Monday, September 17, 2012

Rabbits For Meat



I rarely do posts on eating rabbit! Why because inevitably I always get someone angry making comments about me eating Thumper. They make us sound like flesh eating cannibals or serial killers and truthfully if you are going to do that now. Don't bother because I just delete them anyway. I just don't need the grief : )

Now for the rest of us that are living in the real world here......let's talk about one of the greatest and easiest sources of lean white meat to raise on the homestead after the chicken. Any more we keep 3 does and a buck. None registered but rather just everyday run of the mill bunnies. My husband does prefer the larger meat breeds when we can find them because they produce more meat per rabbit without feeding for so long. We do buy grain for our rabbits. Organic when we can get it. We supplement their diet with weeds pulled from the garden, hay, clippings from trees and shrubs and cull veggies. In exchange they produce 1 litter a year for each female that we butcher for the freezer. With three females that averages about 18 young rabbits for the year. We could breed them more often but there really is no need. And they also produce some of the greatest natural fertilizer for the garden. It does not have to be composted and can be worked into the soil directly from under the pens without burning the plants. It also makes a great manure tea. 

 



Last week for us was rabbit butchering time. Aren't these boneless rabbit loin fillets pretty?
I use them to make oven baked rabbit strips. Breaded with homemade bread crumbs and herbs and spices then baked on a sheet with olive oil. They make a beautiful white tender meat strip similar to chicken strips. 



They can be used the exact same way as chicken strips. Grilled, baked or even shredded for tacos or enchiladas. Another lean white meat produced naturally on our farm. With minimal housing, no fencing and minimal hay and grain. Easy to butcher at home and process. A friend who has traveled  extensively said that in Europe in the country it is very common to see rabbit hutches in back yards and people picking greens every morning for their rabbits. I guess it is also more common to see it served in restaurants too. 




We have started our butchering for the Fall and still have some turkeys and pigs to go. Not to mention some venison too. What a busy time this is.

Anyone else out there raise rabbits for meat?  

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter

17 comments:

  1. Yep, we started that about a year ago, too. Tough to get the kids on board at first ~ hard to think of fuzzy rabbits as LIVESTOCK and not pets!!

    Awesome inexpensive, steady source of meat! But yeah, it doesn't seem to go over terribly well with the general public, does it?? Even in our area, which residents rather proudly consider to be relatively redneck-ish! ;)

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  2. When I was growing up, my dad had rabbits that we would butcher and eat and never thought twice about. Good stuff! I would love to have some of our own...I may have to talk to my husband about that!!

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  3. We raised rabbits for food years ago. Also raise goats for meat. Amazing that so many other countries these meats are very popular, yet here you cannot find it in major grocery stores.

    I hope the Thumper lovers realize that your manure tea if for the garden.

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    1. LOL I never thought of that. Wouldn't be the first time they thought me crazy. I live right in the middle of big business agriculture country. As them big fertilizer trucks roll by churning dust on my gravel road I just throw another shovel of poop on the garden, smile and wave. God bless em ....: )

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  4. I have 4 rabbits left and when they're gone, they're gone. I don't do them for meat, just as something to take care of. Growing up I was force-fed rabbits and didn't like it. I have no problem with others eating any animal they choose. I also raise Polish Tophat chickens for the novelty and eggs. They are pretty good layers but not too much on the broody side. Which is okay, I can't have roosters in the city anyway. Enjoy reading your stories. One day I will get back to the country and catch up.

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  5. Great post. We've begun raising rabbits for meat this year. They're hands down better than chicken. Not quite as productive, but hands down better! We're raising a large breed (your husband would like these,)a heritage breed called Bevarin. We're on a learning curve at this stage, but we are enjoying the fruit of 2 does and a buck. They seem to be quite happy too!

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  6. So far no negative comments..That's good! Raising rabbits is our newest venture. To be honest I am not into it-don't dissapprove just not involved. We have "been there,done that" re so many different things. It's My husband's new project. We have set perameters-we won't grow past available space..not to encroach on our open yard space....We started with 8 females and one male then doubled that number shortly. My husband's set-up is a really clean operation. First they are not for pets. They are for market. The rabbits are not dirty, not smelly, not noisy, and gentle [almost always]. He has built individual screens that catch the droppings, fall into a trough at the bottom and empty cleanly into the empty feed bags for RESALE or fertilizer for gardening. When we begin to smell a little my husband sprinkles lime on the ground under the hanging cages.Our animals are never crowded. FYI in addition to meat market there is a place for these animals in medical research. We don't eat them the only reason being-I never ate them as a child. I do not object to it. They were created for our use. :^)

    Jonell

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  7. We started our rabbitry in March this year.we have a California Buck and an off breed small buck. A Florida White Doe and 3 off breed does. Our Florida moma has birthed 2 sets but didn't make , think it was more on our set up n heat but she just delivered a new set of 5 on the 9 th. Praying they do better. Future sonnlaw shot us a rabbit for everyone to try for supper Last weekend.oh my was it good everyone loved it. So we hope we make progress in our rabbitry. I am thrilled you posted this. I look to your blog often to learn about the rabbits. Do yall ever make sausage? I like the underpen setup you have we thought about closing ours n putting a rooster n hen under just not sure how that would work , any tips. Hope yall have a blessed day, the smiths.

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  8. People will get there on their own terms for some of them it might have to be a doomsday scenario. I myself have come a long way. I grew up in the city in Germany and until a few years ago would never have even thought about butchering a chicken (which I did many last year) or raising rabbits for meat. That will be an eventual for us until than I sure like learning as much as I can about it. Thank you so much for your posts and blog. So if you get a bad comment just shrug it off and tell yourself they just don't know better and thankfully live in a time and place where the supermarket can provide for them (at least for now). I thank God for the farmer who has been raising my beef, pork and chickens and for knowing they only had one bad day in their lifes and the rest was living the way God wanted them too.

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  9. My Mom grew up in rural Ireland and her family ate rabbit about twice a week. Without it they would have been seriously protein deficient as other forms of meat were rationed for quite a while following WWII, and later cost prohibitive. The rest of the time they ate wild salmon, cod and lobster and vegetables they grew themselves. This was the diet of the poor! Needless to say, my Mom and her nine siblings are all extremely healthy, and not one has had to deal with heart disease or cancer.

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  10. I love your blog. I used to raise rabbits but got out of it because i had some bad breeders, three does that would not breed. reading your blog has made me rethink rabbits. how do you get those loin strips? they look really good.

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    1. The cut you are looking at is the front top part of the rib, down the center just like a back strap.

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  11. I was hoping you'd link this one up, :)

    Thanks CQ for linking this up at the Carnival of Home Preserving!

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  12. Just found your blog and loving every bit of it! We raise chicken, and have 15 does and 2 bucks for meat but am still pretty new at it. I am using a Californian/New Zealand mix but am culling for the largest in breeding stock. We love rabbit meat now! Those rabbit strips look great, I'm definitely going to try that. Thanks!

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  13. I've never eaten rabbit but am going to give it a try! Everyone says it's really good. We hope this fall to build hutches and maybe get our breeders in them. We aren't living on the property yet, but will be out there more and more as time goes on (it's about 12 miles from home). We just need to make sure to build protection around the hutches so they are safe. Thanks for this interesting article!

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