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How do you discard parts you don't want?

 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
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When you process a rabbit for meat, if you are discarding the stomach and intestines, what do you do with them? Do you just throw them in the compost pile for garden fertilizer? I guess I'm wondering if the same is done for all types of livestock. I hadn't considered raising rabbits until recently. I've been researching healthier foods for my cats and it turns out rabbits are great for that. Basically, the cats can eat the whole rabbit except the stomach and intestines so there wouldn't be any waste besides that. I'm very green with raising my own livestock so any advice is welcome.
 
Eric Thompson
Posts: 369
Location: Bothell, WA - USA
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duck food preservation solar trees
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An offal dilemma indeed!!

As with most things, prioritize first to the highest use you have. In this case give to pigs or chickens, then worms/soldier fly, then to compost. I assume you also have some feet and heads and such as well...
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
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Oh wow, I didn't even think of the chickens. I don't think I'll have pigs...if I do I'm sure it would only be like two miniature since the family likes those... and probably pets. The head can be fed to dogs and cats though you'd have to grind it up for cats. I kinda forgot about the arms and legs too. Ok, well it certainly looks like rabbits are a very good food source to feed many around the homestead. Thank you.
 
Dale Hodgins
gardener
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I think that fish are the best thing that you can feed mamals to. There are no disease issues and smells are contained. Fish can deal with boom and bust in their food supply more easily than most others can. Catfish will readily consume meat, bone and stomach contents.
 
C. Hunter
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they're also a marketable product, if you have a local raw feeding group for dog owners near you.
 
Ethriel Riverstone
Posts: 22
Location: North Carolina 7b, 8a
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Hmm, I was considering to have a fish pond at some point. Sounds like that may be another handy way to get rid of scraps that I never thought of. Surprise there, learning so much. I'll have to look into that more when I'm ready to see what kind of fish we'd like to eat along with what they can do for me..lol I love animals that multi-task!
 
John Wolfram
Posts: 632
Location: Lafayette, Indiana
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Since I only butcher in very small quantities, I just throw those parts on the ground and give the local wildlife a good meal. I figure they do a much better job of spreading the fertility around the property than I ever would.
 
Craig Dobbelyu
pollinator
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Location: Maine (zone 5)
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forest garden hugelkultur
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When I butcher rabbits I keep a bucket for blood, guts and heads and a clothesline type rig for the pelts to hang on while I'm working on other rabbits. I have friends that will take organs for their dog but I usually end up giving it all to the chickens when I have to.
Chickens will eat just about anything you give them but they have their priorities. They eat in this order: Organs, fat, blood then guts. They will leave the intestines and stomachs if they have other options but they'll eventually eat them if nothing else is available. Heads are picked at a little but not too much. My chickens get a little freaked out by anything with a face. Except baby mice... ohhhhhh! do they love baby mice.

Pigs will eat anything from a rabbit but I usually don't give them anything for the reasons Dale mentioned. Though my pigs will dig up moles and mice from their burrows so I'm not sure how much risk there is. I'm certain my rabbits are cleaner than the wild rodents. Sometimes I'll give the pigs a kit that was stillborn or found dead. right after being born. if for any reason an rabbit dies of illness or old age they are composted. It's not worth risking the spread of troubles.

I think the big thing to keep in mind is to do everything in moderation. Don't give your chickens or whoever more than they can handle in a day. Leaving guts around is asking for trouble in my book. If they don't eat it that day, bury it or compost it. Black soldier flies are a good choice too. Of course the wildlife will appreciate it, but then you set yourself up for being a haven for things that like to eat rabbits so make sure your cages are secure.

Good Luck
 
David Miller
Posts: 280
Location: Harrisonburg, VA
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The heads go to the dogs (dear God they love them), the intestinal tract goes to the garden. I don't compost anymore because of the off gassing loss so I just bury in my garden plots that are in ley. That way I get the nutrients back to the soil but don't risk food contamination due to the 1-3 year timeline of the leys.
 
Landon Sunrich
pollinator
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Location: Western Washington
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Chickens. Chickens are monsters. They will start tearing into intestines the moment they splat on the ground.
 
Kate Fortesque-McPeake
Posts: 29
Location: PA, zone 6b
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If you don't have other animals to feed the offal to, try digging a hole in the ground within a few feet of a young fruit tree or some other woody thing you want to encourage. I do this when slaughtering chickens. It has to be at least 15" deep, or scavenger animals will dig it up. I don't really mind, but I intend it as fertilizer for the trees. Just don't situate the hole *too* close or you risk major damage to the roots.
 
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