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So far in our meat rabbit series:

Part 1: the argument for raising rabbits for meat.
Part 2: Shelter
Part 3: Nutrition and climate
Part 4: Breed Selection
Part 5:  The breeding process.
Part 6:  Methods of dispatching

The series will continue in the future, however here's a little side diary showing the rabbits I've aquired since beginning this saga.

Firstly: the cages.  I found a local cage company who custom makes stackable galvanized wire cages with steel litter trays at a price that's better than ANYTHING I have seen online.  I ordered 9 cages (3 stacks of 3) and it should fit nicely in the far wall of my shed.  They are 24"X36" and seem to be large enough for the rabbits to make little laps around when they're excited (and they do).

Rabbit #1) My buck.  I got him from a woman who advertized having "American Palaminos", but they didn't resemble anything close to any palamino I'd ever heard of.  Her rabbits were GIANTS and they were silver and white (palaminos are usually about 10lbs and golden colored), and most of them were way too large for me to consider for meat rabbits. She had a buck she claimed was 37lbs.  I don't know if he was that heavy but he was REALLY big.  As I'm leaving I see this grey rabbit in a hutch by himself.  She tells me he was a pet for a little girl, but as the rabbit grew up (he was only 4 months old at the time and pretty big) the girl lost interest in him.  He very closely resembled the American blue rabbits I'd originally wanted but couldn't have yet and the woman mentioned he was the first rabbit she's ever bred that turned out solid grey.  So I got him.  For a meat operation I probably shouldn't have considered him.  He's either a runty giant or a giant cross and he was so boney when I got him. But he is also very sweet.  I've had him for about 2 months and he's filled in nicely but still a little on the boney side.  He is such a sweetheart and loves dried papaya.  He also loves being petted and will lean into your hand if you're not petting him.  So I'll try him and see what kind of babies he sires.  If his offspring are too boney I'll find him a home as a pet. He's really far to sweet to eat.  I named him August (Augie for short)

Rabbit #2) My Doe.  I got this doe from a nationally recognized breeder of Californian rabbits (Scott Demanche).  The first thing I was surprised about was how solid she is.  I've heard of people describing commercial meat rabbits like Californians as meat bricks, but I never quite understood what they meant until I ran my hands over her.   She's not fat, but she is dense.  At 9lbs she's smaller than Augie and probably won't get much bigger than that, but the breeder assured me his rabbits were all very good mothers and throw large litters (averaging about 10/litter).  He also told me she could be bred at 6 months (which she reached a wwek after I got her) but I decided to wait a bit. I've had her about 6 weeks.  She's also pedigreed which means she was more expensive, but it also means I might be able to get more for her if I sell her down the line.  She is NOT sweet, although she's warmed up considerably since I got her. She "allows" me to pet her as opposed to wanting me to pet her.  She also gets a little possessive of her food, but she also likes playing with her toys (I have plastic balls with bells in each rabbit's cage) and she LOVES eating grass and hay and goes crazy for Black Oil Sunflower Seeds.  She's very dainty about everything she does.  At first I was going to name her "princess" but someone I work with old me how unimaginative that was so I have named her Princess Prissy Pants (Prissy for short).  And she is prissy.  But she's also a very fine example of a meat rabbit and I'm sure she'll do fine.

So that's my starter stock.  I am trying very hard not to get anymore until next spring at the earliest.  I still want to get into pedigreed American Blue rabbits and the fewer rabbits I have the easier the transition will be between them.

I finally bred my rabbits for the first time this weekend.  I originally planned to wait until the end of October but decided to do it now because I was aprehensive about how well it would go.  I hear stories about females biting males and castrating them or fights breaking out and I just wanted to make sure it wouldn't be like that.

And it wasn't.  I put Prissy into Augie's cage and they went right at it.  It was the first time for both of them and neither knew what they were doing, but it was all rather civil and both seemed "willing".  Prissy kept her rear in the back corner of the cage so Augie couldn't get in behind her and as a result he kept trying to mate her head.  After about 5min of that I separated them again and came back in 8 hours for another session.  I had to nudge them into position during the second time and Augie got 2 good solid shots.  There was no biting, no scratching and Augie even groomed her when he was done (ever a sweetheart. LOL!).  So hopefully in a month I'll have little baby rabbits.  I'm looking forward to it!

I had originally intended to post pictures of my rabbits but after a month of "not getting to it" I figured I would just do without it.

Originally posted to DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 04:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Urban Homesteading and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

    •  I am a hypocrite. If I had to kill, I would never (9+ / 0-)

      eat meat.  But, I do simply for convenience.  That is the worst kind of hypocrite ever.  No convictions, just to keep a simple life.  

      Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

      by alliedoc on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 05:33:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Crazy old rabbit man, you mean. (9+ / 0-)

      And, that is a very funny image.

      Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

      by alliedoc on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 05:33:56 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I worked on a ranch in Colorado in my 20s and (19+ / 0-)

      they raised rabbits for meat. They also raised cattle and sheep. I helped brand the cattle and castrate the young bull calves, turning them into steers. And yes, they fried the bull balls - Rocky Mountain Oysters - I ate them, they were OK but kinda rubbery. I helped butcher a steer. I hunted and shot deer and cleaned and butchered it myself. They raised chickens and whenever I had free time I'd butcher a half dozen or so and throw them in a freezer.

      But the one thing I could not do was kill a rabbit. You hold them by their hind legs and then smack the back of their head with a hammer or something similar, so it's painless for them. But when tried to kill one holding his hind legs those big bunny eyes would just look up at me so innocently I just couldn't do it.

      "The world would be a very boring place if we all looked alike, thought alike, and only enjoyed the same things" - me

      by Dave in AZ on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:20:36 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  there's no sound in the world more awful (5+ / 0-)

        than a rabbit screaming.

        hope springs eternal and DAMN is she getting tired!

        by alguien on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:54:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  if they are properly handled (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Dave in AZ, ER Doc

          they do not scream.  it's only when they are improperly and inhumanely killed.  

          in all those years, not one rabbit screamed when great granddaddy killed it for meat.

          Republicans have cooties!

          by labwitchy on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:59:41 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Actually, funny story... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            ER Doc

            ...I was on a livestock forum and in the rabbit section a person mentioned they had a rabbit that always screamed when they wanted attention.  It was jarring to say the least. LOL!

            In the wild, the last thing a rabbit wants to do is draw the attention of predators.  With the exception of grunting if they get angry, they make absolutely no sound except screaming when they are in extreme pain.

            Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

            by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:44:48 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  I agree, they sound like a small child... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ER Doc, BusyinCA

          ...screaming in terror.

          But if you do it right, they never scream.

          Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

          by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:42:06 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I solved that problem (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        when I was raising them.

        After a few failed attempts which was heart rending I arrived at a solution.

        You put the end of your .22 pistol loaded with BB Caps though the bars. When the rabbit comes to sniff it.

        Bang .... clean and the rabbit never knows what hit him/her.

        "Politics is the entertainment branch of industry" - Frank Zappa

        by Da Rock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:58:29 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I could kill a deer (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ER Doc

        I don't think I'd even hesitate. They're dangerous. Really, they are. More people are killed or injured by deer than probably any other wild animal out there. Including sharks.

        They hang around areas where people live, and they go out into the road. While hitting a goose, squirrel, or skunk is an annoyance, hitting a deer can kill you. Or kill somebody else.

        And does, often. At the very least you total your car.

        Been there, done that, along with at least a few people i work with.

    •  I couldn't do it either... BUT (6+ / 0-)

      Dawn, are you a raw feeder?  Someone in my Colorado rawfeeding group wants to raise rabbits as a group.

