Chickens · Rabbits

Experiments

I generally butcher the day that trash goes out, since I don’t have a good way to otherwise dispose of the offal at this time.

Several rabbits were … rather late for their appointment for freezer camp, but it was abnormally warm, and I’ve been abnormally exhausted. (Six months pregnant does that, and the delay previously had been concussion combined with pregnancy.)

I’d basically talked myself into waiting “just another week,” when Small Person asked to go up to the animals with me. While up there, one of the remaining hens Looked at her, and she started whimpering loudly. She hasn’t gotten over that Orpington rooster jumping her from behind and trying to kill her. 🙁

This freaked out some of those rabbits on the butcher list, and I mean, freaked them out BADLY. They threw themselves around the cage so hard, one ended up with a bloody nose, and other rabbits were joining in.

That did it. I started fishing rabbits out of the cages to put into the cage I keep on the wagon for transport. The screamer — the one who started the freak out — screamed like I was trying to rip him limb from limb… just like he had from the day he was born. (I am not exaggerating. Nucking futz, man.) That, in turn, TERRIFIED Small Person, who ran down to the house sobbing. Poor kid.

Not surprisingly, he was also the first one butchered. I may have despised that rabbit. Fucking drama queen.

Plus side, the rabbits were dealt with, and this time Small Person saw me carrying a skinned carcass to the kitchen, and was “Oh, is bunny for dinner?” instead of crying. She’s getting used to the idea.

A couple of weeks ago, knowing I had delayed overlong on several of the rabbits, and was going to be butchering out a young buck (beautiful cross, but I don’t have room for that many bucks, I really don’t), I was contemplating grinding up some rabbit and possibly turning some into sausage. This meant I needed to research the best way to get that meat off the bones. While I generally avoid videos, this kind of information is best demonstrated, not read.

I found this video explaining how to debone a (wild) rabbit. I watched it a couple of times, and determined that seemed like the best option. His instructions are nice and clear (to me at least), and he definitely sounds like he knows what he’s talking about.

So, today, when it came time to bring the rabbits off aging and get them packaged up, I watched it again, and proceeded to … experiment and practice.

I have to say, it’s a messy process. I’m still learning, and I expect I will have to do a lot of them before I get a true hang of it. I think I took 15-25 minutes per rabbit? I didn’t time it, but it did take a while. And I nicked myself with the filet knife, of course. I also have never deboned an animal before, so I don’t have any other experience to lean on for the process.

However, I do believe the benefits outweight the cons. A 7 month old NZ cross buck, a hefty boy, fit nearly into a gallon Ziploc. The other rabbits, not quite 6 months old and slower growing lines, fit nearly into quart sized Ziploc. In comparison, two smaller, whole, bone-in rabbits were freezer paper wrapped and stored in Ziploc for transport to family next week. They fit into gallon Ziploc, and took up quite a bit of space.

This time, I didn’t keep the remaining carcasses to turn into soup stock. Next time, I will. I just have enough stored bones for a couple batches of bone broth, plus two quarts still in the fridge I need to take care of.

I’ve looked up a few recipes for rabbit sausage, and I will try to implement one of those in the next day or two with the rabbit I stored in the fridge instead of freezing.

On another topic, Brinsea sent a replacement brooder, not a repair. That means it was, indeed, busted. Looks like they opened this one to inspect it and verified it’s working. Hopefully, it is, but the current chicks don’t need it at this time. Maybe after I can move the chicks from the brooder to the grow out pen, and the grow outs to the actual coop.

Several does should kindle this week, if all goes well. It’ll be nice to have the rabbitry functioning again.

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