Kill techniques

Discussion in 'Rabbits' started by texastami, Dec 13, 2005.

  1. texastami

    texastami Zone 7B Supporter

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    We are planning on butchering one of our NZ rabbits for rabbit stew and this will be our first (we won't butcher again for at least 3 months) - I have never done this and would like to know the most humane way to do it!!

    My best friends grandmother traumatized me when she killed 30 Giants 27 years ago by smacking them with a bat...... the screaming still haunts me... UGH!

    How do you butcher your meat rabbits?? (I have several books and have read several different techniques, I just want to hear from REAL LIVE PEOPLE I TRUST!!)

    TIA!
     
  2. dlwelch

    dlwelch Well-Known Member

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    http://www.rawdogranch.com/rabbit_butchering.htm

    Very good illustration on butchering. I hang and remove the head
    immediately for good bleed out.

    If you are also asking about "killing" the rabbit for butchering,
    I use a .22 rifle. The rabbit is placed in a wire cage
    (with no bottom) on sandy ground and dispatched. There is
    no bruising and no stress on the rabbit or me. Many people "bop"
    with no problem. I'm just not one of them! :nono:
     

  3. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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  4. nehimama

    nehimama An Ozark Engineer Supporter

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    Lots of info on a couple of other threads dealing with this same subject. Try the search option on this forum, and look for:

    Humane, affordable and ethical culling methods?

    and

    What to do at killing time?

    NeHi Mama
     
  5. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Lord Tami ,, 30 with a bat !!!! AAKKK !!! ,,

    but 27 years ago ,, in grandma's defense ,, no way would you waste money by useing amo to shoot caged rabbits ,, and doing the deed on a giant ,, if grandma was doing it by herself ,, would have been hard if a man was doing it ,,,

    I've read stories ,, where people say ,, when they were a 'kid' they watched an 'uncle' grab fryers out of a cage ,, just twist - wrench their neck and throw on a table ,, and the rabbits would still be alive twitchin / 'moving' ,, parilized but not dead yet ,, talk about tramatizing :viking:

    I guess being raised 'country' ,, helping dad clean fish / birds imunized me to taking care of butchering chores ,, :clap: ,, now HUB really - really hates butchering ,, he does it but dosen't like doing it one dang bit :grump:
     
  6. sdrew

    sdrew Well-Known Member

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    I've used a pellet gun on all my fryers, never a screamer. Using a .22 at such close range concerns me; just nervous about a possible ricochet from a hidden rock or something. The pellet gun works great, and ammo is dirt cheap. I've used a pellet gun on an adult as well, with the same results.
     
  7. Lauriebelle

    Lauriebelle Well-Known Member

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  8. germanbini

    germanbini germanbini

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  9. warrior

    warrior Well-Known Member

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    Used two methods myself though the pellet gun method sounds good as well. To start let me describe our set up. A good solid post was set in the ground with the top about at eye level then nail a cross piece at the top. This cross piece has 16d nails driven through it with the points and shanks exposed and bent slightly upward they are spaced 8" apart. These nails are used to skewer the hind feet (after they are dispatched of course) to facilitate bleed out and skinning. You could use two posts and the number of nails depends on the number you will process at a time. We could do twenty or more at a time as there were four of us (dad and my two brothers) and could almost do the deed in an assembly line like fashion.
    To start the bunny was placed on the left forearm with the rear tucked into the crook of the arm and the hand holding the front feet. Hold it in close and tight to the body and it might be advisable to have long sleeves of a durable material as those hind feet can scratch if it should kick. The right hand pets and calms the bunny. At the right moment a firm grasp is taken just to the rear of the skull and in one quick movement the neck is broken with a down and foward pull while turning the right hand upwards, the heel of the hand will be pointing up with the back of the hand at right angles to the left forearm. No twist should be needed if done right though give a twist if you don't feel/hear the spine snap. This should be a very firm and quick movement with no hesitation. Immediately hang and remove the head for bleeding move to the next bunny as it bleeds. A variation on this is our version of the "bop" method start in the same holding position but this time strike the bunny with a heavy object just foward of the ear base. A small ball pein hammer should suffice though we used a knife handle (an old homemade job that consisted of a blade inserted into a piece of flattened steel tubing and linotype or some other heavy hard alloy poured into the tubing to hold the blade). Again this should be a firm stroke that cracks the cranial bones. Not to sound gory but done right these two methods combined with efficient skinning practices are very quick. When we raised rabbits we could kill, skin and clean faster than then we could chickens. So fast that we could actually remove the heart before it got the message that it was dead. BTW very few squeals with these methods though the bop produced more due to bad hits.
    The reason that the pellet gun sounds good is that one could use one of these new repeater pistols and just reach into a cage and pop, pop , pop as long as you could place the barrel directly on the head. I'll have to try it.
     
