Agri Vehicles Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Meat rabbits  (Read 2806 times)

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Meat rabbits
« on: July 22, 2023, 09:17:30 am »
Hello rabbit people,
I haven't been on the forums for some time as we always seem to be so busy but I have a question which is puzzling me.
We have reached the point where our first batch of rabbits are approaching their "freezer weight" of around 2kg. Before I ventured into the field of raising rabbits I used to shoot wild rabbits when I lived in the UK but there simply aren't any where I live now (Poland) and the hunting laws here are not so practical as they are in the UK for small game even if they did exist in any numbers. I have read Katie Thear's book (The Complete Book of Raising Livestock and Poultry) and I see there that she says rabbits should not be fed for 24 hours prior to dispatching but she doesn't say why. John Seymour doesn't touch on it at all really in his The Complete Book of Self Sufficiency. Obviously when shooting rabbits in the wild they are usually shot while they are actually out foraging themselves and I know from practical experience here that pigs for instance are often enticed out of their pen/sty to the point of loading onto a vehicle or dispatch with food. Our philosophy is to treat the rabbits as well as we can, in fact we are only raising small batches, they are almost, treated like pets, have lots of hutch/run space and are fed VERY well with a very mixed diet of my wife's specially hand selected wild greens ::) on top of premium grade pellets and barley etc. (you get the picture ;D) and so we are not looking forward to the final goodbye's but then we know they have had a good life compared with all the meat rabbit we've seen here. Coupled with that they are Californians so they do look rather cute! They are very used to being handled so their final moment should be as stress free as we can make it but we wonder if their is a real reason for denying them their usual rations 24 hours before we kill them?
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2023, 09:30:37 am »
Hi Nick. Hope all your building work is going OK?
The only thing I do know about wild rabbits is they must be gutted IMMEDIATELY, otherwise the meat becomes tainted. Perhaps that's why you don't feed them for 24 hours- to give you a bit more time?

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #2 on: July 22, 2023, 08:36:02 pm »
Hello Chris,
Let's just say things are progressing, not as quickly as we wanted but I lost my Dad at the beginning of the year and was bouncing back and forth between the UK and here while he was ill and after. Being the executor of his will has rather added to the "things to do" list which I hadn't built into the timeline! At the end of the day he had a good innings and went peacefully.

How's things with you, all good I hope?

I have to admit when I shot rabbits I didn't gut them immediately but always "drained" them immediately i.e. run side of hand down the underside to drain the bladder but usually left the gutting until I got home. I never had tainted meat, but I know that quite a few do gut in the field but I usually thought that was so people didn't have to dispose of the "contents" at home. Leaving it in the field for the foxes was, I thought a convenience. Have to admit, that was my habit. I never did actually shoot with anyone on a social level except clays and at the range so I never had any other influence in my shooting for the larder. I think I read about the "draining" process when I was a lad (boy that was a long time ago) but never read about the imperative to gut in the field, just the technique for doing it if desired! Your reasoning sounds good.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2023, 08:56:38 am »
Hi Nick. Always busy here and the more we find ways or buy equipment to do things more quickly, the more things we find to do. Turns out the South wall is unstable due mainly to the previous owner allowing the guttering to block and water cascading down the wall washing out the mortar. Deep pointing and replacing stones is a very slow job, especially using period clay/ river gravel mortar rather than 'modern' sharp sand. Should finish in 2025.


The gutting immediately was what a clay pigeon shooter told me. This chap used to make extra money hunting rabbits- we bought some from him which were head shot with a .22 rimfire. I used to shoot clays a lot in England but stopped with the expense. Now we've retired I can afford to start again after a 25 year break. Clay shooting is on a tiny scale in comparison and the disciplines are different. Sporting is 20% and trap is 80%, so the opposite ratio to the UK.

