As cute as the bunnies are, the time comes when they need to be processed or ‘sent to freezer camp’ as some like to put it. When your grow-outs are between 8 and 16 weeks, or 4-5lb (2-2.5kg) in size they are ready.
WARNING: This diary discusses slaughtering and processing rabbits for human consumption. If this topic disturbs you, please do not proceed.
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I have four steps to help ensure optimum growth rates here that are worth a read.
The younger they are the more tender, so if your line isn’t reaching these weights in this amount of time, it might be time to look at your genetics.
Processing rabbits is fairly quick, and simple. It is much easier and less messy than chickens, with no plucking involved.
Want to know all about raising rabbits in a colony?
Check out our very own book here:
Slaughter Methods For Meat Rabbits
There are several options for doing the deed when it comes to slaughtering rabbits:
Cervical Dislocators – You can buy devices that will hold the rabbit in the correct position so that when you tug hard it snaps the neck and severs the blood flow and nerves at the brain stem causing instant death. Two versions of this are the Rabbit Wringer and the Hopper Popper. Both are only available in the USA.
Here is a video of a Hopper Popper in use:
Cervical Dislocators to me are the least violent/least difficult to do for beginners when you don’t own a gun and can’t afford a captive bolt gun.
If you don’t want to buy a gadget, you can use what is referred to as the ‘broomstick method’. This is where you place a heavy broom handle or piece of reinforcing steel over the back of the rabbit’s neck at the base of it’s scull, hold it there with one foot lightly, then in one simultaneous movement, step on the other side of the bar and pull the rabbits back feet up towards you, hard.
Hammer and knife – Using a hammer or heavy bat/bar whack the rabbit on the back of the head to render him unconscious, then string him up and remove his head to bleed out. The risk here is that you don’t hit hard enough.
Bullet – Using a strong BB gun, actual gun or bolt gun, shoot the rabbit at the point where drawing a line from one eye to the opposite ear meets a line going in the opposite direction. Immediately hang and bleed out. The risk here is that you miss and maim someone!
Have a look on youtube for methods and techniques of slaughtering and processing.
Here is one of the bunny legends processing some:
Make sure you have a super sharp filleting knife,a pair of shears or secateurs and a cleaver would be very helpful too.
You can soak your meat in a brine solution overnight to tenderise it, and then either pop in the freezer, can it or cook it.
Once you have your meat ready to cook, here is a delicious recipe to try it with:
Pesto Cream Rabbit (or chicken)
1kg (2lb) Rabbit cut into pieces
1 C tomato pesto
1 C black pitted olives
200g/8oz firm feta cheese
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 cup of heavy cream
Brown the rabbit in 2 Tablespoons of butter or oil and lay in a roasting/casserole dish. Add the rest of the ingredients. Bake at 180C (350F) for 1 – 1 1/2 hours or put in a slow cooker and cook on low for 6 hours.