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Author Topic: Meat Rabbits!!!  (Read 9436 times)
Sean Kelly
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« on: March 03, 2013, 12:37:48 PM »

Hey guys!
Anyone else raising rabbits for meat?  I can't believe how simple and earth friendly rabbits are compared to pretty much all other meat livestock.
The benefits are incredible:  lower fat and cholesterol than chicken, more protein than beef, faster producing and cheaper to feed.  Rabbit manure does not need to compost before being added to your garden.
We've been raising turkeys for meat, but after discovering the costs, time, and labor involved with raising turkeys compared to rabbits we've decided to put all our efforts into the rabbitry.
Anyways, I'm pretty excited about this adventure and wanted to see if anyone else in this great group is doing the same!!

Sean Kelly
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Vance G
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« Reply #1 on: March 03, 2013, 01:39:42 PM »

i raised a lot of rabbits when I was a kid and we ate them.  I was always happy when I sold one for a pet.  It is way easier for me to slaughter a bird than a wabbit.  Though it is indeed easier to slaughter a rabbit than a turkey.    We put a 30 gallon barrell in the middle of the strawberry patch for all the frozen weather accumulation.  Great fertilizer.
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« Reply #2 on: March 03, 2013, 02:51:17 PM »

Raised them for a while and yes they are fairly inexpensive to raise til slaughter. I haven't raised any in about two years because I've been pretty busy with work, goats, chickens and bees... Wish i had more money and more time to get back to playing around with them.... Sad
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Marshall
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« Reply #3 on: March 03, 2013, 03:10:03 PM »

I had a doe when I was a kid - wound up moving right after breeding her and leaving her with the guy I bought her from. I did get a letter from him saying she had 13 bunnies, but I never got into rabbits again.
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« Reply #4 on: March 03, 2013, 10:00:20 PM »

We used to have cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, turkeys and rabbits, oh and dogs and cats.  Right now just have bees. 




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« Reply #5 on: March 04, 2013, 08:13:02 AM »

I raised flemish giants for a few years.  They are soooooo huge but slow growing.  I then switched to californian's.  These grow to butcher size quicker.   One buck and 2 does will produce alot of meat.   I also kept them at the edge of the garden for free fertilizer
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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2013, 10:54:14 AM »

I have had rabbits love them they are worth keeping for just the poop.
I dont think I have time right now to keep them or I would get some more and start back up. Next time I will make freeze proof waters first. I found the I idea online for a cheap and easy no freeze auto water system. but any way have so many home impovement projects and bee things to get done this year I will be lucky to just get the garden planted.
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Lone
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« Reply #7 on: March 04, 2013, 06:00:54 PM »

Do you still have bees and banjos, Sean?

Lone
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« Reply #8 on: March 04, 2013, 07:24:46 PM »

Sean,
I have not kept rabbits yet, but we are starting this year.  From what I hear one buck and two does will provide plenty of meat for us.  As of now me and my two boys will be eating them.  I do not think the wife and my daughter are going to give in any time soon.
We start our rabbit project next month.
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« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2013, 08:03:47 PM »

I love rabbit and have hunted and eaten many but I don't think I can raise them and then kill and eat them.


Steve
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2013, 01:42:35 PM »

Do you still have bees and banjos, Sean?

Lone

Hey Lone!  I'm surprised you remember me!  It's been years since I posted anything on this forum.  Yep, still keeping bees and picking the banjer!

Sean
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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2013, 09:04:43 PM »

Alright Sean!  Your post got me interested and now I'm keeping rabbits too.  cheesy

Cooking the first cull buck tomorrow.  evil
Deboned him and plan to slow roast his butt grin evil

Bought a package and wound up with too many males.
Have 3 breeding age does and will cull down to 2 bucks.


The good news is the bud 5 jambalaya will now include rabbit!!! piano piano

Bailey
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2013, 10:38:18 PM »

Quote
Hey Lone!  I'm surprised you remember me!  It's been years since I posted anything on this forum.  Yep, still keeping bees and picking the banjer!

Sean

I never forget a banjo player.  Are you ready for St Paddy's Day yet?  It's only a week away.  We're playing at a club and I am allowed to tell one irish joke every half hour. I can't play a jig on a 5 string so I'll mainly fiddle. I play every so often in an irish band, a bush band, a gospel band, and a group that plays only australian fiddle tunes, so I get a bit busy and my tendonitis objects to it a bit.

