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#1 of 70 Old 06-10-2008, 07:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We finally, finally have our start w/meat rabbits (Californians)....So very excited, and are about to have butcher day. Woooohooo! Any other rabbit-raisin' mamas 'round these parts??

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#2 of 70 Old 06-10-2008, 10:57 PM
 
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I'm just here :

I plan some Californians or Rex rabbits soon, but have too many family issues calling me off the ranch for now. So, probably this fall?

Congrats on your bunnies...I've always enjoyed them as pets, but only ever had one and she was a litter trained house rabbit. I look forward to the other end of the spectrum. Let us know how butchering and prepping goes!
In the meantime, :

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#3 of 70 Old 06-11-2008, 06:49 AM
 
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I've raised rabbits for meat in the past. I'm not doing so now, but I do highly recommend it! And wish that I could now.
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#4 of 70 Old 06-11-2008, 05:49 PM - Thread Starter
 
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We're finding that meat rabbits are definitely easier to manage on a small scale than our chickens. We are planning to mostly use our birds for eggs (chickens and guineas), and for bug control. The rabbits are easier to butcher and dress than chickens are. Plus we seem to get a better meat to bone ratio from the rabbits (we had to butcher out our first rabbits, as the does did not have good mothering instincts).

Also, true meat rabbits are definitely not pets. They have a different temperament altogether.

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#5 of 70 Old 06-11-2008, 07:21 PM
 
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Can I ask how you kill them? I keep thinking about raising birds or rabbits for meat, but I'm still working on the killing part.

I am glad to hear they have different personalities. Our pet rabbit was such a sweetie.

~Julia
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#6 of 70 Old 06-11-2008, 08:08 PM
 
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I just got a couple NZ does, and hope to get a Californian buck ASAP. There are some great videos on dispatching and dressing bunnies here http://www.buildanark.net/videos.html
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#7 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 08:52 AM
 
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This is exactly why I got on here today was to post a Q about this! What breeds do you ladies have? I read californias and New zealands are best for meat any other breeds you would recommend? Also because we have little fingers that may wander are there any prefered for their temperment and meat?

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#8 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 09:13 AM
 
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I'm subbing as I'm interested in keeping rabbits for meat. I'm interested in the post above saying they're easier to raise and butcher than chickens. We tried chickens and man what a PITA it was to slaughter/pluck them. I have no interest in raising more meat chickens. FTR I've had rabbit a couple times, long ago I dated a guy who hunted and he brought home wild rabbit now and then. I thought it was pretty tasty.
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#9 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 11:13 AM
 
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I think I read somewhere that meat from rabbits isn't good for you. Anyone know anything about that?
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#10 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 11:14 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I personally do not butcher them--dh does. He shoots them in the head w/a .22 rifle and then slits the throat to bleed them out. He just doesn't wanna break necks to dispatch them. He then pretty much peels the skin right off, like taking off a sweater.

For chickens, he does not pluck them. He skins them just like rabbits, but rabbits are still easier, he says.

We started w/Satins, but they just weren't a good bunch. We loved that we got free feeders/wire hutches for them, so we started looking for New Zealand or Californians. Florida Whites are also good meat rabbits, but a bit smaller than the NZ or Cali.

We bought rolls of cage wire, and made more hutches, plus we just scored some really cool wood and wire hutches from Freecycle. We scored free a/c ductboard from Craigslist and we have the does inside our carport shed 10'x20'. We insulated and put in a/c since they don't do well w/heat and humidity, so now they are happy, happy! We do live in TX, so it's HOT. We have our 3 bucks outside under the covered part of the carport, and are about to enclose that area, but probably not w/a/c. We'll set up a mister and fans out there. We'll mostly keep the ones we are growing for meat out there. Our best does and bucks need to be cool. My teen is home from college for the summer and is getting together w/our goat milk lady to make a windmill to power our rabbitry soon! I'm so excited!