  10. warrior

    warrior Well-Known Member

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    Once the bunny has been hung on the nails (one hind foot per nail) with the belly facing you and the head removed. Make two cuts (horizontal cuts ringing the ankles) cutting through the skin at the base of each hind foot. Now connect these two cuts by cutting down the inside of the leg towards the anus. Now some thoughts on what to do with the anus. Many authorities will tell you to tie off the anus or otherwise block the contents from leaking out. I find that this is more trouble than it is worth. Just cut it loose from the skin. If you have withheld feed for 24 hours it should be empty and if you are careful and effecient there will be no leakage. Even if there were immediate cleaning is available to you. Now that the cuts have been connected your nearly done. Slide the skin over the back of the hips severing the scut at it's base (the bone under the skin). The skin will now pull loose just like pulling off a t-shirt. It will stop at the only spot still attached, the front feet. Cut through the joint and it is skinned. You could snip the front feet at the same time you remove the head if you so desired. BTW snip is correct as I have found game shears to be marvelous for dismembering rabbits, squirrels, chickens even coon. Gerber makes a good pair that I recommend. Now all that is leftis removal of the entrails. Make one slice down the length of the body (you will see a line in the muscles that is the center line, follow it). This will open the gut and expose the ribs, A cut from the inside will split the ribs or as I prefer cut them with shears. Open the rib cage and expose the innards. Remove starting at the top (rear of the bunny) and gently pull downwards towards the throat. The connective tissue should release easily. The pelvic ring will more than likely need to be split to remove the anus and bladder. Make a cut at the seam where the bones join and with a little pressure you can snap it open. Cut away any male parts here if it is a male. You may need to remove parts of the diaphraghm and make sure the wind pipe comes out with the heart/lungs. Seperate the liver and heart if you desire. Remove the gall bladder (little blue/green thing) from the liver by slicing the liver away from the bladder, never puncture the gall bladder. Not a bad idea to check the liver even if you have no intention of eating it. Many diseases can show up in discoloration of the liver. Be careful not to puncture the paunch or bladder. If you have immediately flush with clean water. Remove the hind feet and it is now ready to be cut into serving size pieces.
    For stew meat (older tough rabbits) you can leave it whole since it will be boiled until the meat can be pulled from the bone. Fryers will yeild five pieces (six if you split the back). The back legs should be removed by making a diagonal cut to the backbone then snapping the back bone loose. The place to make the cut is just foward of the hip joint. You can feel this joint when you run your finger along the muscle. Once the back legs are seperate from the body you can then cut them apart by cutting alongside the spine. The front legs are even easier, they float and are not attached with substantial bone. Slide the blade of your knife under the front leg parallel with the body and remove each leg. You now have the five pieces or cut the saddle (back) in two at the rear of the rib cage (crosswise). Enjoy.
     
  11. mountainman_bc

    mountainman_bc Well-Known Member

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    Would a .177 BB gun do it? I was planning to do the chickens this way (from the porch LOL) but I figured it wouldn't actually kill it so we'd have a wounded bird running away, no good.
    So you need to press it against the head? My bunnies would likely get out of the position quick.
    Would pellets be better than brass BB's?
    Thanks.
     
  12. warrior

    warrior Well-Known Member

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    Depends on the power factor of the air rifle (plus your ability to hit the right spot). As long as it has enough momentum to penetrate to the brain and incapacitate the animal it would do. I got a couple air rifles here one I use to pick off squirrels in the yard (scoped crosman 177 classic that only gets pointed pellets fired through it) and a weaker crosman that I don't trust for killing. Though it is a great tool for "stinging" if you know what I mean.
    Shooting off the porch reminds me of my great grandaddy, Papa Gibbs. He kept an old winchester loaded up with shorts next to his chair on the porch. When Sunday visitors would come calling he would pick up that rifle and cleanly dispatch a hen out in the yard with one shot to the head. He would then turn to one of the younguns that were always around and tell them to go clean it and deliver it the kitchen for dinner. I kind felt for those hens. Always in fear of when visitors would show up LOL.
     