I remember you got diabetes and I was wondering how you're managing that.  How much honey do you eat now?  It would be a real blow to a beekeeper, but I'm glad you're still at it.

In regards to rabbits, do you know that it's illegal to keep rabbits in Queensland?  I'm not sure about other states. Where I live the ground is actually too hard for them to burrow, so I don't think they have ever been a problem. There is the odd one around. But the mixo and then calicivirus have knocked them down everywhere.  They were brought to australia initially for hunting but soon bred like rabbits.  They put up a rabbit proof fence which the rabbits thought was so funny as they were on both sides of it.  Henry Lawson wrote a story about a buck rabbit that laughed so hard he picked it up and it was still laughing when he put it in the pot. (look up "Henry Lawson: Hungerford) There is a good movie called rabbit proof fence.  Consequently, I hadn't eaten rabbit since I was very young and was missing it badly, but went back to Victoria at Christmas and had rabbit stew.

Lone
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2013, 01:20:48 PM »

I never forget a banjo player.  Are you ready for St Paddy's Day yet?  It's only a week away.  We're playing at a club and I am allowed to tell one irish joke every half hour. I can't play a jig on a 5 string so I'll mainly fiddle. I play every so often in an irish band, a bush band, a gospel band, and a group that plays only australian fiddle tunes, so I get a bit busy and my tendonitis objects to it a bit.

I remember you got diabetes and I was wondering how you're managing that.  How much honey do you eat now?  It would be a real blow to a beekeeper, but I'm glad you're still at it.

In regards to rabbits, do you know that it's illegal to keep rabbits in Queensland?  I'm not sure about other states. Where I live the ground is actually too hard for them to burrow, so I don't think they have ever been a problem. There is the odd one around. But the mixo and then calicivirus have knocked them down everywhere.  They were brought to australia initially for hunting but soon bred like rabbits.  They put up a rabbit proof fence which the rabbits thought was so funny as they were on both sides of it.  Henry Lawson wrote a story about a buck rabbit that laughed so hard he picked it up and it was still laughing when he put it in the pot. (look up "Henry Lawson: Hungerford) There is a good movie called rabbit proof fence.  Consequently, I hadn't eaten rabbit since I was very young and was missing it badly, but went back to Victoria at Christmas and had rabbit stew.

Lone

That's awesome!  Yeah, I'm actually going to be meeting with a bluegrass band later this week to try out for their banjo spot.  I've been away from the music scene too long now and feel it's time to get back in the swing of things.

My diabetes is pretty much non-existent now.  My wife and I canceled our cable tv and joined a local gym.  We took a diabetes nutrition class at the local hospital and changed our eating habits drastically.  I lost over 60 lbs and my A1C is now 5.7%.  I also quit smoking and I feel like a million bucks.

Yeah, I heard about the rabbit problem in Australia.  We have too many predators here in the US for a feral rabbit problem to exist.

Alright Sean!  Your post got me interested and now I'm keeping rabbits too.  cheesy

Cooking the first cull buck tomorrow.  evil
Deboned him and plan to slow roast his butt grin evil

Bought a package and wound up with too many males.
Have 3 breeding age does and will cull down to 2 bucks.


The good news is the bud 5 jambalaya will now include rabbit!!! piano piano

Bailey

That's awesome Bailey!  Welcome to the club!!!  Justin Wilson has some great rabbit recipes if you're looking for a good Cajun flavor.  But pretty much any recipe that calls for chicken can be substituted with rabbit.  I've actually found that a lot of chicken recipes actually turn out BETTER when rabbit meat is used!

I love rabbit and have hunted and eaten many but I don't think I can raise them and then kill and eat them.

Steve, it's not easy raising something so cute for food.  But I personally feel the benefits outweigh the killing cute food factor.  Especially when a doe has her first litter, and the babies fit in the palm of your hand.
But when you have 3 does, cranking out a litter of 8 every other month, there's an endless surplus of baby rabbits.  You get used to the processing really quick.  The more you have, the easier it gets.

