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I was wondering when you butcher, what do you do with the hides?

My husband wants to learn to tan them, and has been reading his books on the subject.

We will start breeding our rabbits at the end of the month, they will be about 5 1/2 months old then. Hopefully, it will be a bit cooler for them next month than it has this month.

Kitty
 

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from what I understand the fryer rabbits hide will be too thin to tan, but the roasters and cull breeders hides will come out better.
They use fryer hides for craft items.
 

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I tan my hides, fryers included using alum and a tanning compound I buy at a trapper store, also avaliable online. I don't know what I'm doing with them yet but they do make nice dollies. The fryers are thin so care needs to be taken with them, they tear easy but come out softer that my culls.It takes about 5 days from start to finish and I do 6 at a time. the rest wait in the freezer until I get to them.
 

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I did my first batch of pelts this winter and it was a LOT easier than I expected. My tanned pelts didn't come out as soft as I'd wanted, but I think I let them dry too much before I started "working" them.

We used a basic salt-borax-alum solution, soaking the hides for 3 days, scraping off the inner layer of muscle, soaking for another 4 or 5 days and then folding the hides in half (flesh sides together) to let the fur dry for about 24 hours without the skin hardening. Then once the fur was dry, we rubbed some neat's foot oil into the flesh side and massaged it and stretched it back and forth until the skin was dry and warm to the touch. That part was the most labor-intensive...

I didn't know you were supposed to wash the wet hides when they came out of the tanning solution, so I'm definitely going to do that with the next batch (Murphy's Oil Soap or Dove or another mild soap apparently works??). They smell like tanning solution. Yuck. But they look and feel like tanned leather otherwise.

I just did a batch of Creme d'Argents yesterday and I can't wait to tan those pelts. Even though they're technically all one color, the individual skins range from light creamy white to orange. Looked so pretty.

We are storing the pelts, fresh and unsalted, in the deep freeze, BTW. I still have a couple of dry stretched pelts in the basement (they're like 3 years old) but I haven't tried those yet. LOL, they've kept this long, so what's a few more months??
 

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Discussion Starter #7
Thanks, everyone. Our rabbits are young, not old enough yet to breed till the end of the month at the earliest, so I am gathering info.

Kitty
 
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