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First time butchering rabbits...my story

 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Good morning,

Long time I want rabbit to eat since we really like rabbit meat. But before breeding some, I wanted to know if I would be able to slaughter them. Well yesterday, a friend of mine who gets rabbit every summer for his kids and get 2 litters, gave them to me since he can't keep them during winter. He had 7 rabbits includin the mother and the father...

Since I am the one taking care of butchering (not that I like that but since hubby doesn't want to do it well...) I watched several videos including Joel Slaatin one on rabbit butchering and another one with a broom stick to dislocate.

First one I hit the head...didn't worked...he cryed...and me with him And I hit hard, but hubby told me my stick wasn't hard enough afterward....well to make along story short...at the end, dislocation was much better...but Salatin's technique to clean is A1. I only had problem cutting the paws...and not quite sure if the reproductive systeme (you know what I mean) I took everything out...but otherwise...great technique. Just my lack of experience...

For my first time from getting the rabbits up to finishing cleaning the kitchen it took me 2 hours for 7 rabbits. A bit long, but like I said I struggled with the paws...really lost a lot of time there...

If I compare with chicken butchering, much more easier to do rabbit (when my butchering technique will be fine). And I think it is probably more ecological too since I don't need boiling water or big machines to take out the feathers (if you have a lot)...

All clean up I got 1 very small 1lbs 1/2, 1x 2lbs 1/2, 3x 3lbs, the mother 4 lbs and the father 5 lbs.... Very very happym, and it convince my husband to have some next year. with even just 2 does and 1 buck I will be able to full the freezer for the family, sell some to friends and put them in the field to grow...

Isabelle
 
Michael Bush
Posts: 33
Location: Sacramento
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I was a kid watching parents butcher both rabbits and chickens. I hated plucking chickens but cleaning rabbits always seemed so damn simple and "clean" by comparison. Thanks for the wonderful description of what you went through! Next year I will be butchering both for the first time myself and so stories like yours help a lot!
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Thanks...

Well I will spare you with my first time butchering chicken..it is a funny not so funny story.

if it can help, I watched vidéos...for the chicken, I watched the one done here with the chicken lady. I later watch the one from Salatin about slaughtering and butchering...

As for rabbit, I started with again Salatin, but I honestly prefer dislocation to a hit on the head. By chance I had two techniques to use otherwise I would have been in trouble.

isabelle
 
Joe Camarena
Posts: 76
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Use a good pair of garden shears to cut the feet off. Works like a charm in one snip right at the joint.

Joe
 
Isabelle Gendron
Posts: 173
Location: Montmagny, Québec, Canada (zone 4b)
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Thanks Joe,

yes, that is what I will do next time. Hobby will manage to make me a butchering station for enxt year. I think we will go for more rabbit than chicken for the meat and keep chicken for eggs to sell and also for preservecy of the breed.

isabelle
 
Cyndi Hull
Posts: 8
Location: Central Oregon
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Michael Bush wrote:I was a kid watching parents butcher both rabbits and chickens. I hated plucking chickens but cleaning rabbits always seemed so damn simple and "clean" by comparison. Thanks for the wonderful description of what you went through! Next year I will be butchering both for the first time myself and so stories like yours help a lot!


I always liked doing the rabbits more than the chickens as a kid too! I hated plucking plus the first time I did the chopping I did it too close to where the swimming pool was and let go too early or something...suffice it to say I was NOT anyone's favorite sister when we had to forego swimming to drain the pool and clean it! Rabbits went faster and cleaner, Dad was a machine and I could barely keep up with catching and running them to him before he had the prior one skinned and tossed in the bucket!
 
Rhys Firth
Posts: 120
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A broomstick to dislocate? I always use my hands to do the job, on chickens too, through with chickens it can be a problem to keep from pulling the head right off! it's all leverage, not brute force.

Hold the rear feet firmly at the hock in your right hand (assuming you are right handed) so that your left hand holding the head has the arm straight but relaxed with your shoulder up. With most of my rabbits this has the feet being held in front of my breastbone, but large older does can be almost up to the right collarbone. Cup the head in your left hand with the thumb down one side of the back of the skull and the forefinger down the other, the cup of your thumb/finger should be nestled at the back of the rabbits head, your fingers curled down under the jaw. While pulling up on the jaw, lock your elbow straight and drop your shoulder, The head should snap back and separate from the vertebrae, tearing the spinal cord for instant death and rupturing the arteries to the brain, while still remaining attached and allowing the blood to drain into the created cavity. No muss, no fuss.

You are not using your biceps or other arm muscles, but the much larger pectoral and scapular muscles to pull down your shoulder.

As for the paws, I push them back, slice across the tendons, snap them over backwards and place the knife in the gap created between the bone ends and fold them back forward again and slice down and through.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
Posts: 1251
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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If you are planning to build a butcher station, check this out.



It's not exactly how I do it but it's pretty close.

When you have to do a few litters in one day, these smooth ergonomically designed stations are a life/time saver. Whenever possible I like to use leverage rather than muscle power.

I find that a smaller knife works better than a large one. I use an old paring knife and a pair of either garden pruners (clean and only for this purpose) or kitchen shears for cutting off the feet. A good pair of EMT shears work well too.

 
John C Robinson
Posts: 29
Location: Lynn, MA (Zone 6A)
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I used carbon dioxide to quickly kill a bunch of mice and rats that were destined to be frozen and used to feed an injured owl while it was rehabbing.

A suitable sized tub, mice/rats inside, and a CO2 extinguisher partially discharged into it. Dry ice works too. CO2 is heavier than air, so it is held in the tub just like water would be. The livestock doesn't notice much, they just go to sleep. Simple asphyxiation. It seemed the simplest and most humane for small animals such as mice and rats. I assume it would work for rabbits.
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