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« Reply #14 on: March 11, 2013, 05:06:29 PM »

are you processing the hides as well? are they worth messing with?  that probably makes a difference in your method of...execution? 
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Sean Kelly
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« Reply #15 on: March 11, 2013, 08:48:56 PM »

are you processing the hides as well? are they worth messing with?  that probably makes a difference in your method of...execution? 

We're not yet processing the hides, but that's something I do want to get started with.  It's pretty simple with pre bottled tanning solutions.  I'm not sure of what methods of dispatching would harm the hides, unless you use a gun which is kind of wasteful.  Rabbits are extremely easy to dispatch, using several different humane methods.
Look up the Rabbit Wringer.  Very cool device and super quick.  If you have the stomach, they have demonstration videos of their product on YouTube.
There's also the "broomstick" method (google that too), a quick bop behind the ears with a tire thumper, and there's also some people who use a pellet rifle point blank behind the ears, where the spine meets the skull.
The most important part is to bleed the rabbit immediately after dispatching it, otherwise there'll be too much blood in the meat.  The best way to skin the rabbit (while it's hanging from it's feet) is to cut around the knees and a line down the leg and back up the other.  From there, it's just a quick pull straight down, inside out, like pulling off a sock.  It keeps fur from making a sticky mess all over the meat. 
Once you get to the front legs, you might need the help of your knife to remove skin down to the elbows.  Cut the feet off at the elbows and leave inside the fur (you can remove these later if you plan on tanning).
pull down until you get to the neck and cut the head off, leaving it inside the skin (I like this so I don't have to see their cute face after the dirty work is done).
From there, it's just a matter of opening the abdominal wall, splitting pelvis, removing viscera, and quartering.
I can process 10 rabbits in the time it takes me to do one turkey.  Super easy, like peeling a banana.
If you feel you need a gun to dispatch your rabbits, then I suggest you not waste your time and stick to supermarkets.
With ammo shortages and high costs right now, I'll stick to one of the older proven methods of breaking it's spinal cord.

Sean
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« Reply #16 on: March 12, 2013, 12:21:35 AM »

I did a bunch of deer hides one year for a jacket that never happened (the butcher usually throws them out, so you can get a bunch on opening day.) - It's pickling salts - Alum which you can get cheap from a feed store as aluminum potassium sulfate (I think they call it potassium sulfate) enough to tan hides with off the grocery shelves is stupid expensive. It's been a LONG time, and I've long since lost the book. If you look up "tanning with alum" there's bound to be something.
I did several with Hair-on for gifts and several more straight leather.  - I have ONE hair on hide left and my wife hates it, so I have to guard it.
My point was it's not real difficult to mix up your own tanning brine for about 1/10th the price of "tanning solution".
Hope that helps.
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Lone
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« Reply #17 on: March 24, 2013, 10:37:02 AM »

Good to hear about the diabetes, and the bluegrass band, Sean.

What on earth do you use rabbit skins for?  Jackets for chihuahuas?

Lone
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« Reply #18 on: April 29, 2013, 10:28:49 PM »

I find it interesting when I have a new idea in my head and then stumble upon a forum to feed my new interest.  tongue (This is the first time I have looked at any other forums here other than general beekeeping)

I was reading on rabbits raised for meat during the depression. People back then even raised them in their basements. Im all about wild game and home grown meat. We live mainly on venison, wild turkey, fish, squirrel, our own chicken eggs, etc. I have raised meat chickens, meat turkeys. But I got to thinking about how "easy" it would be to raise rabbits for meat. I would like to try it sometime.

I read about a device used to harvest them with a simple pulling method that separates the vertebrae in the neck making a quick and humane harvest. I think it was on Mother Earth news.

Anyone care to share their harvest method?
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« Reply #19 on: April 29, 2013, 10:35:20 PM »

Stella,
I think the Rabbit Wringer is what you're describing....

Rabbit Wringer website!
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« Reply #20 on: April 29, 2013, 10:43:26 PM »

Thanks Moots.
Yup, thats the one. Easy schmeazy snap.
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« Reply #21 on: April 29, 2013, 10:48:51 PM »


Anyone care to share their harvest method?