      I can't kill them, but I can feed them to Katie and Walter when they are frozen and in the refrigerator.

      I'm going to get the group to read your article because one vendor charges $9.32 a pound for rabbit!!  We feed everything (Raw Prey Model).  Depending on where you are, I can find raw feeders who will pay for the stuff you might throw away because it's not for human consumption!

      Green tripe is a delicacy, but never heard of rabbit green tripe.  If you can make a few sales them you might be able to pay some of the costs.

      This is exciting.

      We MUST take food consumption for humans and animals out of the hands of corporate America and remove Whole Foods from the marketplace.  This kind of operation done a zillion times around the country, and with different species and for different markets WILL also provide jobs and boost state economic crisis modes.  

      I am happy to hear this and very happy to see it on dailykos!  If we could develop markets for dog, cats and ferrets around the country, people can return to making a decent living.

      •  I don't have any dogs to raw feed. (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bablhous, labwitchy, HoundDog, ER Doc, MsGrin

        I do have a couple VERY finaky cats.  I will try and feed them the liver/heart/lungs/kidneys/etc but who knows if they'll even go for it.

        I can't sell the rabbits I butcher (legally) becuase I'm not a USDA certified animal processing facility.  Of course that may not count if I intend to sell the animal for animal consumption.   I could probably barter for feed or supplies but I'm not even close to a point to do that.  I only have one momma rabbit. LOL!

        But I'll keep that in mind.  Thanks for the encouragement.

        Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

        by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:00:32 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I'm with you on this. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      I adopted a rabbit in 1999 from the local shelter. We decided to name him Whiskers and gave him the run of the house. He is a domestic short hair and jet black in color and as handsome as a bunny as I ever seen. He's got arthritis now and can barely move around except to eat some carrots or apples. I expect that we won't have him around much longer but I understand that 12 years is long lived for a rabbit.

      They are such gentle fascinating creatures. So it's pretty hard for me to imagine someone wanting to raise them for food. But since we slaughter about 10 Billion animals a year in this country for food, I guess I shouldn't be surprised much. I would bet that most people couldn't kill their rabbits for food especially if they had kids in the house.

  •  You had me at papaya (26+ / 0-)
    He is such a sweetheart and loves dried papaya.  He also loves being petted and will lean into your hand if you're not petting him...He's really far too sweet to eat.

    When I read your first diary, this is what I thought would happen.  To me, anyway.

    I had a friend who once raised turkeys (far less cuddly than rabbits).  When it came time for harvest, he had a hard time dispatching them.  He later told me his biggest mistake was naming them.

    Good luck!

    I used to be Snow White...but I drifted.

    by john07801 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 04:41:19 PM PDT

  •  I tried to ignore this diary... (12+ / 0-)

    ...honest I did. But, I couldn't.

    I have for over ten years supported the House Rabbit Society. I have had over 10 pet rabbits during that time. My experience tells me that rabbits are sentient beings who bond with their caregivers, who are capable of being trained and who are fully capable of feeling pain.

    I know people have to eat, but I hope the domestic rabbits that so many of us try to rescue and place into good homes do not end up in your cages. And, please don't post any pictures of rabbits doomed to be killed and eaten.

    "...in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy." Matt Taibbi

    by Getreal1246 on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 04:59:15 PM PDT

    •  I know it's hard to imagine -- I couldn't do it (32+ / 0-)

      myself, but I respect DawnG -- unlike me who eats meat (mainly chicken & turkey and fish, but still) and is a total hypocrite because I want nothing to do with producing the meat I eat.
      DawnG is totally upfront and honest about this. And better that someone like her does this, since she takes good care of the animals, than that we eat meat from animals who are treated horribly by the meat mass-production companies.

      If, in our efforts to win, we become as dishonest as our opponents on the right, we don't deserve to triumph.

      by Tamar on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 05:32:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  you coudl say the same thing about pigs. (32+ / 0-)

      I respect your opinoin and i think very highly of rabbits as pets, but that doesn't mean they are the only acceptable use for rabbits.

      This series will continue.  I have no desire to further traumatize you.  I would strongly recommend not participating in them if it will traumatize you.

      Let there be balance in all things.

      by DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 05:56:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Pigs are very intelligent (10+ / 0-)

        Loved our pigs growing up, very affectionate and clever critters.  Waaaaayyyy smarter than our cattle.  I fed them, helped deliver a few, clipped tails and teeth, nursed a few back young ones back to health.  Couldn't help but thinking of them as pets...pretty much the way I felt about all of our animals.  If only they weren't so tasty!

        "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

        by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:08:08 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Although I couldn't do it myself, what I respect (16+ / 0-)

        about your diary is that it gets the meat closer to the user.  No criminally brutal killing methods.  I actually switched to halal meat for the humane aspect of it.  For those of you in a big city who are like me - not able to kill but feel guilty for eating meat that comes from big meat packers - consider it.  Halal meat is killed in a humane way and reaches the consumer very quickly.

        Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

        by alliedoc on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 05:41:18 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Well, it's pretty hard to miss (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Crider, Steve Simitzis

        Your diary is sitting in the Community Spotlight box right now. I won't open one again, but the title is disturbing enough.

        To me, this is like coming to Daily Kos and finding a diary on killing cats for food staring me in the face. This is not what I expect from a progressive blog.

        But, it's a free world. I will keep advocating for domestic rabbits and hoping they do not become a major food source.

        "...in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy." Matt Taibbi

        by Getreal1246 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:46:47 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  "Not what I expect from a progressive blog" (20+ / 0-)

          Maybe you need to re-examine your expectations, or your definition of "progressive."

          Plenty of people raise animals for meat. I have been raising beef cattle, hogs, and chickens for meat, on and off for more than 30 years. My animals are all pastured and only the chickens are confined, to protect them from predators, but they are on fresh grass every day.

          People ask me all the time: "Don't you get attached to them?" My answer is, "Hell, yes, I get attached to them. I shelter them and clean up after them. I care for them if they are sick. Every day, come rain or hail or sleet or snow, I feed them. And when it comes their turn to feed me, they do."

          I would be raising rabbits for meat, but my daughter, who loves beef, pork, and chicken, has drawn the line at rabbits, and I do not want her to disown her old dad.

          I know a lot of vegetarians and vegans. I respect their food choices, and don't give them any shit about it, and I expect the same respect from them.

          "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

          by Ivan on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:38:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes... we can expect that times will be (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            DawnG, bablhous, duckhunter, ER Doc

            getting worse.  What about global warming? We know it has already had an impact of the food supply.  People are starving and we can stop it... ease it.  We have to do it and we have to start now.

          •  Get Democrats elected (3+ / 0-)

            I believe Markos has been quite clear in the role of this blog, and that is to get Democrats elected. For the life of me, I can't see what advocating the eating of domestic rabbits has to do with that.

            Maybe it's significant that your daughter has drawn the line at rabbits.

            How many people would find it OK to see a diary at Daily Kos on the breeding of cats for food? Not many.

            If the writer of this diary wants to breed rabbits for food, that is her right. But, what is the point of these diaries if not to advocate for widespread breeding of rabbits for food? Why write them if not to urge others to do the same?

            I have put a lot of energy and money into rescuing abused and abandoned rabbits, a lot of them bred by people for who knows what reasons. Sorry if I am on a soapbox, but I have seen some pretty awful things that people do to rabbits.

            By the way, I am not a vegan or a member of PETA. I do financially support the Humane Society, the ASPCA, and the House Rabbit Society. I am not complaining about people eating meat. I'm complaining about people breeding domestic rabbits for food and then advocating for it on a blog devoted to getting Democrats elected.

