Country View Eric and Callene Rapp – Rare Hare Barn – Leon, KS
Eric and Callene Rapp raise endangered rabbit breeds.
Photo courtesy Rare Hare Barn
Radio interview sources: Eric and Callene Rapp, Owners, Rare Hare Barn
Eric Rapp is the third generation in his family to raise heritage breed rabbits. Eric has five breeds on his Leon, Kansas, farm called Rare Hare Barn. The breeds are on the critical list of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
"Those breeds were used for meat production back in the day when they were really a production animal," he says. "They were meat, and fur, and everybody had them in their back yard. So we got rabbits that were something that I was familiar with, and knew that would be a production animal."
Their breeds include American, Blanc de Hotot, American Chinchilla, Silver Fox, and Creme d'Argent.
Eric and his wife, Callene, strive for sustainability while treating the rabbits humanely. This includes pens that are larger than a typical rabbit cage so they have room to move around and express natural behaviors. Misting and fans cool them off on hot days, and their feed is always made fresh at the local co-op.
This attention to care has led the Rapp's to a robust meat business, supplying chefs who serve rabbit on their menu. Even on the way to the processor, Eric says each rabbit is treated with the best care and respect.
"They go in individual carriers so they don't fight and a lot of times when people take rabbits to the processor they're just thrown basically into a large pen, and taken that way," says Eric. "A lot of the chefs are amazed that we don't have broken boned animals, or bruising, or stuff like that in our animals."
Eric says their rabbit count averages around 800. The couple also sells breeding stock, but to be sure the genetics of these rare breeds are properly maintained, Eric says they are very selective as to whom they will sell to.
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