Meat Rabbits/mmmm Taste Like Chicken/NO Steroids/Anti-biotics

Discussion in 'Bushcraft' started by Gopherman, Dec 3, 2013.


  1. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Started raising Rabbits about 6 months ago. I had no Idea what I was doing. watched a lot of Youtube vid's. on it.
    I bought a breeding age Buck and 6 Doe's. I now have almost 80 and we've been eating them regularly. I have about thirty a month ready to butcher. My Flemish Giants/ New Zealand crosses hit 6-7 pound at 3 months, my other crosses Giant Chinchilla rabbits, and English Spot's only 3-4 pounds.
    All my new breeding stock is going to be at least half Flemish. They average 14-20 pounds fully mature, about the size of a Terrier.
    I have a Flemish Buck and as soon as he can figure out where the business end is and prove himself, My New Zealand is Toast,(Dinner Actually).
    Building Cages is a big part of it. 3/4" x 1.5" wire and 1/2" wire mesh for bottom and separator panels works best. If you use the bigger wire for separators you'll be sorry and have to replace them sooner or later, save yourself the grief. They fight and other Doe's will grab young Rabbits by the nose, etc. its not worth it.
    I have built grow out cages for my meat rabbits there 3' wide x 2' tall x 4'long. I leave them with the mother for about a month then sex them as best I can and separate them till there 3 months or 3-4 lbs. Keeping them for more than 3 months and your spending more on feed.
    They taste just like White Meat Chicken, Salt and Pepper them, Slow cook them at 225* for 4 to 5 hours covered, baste them and you'll never turn your nose up at rabbit again. Full disclosure, it take a few time to get used to the butchering end of it, but after you eat couple, you get past it. If you Butcher them at 3-4 months you can cut them up roll them in Zaterans and fry them, awesome and tender.
    If you can them, a half tbl. spoon of canning salt and a garlic clove, try to get all empty spaces filled as best you can, I debone them it works the best( but it takes me about 10 min. a rabbit to do it), do not add liquid, pressure cook them at 12 lbs. for and hour. They have the consistency of pork, but "THEY STILL TASTE LIKE CHICKEN!!!"
    Iphone pics 110.JPG Iphone pics 126 - Copy.JPG Iphone pics 112.JPG
     
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2013
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  2. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Have been looking to get started in rabbits and goats this next summer.. Have to set up some out buildings first..
     
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  3. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    We've been doing the rabbit thing also for about 2 years. I have one litter of 8 now that is using twice as much food as they should because of burning calories to stay warm in addition to growing. To keep the cost down, I feed them clippings from the garden and the property (salal, Oregon grape, Douglas Maple, dandelions). One thing I recently decided was to get all three does pregnant in the spring at the same time and again in the mid summer, then use the spring and summer brush growth and garden waste from harvest to feed them. I use smaller rabbits, but that should yield about 100lbs of dressed out rabbit meat.
     
  4. Dont

    Dont Just another old gray Jarhead Monkey Site Supporter

    Gonna need to read up on all this through the winter..
     
  5. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    Our cages are box type cages with treated lumber stands to put them in and corrugated plastic roofs. The cages rest on ribs of scrap PVC pipe I have on hand from an abandoned hoophouse project. This way we can take the cages out of the rack and pressure wash them and flame them for disease control. The cage material on the side and tops is 1x1 inch sqare 16g wire. The floor is 1/2 x 1 inch square 16g. The 1/2 x 1/2 square construction fabric couldn't take the weight. The breeder cages are 2 feet deep, 4 feet long and 18 inches high. The grow out cages are 3ft deep x 4 ft by 18 inches high. I cover them on 3 sides with 4 mil plastic sheeting via staples in the winter. I pull the water bottles in the house at night if freezing weather is forecast, then take them out in the morning filled with warm water.
     
  6. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I had another litter of Flemish cross this morning and 8 NZ last week. I lve in a warm part of the country down south. It only freezes at night maybe 2 weeks out if the year
    We just wrap he cages and put a halogen under them the newborns we put inside our shed
    had another litter of 10 this morning
     
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  7. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I have one lop cross I got when I didn't know anything about it. She has small litters usually 5-6 but she is an awesome mother. I take some of the larger litters10-12 and sneak them in her box, she loves them like her own, she can handle up to ten. I usually try to identify the runts and move them first.

    I'll upload a CAGE MAKING MADE EASY VIDEO maybe next week. I got it down to a science. The grower cages you see in the pics., took about 4 hours to build.
    The hanging cages about 2, Make them ten feet long so each cage will br 22" x 22" X 30" for your breeding doe's. It gets cramped in there fast, its amazing how fast they grow after 2 weeks of age.
    5 Weeks seem to be the best time to take them out, any earlier and they grow slower. Also if you look online under rabbit watering systems the have these nipple water feeder tubes, they are sooo cool. I got burnt out on water bottle detail, now I fill up a 5 gal. bucket 2x a week and it waters 15 cages. A tip though the plastic T's suck get brass from a hardware store, the plastic ones lake too much, and tiny hose clamps too.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2013
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  8. Silversnake

    Silversnake Silverback

    Ours are all mixed. Our buck is a Belgian Blue mixed with some lop (one ear up, one down) and weighs about 5 pounds. Two of the does are crosses between New Zealand and California and something else and weigh about 8 pounds. Another doe is a lop mix and weighs about 4. We had been cycling them because it seemed to make sense to keep a rotation, but doing them all at once when I have more natural stuff to feed them will work better. Like you said above, I can also cross-level the larger litters if needed.
     