            "...in a society governed passively by free markets and free elections, organized greed always defeats disorganized democracy." Matt Taibbi

            by Getreal1246 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 11:33:50 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  chickens and cows (5+ / 0-)

              are even cuter and more interesting than rabbits. That is, of course, just my humble opinion.

              Food is political. My ethic says that it is less important what we do with animals after they die and more important that they live the nicest possible lives while they live, and that we honor them rather than torture them and forget their rotting carcasses in the bottom of our refrigerators. Your mileage may vary.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:08:24 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  your "cats for food" comparison... (6+ / 0-)

              ...is a false argument.  Cats are not bred or particularly well suited to raising for meat.  They're skinny, boney, and eat food that humans would otherwise eat (namely meat and fish).

              Rabbits are another matter entirely.  They are prey animals in the wild and serve as food for predators.  And SOME BREEDS have been specificly developed over the course of centuries to provide meat and fur to humans.  

              It's not a fair assessment to compare the two as if they were equally unsuitable to be raised for meat, considering their disparant histories.

              Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

              by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:25:52 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  You'd have a point, except that . . . (7+ / 0-)
              I'm complaining about people breeding domestic rabbits for food and then advocating for it on a blog devoted to getting Democrats elected.

              There are any number of vegetarian and vegan diaries on Daily Kos, and some of them appear as a regular feature. I don't read them, but I doubt that you have objected to their presence for those reasons.

              Besides that, as another poster mentioned, food is political -- HIGHLY political -- and I expect that the Democrats whom we help to elect, and whom we use this site's resources to help to elect, will be conversant with these issues, and up to speed on policy questions that surround those issues.

              For those reasons, I don't object to diaries about food self-reliance being here. The bar has been set a lot lower than that already. I am a long-time cat owner and cat lover, but I don't see the point of all the pootie diaries, and I never read them. But here they jolly well are, and apparently enough people find value in them to justify their persistence.

              I hope this helps to clarify those questions.

              "Lash those traitors and conservatives with the pen of gall and wormwood. Let them feel -- no temporising!" - Andrew Jackson to Francis Preston Blair, 1835

              by Ivan on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:49:37 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

        •  It's very progressive (9+ / 0-)

          to raise your own food, believe me!

          I'm also a rabbit person and have been a vegetarian for 18 years and am a food-policy nerd. I think this is a great series and appreciate DawnG spending the time to write about her experience.

          Rabbits make much better pets than they do meals, considering the time spent on the whole thing, but it's the experience that counts.


          Our French Lop is 6 1/2 years old now.

        •  I hear you (10+ / 0-)

          I find it disturbing to think about killing any living creature, particularly the cute furry ones with big eyes. But the fact is, people have always eaten animals, throughout history - and if we are going to eat meat, we should understand and be close to what it means to take a life. I would hope that someone who has to slaughter an animal would develop a sense of the sacred and would honor that creature's gift. If we had to kill them to feed ourselves, if food were scarce, if we couldn't grow enough vegetables, grains, or fruit to live on, then such killing would be justifiable.

          I hate fishing, too - I tried it once, I just hate killing things, seeing the life gone from them. If we all had to kill our own food, maybe we'd eat less, too - we'd have more reverence for life.

          As Dawn says, treating the animals with kindness and respect is very meaningful. There have been movements in recent years in the Jewish community (rabbits are not kosher, so this applies to cows & chickens) to require a "seal of justice" on kosher meat packages - to require that the animals be raised and housed in humane conditions in addition to being slaughtered quickly with a sharp knife - because the quality of life and respect for life is extremely important. (The Talmud requires that an animal be treated humanely while it is alive, but sadly this has not been adhered to in many so-called kosher farms - they think the killing method meets the requirements. It doesn't.) Anyone who will raise animals responsibly gets my support - because most animal farms are just disgusting, brutal death factories, with sick, penned up animals who live in misery - it's really, really disgusting.

          /rambling

        •  Sustainable farming and... (6+ / 0-)

          ...food growing are very much a progressive values.

          You have a very deeply personal attachment to rabbits and maybe an aversion to meat in general (I dont' know you and I'd hate to speculate) but that is YOUR personal feeling.  It doesn't make it a universal truth.

          You or someone else may think I"m a monster for doing what I"m doing, but that doesnt' make me a monster.

          Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

          by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:19:21 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm reminded by my father's stories (12+ / 0-)

        about growing up on the farm, getting attached to his calf he showed at the 4H, etc.  But food is food.

        So I have a lot of respect for vegetarians, but I'm still a carnivore and so I also have a lot of respect for people who are involved in the process of producing food and willing to look that next meal in the eyes.  I think it takes some honesty and guts to do that.  Kudos to you.

        I'm not liberal. I'm actually just anti-evil, OK? - Elon James White

        by Satya1 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:19:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Also, if i may say.... (32+ / 0-)

      ...I'm not some heartless monster abusing cute fluffy critters.

      I've plunked over $1000 into this project SO FAR including the best cages I could find and a portable A/C unit to make sure my rabbits stay cool even on the hottest days (that alone cost me $400 but it was SO worth it). I'm also planning on getting a heater to keep the shed comfortable for them in the winter.   I feed and pet them twice a day at MINIMUM (sometimes as many as 5 times a day but average about 3 times a day).  They have toys they play with.  I groom them and clean their cages weekly.  Hell I'd let them run around outside if they wanted to, but (especially prissy) hates being outside of their cage.

      It may seem inconsistant to some, but I care a great deal about my rabbits.  And I'll even CARE about the ones I'm going to eat.

      Let there be balance in all things.

      by DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:23:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  My sister's family has ducks. They could (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      labwitchy, ER Doc

      never kill them but enjoy the eggs.  Plus, her little boy shows them in the county fair.  Recently, they threw four males off a bridge because you really can't have more than one male.  Constant sex which is pretty brutal on the females if you have multiple males.

      Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

      by alliedoc on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 05:36:52 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  They were releasing the ducks when they threw..... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        alliedoc

        them off the bridge?  Releasing domestic ducks into the wild would be a cruel death.

        I'll need some room for this...

        by duckhunter on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:48:57 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  No, they were releasing mostly wild ducks. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duckhunter, ER Doc

          I did ask her about that.  They aren't fed much by the family and live outside in the winter.  Of the four males, two came from a farmer in the area who didn't want them.  My sister claimed that they were basically wild ducks who rape the females at her house and would be fine.  I trust that although the truth is probably somewhere in between.

          Alan Grayson: "In 2010, my district and everywhere else in Florida, Republican turnout was in the sixties. Democratic turnout was in the forties." Think about it.

          by alliedoc on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:52:13 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  I have a House Rabbit too... (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duckhunter, labwitchy, ER Doc

      And he has free reign over the dining room and living room.  He is the sweetest bunny I've owned.  But I also like rabbit meat and I have no problems with people raising rabbits for meat.  I guess I'm strange that way.  There are some bunnies I have met through the years I would happily munch on.

      "Those who can make you believe in absurdities can make you commit atrocities."

      by dancerat on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:39:45 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I'm totally a carnivore (14+ / 0-)

    but I don't think I could personally skin & gut any animal, much less one I've raised...I've never hunted anything except fish in my life.

    To me, meat is what comes in packages at the store, and I'm perfectly happy being a hypocrite in that regard ;)

    New favorite put-down: S/he's as dumb as a flock of Sarah Palins

    by sleipner on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 05:04:58 PM PDT

  •  I had a hard time killing my chickens, (23+ / 0-)

    even when they all looked pretty much alike and didn't have names!

