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Author Topic: Rabbits for meat?  (Read 4977 times)

Shropshirelass

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • South Shropshire
  • A country lass who loves it all!
Rabbits for meat?
« on: September 06, 2013, 09:49:59 am »
Is it worthwhile & easy to do for the family? & if so how many does to a buck & mating's per year? & how do you dispatch of them at home humanely? - Sorry just curios as I'm used to going out shooting the wild ones instead x

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 10:22:34 am »
There's a lot more meat on a home bred bunny, a LOT more. The carcase has more meat on it than a supermarket chicken lb for lb, a better meat to bone ratio and barely any fat. They are ready in 12 to 14 weeks without force feeding and can be raised on just grass if you have a mind to.
Wild rabbit is free but you have to lie around in the wet grass for hours at stupid o'clock in the morning and may come home with nothing. If you catch one or two you'll need to pick out all the shot and broken bones from shooting it. I find wild rabbit a bit tough and stringy too unless they're very young. The rabbit you shoot could be a doe with a young litter - some might say that's a good thing of course, it depends on your viewpoint. Then there's the pelt, more colour variety and largre pelts with a bigger breed and white pelts can be dyed.
You could write a thesis on the pros and cons, eh?

One buck can service a fair few does but how many does depends on how much rabbit you want to eat, your family size, are you going to sell it, it's a very subjective answer really.

We dispatch ours with a well placed air rifle pellet in the brain, it's very fast. I sit the rabbit in a box and stroke it's head to relax it then OH does the business when I'm happy it's nicely mesmerised, it doesn't take long and they have a good death. Maybe I'm silly but I couldn't reconcile myself to neck pulling, the spinal reflex takes longer to kick in and it makes me wonder how fast it really is  :-\

This will be an interesting topic I think with lots of viewpoints  :thumbsup: Just hope we don't offend anyone. :fc:
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Shropshirelass

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • South Shropshire
  • A country lass who loves it all!
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 11:44:44 am »
Yeah well I don't wan't them as pets - & can the buck be kept in with more than 1 does until mating? The family size is 5 but only 3 adults will eat it on a regular basis - I'm not really interested in pelts & wouldn't know what to do with them anyways. As for raising on grass would they need worming? & if so how long is it before you can eat the meat? as I know different drugs have different withdrawal periods x 

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2013, 12:46:48 pm »
The buck will need a hutch of his own from age 12 to 14 weeks depending on his temperament. He will chase the does mercilessly even though they haven't reached sexual maturity and there will be fur pulled out, urine sprays on the does and even nasty injuries when the does object. The does can stay together until they are ready to breed but once they are mated they may be territorial so give each doe her own hutch.
Worming and withdrawal periods is probably best to ask your vet about as it would be them who could supply you with whatever you needed. I don't worm mine, they are not at risk as they live in hutches in a big shed. You might need to worm and vaccinate your breeding stock if you keep them on grass though, I guess that's a downside to free meat :(
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confused

  • Joined Jun 2008
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2013, 04:13:24 pm »
Yeah well I don't wan't them as pets - & can the buck be kept in with more than 1 does until mating? The family size is 5 but only 3 adults will eat it on a regular basis - I'm not really interested in pelts & wouldn't know what to do with them anyways. As for raising on grass would they need worming? & if so how long is it before you can eat the meat? as I know different drugs have different withdrawal periods x
A lot depends on your set up , and exactly what you want ,, if you have access to grass make some moveable runs , and just move them on to a new patch every day ,if you aim to have at least 14" moves" per run , the grass will be a fair length for at least 6 months of the year ( just think about how often you have to mow your lawn ) you should be aiming to be producing kits to fatten when free food is plentifull April - Dec,and give the does a rest during the months when free food is not so plentifull, a wee bit of thought,  a wee bit of barter,a wee bit work,  and its amazing just how cheaply i can feed mine .
I would try and keep the buck separate , i have found that i prefer to have my buck in a cage with a bit of perspex fixed about 6ins in front of the cage  :-[  as he has taken to spraying when HE wants out to mate, WHICH OFTEN SEEMS TO BE WHEN I AM DRESSED TO GO SOMEWHERE !!! and i seem to end up smelling like a wet digestive biscuit !!

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #5 on: September 25, 2013, 01:29:47 am »
Haha, I know that smell. When I put a doe in with a buck I get out of the way pdq. First time I got sprayed I was servicing the hutch underneath and he bounded round his hutch showing off to the doe and I got the lot  :roflanim:
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cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2013, 01:53:25 pm »
Culling.. a subject that  might upset some ...

