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Would raising meat rabbits be a hare raising experience?  :laughing:
(04-26-2010, 03:26 PM)mom Wrote: [ -> ]My friends daughters raise rabbits for 4-H. After the fair they go to the butcher and comes back nicely wrapped in white paper ready for the freezer. Now I'd guess that you don't have many butchers/processors in your more urban area. Rabbits are usually dispatched by wringing/breaking their necks or with a club and they have a tendency to scream which can be a bit much for a regular-Joe.

the bucks also scream when they mate with a doe. 

just so you'll know, as i would guess you'd start out with a pair and raise the offspring for eating.  it's probably better to have a buck and two does if you want lots of rabbit meat.  though you can breed them often it's probably good to give does a good rest between litters so she and the bunnies will be healthy.

i've had lots of pet bunnies but i think rabbit is delicious.  think about how cute baby calves or lambs or even piglets are and yet you eat beef, lamb and pork, right?  baby chicks are cute, too.  i just never think about the animal when i'm eating the meat.  (true, i am a vegetarian now, but not because i dislike meat or think it's immoral to kill animals.  if somebody handed me a plate of roast rabbit right now, i'd eat it.  they're delicious when cooked properly.)

maybe you can find someone who's experienced at killing rabbits and will do it for you or at least teach you how to slaughter and dress them.  you'll have to buy your starter rabbits from somebody so that would be a good person to ask.

does your state put out a farmer's market bulletin?  my state does, through the dept. of ag and people advertise what they have to sell or trade and what they're looking for in the way of agricultural things.  subscriptions and ads are free.  you can buy everything from peacocks and guinea fowl to sheep and llamas to flower bulbs, tomato plants, berries, horses, etc. 

call your county extension agent and ask if your state has anything like that.  if nothing else, he may know some rabbit breeders in the area.




We raise meat rabbits.... dispatching them is a job for the men of the house (or the not so squeemish woman.) If they scream when you're slaughtering them then you're doing something wrong so don't get scared about that part. Of course dispatching them is the hardest part... when you hunt you shoot an animal from afar and it's usually over by the time you get to them but raising your own domestic rabbit for that purpose is different.

Caution - below is quite graphic - stop reading if you're offended by killing your own meat.

I've done both clubbing and "broom-sticking"... I'm in the county but in a subdivision where I'm surrounded by neighbors. If I lived in a more secluded area I would probably club them more than broom-stick them. To club: let the rabbit relax, grab them by the hind legs - they'll squirm a bit but just wait until they stop squirming... try calming the rabbit then grab a club (a 2X4, a pipe, bat whatever) and give them a good whack behind the ears. If done right you'll get blood out of the nose and they'll do the usual twitching but it's over - no squealing. Then field dress them which is easier than you think if you haven't done it before.

To Broomstick:

This is my preferred method being close to neighbors because you can do it more discreetly. You lay the rabbit down, give it it's last meal - I usually give it something nice and tasty that they don't normally get - but I'm a bit of a softy - this is to keep it still and relaxed. Then you get a broom stick handle or similar sized rod and lay it behind the base of it's head and step on one end of it with one foot. This will pin the rabbit down but not choke it. Then comes the hardest part - but rather simple. Lightly put your other foot on the other side of the broom stick and with one swift motion grab it's two hind legs, step down hard on both ends of broom stick and lift and pull the hind legs up over it's head. It will instantly dislocate it's neck. You'll get some nervous twitching and blood out the nose but it's over - painlessly.

I was shaking the first time I did this as it's not a pleasant thing to do - at least for me and I always get a little shaky when it comes time but it's always gone without a hitch.


**End of graphic part****

You can find a wealth of info on the breeding part, housing etc online. We have two hutches that we keep our rabbits in. The rabbit droppings are excellent for garden too. We feed them rabbit pellets and timothy hay. Last year when work was down and our budget very tight we had to cut back on the pellets to half a ration and we supplemented their diets with weeds and hay. A bale of timothy hay will last our rabbits a couple of months - we're down to 4 rabbits right now plus a litter of 6 little guys who aren't eating solids right now and are still in their nesting box.

We're kind of new to this too and have had our rabbits for about 2-3 years now and still trying to find a rabbit recipe that we like. The older they get (past fryar age) the tougher they get but a crock pot will take care of that :-)

Feel free to ask any more questions...Good Luck!
(05-05-2010, 09:15 PM)Ruination_ipa Wrote: [ -> ]We raise meat rabbits.... dispatching them is a job for the men of the house (or the not so squeemish woman.) If they scream when you're slaughtering them then you're doing something wrong so don't get scared about that part. Of course dispatching them is the hardest part... when you hunt you shoot an animal from afar and it's usually over by the time you get to them but raising your own domestic rabbit for that purpose is different.

Caution - below is quite graphic - stop reading if you're offended by killing your own meat.