    But I haven't been willing to give up meat, so the only honest thing to do is to be willing to do the dirty deed if you want to eat.

    Try thanking God and the spirit of the animal.  It assuages me a tad.

    Government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth - Abraham Lincoln

    by Gustogirl on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 05:08:48 PM PDT

  •  I have the intention of also raising meat rabbits (16+ / 0-)

    When I was in the third grade I had a best girl friend whose family raised rabbits for a living both as meat and as fur.

    They had the meat rabbits whose fur they also sold but they also raised chinchilla rabbits who they found to be highly tempermental.

    We both played with the little rabbits and we both ate their meat.  Rabbits to me are much more tasty and healthy than even chicken.  Right now chicken is the only meat I eat.  When I lived in  Texas I could always buy rabbit but not in LA.  

    One of the things I thought I would have a problem with is the killing.  But I found out that there are moving butchers can't remember the correct a word for the job.  They have converted 18 wheelers into a modern and humane butchering plant.  They roam the country side commint to small community farmers who want their assistance.

    So if I can't get them to come to me after trying to organize the local small farmers---I will drive to one of theirs.  I figure twice a year will do it for me.

    So for me your series has been inspiring and I just might buy some of your rabbits in the future.  I am still working on making the move.

  •  I've hunted rabbits and I like eating rabbit (12+ / 0-)

    But killing a domestic rabbit is a hard thing to do.  Chickens and turkeys are relatively easy.  Ditto for cows and hogs.  But rabbits?  Damn things get to me every time.

    "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

    by DaveinBremerton on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:29:30 PM PDT

    •  I'm not looking forward to it... (12+ / 0-)

      ...and I"ll probably have a small freak out the first time I do it (especially if it goes wrong), but I also know it'll get easier and I'll get better with practice.

      Let there be balance in all things.

      by DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:41:49 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  If it was me... (10+ / 0-)

        I'd get a .22 revolver and do the job with shorts.  Otherwise I'd end up owning a bazillion rabbits and just buy chicken from Safeway.

        The rabbit hunting I've done was with birdshot and I was hunting showshoe hares.  By the time I found one I was usually so cold that everything looked like hot rabbit stew and biscuits.

        "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

        by DaveinBremerton on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:55:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I am still debating two devices. (6+ / 0-)

          but going for one that does cervical dislocation (breaks their necks) called the rabbit wringer.

          I've heard good things about it.  I've also heard good things of that company's "rabbit zinger" which is a bolt stun gun but that's $300.  There's more technique involved iwth the wringer but I think I could really do well with it.  It's quick and painless.

          Let there be balance in all things.

          by DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:10:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  The cook in China used to just whack them on the (5+ / 0-)

            back of the head with the handle of the carving knife he was using to  cut them up with. Seemed to do the job pretty well. Cheap, simple, quick.

            Maybe go help out at some rabbit raiser that's been doing it for a while.

            "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

            by ban nock on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:13:39 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  assuming you have good aim... (7+ / 0-)

              ...that's perfectly acceptable.  Iv'e even seen people use their fists to bludgeon rabbits and if done right there's no pain.  but I don't have very good aim.

              Plus, it requires at least 3 good whacks.  One to stun and two to kill.  Plus a lot of the more popular manual methods of dispatch (hitting on the back of the head, broomsticking, for example) cause a lot of bruising in the neck and shoulders which affects the meat quality.  it's something to consider when you're deciding on the right way to go.

              Let there be balance in all things.

              by DawnG on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:22:06 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Yes, meat quality is affected (7+ / 0-)

                Adrenaline makes the meat tough and gamey.  I always strived to be a precise shot for that reason--as if basic decency weren't reason enough.

                "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

                by DaveinBremerton on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:35:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  they'd hang just right when picked up by the skin (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                labwitchy, Mr Robert, ER Doc

                of the neck, seemed to only take one whack, I think the brain stem got broken, only hit the back of the skull not neck or shoulders. The Chinese diners liked it that the food was fresh, the restaurant was also a guest house for westerners who didn't alway understand there was a separate menu.

                "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

                by ban nock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:18:20 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  Don't need to aim (0+ / 0-)

                place barrel into the side of the cage.

                Rabbit will come over to sniff it.

                BANG!!  Done ... clean head shot every time. Plus other than a small hole no blood.

                Did it that way for years..... use low power BB Caps like they use at shooting gallerys.

                "Politics is the entertainment branch of industry" - Frank Zappa

                by Da Rock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:09:31 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

              •  My Buddy Broke A Rabbits Neck (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ER Doc

                after clipping it with the car. He jumped out of the car, picked it up, and r"rabbit punched" it. We were a bit stunned. I might add that although he was medium sized, he was absurdly strong.

                There’s always free cheddar in a mousetrap, baby

                by bernardpliers on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:20:21 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I did it for years with a .22 (0+ / 0-)

          loaded with low power BB Caps.

          "Politics is the entertainment branch of industry" - Frank Zappa

          by Da Rock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:07:29 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Yes you will... (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DawnG, ER Doc

        I purchased 1/2 llama for my dogs. She told me the organ meat and the regular meat would be in bags and I had to remove the meat from the legs myself to keep the price down.

        I gulped. Fretted.  Had a few dreams and then suddenly the day I'd been freaked out about arrived.  Well, she put the legs in the trunk of my car on plastic trash bags.  I covered them with dry ice and did some Oms on the drive home.  The time had come to do the work.

        They were frozen when I got them home so that made it easier.   they still had some fur and the hoof was still there.  They were so heavy I almost broke my back!

        The gloves made it much easier.  Llama meat is beautiful for dogs, and I might add that there wasn't much blood.  It took a long time, but I did it and you will do it too.  It made me cry at first because I knew he was alive a few hours before I picked him up, but I got over it when I saw how good it is for my dogs.

        Courage Dawn.  You can do it.  I can't but you can!   Sending best wishes.

        •  Alpaca instead of Alpo... (0+ / 0-)

          Probably much better for them.

          I grew up on a farm and we had several large dogs.  Real tough canines that didn't take crap from strangers or coyotes.  Except when it was butchering time.  At the sound of the gunshot the dogs would scatter for a few hours.  About the time we were hanging the quarters the dogs would come back looking all sheepish, as if they expected to be next.  It usually took a day for their tails to stand all the way up again.

          "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win". Mohandas K. Ghandi

          by DaveinBremerton on Mon Oct 17, 2011 at 09:23:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  When I was a young boy (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnG, ER Doc

      probably around 8 or 9 years old, my uncle would take me rabbit hunting with him.

      That was many decades ago, but I don't recall ever seeing the animals die. They were already dead from having received a shogun blast.

      I do remember how very easy it was for my uncle to skin and dress them. After cutting the skin around the feet and neck the pelt just slipped right off of them. It was kinda like taking off a fur coat.

      My aunt would bread and fry the rabbit and I doubt that most people would be able to tell it from chicken when prepared that way.

      A few months ago, I inquired at the local supermarket about ordering some rabbit, but it was over $7 a pound and I decided that was a bit much.

      Honesty pays, but it doesn't seem to pay enough to suit some people. Kin Hubbard

      by Mr Robert on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 11:17:14 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Good luck with your rabbits (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG, mrsgoo, ladybug53, labwitchy, Mr Robert

    enjoy your posts.

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 07:14:38 PM PDT

  •  Keeping pet bantam chickens (8+ / 0-)

    for the last two years has stopped me from buying chicken in the grocery store. Just can't do it anymore. It would be like eating a dog.

