Mature rabbit dispatch and processing
I decided to acquire a mature retired buck to practice dispatching and processing on. Before I sunk more money into purchasing rabbits, cages, feeders and nesting boxes, I wanted to make sure I could 100% go through with the entire process.
I have watched numerous videos showing different dispatching methods and decided to go with the broomstick method as it did not require the purchase of anything. I used an old hoe I had In the shed as my "broomstick." It was not a smooth process. I learnt valuable information though. Do it on a hard surface. Spring ground is squishy and is not a suitable surface to attempt it on. For a mature rabbit you need quite a bit of strength. This rabbit at least felt like it's leg joints were giving before cervical dislocation. I wish that dispatching had gone smoother for the rabbit.
Skinning a mature meat rabbit also is much harder than it appears in the videos of skinning kits. While trying to pull the skin from the back legs, sections of meat tried to tear away with the pelt. I ended up working my way around the rabbit using my fingers and a knife to seperate the skin from the meat.
Removing the intestines and organs was very straight forward. There was no surprises and seemed to go smoothly. It was not as gross as I thought it would be. Scoop and pull, scoop and pull. This was the easiest part of the process in my opinion.
I have read that processing a mature adult rabbit is much tougher than processing grow outs at 10 to 16 weeks. I am hoping this is true. I am not proud to admit that from start to finish it took me the better part of an hour. That is a crazy long time I think. If a doe has 7 kits, I'll be processing all day if it takes me as long. I am glad I did it though. I now know I can handle all parts of the process. I know that I will get more confident and quicker each time I do it. I am looking forward to seeing the difference in processing a kit compared to an adult, and I am also looking forward to eating the buck I dispatched and processed. He is currently resting in a bowl of brine in the fridge.
It is said that adult rabbits are tough. It is advised to soak them in brine to help maintain their juices and also to help break down their protein fibers a bit to allow them to be more tender. Cooking should be low and slow for adults as well. My plan is to cook it in the crock pot and then make a shepherd pie out of it.
I saved the ears and feet from the buck. I dehydrated them to make dog treats. My bulldog says no thank-you, while the collie says they are delicious. It's going to be nice to be able to make dog treats and utilize even more of the rabbit.
My overall consensus is that it is harder than it looks. It will take time to perfect the skill. I am not 100% sold on the broomstick method. I am not sure my strength is enough for that method, or maybe my hand placement on the rabbit was wrong.... More research will be done. I will continue on with this journey though. I am excited to begin producing my own home raised meat. Being self sufficient and less reliant on the grocery store, and having a life skill that is actually useful.