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  #1  
Old 01/12/05, 08:25 AM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Vermont
Posts: 640
This'll probably sound stupid...

But I've been reading about raising meat rabbits (since I am researching different types of livestock I want to have when we get our homestead in a few years).

I have one thing I can't seem to get past.

How do you get over the Cute Factor? I mean, chickens I can see slaughtering. Cattle I would take to a slaughterhouse. But, rabbits? Cute little bunnies that I've watched grow from tiny little things? How do you get over that? I am afraid I would begin and not be able to finish it and end up with a ton of pet rabbits!!!

Thx to all!

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  #2  
Old 01/12/05, 08:56 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: UT
Posts: 3,820

first, don't make pets out of them. don't give them names, don't handle them more than is necessary. start w/ just 1 or 2 that way if you really can't handle the job you won't be stuck w/ a pile of unproductive pets.
another alternative is cutting a deal w/ a neighbor, friend, or relative (preferably hunter, trapper or farmer) they do the killing, skinning, gutting for a fair share of the meat. that way by the time you handle them again they are unidentifiable carcasses.

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  #3  
Old 01/12/05, 12:03 PM
In Remembrance
 
Join Date: May 2002
Posts: 1,596

Start with a solid color rabbit...white.

Keep them, let them breed, keep those.. let those breed...

funny after the first 40 they aren't cute anymore...especially when you are feeding them, hauling manure, cleaning cages and spend money on them.

If you have children...keep all the rabbits the same breed and color for while. It makes it easier to butcher 'their pet' if it isn't producing or turns out to be an awful mother and needs to be culled. You just slide in a nicer rabbit in its place.

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  #4  
Old 01/12/05, 04:54 PM
rzrubek's Avatar
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Location: Chapel Hill, NC
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Quote:
Originally Posted by westbrook
Start with a solid color rabbit...white.

Keep them, let them breed, keep those.. let those breed...

funny after the first 40 they aren't cute anymore...especially when you are feeding them, hauling manure, cleaning cages and spend money on them.

If you have children...keep all the rabbits the same breed and color for while. It makes it easier to butcher 'their pet' if it isn't producing or turns out to be an awful mother and needs to be culled. You just slide in a nicer rabbit in its place.
Good one!! Also let them shred your arms a few times and you won't be so lovey dovey about them anymore.
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  #5  
Old 01/12/05, 08:46 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: NC
Posts: 319
Quote:
Originally Posted by rzrubek
Good one!! Also let them shred your arms a few times and you won't be so lovey dovey about them anymore.
:haha: Yep ! I got a new set of hanging digital scales for Christmas ,, :no: I got the bright idea and decided to weigh every rabbit on the place ,,

:waa: my poor arms !!

Next time some smart*** asks me "oh how can you eat such a sweet and cuddly bunnie,, you're soo mean" I'm goina make them help me weigh a bunch ,, bet they'll be cravin BBQ before we're done ,,

Tammy

whose arms just got recovered an I got weigh again
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  #6  
Old 01/12/05, 08:48 PM
JAS JAS is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: South Dakota
Posts: 643

Yes, they are the cutest little manure makers you could own . After cleaning and feeding and getting scatched up a few times, the deed isn't so horrible. It also helps if you know what you are doing at slaughter time so the deed is quick. What makes it easier for me is that I usually have a new cuter litter waiting to use the cage that the fryers are in.

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  #7  
Old 01/13/05, 12:26 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Northern MN
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Actually, I don't think it's all that stupid!! It helps that you are asking this question right now rather than after your 5th litter.... If rabbits are something you decide to do, you right to be thinking about processing right now, well before picking out your first rabbit.

When we moved to our farm, I brought with me 3 rabbits (most likely someone's culls) that I'd bought about 2 years before. They were probably too old to produce, but living in town, they were a perfect source of fertilizer for my little garden.

But anyway, on the farm, I built my individual runs based on a 3 doe, 1 buck breeding program. I basically told myself up front what these guys were here for, and bought my "real" breeding stock. So, with no room for stragglers, the three "pets" had to go. It was not even remotely easy, I was crying practically the whole time! :no: But, the job did get done, and the new buns are now living pretty comfortably in their little runs.

I "off" mine with a .22. The reason I do this myself rather than take a bunch to a processor is that on the farm, the buns are totally calm when they are killed. I have a little poultry transport cage filled with alfalfa hay that I put the rabbits into. They realize what they are sitting on, and it's bunny heaven! Try to picture "Of Mice And Men"...same concept! But anyway, once they start happily munching away, I fire a shot (point blank, with all that alfalfa, they don't even care about the barrel touching their head) straight down into the head, right between the ears. Death is instantaneous, although they will kick and twitch for about 20-30 seconds.