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  9. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Get a Flemish Giant Buck There cheap. If your going to feed them you might as well get more meat for the feed.
    There twice the size at 3 months as any of the other crosses. I read a study on meat rabbits done by the Australian govt. they rated Cal./NZ/Flem. the NZ and the Flemish toped the charts in all categories including mortality, litter size and survival to weaning. Luckily I haven't had any diseases run through my herd. I did buy a Flemish doe that had a horrible case of ear mites, I'm talking the ear canal was packed with crud, it was disgusting. I took a pea sized drop of IVERMECTINE horse wormer and stuffed it in her mouth. The next day I poured mineral oil in her ear, the 3rd day I gave her another dose of med's, on the fourth day I was able to pull that whole stinking mass of putrid crud out of her ear and now she is as healthy as any I have and gave birth to 9 Flem./NZ babies 10 days ago.
    I dosed her twice because I had nothing to lose, she was dying. The Ivermectin is good for 6 weeks and keeps re-infection from occurring.

    I just posted about Ivermectin for earmites. Don't know if you have problems with them But I bought a rabbit, Severe, and dying, She's as healthy as any and just had a big litter. Don't want to use it within 6 weeks of butchering, but it beats fighting with oil.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 3, 2013
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  10. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Full disclosure time and a big shout out to YOUTUBE. Everything I have learned has been from there doing searches, Some Major Idiots but also some seriously brilliant Cats too.
     
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  11. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I put a piece of strap steel 1/4" x 1" across the center of all the cages it give it a lot of stability.
    I power wash with bleach once a month to disinfect cage, Got to be careful to let them dry out before you put them back in and also AMONIA_CLORIDE gas from bleach and urine can kill the rabbits and probably you too if your in it for long.
     
  12. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I am going to walmart and talk with the produce guy, I want to see if they'll let me have what they are going to throw away.
     
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  13. kellory

    kellory An unemployed Jester, is nobody's fool. Banned

    If you have a local Krogers, try them too. they throw out green stuff daily.
     
  14. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    If your going to do goats get about 5 females and 1 billy, its slow going, 5 month gestation, if you plan to eat them. Pigs are more prolific, but they stink and can be dangerous, unless you make pets out of them. They still stink, even as pets.
    I also have sheep, there kind of a waste of time if you don't have 20-30 of them. They only breed once a year in the spring. If your planning on eating them its a lot of money for the meat. Even if you have a lot of pasture land like me, you still have to give them some feed. I'm not seeing the payoff in it. Probably gonna eat them!![js]
     
  15. Cruisin Sloth

    Cruisin Sloth Special & Slow

    Great Thread guys , Pictures are the ticket when your posting . It makes so much more sense .
    Sloth
     
  16. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    Update on the Rabbits!!
    Raised almost 200 so far, been canning and rotating, got 20 jars stocked away frying, and baking them. Got a 50 now with 5 litters due next week. I couldn't be happier.
    If your rabbits come down with ear mites use the Ivermectin, I have not had a single case since I cured that Doe I bought. No ill side affects, she'd popping out the kits 7-9 at a time.
    I did have problems with the wood kindling boxes. Two of my Does refused to nest them, maybe weren't clean enough, they had them on the cage floor and I lost both litters to exposure.
    I have switched to wide bottom plastic containers I bought at Walmart. I know I can get them 100% clean enough. The wood is too hard to sanitize!
     
  17. Matteo10572

    Matteo10572 Monkey+

    I used to raise rabbits (and just about everything else) when I was in high school. Your thread makes me want to do it again.
    Question... If you Have a Flemish Giant buck that breeds a smaller variety of doe, do they have complications with premature birth or difficulty birthing due to the larger sized babies?
    If the buck is a smaller variety and the does are Flemish Giants, is pregnancy/birthing easier?
     
  18. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I haven't had any problems with any of the crosses that I have, to be honest.
    I had a mini-lop when I first got started and she was only 3 lbs full grown, bred her to a 8 lb New Zealand and she had 7 babies. That's a lot for a mini-lop. I would think it would be and easier kindling for the bigger mom, but, crapping a watermelon is never easy, even for a rabbit I would imagine! lol
    I really enjoy it and it only takes about ten minutes a day to deal with them. The Flemish are hands down the way to go. Personally, I would stay away from the Californians, never had any myself but My freind does and Mortality rate is very high. He has been doing it for about 4 months and only has 8 babies out of 7 Does to show for it, They are not good mothers. I have English spots, Giant Chinchillas, New Zealands and Flemish. Phasing out all other breeds than the flemish and the Chinchilla, They throw the most beautiful Pelts.
     
  19. Matteo10572

    Matteo10572 Monkey+

    What are you doing with the pelts? Is there a market for them?
     
  20. Gopherman

    Gopherman Sometimes I Wish I Could Go Back to Sleep Site Supporter++

    I don't really know about a market, I'm having fun though. I finally learned how to get them cured with the fur not falling out![touchdown]
    My wife took my first successful batch and made a hand Muff out of them. That sucker is so soft its not even possible for me to enjoy it, my hands are construction toughened. It make me mad too Cause I wish I could enjoy the feel of the pelt's.
    Their beautiful!
    I'll get my camera out and snap a few shots and let you know I do. I have about $800 into a 14x14 shed, cages feeders watering system and starter Breeders. Watch Craigslist really close for a month or so and you can probably get a lot real cheap or even free.
     
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