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Aussies Living Simply

Rabbits for Meat

Viewing 15 posts - 1 through 15 (of 22 total)
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  • #257409
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    We are thinking of getting some Rabbits with a view to meat production….I’m guessing there may be some ALS’ers who have done this and I’m wondering how successful (or otherwise!)it has been? Also any hints and tips would be great 🙂 …

    #528988
    SnagsSnags
    Member

    Hardest part would be looking into their cute eyes when you were about to break their neck.

    but love rabbit

    #528989
    DinyDiny
    Member

    In Holland we always bred rabbit for Christmas dinner. WE had a guy come to our house to kill them. They were so large that one was enough for a meal for our family of 7!!My mum braised it and it was always tender.When I lived in Victoria you could buy rabbits in the butcher shop but I never could cook it the same as my mum.

    #528990
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    I know 🙁 …I’m a terrible hypocrite..I eat meat but don’t think I could kill anything but my husband says he could…he grew up in a huntin’, fishin’ and shootin’ family! I feel bad on the rare occasions that I catch a fish 🙂 there are wild rabbits around here but it’s such a palaver getting a gun licence and we can’t have any ‘traditional’ meat animals like a pig or sheep.

    We produce most of our own veges and all our eggs so meat is all that’s missing really…noticed last time I was shopping that all the meat departments and one large butcher shop had signs up everywhere warning of surveillance cameras…meat theft is becoming a problem apparently, overheard one young women saying she didn’t know what to look for in meat as she so rarely could afford to buy it….the lucky country eh?

    Pork & chicken are relatively cheap but I don’t like the way it is produced…anyway enough waffling on!

    #528991
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    How would it be best to start off kajanrabbits? A pregnant doe or a young doe & buck? Or buy a few youngsters and keep the best for breeding?

    #528992
    ruthyruthy
    Member

    I am considering keeping rabbits too. Heres a link I found useful http://livingthefrugallife.blogspot.com.au/2009/03/meat-rabbits-on-pasture.html

    I wont be going ahead for a couple of years due to not being home consistantly with a job that I plan on leaving in 2 yearsish. I have been told that wild rabbit tastes better as the domesticated ones dont build much muscle.

    #528993

    Some 25 years ago I studied rabbit production with a bloke who lived on the Mid North Coast. I note his website is no longer happening.

    I Australia Mixxo and Calecie Virus means rabbits pretty much must be raised indoors in cages. That puts them up there with pigs and chooks as a factory farmed foodstuff. I’m not here to say any activity is right or wrong, but unless you are envisioning a full on enterprise where advantages of scale kick in, the fact you must do EVERYTHING for the beasties means its a pretty lame exercise in terms of efficiency.

    For rabbits, you have to do the sex business for them (taking males to females), of course they are not able to feed themselves so you have to do this, neither can they find water for themselves, and finally – you have to wipe their bums (have some system to get rid of the strong urine smell and faeces). You’ll also be doctor and nurse, having to give them precautionary injections for Calecie (sorry about the misspelling) and you need to keep human contact to a minimum, be very careful with drafts and devise some sort of system to keep them cool in summer.

    And when the end comes, the bang for buck in terms of meat for fiddling with killing skinning and gutting is barely there.

    From an eco perspective they are a disaster. They can really only be fed factory food. That’s the stuff where the inputs gettrucked to the factory, and the outputs get trucked to the point of sale. That’s not going to win too many green votes. It turns out that they are extremely picky eaters when kept as caged animals, requiring a very consistent diet, so its hard to supplement with a few kilos of seasonal glut carrots!

    As a food the market never sufficiently developed to make it a gourmet food product it really is not sold for a premium price, although farmed rabbit is tender, low in fat and cholesterol. It tastes a lot like chicken. All this brings us to …

    Rotationally grazed beef, goats, pigs, geese, turkeys or sheep require only moving them from one bit of grass to another every day or two. These can be followed by mobile egg laying barns where the birds are released to forage for most of the day so they can supplement their own diet and you can easily grow a decent portion of their food, and that can be animal (bugs and worms) cereal, and vegetable. A bit of quality electric fence is a lot cheaper than barns and cages for rabbits.