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2023, 07:42:34 pm »
Ha ha, yes you have been at this game longer than me so you are a seasoned "campaigner". I'm beginning to realise that when the decision is made to buy a bit of kit here or another tool there the list of jobs just seem to expand exponentially!  You've frightened me now talking about your south wall. One of our stone barns really needs some stone replacing and re-pointing done. The previous workman really didn't have much of a clue here and slapped concrete and brick in gaps in what was essentially a lime mortar, natural stone building. I need to do some of the walls both inside and out but time is the commodity most lacking. I just hope it stays standing longer than I do so I have a fighting chance to get around to it. It is nice to see here though that some younger people are beginning to appreciate the old buildings for what they are. A lot of what I might regard as my and older generation inhabitants of these parts who have lived here abouts "man and boy" just don't seem to have a feel for the older buildings, they grew up with "modern is best" and seem to slap concrete and horror of horrors to me, expanding foam on everything and anything. I do appreciate some modern materials have there place but the people who originally built these houses really did know what they were doing and they weren't just thrown up. It's nice to see some younger people coming along who now realise that and appreciate the thought that went into them.
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2023, 03:11:46 pm »
The only thing I can think of is that it is easier to process an animal with an empty stomach.. same goes for pigs, sheep, cows etc If you are not worried about it then do whatever suits you best, I would probably just feed them a bit less if it were me

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2023, 04:51:28 pm »
That's probably what I'll do Roddy. In fact I did a "google" but nothing really came up that I looked at, except for a Florida based rabbit keeper who said that she just reduces their rations slightly. Personally I am not really bothered by it too much but I like to know when someone writes something in what is intended to be a "go to" book  but when they do I do think the reasoning should be set out too. The most difficult part is convincing my wife that 2plus kg IS big enough. I'm not looking forward to the job but I do appreciate that it must be done sooner rather than later....not least because I don't want to knock up yet another set of hutches and runs!
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

roddycm

  • Joined Jul 2013
Re: Meat rabbits
« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2023, 06:53:25 pm »
That's probably what I'll do Roddy. In fact I did a "google" but nothing really came up that I looked at, except for a Florida based rabbit keeper who said that she just reduces their rations slightly. Personally I am not really bothered by it too much but I like to know when someone writes something in what is intended to be a "go to" book  but when they do I do think the reasoning should be set out too. The most difficult part is convincing my wife that 2plus kg IS big enough. I'm not looking forward to the job but I do appreciate that it must be done sooner rather than later....not least because I don't want to knock up yet another set of hutches and runs!

Yes, I quite agree with you. Good luck with it all!

NickRJ

  • Joined Jan 2022
  • Dolny Śląsk, Poland
Re: Meat rabbits, the harsh reality!
« Reply #8 on: July 27, 2023, 09:31:56 pm »
Well we processed our first three rabbits today. Was really quite a tough day and the decision was made for us yesterday, in part by the rabbits themselves. When I woke up yesterday morning I noticed the door on the top hutch was open and so quickly got dressed and went down to investigate. We have been keeping the boys and girls separately but some of the boys have started getting fractious, hormones kicking in (!) and chasing others around the hutches. As a result of the shenanigans the door of the hutch jumped it's latch and two rabbits were running around the garden. We tried to put them back but the remaining one in that hutch just went for them. We separated him out and I was going to deal with him yesterday but on reflection he just looked a tad small so I decided to reprieve him for a few days to fatten up a bit more so I set about making a new temporary hutch. In the event I managed to cut my thumb really badly on the saw, it never does to do a job in a rush, and so couldn't, by the time I was back from the hospital the day was gone. We put the trouble maker up indoors for a night but I decided this morning I just had to knuckle down and deal with him. So he and two other males in an adjoining hutch were dealt with.  I have to admit I felt pretty bad as we had treated them very well, that was always the aim but that made it harder I think. We had rabbit liver and kidney for lunch and I have to admit we both found it very tasty and very subtle in flavour but my wife ate hers with tears in her eyes. We'll get over this, we eat meat and it's part of the deal. We will remind ourselves that the rabbits had a good life compared to many commercial rabbits but boy it's hard! Hunting was much easier!
Taking each day as it comes and trying to enjoy every challenge life throws my way.

 

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Ark Farm Livestock Movement Service

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2024. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS