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Thread: Meat Rabbits

  1. #41
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Location
    Saskatchewan, Canada
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    282

    Default

    Just a note here on chicken. It cost me $6.00 to raise meat birds to slaughter including the cost of the bird. They were allowed to free range during this time as well. The chickens were butchered at the 4.5 to 6.5 lb range.

    The dark meat turned out nearly as white as the breast. Without scientific equipment to test I'm still assuming that they are leaner than store bought. Labour aside they cost half the price as an equivalent store bought chicken.

    Free range chicken eggs are better for you as well. I think they were quoting 1/2 the chloresterol as store bought.

  2. #42
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Unfortunatly free range chickens are out of the
    question for me............

    I have free range dogs.

  3. #43
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Location
    Tulare County, CA USA
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    1,380

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sundance View Post
    Unfortunatly free range chickens are out of the
    question for me............

    I have free range dogs.
    Do what you want, but I'd say stick with the rabbit idea. Dog meat(even free range dog meat) might be a delacasy in other parts of the world but it might get a few funny looks here...

  4. #44
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Fresno California USA
    Posts
    2,479

    Default Some people

    Have Free Range minds

  5. #45
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    VENTURA, California, USA
    Posts
    3,604

    Default Feed conversion is an important number



    http://pan-am.uniserve.com/pg000031.htm

    Feed conversion is an important number - feed conversion as high as 16:1 has been recorded for BC rabbit producers (Ference, 1981), a 4:1 total barn conversion is needed to make any money. Take your total feed used divided by total weight of fryers sold for a period of time, that gives the total barn feed conversion. Then take your price of feed times the feed conversion number, and if that price is not higher than your fryer price you are in trouble. This calculation shows the benefits of keeping your costs down, avoiding over-capitalization and using a feed that gives you value for the money spent. The cheapest feed is probably not the best buy. There are much more important ways to improve profitability, such as getting an extra litter per year from a doe, or having one more pup survive in a litter (Armero & Blasco, 1992).

    Ernie
    Ernie
    My websitehttp://bees4u.com/

  6. #46
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
    Posts
    2,243

    Default Rabbits as recyclers.

    One thing to keep in mind. The NZ doe and buck I kept needed about a cup of dry (Fleet Farm brand) feed a day when dry. This made a 25 pound bag last an awful long time.
    I have four kids (humans not goats), and found that adult rabbits love left-over apple cores, peelings, and any weeds I pulled. The thing that they ate most eagerly was bread. They love to chew, so I gave them cardboard as well from time to time. This is the ultimate home recycling critter. No waiting around for compost to decompose. You put leftovers in one end, and fertilizer comes out the other; Not sloppy stinky stuff, but pelletized shovelable stuff. Rabbit urine is high in calcium, and stinks.
    My point in this is that during the long dark winter months the does are not going to be fertile, but that if you only have a couple of does and a buck feeding them is not going to break the bank. An adult rabbit's diet is easy to supplement with stuff that you would either throw out or put in the compost pile. One caveat, a person should be careful not to let the rabbit get fat. Fat rabbits have greater difficulty getting pregnant and giving birth.
    Ernie is right in that if you factor in the months in the north when the rabbits are just hanging out say October through early March the feed conversion rate has to be higher than it would be in the south where you would get a longer period of production.
    An unrelated factoid. I remember reading that the female rabbit is most fertile within the 24 hours of giving birth, and that is what the commercial breeders took advantage of. Adrian

  7. #47
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    What about artificial light??? Will that make them
    produce in the winter??

  8. #48
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Hudson, WI USA
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    2,243

    Default Artificial Light

    Artificial light could help, I never tried breeding them over the winter, and kept them outside after having them in my basement for a month. According to my book (McNitt), it may help if you keep the light on for as long as the longest day in your region. Is it going to be dependable? I don't know.

  9. #49
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Hudson, WI USA
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    Of course in our region it gets so cold that all living creatures are stressed by winter. I changed the water over twice-a-day in the winter, and the rabbits would drink their fill before it froze, and they were OK. Yet if the doe is lactating she has to consume more food and fluids to deal with this metabolic requirement. Could she keep up with this in our winters and not wear down? How about the rabbit young (known as kits)? The european wild rabbit, from which domestic rabbits have been developed, keeps her kits in a nest underground in a burrow where I would guess it must be 50 degrees. In a northern climate rabbits in cages are going to be colder than that unless they are in a heated building. When they are first born they are hairless - I would worry about them freezing.