    But, if you still want to have a crack here’s what the CSIRO had to say.

    http://www.csiro.au/proprietaryDocuments/CLIrabbitInfoPack.pdf

    It’s also worth reading the story about the CSIRO’s Crusader Rabbit breeding project.

    If land is in short supply, consider fish or aquaponics. You can easily grow a good proportion of their food requirements, and …. their sh()t don’t stink!

    There is another way …..

    #528994
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    Thankyou Ruthy and garyhoddinott…I’m starting to think it might be more trouble than it’s worth…the rabbit disease problem worries me the most as I would envisage having some sort of outdoor set up and would like them to eat natural forage (which we have in spades..especially during Spring & Summer) supplemented with a good quality grain & excess from the vege garden…I don’t think there is much point (apart from the cost I suppose)in raising your own meat if you just have to feed commercial food…God knows what’s in it for a start…

    Wild Rabbit is ‘gamier’ than commercial Rabbit…there are producers of farmed Rabbit here in Tassie but I haven’t tried it…it’s quite expensive as are all these boutique meats…our local butcher sells wild Rabbit, Hare and Venison on a seasonal basis…he puts a sign outside his shop…’roadkill today’ :laugh:

    I would happily have any of the other meat animals but we live on a large farm (not ours I hasten to add!) that raises sheep & cattle and they don’t want any livestock here but their own…we can have chickens but no waterfowl(mess up the water channels), they already have a big flock of Guinea Fowl (more or less wild) so we are a bit limited…I don’t want to get into aquaculture…I suppose we could just enlarge the chicken flock…at the moment we just have a small flock of layers…I know it’s a bit soft but I worry that the layers would be upset if we added a lot more chooks.. :blush:

    We might just have to stick to buying our meat 🙁 for now….

    #528995
    PeterDPeterD
    Member

    Quite the opposite, the rabbits I shoot and eat on my property taste brilliant compared to the ones in the specialty butchers, very nice. I’ll never buy rabbit from a butcher again as they are expensive and more gamey tasting. I also take the odd hare for the pot as game meat.

    If anyone is in Victoria, I’ll help them get their gun licenses. It’s all rather quite easy, you don’t even need a large property. A .22LR will be your best caliber of rifle to take rabbit if your intention is to eat it. 17HMR and 222/223 Remington will damage more meat. I have a 12-gauge shotgun and number 4 shot for rabbits but I just end up using the .22LR and save the shotty for using with BB shot shells to dispatch foxes quickly in close when whistling them up and my .243 Winchester is my long range fox dispatching tool.

    I also raise rabbits, guinea pigs, etc. Assorted breeds for pets in the closest city and will start up meat rabbits with NZ whites because the feed to meat conversion ratio of large rabbit breeds are not good. The best size are the medium meat rabbit breeds for feed conversion. Try a Californian if you don’t like NZ whites. Stay away from the giants as they eat a lot more feed for not much more meat.

    Skinning, gutting and jointing isn’t difficult. If you can not find someone to show you there are plenty of books, DVDs and most likely YouTube videos out there.

    #528996
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    :hijacked:

    Just a quick one – I decided 5 years ago -in my efforts to be self-sufficient – if I couldn’t kill it myself or grow it, I’d stop eating it. Overnight I became a vegetarian and stopped taking sugar. As said, its been 5 years.. not looked back. c :whistle:

    back to the thread …

    #528997
    lostinthefoglostinthefog
    Member

    Thanks to everyone for the input…I agree PeterD that wild rabbit tastes best and we did look into the gun licence…my husband did a lot of shooting but gave it up when we left Tassie…we did look into it when we came back but the combination of the expense and the hassle decided it wasn’t worth it…we buy Kangaroo & Wallaby meat which is still quite affordable. I feel quite happy eating game meat which at least has had a natural life…sorry Andre, I could never be a Vegetarian…apart from liking meat I truly believe we are designed to have some meat in our diet…if only once or twice a week…..