    •  may I ask (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      DawnG, ER Doc

      What's the egg production like? Because if I were to keep chickens, that's all I'd want them for. Like others here, I'm too squeamish about killing animals for the meat (and have been a vegetarian at various times in my life.) Lots of people have started to keep chickens, technically within city limits although single-family residential neighborhoods. There are eagles around here too, though.

      •  Bantam eggs are of course (6+ / 0-)

        smaller than a standard size chicken's egg, although not proportionally. For example, our biggest bantams weigh only about 1 3/4 lbs but lay eggs that are almost half the size of a standard chicken egg.  Bantams eat less than the big girls and their poo is smaller too.

        We don't keep ours for the purpose of eggs, but we do enjoy the eggs as a fringe benefit. It depends on season, of course, but our nine hens give us about a dozen eggs every 3-5 days, which is way more than we want to eat. We give away most of them, or hardboil them to feed back to the flock and our indoor birds as a protein supplement to their diet.

        Bantam eggs have a higher yolk/white ratio than standard eggs, which is something my husband doesn't like, but I love the richer flavor. There's nothing quite like a really fresh egg! I have actually gone outside to the coop and brought in eggs to scramble that were still warm. One of our hens laid an egg right into the palm of my hand once. To get any fresher than that, I'd have to train them to lay right into the frying pan!

        We live right in a city and have our chickens in our fenced backyard, inside a secure coop and run. Lots of predators even in an urban backyard. Everything with teeth seems to like to eat chickens.

        If your run is roofed, you wouldn't need to worry about eagles or other raptors. I do let the girls out in the yard to free range while I'm there to watch, but I do keep an eye out for hawks. I've learned when the blue jays in our neighborhood start making a racket to look out; often it's because there's a hawk hanging around.

        A flock of chickens are highly entertaining to watch, too. Plus you get great compost for your garden.  I highly recommend the chicken keeping lifestyle!

      •  If you pick among the larger bantams (3+ / 0-)

        the eggs are about medium sized. My daughter has bantam buff brahmas, which are a good mix of pet/egg laying. The hens are very friendly and easy to handle.

        The fewer eggs they lay, the more hens you can have, of course. :-)

        You might also look at bantam Ameraucanas. They lay pretty blue and blue-green eggs.

        This is a very good chart:
        http://www.ithaca.edu/...

        Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

        by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:13:34 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  my grandparents did this during WWII (7+ / 0-)

    they also had a Victory Garden

    They said that a local butcher would butcher the rabbits for them in exchange for the pelts

    In the 70's when my family was living in poverty I called local butchers to see if they would do this, and I recall getting hanged up on and called a lunatic.

    Cie la vie.  I wonder if this has changed.

    Separation of Church and State AND Corporation

    by Einsteinia on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 11:05:09 PM PDT

  •  Have you seen Michael Moore's (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mrsgoo, ladybug53, labwitchy, ER Doc

    short (30 minute) documentary "Pets or Meat?"http://www.imdb.com/...

    It was a follow-up to "Roger and Me" and shows a woman in Flint so knocked down by the financial meltdown in Michigan that she raises rabbits for meat.

  •  What's for dinner? Rabbit stew ... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53, labwitchy, ER Doc

    You have exactly 10 seconds to change that look of disgusting pity into one of enormous respect!

    by Cartoon Peril on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 11:52:07 PM PDT

  •  Great Depression meat (6+ / 0-)

    ...for my grandparents was often rabbit as I understand it.  I don't think they raised them, but instead hunted them.  I've never eaten rabbit and when I asked why we didn't hunt the abundant critters my grandmother said she had eaten enough rabbits in her life and never wanted to eat another.  I had one domesticated and one wild one as pets at various times.

    I discovered when I was 9 that I was a crack shot with a rock while flushing and chasing rabbits in a field.  For some reason I got the idea of trying to hit one with a rock while chasing it.  Hit one square in the head on the first throw at a full sprint.  It died instantly.  Felt bad about that one as I didn't really expect to hit anything.  I was a picky eater at that age so eating it wasn't on my agenda.

    I quit throwing rocks at things I didn't want to kill after that...for a few years.  Then one day I wondered if I could come running over the pond embankment and surprise a bullfrog with a rock.  On the first try I nailed it.  Didn't seem like fun after that as I didn't have any plan for eating frog legs either.  Since then I've saved the rocks for dogs trying to chase me down while running.

    "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

    by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:26:56 AM PDT

    •  not to be a moral scold... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Ahianne, sargoth

      ... but I have never thrown a rock at any creature, human or animal.  I couldn't imagine throwing a rock at an animal, especially one who was just sitting there not expecting it.

      That said, I have much respect for farmers, hunters, and the diarist for dealing with the complex emotions that go with taking a life.  

      •  Oh give me a break (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        labwitchy, duckhunter, Catesby

        Did the part about being 9 at the time escape you???  I wasn't intending to kill the animal, didn't expect to hit it at all.  I did make the same mistake again a few years later.  If I had intended to eat either of them it would have been a different story as I would not have regretted it.  Both were instant kills.  The shame came from killing them unintentionally without any purpose.

        The challenge of the hunt is fun, actually killing is not for me.  I remember being in tears as a boy when a fish I caught and tried to release died...and I caught countless fish as a boy.  I catch and clean a hundred or so each year, keeping them in water right up until the coup de grace.  The only ones I kill and don't eat are invasive carp that I leave for predators.

        That said, I have much respect for farmers, hunters, and the diarist for dealing with the complex emotions that go with taking a life.

        That's debatable based on your "moral scold."  I was the same age when I first helped slaughter, pluck, and clean the chickens.  And I knew where our pork and beef came from as well...especially when the rendering was done in our pasture.  It was always a somber thing for me.

        So I'm not exactly sure how you can scold a kid (at the time) about an unintentional kill, and have respect for "farmers, hunters and the diarist" who take the lives of an animal "who was just sitting there not expecting it" which is pretty much the way it is done.

        Actually, it would be far worse for the animal to have the stress of knowing it was about to die...you should have seen our livestock when they were being hunted by a mountain lion.  Or when the dairy cows panicked and refused to go into a barn for milking because they could smell blood from a calf that had knocked one of its own horns loose.

        "Money is like manure. You have to spread it around or it smells." J. Paul Getty

        by Celtic Pugilist on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:10:36 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Dawn... (5+ / 0-)

    Wonderful diary. I'll make sure and read the entire series.

    I've never eaten rabbit...ever.

    Good luck with your adventure. I'll make sure and be following your progress.

    Wonders are many, but none so wonderful as man.

    by Morgan Sandlin on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:52:52 AM PDT

  •  rabbit is an excellent meat (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Ahianne, Mr Robert, DawnG, ER Doc

    my great grandaddy used to raise huge australian rabbits for meat.  grandma said that they were hugely appreciated during the great depression.  

    he still had them when i was small.  he made it a point to tell all us kids that these were not pets.  they had no names because once you name a food animal it ceases to be a food animal and becomes a pet.

    he humanely killed them with a whack to the head and then we helped skin and butcher the animal.

    the meat was excellent.  i've had domestic rabbit since then and it's always been very good.  the best rabbit recipe i have is one for rabbit salad.  make it just like chicken salad and have an excellent, different, and tasty dish.

    if i had space, and were in an area better suited for raising them, i'd do it.  

    i'm going to follow your diaries about this with interest.  thank you for sharing your project with us!

    Republicans have cooties!

    by labwitchy on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:39:09 AM PDT

  •  how much money are you really saving? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    milton333

    meat is pretty cheap in this country, and the amount we waste and allow spoil is just incredible.

    Im not sure I see the point in all of this.