  13. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    I have a piece of chinaball limb(hard, hard wood), hold the rabbit, with my arm under the belly for support. Take the other hand with the stick and a single knock(away from me) will do it for most. Last week I had a young doe that just refused to go. I ended up having to slit her jugular. I simply don't have the time to mess with taking out guns and such.

    I have found if you hit them in one certain spot, the eyes will pop out-very disturbing...
     
  14. ONThorsegirl

    ONThorsegirl Fergusons Family Farm

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    I have always wondered about using a rifle to kill, it seems to be the easiest way for my to think of. I didn't think many people would do it, but now that I hear you can I'm getting more interested in the whole meat rabbit thing. I have some rabbits but I was worried about the whole killing part. My Grandma also said she would clean them, it is no different then from bringing her a wild rabbit that was shot. Right!

    I will have to do some more reasearch on this!

    Melissa
     
  15. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    I forget who told me they built this ,, but to make shooting a rabbit safer ,,

    take some 2 x 12's cut 4 - 20 in +/- long make square ,, find permanent spot to sit box ,, clear away any rocks or anything else ,, that might cause a ricqochet ,, (sp?) bullet or pellet to bounce .....

    if you had extra 4 x 4's lying around you could cut enough of them (12 pieces) to make a bin with 4 inch walls to be even thicker ,,

    fill this box with sand ,, water down ,, pack well ,, put 3 ft high posts at each corner and put wire around this ,, making a small pen ,,

    you could even add a layer of soil on the top inches and plant grass ,,

    butchering time throw some hay or treat in the pen ,, set in rabbit ,, wait till its calmly nibbling ,, aim pellet gun or rifle ,, right at back of neck at the base of skull ,, you could get as close as 4 - 6 inches away with the nozzle and not disturb the rabbit ,, pop

    easiest dispatch possible ,, and after butchering is done ,, a spray with a hose will wash the area clean easily enough ,,

    I want to buy a high powered pellet gun from Walmart ,, I swear hubby is going to give in :bash: one of these days ,, :bash:

    Why he won't let me buy one for him to use as bad as he hates bopping I don't understand :stars:
     
  16. Reauxman

    Reauxman Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't offer food prior to killing. I don't even feed 36 hours before I butcher. Makes it much easier and a lot cleaner.
     
  17. Tucker

    Tucker Well-Known Member

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    Roo ,, if we are butchering Saturday morning I don't feed pellets Friday ,, but there is normally hay in my fryer cages ,, the fryers will empty the hay racks Friday into Saturday so I guess I don't totally stop feeding ,,


    but the offer of food ,, in the killing pen I described ,, would not affect your butchering process I wouldn't think ??

    If a person shoots the rabbits to butcher ,, they have to sit it in something ,, even if its a wire cage with no bottom ,, if its sitting on the ground ,, and you put the rabbit in it it will start nibbling on the grass while you are reaching for the gun and preparing to shoot ,,

    those few nibbles ,, while its sitting calmly and you are aiming ,, shouldn't amount to much and would be in its stomach which is thrown away anyhow ,,
     
  18. Paula

    Paula Well-Known Member

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    When I was a kid my stepfather taught us a quick and easy way to kill rabbits. You need two people and a very sharp butcher knife. One person flips the rabbit over quickly, holding front legs in one hand and back legs (hold on tight!) in the other. The other person grabs the head and cuts it completely off with one strong quick cut.
    If you keep the rabbit calm before hand and work quick once you flip it, it works great.
     
  19. JAS

    JAS Well-Known Member

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    Since I usually do this myself and the tendons in my hands are not strong enough to twist...This works wonderful for me. Take a stick or old broom handle and place on the ground. Place the rabbit's head under the stick and stand on either side and pull the legs until you feel the neck break. This is very fast and I have the rabbit hanging within a minute. This works wonderful for chickens also.
     
  20. warrior

    warrior Well-Known Member

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    JAS, that sounds like how I deal with squirrels that haven't expired after I shoot them down. Step on the head and give a good yank on the back legs. Squirrel dumplings MMMM!