 From our days as a small commercial meat producer  .... this method was advised by the old Ministry of Food  ( war years and up to about 1984) .

Get a two foot long 1 " dia steel bar or broom stick .
Lay rabbit on the floor , keep hold of it's back legs , lay the bar centrally across it's neck by it's ears .  Gently  put one foot on one end of the bar ,  quickly & fully  step on the other end at the same time transferring half your weight onto each end and pull up on the back legs .
The neck will be broken in a fraction of second without pain or un necessary injury to either you or the rabbit  .
 If you suffer balance probs , disabilities in hands , back or legs  etc get someone else to do it .
 
Don't try the rabbit punch with a karate chop behind the ears it rarely does the job and not only night you suffer damage to your hand it might take many blows to kill the struggling rabbit  .

 If you know how to pull a chickens neck you can try that method but with  with the rabbits belly uppermost over your knee  but be aware that pulling a chickens neck is easier than pulling a rabbit neck the rabbit is much longer than the average chook . Your also highly likely to get the " death throes"  scratching  on you wrist
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

Shropshirelass

  • Joined Jul 2012
  • South Shropshire
  • A country lass who loves it all!
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #7 on: October 04, 2013, 05:35:42 pm »
Culling wouldn't bother me either,especially if your breeding them to eat them - they sound pretty easy x

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2013, 03:29:50 pm »
@ th O/P one buck can service several does a day EVERYDAY  of the week.
 A doe can ( and in the wild does mate ) very successfully 10 to 36 hrs. after having  the kits ( POST PARTUM mating ) In the wild they then have about 8 litters a year
But this drags the doe's health down , after 3 yrs she is usually spent or has been eaten or died of disease..

 Domestic/ commercial  meat does are best mated at 18 to 22 weeks,  The buck is best mated from 17 weeks as this give him time to get his raging hormones set for a 3 year life of " luxury ". :roflanim:

The meat  doe is best culled after 8 or nine  litters over 18 to 20 months that way her offspring will be prime stock and usually at maximum numbers .. her litter size  drops rapidly of after this.
 
The  first litter of the doe is often just a couple of kits  , subsequent litters are better as the does hormonal make up has moved over to production.
 ( It's the same for most mammals , they move to a state of maximum fertility once the first  offspring arrives ) 
« Last Edit: December 03, 2013, 08:00:24 pm by cloddopper »
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2013, 07:58:17 am »
For anyone new to rabbits, don't be disappointed if your doe doesn't conceive at !8 weeks as readiness for breeding seems to be dependent on the breed. From what I've read about, it seems the smaller the breed the younger they start breeding.
A NZW doe is pretty hard to get in kit before 6 months and with my own I've found 7 months to be more usual, but some expert NZW breeders even insist not before 9 months when they have achieved their full adult weight.
Does anyone know how soon the giant breeds can reproduce?
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners
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cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #10 on: November 26, 2013, 09:56:10 pm »
See if the " Fur & Feather "  has a website and ask there as there is usually someone in the F&F club who has the sort of breed you're thinking of as their show stock .
 Failing that buy a copy of the F&F or start Googling the gestation period for the species .

 
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

JulieWall

  • Joined Aug 2013
  • Cornhill, Banff
    • The Roundhouse
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #11 on: November 27, 2013, 12:09:25 am »
I went over to Elgin when they had their show on but as they hadn't been able to get a judge for the day they had cancelled the rabbits :( I did get a contact number for a chap in Dufftown though but haven't had time to phone him and chat yet. He should be able to put me in touch with breeders up here though :)
Permaculture and smallholding, perfect partners
http://theroundhouseforum.co.uk/

cloddopper

  • Joined Jun 2013
  • South Wales .Carmarthenshire. SA18
Re: Rabbits for meat?
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2013, 08:07:12 pm »
There used to be a big Netherland  rabbit fancy following up in Scotland with several clubs on the internet . Perhaps try looking for an interest group for them or rabbit fancy


 Don't just put the word rabbits into the search engines  ..it used to give you all sorts of porn & weirdo sites . ( It kind of amused us ,but seriously hampered our early days research .

Be aware of some precocious teenager  thinking how they know everything about rabbits  after only having had a rabbit for three weeks .  :roflanim: :roflanim:
Strong belief , triggers the mind to find the way ... Dyslexia just makes it that bit more amusing & interesting

 

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