    Bad is never good until worse happens

    by dark daze on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:20:44 AM PDT

    •  The practices that make it cheap (7+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Brubs, JayBat, lgmcp, DawnN, duckhunter, Catesby, ER Doc

      are pretty alarming both for the well being of the eater and the eaten.

      Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

      by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:29:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Quality is the issue as well (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Mr Robert, DawnN, duckhunter

      Just because it is cheap, doesn't mean it is good.  Over 80% of all meat is produced by a VERY small group of agribusinesses that overproduce because of genetic manipulation, hence a great deal of waste. Chickens that grow in half the time and can't stand on their own two legs so we can have nothing but white meat breasts anyone?    

      Don't get me started on the cruelty aspect of many of these operations either...

      Read "Animal Vegetable Miracle" for an interesting insight about do it yourself food production and the level to which agribusiness has stripped nutrients and flavor from the very things we need to eat to survive simply to make it "cheap" for the consumer.  We are so far removed from our food supply chain in this country unlike other parts of the world, it is downright scary.

      •  the great deal of waste (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        milton333

        comes via the consumer.  We have way more meat already then we need.

        Im asking from the business standpoint, the time needed to feed, care for, and create the infrastructure for these rabbits, is it really less than a dollar a pound?

        Bad is never good until worse happens

        by dark daze on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:59:11 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Does it matter? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          DawnN

          Does everything have to come down to the cost factor?  What about the satisfaction and enjoyment of doing it yourself?

          And, no.  The great deal of waste starts with the Agribusiness. That is WHY we have more meat than we need.
          I know - my family is a major part of it.

          •  enjoyment? (0+ / 0-)

            who enjoys slaughtering animals?

            It may be a necessity at times, but enjoyment? really?

            Bad is never good until worse happens

            by dark daze on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:20:37 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Don't be foolish (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              kalmoth

              I'm talking about raising your own food and you know it.  How it ends up on your plate may not be pretty at times, but it is the reality of life.

              •  IM not being foolish (0+ / 0-)

                we arent talking about vegetable gardening, we are talking about raising rabbits for meat.

                And actually vegetable gardening is very pretty.

                Bad is never good until worse happens

                by dark daze on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:23:34 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  No, we are talking about farming (3+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  kalmoth, elfling, DawnG

                  which, unless I've missed something, includes livestock in many applications.  

                  DawnG has decided to take livestock raising, which is a component of farming (just like vegetables and fruits) and be responsible for some of that portion of her diet, much like gardening for vegetables.

                  •  and Im just asking questions (0+ / 0-)

                    such as, do you save money doing this.

                    Im not judging or anything.  Just asking the motives here.  Is it to save money, is it to get away from genetically altered stuff, is it to live off the grid.  etc etc.

                    Bad is never good until worse happens

                    by dark daze on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:08:17 PM PDT

                    [ Parent ]

                •  You can't have baby farm animals (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DawnG, Catesby

                  if you're not willing to eat your mistakes. And, largely, the males.

                  Livestock can eat vegetation people can't. I have mine in place of gas-powered lawnmowers, for example.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:16:20 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  I will enjoy keeping and raising... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  duckhunter

                  ...rabbits.  I'll enjoy breeding them and seeing what traits get passed down from one generation to another.  I already enjoy taking care of them.

                  Butchering is just one part of the process.  I won't ENJOY it, but I won't be disgusted by it either.

                  Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

                  by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 02:40:37 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                •  Animals are very pretty too (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  DawnG

                  and in fact, vegetable gardening for yourself can be much less cost effective than raising your own meat.

                  I've spent a fortune in vegetable gardening to end up with crops that would cost a fraction of what I spent on them if I had bought them at the store.  To say nothing of the labor involved.

                  But I had a cow that I just let roam in the pasture, and cost me nothing but a few vaccinations and a couple of bales of hay in the summer.  But she has kept me in beef for a year.

          •  My mind went directly to the cost factor, (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Brubs

            I admit.  Even though I regularly pay top dollar for locally-grown vegetables from my neighbors.  There are also a few stands featuring organic, free-range, grass-fed, etc. meats.  We love the idea and the taste, but dang the prices  600% higher than the supermarket can't help but give one pause.  

            "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

            by lgmcp on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:43:32 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is so true (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp, bwren, DawnG

              Livestock raised "the old fashioned way" is more expensive, which is why many people are actually undertaking exactly what DawnG is doing.  My partner and I actually went in with several other people to buy a share in a cow (I know, it sounds like stock -live"stock"!!!  Nevermind....that was pretty bad.) from an organic farmer and it worked out just a bit more expensive for our quarter of meat.  Still worth it to me because I would rather give that money to an honest to goodness farmer than some faceless agribusiness that could care less about the quality of product they are forcing upon Americans.  

              BTW, we spend less per earned dollar on foodstuffs than just about any other country on the planet, and STILL try to get it cheaper.  Cost means nothing to me personally when my well-being depends upon what I put in my body.  But that's just my take and not everyone feels that way.  People are happy to drop $60k on a BMW but complain about organic foods costing more on average than mass-produced items.  Go figure.

              •  We've talked about getting a share of a cow (2+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Brubs, DawnG

                which our nice neighbor grows right next door.  Freezer space is a bit of an issue at the moment though.  Also, let's face it, lots of tougher, harder-to-cook-well  cuts of meat are a tradeoff with the good rich taste.  

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:15:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  I actually prefer those tougher cuts (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  lgmcp, DawnG

                  great for stews, braises, slow cooking, and full of flavor. You really learn the ins and outs of each cut when you have a quarter in the freezer.

                  Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

                  by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:18:01 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

            •  The woods are full of free organic meat (0+ / 0-)

              some packages weighing hundreds of pounds.

              "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

              by ban nock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:19:59 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Harvest all the deer and elk you wish (0+ / 0-)

                with my blessing.  In your opinion what's up with the risks of prion disease?  

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:35:11 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Not sure, I follow it closely and test the brain (0+ / 0-)

                  stem of any animal that comes from an area with what we call CWD (chronic wasting disease). When ungulates are kept at reasonable levels it seems to almost disappear. Highest concentrations in my state, in areas that do allow hunting is around 2%. Wildlife biologists have changed their population goals to reflect that and have even found increased birth rates. So they have higher harvests, lower winter kill, and reduced incidence of CWD.

                  Also it has never been found to transfer to humans.

                  I think wild meat is more closely followed than domestic beef. There is no lobbying organisation for wild ungulate business. Scientists are able to study without hindrance and with lots of dollars.

                  "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

                  by ban nock on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 08:09:48 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

              •  I don't know about organic. (0+ / 0-)

                The woods are also full of garbage and chemicals, more than you'd think.

                Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

                by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:37:53 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  I recommend you try it a few packages at a time (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              lgmcp

              Raising organic and grass fed livestock is a bit of an art, and it really does make a difference in the final product.

              Once you're happy, if you buy a quarter animal or more, the price can probably get down to the neighborhood of supermarket prices.

              What's remarkable is that our factory livestock practices make a product that is so uniform.

              Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

              by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:20:21 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good advice. (0+ / 0-)

                I don't know that my neighbor is very open to piece-meal dealing, though.  He runs a small outfilt and needs a few months notice to reserve a quarter as it is.  

                "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

                by lgmcp on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 01:30:57 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

        •  I think we waste less (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brubs, DawnG

          when we value it more.

          None of the exquisite grass fed beef I bought from my neighbor is going to waste, I assure you. We buy fewer pounds, and we enjoy it more.

          Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

          by elfling on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:07:22 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  it's not about money. (0+ / 0-)

      At all.  I've plunked in so much in start up costs that it really would be cheaper for me to buy meat at a store.