  10. #50
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    Sep 2004
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    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    I was thinking more about the either side of the "nasty"
    stuff. Like Sept - Oct - March - April. I wouldn't even
    consider those nasty months.

  11. #51
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
    Posts
    1,914

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    Sundance,
    Rabbits should do well in cooler climates. It is the heat that they can't take. I have a recipe for home-made rabbit food that I'll for if you PM me. We do raise chickens in a tractor as Galaxy mentioned and are considering raising rabbits, too. The chickens were hatched in April and were just butcherable last month. Rabbits have a faster turn-around cycle. So should be cheaper in that you feed them less as long.

    Mike Haney,
    The idea of finding local rabbits would probably still work well, except it is now illegal in Kentucky to keep wildlife without a permit. Perhaps a permit wouldn't be too hard to get. I did notice that we are allowed to trap rabbits and squirrels this year. Though I'm sure we'll be required to put them down right away.

    Galaxy,
    We too use chicken tractors and are considering rabbits. A floor would probably be necessary to keep the rabbits from digging out, right?

    Regarding Dragonfly's comments on collesterol in free-ranged chickens, one of our magazines did a whole issue on it claiming that the gov and big Chicken doesn't want us to know that there is a health benefit to free-range eggs. However, the magazine claimed to have had it studied and shown that the eggs have less colestrol.


    CO2 chambers for putting down animals - considered humane
    I have worked at zoos and other places where this was utilized because it is one of the few "approved humane" methods. However, watch the process. Then learn about the respiratory cycle. We feel the urge to inhale because there is too much CO2 in our blood. Ever panic from not being able to breath? what if the air you Did breath put more CO2 in your blood? I decided that it is a horrible way to go, every breath doesn't satisfy but only makes the urge to breath stronger. I've often wondered if the animals died from lack of oxygen (which can take a Long time) or from cardiac arrest from the panic. Me? I just lopped off the heads of three roosters this morning. They never knew what was coming.
    WayaCoyote

  12. #52
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    Sundance,

    Here’s the link to the recipe that my wife has.

    http://pan-am.uniserve.com/pg000062.htm

    My wife also recommends feeding a hay/ alfalfa mix. She had to feed less pellet food when supplementing with the hay mix, and the rabbits remained quite healthy and strong.

    On a side note, we use a ferret-iguana leash to walk our pet rabbits.
    WayaCoyote

  13. #53
    Join Date
    Nov 2003
    Location
    North Alabama, SW Kentucky
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    Sundance,
    Here's a book for you. It sets on my night stand for those sleepless nights when I want to be reading something good rather than staring at the walls:

    (The Homeseteader's Handbook to) RAISING SMALL LIVESTOCK by Jerome D. Belanger. Rodale Press 1974.

    It has a whole chapter on meat rabbits with good info. I'm sorry that it took so long to mention it. I forgot I owned is, as I've checked it out from the libraries a lot. Check your library.
    WayaCoyote

  14. #54
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by wayacoyote View Post
    Sundance,
    Here's a book for you. It sets on my night stand for those sleepless nights when I want to be reading something good rather than staring at the walls:

    (The Homeseteader's Handbook to) RAISING SMALL LIVESTOCK by Jerome D. Belanger. Rodale Press 1974.

    It has a whole chapter on meat rabbits with good info. I'm sorry that it took so long to mention it. I forgot I owned is, as I've checked it out from the libraries a lot. Check your library.
    Thanks Waya.......... I'll look into it.

  15. #55
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Dane County, WI.
    Posts
    3,721

    Smile

    For those that don't get Bee Culture:

    Honeyed Rabbit:
    1 rabbit, cut into serving pieces
    1 medium onion, sliced
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    3 tablespoons cooking oil
    3-1/2 cups tomato juice and pulp
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1/4 cup milk
    1/4 cup HONEY!! ******
    1 cup flour
    1/4 teaspoon pepper
    1 teaspoon salt
    6 tablespoons cooking oil

    Saute' the onion, garlic, parsley [didn't see that?] in the three tablespoons oil until onion is golden brown. Strain the tomato juice to obtain some pulp. Add pulp and 1/2 teaspoon salt to the pan. Simmer for ten minutes. Mix in milk and HONEY. Remove from heat. Dip rabbit in the mixture then roll in the flower, [ I mean FLOUR] seasoned with the salt and pepper. Brown, in the six tablespoons oil. Cover rabbit with sauce and tomato juice and simmer about 1-1/2 hours. Serves three to four.