I've done both clubbing and "broom-sticking"... I'm in the county but in a subdivision where I'm surrounded by neighbors. If I lived in a more secluded area I would probably club them more than broom-stick them. To club: let the rabbit relax, grab them by the hind legs - they'll squirm a bit but just wait until they stop squirming... try calming the rabbit then grab a club (a 2X4, a pipe, bat whatever) and give them a good whack behind the ears. If done right you'll get blood out of the nose and they'll do the usual twitching but it's over - no squealing. Then field dress them which is easier than you think if you haven't done it before.

To Broomstick:

This is my preferred method being close to neighbors because you can do it more discreetly. You lay the rabbit down, give it it's last meal - I usually give it something nice and tasty that they don't normally get - but I'm a bit of a softy - this is to keep it still and relaxed. Then you get a broom stick handle or similar sized rod and lay it behind the base of it's head and step on one end of it with one foot. This will pin the rabbit down but not choke it. Then comes the hardest part - but rather simple. Lightly put your other foot on the other side of the broom stick and with one swift motion grab it's two hind legs, step down hard on both ends of broom stick and lift and pull the hind legs up over it's head. It will instantly dislocate it's neck. You'll get some nervous twitching and blood out the nose but it's over - painlessly.

I was shaking the first time I did this as it's not a pleasant thing to do - at least for me and I always get a little shaky when it comes time but it's always gone without a hitch.


**End of graphic part****

You can find a wealth of info on the breeding part, housing etc online. We have two hutches that we keep our rabbits in. The rabbit droppings are excellent for garden too. We feed them rabbit pellets and timothy hay. Last year when work was down and our budget very tight we had to cut back on the pellets to half a ration and we supplemented their diets with weeds and hay. A bale of timothy hay will last our rabbits a couple of months - we're down to 4 rabbits right now plus a litter of 6 little guys who aren't eating solids right now and are still in their nesting box.

We're kind of new to this too and have had our rabbits for about 2-3 years now and still trying to find a rabbit recipe that we like. The older they get (past fryar age) the tougher they get but a crock pot will take care of that :-)

Feel free to ask any more questions...Good Luck!

Great post!  And I'm so glad that there's another out there who's as interested in the subject as I am!  Very encouraging!  It'll probably be a year before I can build a set up for rasing them, but it'll happen, I'm sure.  I've already built the chicken house!

(04-27-2010, 02:00 AM)calicatholic Wrote: [ -> ]Do you have pics of your raised bed gardens and your small vineyard?  I'd love to see them!  And what fruit trees do you have?

Hang tight calicatholic.  I'll get you a pic of the yard soon.  I can't post it right now, cuz I'm at work.  Maybe next Thursday, after my campin' trip.
Laramie,

A friend of mine at the SSPX chapel in Honolulu raises meat rabbits.  He is an older Portuguese gentleman and he has raised them ever since he was a kid on the sugarcane plantation.  He lives in the "country" outside the city on Oahu and his pens are quite impressive.  The rabbits he raised were huge, I think he said they were some European breed.  We never talked about how to kill em, only about how to cook em.  I prefer Hossenfeffer!  I would go with an air rifle, I have seen some cool vids of guys hunting rabbits with air rifles online.  Head shot stones em cold...

As an update to my earlier post:

Two weeks ago I couldn't wait to try a fryar  (8 weeks). All the rabbit I ever ate were older rabbits which is more meat but also more tough (depending on how you cook). Fryars have more fine grained and tender meat. So my last butchering went just awesome! I did things a little different this time out in my outdoor shed and I changed my mind about my preferred method of dispatching. The problem w/ 'broomsticking' is that it bruises the meat by the neck area. Clubbing does not. This last time I clubbed the little guy and bled him in the shed - nobbed off his head and feet and brought the carcass inside to gut. If you want to see the method I use you can check out the this youtube video below.



This is the quickest and cleanest way that I've seen and works good. A sharp knife is a must.

Anyway, I finally cooked a rabbit that everyone loved! I lightly floured it with flour/salt/pepper/garlic powder and deep fried that sucker! I removed the pieces from the oil when nice and golden brown and sprinkled 'Kickin' Chicken' seasoning on it! Everyone wanted more and the kids were licking their fingers! The meat of a fryar is still tough compared to chicken but definitely not as tough as the roasters I had before!

Also, this is the first time I saved the hide which I salted (w/ pickling salt) to preserve it until a time that I can try my hand at tanning. When I get a few more pelts I'll have a go at it.
Mmm, thinking about some Conill amb Samfaina  :eats:
Current Rabbit Hutch project

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A recent thread discussion on a family being fined by the FDA and USDA reminded me to update ya'll how my rabbit hutch project has been coming along.

The pictures don't seem much different from the previous ones, but what I've done here has taken hours and hours.  I had to shove concrete shoes underneath the stilts--after the sucker was built!  That required some digging on my part. 

And then, constructing the complete skeleton of the five rabbit cage cells has taken quite a while.  I've had to stay up until 3am on two separate occasions to get this sucker put together where it is so far.  I think that at this rate, I'll get a roof on probably in August.  Sheesh.  It's a fun hobby, though.

(By the way, I never sell anything I raise.  Ever.)


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Dude, are these man-eating jurasic rabbits with the 4" claws?  Looks like you could drive a train over that timber.  Serious construction on your part.
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