      But that's not why I'm doing this.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 02:26:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Mother Earth Magazine (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, Mr Robert, DawnG

    I was just reading the latest issue and noticed a long story about raising meat rabbits.

    Good article, detailing benefits of specific breeds, feeding, housing, etc.

    No, I could not do it, myself, but understand why others would.

    "I mean, it -- I mean -- and I tell somebody, I said, just because you have a group of scientists that have stood up and said here is the fact, Galileo got outvoted for a spell." -- Rick Perry, 9/7/11

    by Senor Unoball on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:27:32 AM PDT

  •  I've seen the titles in your series (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    martini, Mr Robert, DawnG, RunawayRose

    ..and thought they looked interesting, but hadn't read any before this one. I'll be hitting "Follow" so I won't miss these. Don't think I could do this myself, but my father's parents probably raised most of the meat animals their family ate when he was young.

    We are not given mercy because we deserve it, but because we need it.

    by Ahianne on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:54:24 AM PDT

  •  I think this diary is disturbing and wonderful. (6+ / 0-)

    I am following you now, DawnG, for this series.  The great disparity of emotions I went through reading it makes me think I have some personal development to do in that area, and while it would be easy to go off halfcocked about whether it was right or wrong (or both?) to do something like this, I'd rather explore (vicariously, maybe) what makes me squeamish on the matter through your diaries.

    I enjoy rabbit meat in the one and only way I've had it - fried in a skillet with some veggies.  It's tasty.  I don't have any qualms about shooting down rabbits in the field and frying them up.  Squirrel is also tasty, though I never would hunt squirrel considering their size and speed.  The idea though of hand raising and then killing them makes my internal organs knot up.  This surprises me since I don't seem to have much issue with killing cows, and how cute an animal is shouldn't have much bearing (I think) on whether or not it should be farmed.

    I guess I'd prefer that no animals were farmed for food, but I'm not about to give up eating beef or pork because it's not wild.  So I wish you luck with the bunnies.  I think it takes a certain degree of bravery to do such a thing but yet another to post about it, to claim responsibility for your action rather than hide it and claim that it is a necessary evil.  Kudos to you for that.

    I hope to gain greater emotional depth through reading this series and I thank you for the opportunity.  I believe we should all be closer to the land that provides for us and either take responsibility for what we’re doing with it - or stop.

    "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

    by Aramis Wyler on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:02:50 AM PDT

  •  First time in the series, read the first one (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    bluebird of happiness, DawnG

    and I want to express my support for your entire project.   Raising and processing one's own meat is undoubtedly the most ethical of all ways be a meat-eater, and rabbits offer a great combination of ease, efficiciency, and tastiness.

    However I WOULD worry about the cost-effectivness of commercially-acqured rabbit pellets and hay.  It seems that without the ability to grow one's own hay, corn, and veggies for them, it could really add up.  Factor in  in the labor costs of husbandry and butchering, and how much per pound will the meat come out to?  

    "The extinction of the human race will come from its inability to EMOTIONALLY comprehend the exponential function." -- Edward Teller

    by lgmcp on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:37:42 AM PDT

    •  I have an entire lawn of crabgrass and... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      ...bindweed I have been feeding them (and they love both).

      I'm going away from HAY and towards hay cubes (which can be bought in 50lb bags for not a lot as a horse treat).   The hay tends to sift through the bottom of the cage and a lot goes to waste.

      But you can buy horse quality hay or alfalfa/grass mix for $6-8/bale that will last a VERY long time for a small rabbit operation.  

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 02:52:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Oh, and I've heard that... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      lgmcp

      ...feeding weeds to rabbits can flavor the meat (actually the fat) in unsavory ways so it should be kept for just the breeders you dont' intend to eat.  The kits should be fed pellets/oats (can get 50lb bags of grain where horse supplies are sold/BOSS.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 02:56:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  this is fascinating (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    victoria2dc, Mr Robert, DawnG, celdd

    I'm Jewish and rabbits are not kosher, so I would never eat one - but I am writing a novel in which the main character's family is breeding rabbits to sell for meat and fur, so it's great to read a first-person account of how this would work. Super interesting. I'm so into people finding ways to feed themselves, outside the corporate agribusiness sector.

    I haven't read the whole series yet but I'm going to - maybe you've covered rabbit health - what diseases they might be susceptible to.

    As for the proper care and humane killing, I wholeheartedly agree that if we are going to eat meat (any animal) it is vital to treat such a creature with kindness and make sure it has a high quality of life, and kill it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    It sounds like a good idea if rabbits are relatively low-maintenance, easy to keep and feed.

    Many people in my neighborhood have begun to keep chickens.

    Super interesting. I'm so into people finding ways to feed themselves, outside the corporate agribusiness sector.

  •  It’s just like Roger and Me! (0+ / 0-)

    It’s just like Roger and Me!
    Remember the rabbit lady? Prophetic or just pathetic?

    Nudniks need not apply.

    by killermiller on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:15:17 AM PDT

  •  Einstein (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    hester

    "Nothing will benefit human health and increase chances of survival for life on earth as much as the evolution to a vegetarian diet."

    Albert Einstein, physicist, Nobel Prize 1921

    •  evolution takes thousands of years. (0+ / 0-)

      Go for it.

      I'm not saying it's not possible to be a healthy vegetarian, but it's certainly not part of human nature and it is only possible by combining ingredients that don't always grow together.  

      We are not ruminants.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 03:00:13 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I have wanted to do this too (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG, celdd

    Raise rabbits and I think quail. I have a quarter acre of land with my house and 3 people. I think rabbits and quail would be my best bet and least likely to annoy my neighbors. Plus rabbit poop is AMAZING for tomatoes. My DH is queasy about game meats tho so I have been slow to start it. Plus I am disabled so I worry about getting down and having no one to tend to them. It is exciting to watch you do it tho. Good luck!!!

    When I was a young single mom trying to stay in college I used to hunt wild rabbit that was crazy plentiful around the house I was renting because I was FLAT broke all the time and it kept us fed. My son never knew what he was eating! I even ground it up and put it in Hamburger Helper with vegetables I grew, lol.  :P

  •  I raised rabbits in the 80s here in Hawaii (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    elfling, DawnG, celdd

    i started with 2 and before a year was up, we had way too many for my small family to eat.  "Rabbit stew again???"  The poop sure was great for the veggie garden.
    I solved the overpopulation problem by bartering with the manapua truck that would drive by our house.  My kids loved manapua (chinese buns with char siu pork inside).  No doubt the the manapua's contents became char siu rabbit until the supply ran out.  All in all it was a good experience knowing we could raise meat in the backyard if needed because  living on a small island in the middle of the Pacific we are at the mercy of the shipping lines that bring us our food.  

    Elizabeth Warren 2016!

    by windwardguy46 on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 12:58:48 PM PDT

  •  I couldn't do it , but this (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG

    got my grandparents through the Great Depression.

  •  Rabbit is excellent meat (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG

    It tastes somewhat like turkey I my opinion.

    And rabbit livestock surely must be about as stupid as turkey livestock that can drown if left out in the rain because they look up.  Rabbits will sometimes stomp some of their  their own babies to death and nibble them, when they have food and water right there.

    Wisconsin is closed for political maintenance.

    by Subversive on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 02:13:13 PM PDT

  •  A thought on cages (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG

    I raised Dutch rabbits for several years for food.

    Join the ARBA - American Rabbit Breeders Association ...!

    Never galvanized wire .... it is rough on their feet. The galvanized wire also contains lots of zinc which is not good. Expect bloody feet and possible infection. Galvanized wire is used for "Easter Bunnies" ... not production.