    This recipe is especially good if the rabbit is not young and tender. The long, slow simmering will tenderize it.

    "Wild Game Cookbook", by L.W. "Bill" Johnson.

    Checked and double checked the recipe; HOPE it's right! OB.

  16. #56
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    Worthington, Pennsylvania USA
    Posts
    1,848

    Default Rabbits

    We raised meat rabbits for several years.
    The best producing rabbit for our area of western Pennsylvania was the Californian rabbit. Every two weeks a "rabbit man" would stop and buy our fryers and deliver the feed at a price savings to us.
    Our cages were home built with 1/2 x 1 wire bottoms and up the sides four inches--this kept the kits from climbing out through the wire at birth--it does happen.

    The sides and the top were constructed from 1 x 2 wire and wire clips were used to attach the sides and bottoms together.

    Wooden nesting boxes were installed into the floors of the cages where we wanted to place the bred does--filled with straw the front of the nest box was level with the floor so that any kits dragged out by mother could crawl back in.

    We built frames out of inch and half pipe to support the wire cages--two tiers of cages--and had wheels on the bottom of the pipes held on with all thread between the pipes. The rabbit cages were set on top of 4 x 8 foot brick bins three feet deep--these were worm bins, what waste products the rabbits produced dropped into the worm bins and became vermicompost. These bins accumulated a lot of vermicompost that is great for the garden etc,

    We enclosed the pole shed in plastic over winter to help keep warm--two layers like a green house.

    Automatic waterers really help keep the labor hours down.

    Hardwood blocks of wood soaked in salt water were good to keep in the cages for chewing.
    Fresh apple limb or sassafrass limb were frequently put into the cages to allow the rabbits to peel off all tlhe bark with their teeth.

    Fresh alfalfa hay was always available with a side of cage hay rack.

    Fantastic meat--superb livers-but like several others stated I do not enjoy the killing part.
    "Younz" have a great day, I will.

  17. #57
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Loganville, GA
    Posts
    2,172

    Default

    Would be cool if you had any old pics of your setup napper. If you run across any, send em over to me if you don't mind?

    I got the supplies I need a couple of days ago to get my watering system set up. Those critters can sure put away some water. Having a watering system will be easier to prevent freezing at night also.

    The price to the packers as of about a month ago was ranging from about $.80 lb to $1.10 lb for fryers. So if you are seeing 9 bucks a pound at the market, it isn't a good indicator of the cost of raising it yourself. I have seen dressed rabbits being sold in my Market Bulletin recently for about $1 lb. Some sold as dog food, I'm sure to bypass state regs for food processing but some that sold as food. Guess it would behoove the buyer to get to know the person they are buying from.

    Killing the critters???? That's something I've wrestled with myself. I'm breaking necks at the moment but considering a shot to the brain with a air pistol. I don't know? CO2 I'm not so sure of? Although it may seem humane from our perspective watching the whole process, they are basically suffocating. If you've never been in that situation before you have no idea how frightening that is! Although having their neck broken causes muscle contractions and quite violent most often, it is something that we see and have to process in our minds but the rabbit to my knowledge has no conception of whats happening. So I wonder often if what is considered humane is more for the executor or the executee?

    Anyone willing to expand on the subject, it would be greatly appreciated!
    "Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." Winston Churchill

  18. #58
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    I am behind getting my hutch up.

    Finally lined up some rabbits but seems like there
    isn't enough time to set up. Hopefully the weather
    will continue to be good.

    I too like the idea of the watering system. Seems you
    could use that water pipe tape/cord they use under
    mobile homes coupled with a heated bucket??

    Keep us posted Biz and PN I'd love to see some pics
    of your set up too.

    Killing is nasty....... period. I have heard that you can
    get pretty scratched up too if you don't wear gloves
    and sleeves.

  19. #59
    Join Date
    Apr 2006
    Location
    Indian Valley, Virginia
    Posts
    587

    Default

    Its the killing part that made me stop raising broilers. i would think that killing rabbits would be worse.

  20. #60
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Devils Lake, North Dakota
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    Quote Originally Posted by randydrivesabus View Post
    Its the killing part that made me stop raising broilers. i would think that killing rabbits would be worse.
    The killing....... probably worse. Cleaning for the freezer,
    a lot easier. They say you can clean and package 3 or 4
    rabbits in the time you'd do 1 chicken.

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