As far as preferring one breed of meat rabbit over another because of kids, when I say they have a different temperament, I mean that they just aren't so cuddly and cutsie. They don't bite, but we do have one doe who will attack w/her front feet and nose when you open her door and reach in, but mostly does it right before she is about to kindle, so I really don't blame her! If they are handled on a regular basis, they should be fine. Any that are really truly mean are supper.

FYI...Domestic rabbit does not taste like wild rabbit. They are ALL white meat, and are tender and yummy, and taste like chicken breast. The meat also is higher in protein and lower in fat and calories than chicken breast!

oh, and a great place for getting all your bunny supplies is bunnyrabbit.com We got our gravity feed watering system supplies and door edges/latches, etc. from there.

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#11 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 11:16 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hollyvangogh View Post
I think I read somewhere that meat from rabbits isn't good for you. Anyone know anything about that?
I haven't heard anything like that. Maybe you are referring to wild rabbit that is hunted in the wrong season and is wormy?

Also, rabbit meat is not kosher, but we don't eat kosher anyway.

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#12 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 01:28 PM
 
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We are, but we aren't raising "meat breeds." We just have some mutt does we picked and a Dutch buck. If we decide we like to do this, we'll probably go for a meat breed, but for now, this works. Anyway, we just had our first kits born about 10 days ago, so obviously, we're still very new at this. I'm actually looking forward to butcher day (in a purely educational sort of way) because I'm eager to see how different it is from chickens.

I love to hear about the different ways people keep them. We have ours in hutches that sit on the ground and get moved twice a day. The bottom wire mesh is big enough to let the grass in but small enough to prevent them digging out. So far, it's working wonderfully.

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#13 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 02:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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U-Turn, your kits can get diarrhea and die from green stuff, so by the time they start springing out of the nesting box (mine do at 2 wks), you may want to rethink that arrangement. Would hate to see you lose some!

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#14 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 04:09 PM
 
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Anyone know any sites that would be the rabbit equivilant to backyardchicken.com?

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#15 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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There is a meat rabbit yahoo group. Also, my rabbit mentor says that the yahoo group "showbunnies" is just chock full of info!

The Storey Guide to Raising Rabbits is a great book!

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#16 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 05:07 PM
 
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Do any of you buy your rabbits online?

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#17 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 05:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I didn't buy mine online, but found a nearby source online. Look up meat rabbit breeders in your area (google), and surely you'll find something. Also, a great place to look/ask is feed stores.

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#18 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 05:56 PM
 
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We were planning to get into meat rabbits a while back (didn't because the Bible says not to eat rabbit-and it was not a traditional food which we try to stick to). I highly recomend you check out the rabbit section over at homesteadingtoday.com. There are some wonderful ladies who have lots of information. We planned to keep them in raised beds with a cage on top as a colony, moving them once or twice a year around our raised beds. We also planned to grow all of our food for them (there's a sticky on this over at homesteadingtoday), which is relatively easy to do considering they eat mostly greens!
I have skinned and cleaned so many rabbits I couldn't even count! It's super easy. And, they're easy to dispatch as well.
I hope you have lots of luck with yours!
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#19 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 07:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Kristie, just out of curiosity, where in the Bible does it say to not eat rabbit? I'm Pagan, but I grew up on domestic rabbit, and my parents were pretty hardcore Christians....Does it say why not to eat rabbit? I guess this goes along w/the rabbit not being kosher thang.... TIA!

Thanks for the tip about the homesteading site, too! Going to check it out asap!

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#20 of 70 Old 06-12-2008, 08:19 PM
 
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Its in the same passages that say don't eat pig, I think

Okay, I just picked up two mutts from ou local shelter -why? they were cheap. If we screw these up at least we aren't out a lot of money.

Dilema - HELP! I stopped at the feed store on the way home and now I'm worried, she said if they have been in air conditioning not to put them out side till fall, said they'll die of shock if I put them out... only problem is, my mother is on her way over and I don't want to hear a lecture about how stupid we were to get them. My garage (where I was planning to put them with a frozen 2 liter) is as warm if not warmer than outside, do I stick them in there for the next 6 or so hours till she leaves or what???

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#21 of 70 Old 06-13-2008, 02:02 PM
 
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 .