Yeah, it does make it easier when your hands and arms are shredded and welted from rabbit claws!! The fryers that I've killed and butchered were not nearly as hard as culling my "pets". But in all honesty, it's never been easy for me, but it's ok, since I decided that it probably never will be. However, having a freezer stocked with drug and hormone free meat makes the whole thing a bit more palatable.

Incidentally, I've found that, as unpleasant as it is, rabbits are easier for me to kill than chickens...I kill the birds by cutting their throats...very hands on..

April

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  #8  
Old 01/13/05, 10:05 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by apirlawz
I "off" mine with a .22. The reason I do this myself rather than take a bunch to a processor is that on the farm, the buns are totally calm when they are killed. I have a little poultry transport cage filled with alfalfa hay that I put the rabbits into. They realize what they are sitting on, and it's bunny heaven! Try to picture "Of Mice And Men"...same concept! But anyway, once they start happily munching away, I fire a shot (point blank, with all that alfalfa, they don't even care about the barrel touching their head) straight down into the head, right between the ears. Death is instantaneous, although they will kick and twitch for about 20-30 seconds.
April


Ok - I got a mini-rex for a pet this past Nov and plan to raise them myself when I buy some land in a couple+ years. So I would like to know if there is a way to put them to sleep without "offing" them or "breaking" their necks or sending to a processor? Is there some nice (organic) pill that sends them right to bunny heaven?
JackieA
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  #9  
Old 01/13/05, 10:37 AM
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: UT
Posts: 3,820

carbon monoxide or dioxide introduced slowly into an enclosed chamber will let them "fall asleep" & never wake up.
the best bet for CO2 is dry ice.

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  #10  
Old 01/13/05, 10:49 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pops2
carbon monoxide or dioxide introduced slowly into an enclosed chamber will let them "fall asleep" & never wake up.
the best bet for CO2 is dry ice.


Ok - so the carbon monoxide will not stay in their system and have no effect when eating them? And what do you mean dry ice? How does that work? Do NOT roll your eyes because I'm asking these questions - remember city girl here!
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  #11  
Old 01/13/05, 07:10 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by JackieA

Ok - so the carbon monoxide will not stay in their system and have no effect when eating them? And what do you mean dry ice? How does that work? Do NOT roll your eyes because I'm asking these questions - remember city girl here!

We process hundreds of rabbits a week and use Co2. Do not use carbon monixide as it will leave a residue in the bloods stram. Co2 is a humane method of euthanizing small animals . There is no residue left in the blood stream with co2.
You can contact a welding supply company and can get 50 lb caninsters od co2. You need the fittings to run a hose of this tank to a container. I use a large rubbermaid container. Fresh hay is put in the bottom, rabbits placed in the container and lid is put on. Gas is turned on and in a few minutes rabbits are dead.
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  #12  
Old 01/14/05, 07:53 AM
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Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Tulsa, OK
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tracy
We process hundreds of rabbits a week and use Co2. Do not use carbon monixide as it will leave a residue in the bloods stram. Co2 is a humane method of euthanizing small animals . There is no residue left in the blood stream with co2.
You can contact a welding supply company and can get 50 lb caninsters od co2. You need the fittings to run a hose of this tank to a container. I use a large rubbermaid container. Fresh hay is put in the bottom, rabbits placed in the container and lid is put on. Gas is turned on and in a few minutes rabbits are dead.


Thank you for the info! This will be so much easier than breaking the necks, (no "offing" has I don't use guns), and I hear that if one has someone else process/butcher that the IRS has to be informed. Hoping to have a man in my life someday so he can do the actual butchering ....
JackieA
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  #13  
Old 01/14/05, 08:23 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2002
Location: Southern Maine
Posts: 135

Tracy, how much does a tank of CO2 run you ? That sounds so much easier and less stressful (on me at least) than shooting or breaking necks,..... AND, they're fine to eat after using CO2 ? I'm psyched if that's true.

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  #14  
Old 01/15/05, 08:23 AM
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: AR
Posts: 32

I thought I was going to have a problem with the butchering when I got into raising my own rabbits for food. Rabbits were my favorite pets as a kid. I have to admit, it is not an easy chore, but a couple of things make it easier. My breeders are my pets. The young are always thought of as food, not pets. I prefer knowing that my food was raised without hormones, antibiotics, etc., and in a loving stress free environment. Someone, I think on this board, once suggested avoiding the word bunny - helps with avoiding the image of the cute fuzzy pet. I agree with some of the other posters that by the time they are the right age, you will be pretty tired of scratches and hauling poop. They also tend to lose the "cute factor" as they get to butchering age. Plus, you get to see and enjoy new babies again shortly after they are in the freezer. I use a blow to the head as the method of dispatch. Tried cervical dislocation and it was awful, although I haven't tried the method suggested above with the stick. Here is a link to an article the American Veterinary Medical Society with reviews the pros and cons of all methods of "euthanasia". I found it very helpful.
http://www.avma.org/resources/euthanasia.pdf