    Better to use welded wire ... 1x2 on the sides and top .... 1/2x 1 on the bottom with the 1/2 side up.

    Put together with cheap J clips and the tool which is about $3.

    Far cheaper than purchased cages and much better for the animal.

    "Politics is the entertainment branch of industry" - Frank Zappa

    by Da Rock on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 04:03:16 PM PDT

    •  well it's all galvanized. (0+ / 0-)

      The distinction you have is between galvanized BEFORE welding (which you call weded wire) and galvanized AFTER welding (which you call galvanzed wire).  But it's all galvanized for erosion resistance (rabbit urine is very erosive, on wood and metal).

      The galvanized before wire tends not to last as long because the weld sites erode faster, but it'll still last you for many years if well cared for and the floors are easy enough to replace.  The galvanized after, is harder on a rabbit's feet because the galvanization causes roughness and bumps in the actual wire, but it also lasts longer.

      Regardless, it's important to have some kind of mat for rabbits to sit and lay on so they don't have to spend all their time on wire floors.  A peice of plywood or a specially made plastic mat (with holes for droppings to fall through) works fine. I've also seen woven grass mats that rabbits can chew on for entertainment.  I have the plastic mats in every cage.  

      Oh and I did sign up for ARBA as well. :)

      I also don't have the "baby saving" wire (which is the 1 X 1/2 " wire that goes a couple inches over the bottom of the walls) because I have urine guards.  But the urine guards don't cover the backs so we'll see how babies do with that.  I may have to jury rig some kind of baby catcher along the front of the cage.  We'll see.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 05:04:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  WE'RE EXPECTING AT THE SAME TIME!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG

    I just bred my meat bunnies too.  Expecting November 6th!!!!

  •  I just read that the fish Tilapia can be (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    DawnG

    raised at home for food.

    Also, there is a new small goat that purportedly good for "residential" farms.

    The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

    by HoundDog on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:01:55 PM PDT

    •  I wrote a diary on aquaponics.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      HoundDog

      ...that addresses that.

      It's a combination of growing fish for food (aquaculture) and growing vegetables in nutrient rich water (hydroponics).  The fish create waste which in turn feed the veggies which purifies the water for the fish.

      Tilapia is excellent for that.  it takes quite a bit to set up though.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 07:24:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I've just read about 8 articles about it, DawnG (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        DawnG

        I used to have over 10 aquariums, many over 100 gallons so I well know how much work it can be.

        But, I love the ideas of self-sufficiency and self-contained ecosystems.

        One article I just read describe this fellow in Florida that captures the rain off his roof, and then uses gravity to move water through about a dozen or more tanks.

        He started with those inexpensive plastic children's pools you buy at places like Walmart.

        He's digging his own larger pond.

        He claims to run his entire operation with very modest additional electricity.  I think he said 300 watts which doesn't make sense because the time unit is missing.

        Electricity use, is measured in kilowatt hours, unless he was describing the capacity of a solar panel.  I'll have to check.

        Another, author claims to make $198,000 a year with expenses of just over $100,000.

        However, a Florida University claims there are not many profitable US commercial operations because Latin American and now increasingly the Chinese are exporting high quality inexpensive fish, including frozen filets.

        Many state also require permits as it is considered an invasive species.

        A few health people suggest that of all the fish it is the least healthy because of its unusually low Omega 3, especially if feed the least expensive corn, soy mixes.

        Sorry, I don't know why I'm reporting this all to you DawnG.

        I guess that just how I roll.  I'm inspired but your self-subsistence ideas, however the rabbits our neighbors used to raise produced vast quantities of smelly rabbit turds.  

        And, like many of these posting comments, I do not think I could kill a rabbit in person.

        I eat meat, so I'm not being moralistic about it, just confessing a soft spot for animals - especially mammals.

        Killing fish would probably make me quesy too, but I could probably do it, in the spirit of Gandhi's self-reliance, -- like his instructions that everyone should spin and weave their own clothes.

        The means is the ends in the process of becoming. - Mahatma Gandhi

        by HoundDog on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:27:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  I read that article about tilapia as well. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          HoundDog

          and I can believe it.  But the same is also true about farmed salmon, that it's low in omega 3 which is part of the reason people eat salmon.  And farmed salmon is dyed pink becuase the flesh is actually grey.  it's all the swimming in the big wide ocean that gives salmon its pink flesh and high omega 3.

          But part of the benefits of raising tilapia is that it can thrive on a variety of omnivorous  diets.  A lot of people grow duckweed (a very high protein aquatic plant) for use in tilapia feeding (I have even heard it posited for rabbit feed).   People also feed their fish a meal made from insects or mealworms or vegetable refuse.  You definately don't have to feed them corn or soy when you're growing them for your own consumption.

          As for smelly rabbits, the pellet poo is actually not what smells, it's the urine.  The pellets, once dry, don't smell like anything.  They're great fertilizer and can be added to soil without composting (It won't burn roots like other manures) and is very popular for worm farms.  I'm expermimenting right now with my rabbit waste..  I use litter trays full of pine shavings. When I clean the trays I scrape out the "urine" side (rabbits generally go in one dedicated corner) along with the poo pellets, push the rest of the litter over to that side and fill in the remainer with fresh shavings.  I'm curious to see how well urine soaked pine shavings composts.  We'll see in the spring I guess.  If it does well I"ll probably grow potatoes in it.  IF not, well, they're already bagged for pickup.

          Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

          by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:54:43 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Hmmm... (0+ / 0-)
    There was no biting, no scratching and Augie even groomed her when he was done (ever a sweetheart. LOL!)

    Why bother putting emotions into this at all? They will all be dinner soon, no?

    •  I kind of feel like a broken record now. (0+ / 0-)

      I will not be eating my BREEDERS.  Augie and prissy's job is to make babies.  I will raise the baby rabbits (called kits) to butcher weight (5-6lbs) and eat THEM.  They won't get names and I am not going to try and get attached to them.

      But I can get as attached as I want to the breeders, because I"m not indending to eat THEM.  I may still need to kill them if they become injured or sick to the point that they're suffering, but I'm not going to eat them.  ANd really that's not uncommon for people who breed rabbits for meat.

      Hope that clears things up.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:02:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  What you can do to stop this (0+ / 0-)

    http://noslaughter.org
    Neighbors Against Backyard Slaughter is a really great resource if there are people in your community interested in overturning common sense laws banning backyard slaughter.  I'm not promoting the website, I just don't think my comments will change any hearts or minds so I want to give people who were deeply upset by this (like I was) a resource.  

    •  You know, you are more than welcome... (0+ / 0-)

      ...to write your own diary on this subject than to hijack mine.

      There is an active lobbying group against raising animals for meat (in general) and it has become a very threatening force for people who choose to do just that.  While I am sure you don't mean to intimidate anyone in particular, coming out with my experiences is not without risk and I would appreciate not to have people lobbying a potentially harrasing group.

      Just saying.

      Help me raise money for Breast Cancer research. I will shave my head if we raise $10,000 by 11/11/11.

      by DawnG on Sun Oct 16, 2011 at 01:22:12 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  I came back to answer a query to a comment I (0+ / 0-)

    made and noticed all the replies to your diary. (Mostly positive with a few notable exceptions ;-))

    Interesting, the replies. I went to some of the anti back yard animal raising web sites too. I'd say you've expanded some minds, good job.

    "Slip now and you'll fall the rest of your life" Derek Hersey 1957-1993

    by ban nock on Sat Oct 15, 2011 at 08:28:40 AM PDT

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