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#22 of 70 Old 06-13-2008, 06:17 PM
 
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what is kinda funny is that rabbits do not chew cud at all. They only have one stomach with an enlarged cecum. They eat "night" poop directly from the anus instead of chewing cud. It does sound rather "unclean" though!
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#23 of 70 Old 06-13-2008, 07:46 PM
 
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Of course, most rules, not just those in the bible, but etiquette (sp) that developed in europe after the middle ages, etc were created to divide people into an upper and lower class. Only the poor: have to resort to hunting small game, Honestly - who does cursing really hurt??, don't have silver "silverware", disposable diapers, formula, modern times it breaks down into merchandise, but that is just my take on it from the anthropological view.

I had a friend crazy about WAP, but after finding out both my DDs have reactions to a lot of milk products (which to my understanding is a large base of the diet they recommend) I didn't bother. But I didn't look that deep into it, correct me if I am wrong.

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#24 of 70 Old 06-13-2008, 11:36 PM
 
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#25 of 70 Old 06-14-2008, 08:08 AM
 
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We tried raw goat and cow milk. The only milk she keeps down in processed even that is starting to give her a rash now. Least I think that is where the rash is coming from


We can turn that around How big of litters do you guys get from your rabbits?

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#26 of 70 Old 06-16-2008, 02:42 PM
 
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WAP recommends bone broth as a replacement if you don't eat/drink dairy, and suggests fermented or cultured dairy to try if you're sensitive (yogurt, kefir, all that stuff). As I understand it, the main health concern with small animals is low fat and high protien, so if you eat them you have to add extra saturated fat to your diet, and get cholesterol somewhere too. Am I right? We were thinking about meat rabbits ourselves.
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#27 of 70 Old 06-16-2008, 04:45 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Oceanseve, did you figure out what to do w/your buns? I didn't see your post til too late...

I don't feel like the thread has been hijacked, lol. Nutrition is all part of why we are raising rabbits, just different nutritional reasons than those listed in the Bible.

We spent the weekend getting our poor bucks into the a/c. Now we just have to get a bigger a/c and dh has to run more ampage to the rabbitry!

When I get time, I'd like to post pics of our rabbits/rabbitry....

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#28 of 70 Old 06-26-2008, 04:50 PM
 
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i found a local breeder of new zelands and i think i'm going to set up a little rabbitry in either the basement or the garage. i think i want one or two mamas, and i'll eat the babies. does this mean i should get one male, two females, or one male and one female, then keep one female baby? is it bad to breed a father and daughter? aside from it being weird sounding, i mean? where, in the city, would i slaughter? i'm pretty sure my neighbours wouldn't want me doing it in the back yard, plus the blood would attract cats, but the bathtub is kinda small... is there a book that addresses the raising of meat rabbits in the city? i have a rodale book on raising small livestock. it has a lot of info, but misses some important subjects.
oooh, i just noticed a new smilie! :

any advice/ recommendations?
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#29 of 70 Old 06-26-2008, 11:52 PM
 
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josy - I read storey's guide to rabbits, DH plans to slaughter in the garage.

chicky - they were in the garage, then eventually outside with no ill effects, but about a week after we got them I look outside to see the F with a bunch of fur in her mouth! AH! so we brought her back inside she's in the back bathroom with her now week old litter of 5, we got our money's worth already out of that one I suppose. Only problem is, even though she stinks I beginning to like her! THIS IS THE REASON I DIDN'T WANT THEM IN THE HOUSE!!! AHHHH!! DH hasn't even started the hutch yet, so I will probably get attached to all of them, in which case we will keep all the Fs and hopefully I can just get over it and we will butcher the Ms grrrrr.....

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#30 of 70 Old 07-01-2008, 12:47 PM
 
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i just got off the phone with the most wonderful woman. she has rabbits and cages that she's going to sell to me for almost nothing, plus she gave me an hour-long talk on raising them, breeding them, feeding them, butchering them... i'm going to go visit her farm soon, i hope. :
i'll have roast rabbit in a few months! :
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