 8, 2014, 12:02 pm

    where can u buy books on Rabbits: The Ultimate Urban Livestock & several others, from the pass year tv shows. that were not offered on dvd. Would like to buy books with picture, on how to do.

  5. Nick Klein
    August 12, 2014, 8:50 am

    Tim, the sprouts are part of my fodder system. You can find more on that under the “Fodder” tab on HostileHare.com. All equipment seen in the show can be purchased there as well, including a butchering/processing set up. TKB, i can direct you to books, my friend Boyd Craven is author to a few good ones.

  6. Nick Klein
    August 12, 2014, 8:53 am

    Meg, GREAT article!! this covered the whole story!! I was a little disappointed in the show though, they really missed the point of why we’re doing this stuff. They also missed a lot of WHAT I am doing!!! But thank you for bringing my purposes to light!!