Stella,
Misread your question, thought you were looking for that particular device.  Anyway, I've never done the rabbit thing but have been in a few discussions about harvesting methods.  Some use a pellet gun, while others that I have spoken with said lift them by their back legs, let them hang, and one good karate chop to the back of the neck does the trick.
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« Reply #22 on: May 08, 2013, 08:27:01 PM »

reading through this topic reminded me I have a rabbit in the freezer!  Wild one, but nice size.  Looks like rabbit stew for dinner tomorrow!
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Cruachan!

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« Reply #23 on: July 02, 2013, 09:06:22 PM »

I've raised rabbits, for harvesting I just grab both hind legs with one hand, lift up, the back of the head with the other and pull down. The problem I have with rabbits is the amount of time and effort compared to the amount of meat you get for it. They are easy to raise though if you do it right, simple raised from the ground cages, with mesh area for their poo to fall through, a decent area for them to get some exercise, and thats almost it (well besides eating drinking, etc. of course.) and they breed like...well, rabbits. Grow your own food for them and you can feed them tons of what we'd normally even waste and it'd be fine.
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« Reply #24 on: July 21, 2013, 12:14:26 PM »

New-bee here to this forum. Just thought I would throw out my story. Many years ago I raised rabbits for meat and breeding stock. They are an excellent source of meat and can be raised almost anywhere. It's been a number of years since I processed any but it isn't that difficult if you have a system worked out on how to do it. The manure is the best for a garden. The hides were easy to process with common chemicals. The meat sold very well where I lived then, breeding stock was good money but you had to have good bloodlines to be able to do that well. I don't think you could make a living at doing just that but it was a good addition to an already in business small farm for me. Not a bad animal at all to have around. Some day I may get some more.
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« Reply #25 on: July 27, 2013, 10:20:47 PM »

We started raising them this year. We also started bees this year. We're getting chickens back this year, as soon as I get everything built for them.
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« Reply #26 on: August 08, 2013, 01:00:42 AM »

Have always had rabbits for meat growing up. Kids are grown and gone.. so I decided to get three does and a buck...   my wife threw a FIT!!!!    She hunts, fishes, eats the cows, pigs and chickens we raise... so I never imagined it would bother her in the least...  I struggled with her about it until the first babies started hopping about the pens.... and thats when she REALLY exploded...   never seen her act like that...    She wouldn't go anywhere near the pens, and If I had to be out of town, I had to make arrangements for someone else to care for them...   I finally gave up and got rid of them....   I WANT rabbits!!!   sigh...   Oh well..
  She is paying for it now...  I refuse to care for her cat.. I will not now, or EVER feed it, clean the litter box etc... and the moment she leaves the house I throw it out. I'm not mean to it.. but I hate cats.. always have. I made the concession because I love her.. even after being married 25 years.. apparently women dont need to make such concessions???   The cat has learned that hopping up in my lap is NOT a wise thing to do. So we more or less ignore each other now.
   She asked me why I hated her cat so much..
   "I hate all cats.. I let you have it because I know you liked them so much. Had i known you wouldnt let me have rabbits, I'd never have let you have a cat."
   "I dont plan to EAT my cat!"
   "Hmmmmm... I wonder how they taste?"
   The horrified look on her face was... PRICELESS!"

   Just thinking....  Rabbit season is coming up...  I could hide the cat, and put a rabbit on the rotisserie........
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« Reply #27 on: November 16, 2013, 11:08:03 PM »

Funny that I just saw this post tonight. I was out hunting this  morning and kicked up a very large rabbit and thought that it might be nice to add a couple of rabbit hutches...
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Cruachan!

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« Reply #28 on: November 17, 2013, 03:52:40 AM »

old mech once skinned meow rabbits look the same as normal rabbits
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« Reply #29 on: November 17, 2013, 10:32:03 PM »

old mech once skinned meow rabbits look the same as normal rabbits


   LOL!!!!  While I find it QUITE amusing... If it actually fooled her for even a moment you may well be seeing the results on the evening news....   I KNOW she would not hesitate to pull such a prank on me...  but over the years I have learned that her sense of humor, while warped, is very often one way when it comes to animals.. which is why I cant have rabbits for meat.. to her, they are PETS, not food.. a cow is food, a pig is food, a chicken is food, a deer is food, and she will happily hunt and shoot them at my side.. rabbits are PETS     huh
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