Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Getting the rabbits

Finally, after about a YEAR of working myself up to it, I looked online for some rabbits.  I couldn't find any close to by.  I was sort of relieved, but worried too.  Would I not be able to get some after all this convincing?!  So I posted to my homeschool groups to see if anyone knew of a source.  That's how I found Wendie.  She raised meat rabbits, lived about 10 min from my house, & would not only sell me a pair just about old enough to breed, but would also demonstrate how to butcher them for me.  The timing was also perfect; she knows all sorts of outstanding preparedness things, & I was able to take a few classes from her before she moved an hour away.  A real blessing!
 Wendie raises New Zealand rabbits.  I looked those up in my book:  The number one meat rabbit in the US.  Large muscular bodies.  Also friendly & good about being handled.  "Great rabbits to get started with".  Could I have been any more blessed?
So anyway, I made an appointment in a few weeks to go get the rabbits & learn to butcher them.  I had 4 or 5 people who wanted to come & see it too.  But the cold March day came & no one ended up going but my son & I.
My son was having a great time playing with all her rabbits.  He glanced over a few times during the butchering, but didn't want to watch in detail.  That's ok, he's only 8!
Wendie tells me she has a husband, but even though her husband likes to eat rabbit, he refuses to have anything to do with the butchering.  She has to do it all herself.  Well there goes that excuse for me!  And maybe having a husband wouldn't get me out of it anyway!
The thing that amazed me was how easy it was.  I'd read multiple methods, & they all seemed pretty complicated.  Wendie had found the easiest way.  (I'll post more exact instructions when I post about me butchering).  But this was easy!  There was hardly any blood.  After making a few cuts, she was able to pull the hide down & off the whole rabbit, just like pulling off a sock!  A few more cuts, she grabbed out the entrails in one handful, & it was done.  My book had said when you get fast you can do it all in about 5 min.  I believed that now!  And once the hide was off, it looked just like chicken meat, & wasn't gross at all.  I was quite relieved, this is something I can do!  I may not like doing it, but I CAN do it.  She also taught me easy ways to do the pelts (I'll post instructions on that too).  Wendie was a treasure!
So we took our boy & girl bunnies, & headed home.  My son was of course in love with the bunnies!  I had decided not to let him name the rabbits we'd be butchering, but thought we could name the breeding pair.  We picked Hocus & Pocus because my son loves magic.  So now we just had to keep them alive until they were old enough to breed!

If you're wanting to read more about rabbits, check out www.raisingrabbitsformeat.com
I bought their ebook & it had the perfect amount of info.  It also came with a free rabbit recipe book.  And once when I emailed them with a question, she answered me back right away & was very helpful.

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