If I could only have one and I HAD to choose between the two purely on nutritional value, I'd choose rabbits. Chickens produce more than just a single food product on the farm so I'd have to say BOTH!! :D
So here's a run down of the pros and cons of both:
- They both generally consume about the same amount of food per animal, but rabbit feed is less expensive.
- Rabbits are ready for processing much faster than a standard dual purpose bird.
- Rabbits are MUCH easier to process.
- Rabbits produce prodigiously on there own. As opposed to chickens that lay eggs that then have incubate, might get smashed, eaten, etc.
- Rabbits tend to get diseases less easily and ear mites is the most normal affliction. (Easily treated with vegetable oil.)
- Rabbits require more animals per person per meal (2 rabbits for 2 adults and 2 tweens vs 1 chicken for the same), but the meat is less expensive to produce per lb.
- Rabbits are almost completely silent.
Rabbits require more dedicated space per animal. Each doe has to have it's own cage (grow-out pens can be more animals per cage) and it is almost impossible to free range them. Chickens can run around freely all together and forage for much more of their food.
Chickens produce more than just a single food type. (meat and eggs).
Chickens are easier to cook and people are more used to eating them.
Chickens are a white meat instead of a red meat so I am guessing they are healthier to eat (less cholesterol, etc.).
Chickens are just fun to watch while they peck around in the yard. :)
Chickens have much more personality.
Final tally is Rabbits 7 - Chickens 6, but honestly if you are going to have one, you might as well have both. They both have their strong and weak points. A pot of rabbit stew cooking in cast iron on the stove smells pretty amazing, but scrambled eggs with fresh from the garden tomatoes and onion taste pretty good for breakfast!!