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  #15  
Old 01/15/05, 02:14 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by sdrew
Tracy, how much does a tank of CO2 run you ? That sounds so much easier and less stressful (on me at least) than shooting or breaking necks,..... AND, they're fine to eat after using CO2 ? I'm psyched if that's true.
I buy Huge tanks of Co2 as I also use this to make dry ice for shipping. My tanks run $106.00 each plus a $90.00 monthly fee. I use 1-2 tanks a week. Keep in mind that the majority of this is used for making the dry ice and not euthanizing.

A 50 lb tank through a welding supply place should cost about $40.00 and would last quite a while. The fittings [pressure regulator, etc] will be around $100.00 but that is a one time cost.

If you use Co2 after the rabbit is dead you will still need to remove head and hand to bleed out for human consumption but the co2 does not affect meat. Some large chicken butchering plants are now using this. We process for pet fodd and do not bleed out the rabbit as the blood is benifiacial for animals.
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  #16  
Old 01/15/05, 11:39 PM
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Join Date: May 2002
Location: Lynnwood, Washington
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Can you get a very thorough bleed out, suitable for preparing meat for human consumption, doing it after the rabbit is well dead? Like if you use CO2?

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  #17  
Old 01/16/05, 11:26 AM
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 834
Quote:
Originally Posted by Laura Jensen
Can you get a very thorough bleed out, suitable for preparing meat for human consumption, doing it after the rabbit is well dead? Like if you use CO2?
Yes, as long as you remove the rabbit immediatley from the tank as soon as it is dead. It only takes a few minutes to euthanize.
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  #18  
Old 03/10/05, 04:49 PM
 
Join Date: May 2002
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Bumping this thread.

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  #19  
Old 05/28/06, 04:33 PM
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Alaska
Posts: 186

actually bumping.... I've been searching for co2 info and thought it may be good to bring back up here.
Tracy-- you said it only takes a few minutes.. how many is that.. 5? 15? I'd hate to take them out and find out later they weren't all the way dead!

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  #20  
Old 05/28/06, 06:24 PM
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Location: Alabama
Posts: 617
lick on the head

I think a quick lick on the head then quickly cut of the head would be just as fast or faster then co2. No don't enjoy doing it ,but don't want to give major bucks for a tank and worring about a place to store it or it maybe blowing up.

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  #21  
Old 05/28/06, 06:37 PM
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Location: A short way past Oddville
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Sorry but it sounds way too creepy to me. I picture slaughter day starting by putting on a swastika arm band before starting the selection for the chamber...awww. Maybe it works for ya'll but it give me the willies.

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  #22  
Old 05/29/06, 12:19 AM
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 97

Sorry, but the whole cuteness factor has never held much weight with me. Well take that back there ain't much cuter than a brand new white faced calf or a long eared hound pup. The one over riding factor that was drilled into my head as a child is that everything (including me and my brothers) had to do on this earth was to earn their keep. Cows, chickens, rabbits the occasional hog and an acre garden were a constant staple of my childhood. There was only one purpose these animals were even allowed on the place, to feed the family. Either through slaughter or sell. The only animals that were not slated for the table were the hounds and cats. The hounds earned their keep by putting game in front of the gun and the cats kept the varmints from eating us out of house and home. If any animal failed in any way to meet what was required of them they were not long for this world.
Sorry if that sounds cold hearted but this is a homesteading board for the self sufficient and the economy of self sufficiency usually does not allow for wasted effort and energy. Do not allow at any time the thought of cuteness to stop you from filling your belly. If you decide to raise rabbits for food keep the thought of food first and foremost in your mind. If you can't do that then there's always wal-mart where someone else has already done the dirty work. LOL

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  #23  
Old 05/30/06, 02:13 PM
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: Prince Edward County, Ontario, Canada
Posts: 11,231

When I first read this thread, I thought CO2 was a great idea... but as I've been mulling it over I am wondering... Is death by CO2 anything like suffocating or drowning? Death may take "only few minutes", but for how much of that time is the rabbit conscious? Do they struggle to breathe, panic-stricken? Or do they just quickly go unconscious and then die?

Please understand I am not criticizing its use... just looking for for information so that I can determine my own comfort level with this method.

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  #24  
Old 05/30/06, 03:03 PM
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: Brazoria, Texas
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Just take a sharp blade to the base of the neck from the back. Just do it real fast and think about rabbit pot pie. huummm huummm

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