    #528998
    PeterDPeterD
    Member

    I agree that Tassie gun laws have gone down the UN disarmament guidelines route and your departments no longer want to issue registrations of interest to hunt ferals on crown property. Thankfully this is not so in Victoria where they moderate the UN guidelines (as an aside most firesrms acts if you read them are near copies from the UN) but does not help you. With the expense you just factor how many rabbits you take per year and divide it into your outlay costs. Here it’s well over $20 for a frozen rabbit that’s gamey, you have to thaw and then have to still break it down yourself. It’s $0.06 cents for a .22LR bullet, something I tell vets when they hand me close to $600.00 bills to remove grass seeds from a dog just to watch their face.

    Here it’s $10 or so for your registration of interest with the the DSE which is your valid reason on the police application form then a free safety course from the police and then licenses are issued for 5 years once you get your approval after sending in those three papers.

    Try going the rabbit raising route but also slowly introduce natural grasses from your property if you have them and supplement the concentrated pasture pellets as this is closer to their natural food and I think will give them better tasting meat. If you go guinea pigs they thrive on natural grasses compared to concentrates; day and night difference. Also process them young and in one go to stock up on meat that is less gamey.

    #528999
    DennisDennis
    Member

    Did you check that the rabbit was happy with this idea, Just asking. :huh:

    #529000
    AndreAndre
    Keymaster

    lostinthefog post=350443 wrote: ….sorry Andre, I could never be a Vegetarian…apart from liking meat I truly believe we are designed to have some meat in our diet…if only once or twice a week…..

    Don’t get me wrong, I love the taste of meat too. My steaks were blue to rare – 40 secs or so each side on high temp …

    I just made a conscientious choice, that’s all. As to humans needing meat in the diet … plenty of vegetarians (like me) would argue the point – based on the fact that (in my case at least) absolutely no health issues whatsoever. If I lost too much weight, my hair, or my fingernails fell out .. or something, then I’d agree.. but, that’s another story .. sorry to sidetrack …. again :wave:

    #529001

    I suggest you look into TRAPPING. Its a LOT LESS WORK (my biggest criteria) and it is very KIND to the bunnies.

    There are a few methods – ferreting is NOT one of them.

    I strongly suggest Rabbit Dropboxes. These are specially constructed for the purpose – and you can easily catch 20 plus rabbits a night. The idea is to make sure a length of fence is VERY hard for bunnies to get through. Then in one spot dig a hole next to the fence and place the box so it enables the bunnies to easily get through the fence at that point. Give them 2 weeks to get used to the tunnel / superhighway you have constructed for them between paddocks. By removing the holding bar the box is ready to trap your prey. They simply drop 40cm into a box, and very soon will have company as their buddies join them. In the morning you’ll find them huddled together waiting for your neck stretching attentions. Yes its a bit of work to make / pay to have made the 40cm x 50 cm box and good deal of work to dig the hole but that is all you do.

    There after you’ll have a great supply of bunnies and can add more dropboxes in other likely locations.

    The LANDMARK group of conservationists in UK have a good video of this on youtube … search “rabbit dropbox”

    The other technique we do not use a lot in Australia is longnetting. See Youtube for details – this is best done with a buddy …. costs a little for the net and stays, but certainly less than a gun and license rigmarole.

    I’ve tried shooting. While spotlighting is fun it requires a driver spotter and shooter or maybe just 2. Daytime shooting is a lot of hard hilly walking for not much reward – well that’s my experience.

    Previous posters are right – Wild bunny is yummy when you know how to prepare it – soaking in a weak salt & vinegar solution for 24 hours was our main method of tenderising it. And previous posters are right, easy to skin and gut.

    Cheers

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