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Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

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Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Oct 24, 2016 10:51 am


Ok, so I don't currently have everything I need so obviously that should be step one. I'm afraid that I won't kill the rabbit on the first try and I don't want it to hurt if I mess it up because I could never do it again if I didn't do it right. I've only culled one rabbit and that was Sailor after he got very sick and dropped weight, he was so stiff the entire time it was very difficult. I've never culled a younger rabbit but I have 3 about 3 months old and I've asked the person who processed my last three in trade of a cage but I want to eventually do it myself, but, then there is this part of me that has been trained to think I'll mess up (My main hold up). Any advice would be good advice at this point. I need a knife but I don't want to put $40 into a knife.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Oct 24, 2016 11:07 am


Just about everyone feels like that when they are about to begin, Buttons. It's perfectly normal.

If you can persuade the person who did your other rabbits to come and help you this time, that would probably make it easier for you. You watch the first one and then take it from there under his guidance.

As for a knife, I just use my best kitchen knife. A blade 4-6 inches long is plenty big enough, depending on the size of your hands. As long as it is comfortable in your hand and freshly sharpened, it will be adequate. Forget $40 for a special knife -- it isn't needed.

Most people find that once the rabbit has been dispatched, they feel a profound sense of relief. If they do a poor job of the processing, they know they will improve, but at least the rabbit is beyond suffering. They can also take as much time as they need.

Dispatching is never easy -- nor should it be. But if you treat it as just another job that you intend to do efficiently, you'll get through it just fine.

I don't know what method you are using, but I always made sure I had a hammer handy when dispatching. I hard hammer blow to the head if something goes wrong at least stuns the rabbit and gives you time to finish the job. I never needed it, but it made me feel safer to have it there.

You can do this, Buttons. I'm sure of it. :good-luck:
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#3  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:09 pm


Thank you for the hammer tip, one question about the hammer, do I hit them in the middle of the head (I've killed catfish with a nail through the head and I know you do it dead center for best results, or so I've been told anyway lol)

I'm not sure what I'm going to do it with, something like the hopper popper, but I'd really rather not put $50 into something like that, especially when I've seen DIY methods, anyone who sees this and has a DIY set-up PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE SHOW ME YOUR PICTURES AND TELL ME YOUR METHOD!!! I've seen only one youtube video I've really really liked and learned a lot from, he did it slowly and showed the parts well, but I don't have enough wood to make a set-up like his, I think I'll hunt down some clothesline wire and tie some loops in each end to hold their feet. I will have to get a knife sharpener and possibly a knife.

Thank you for making me feel better about it MaggieJ, I was kinda wondering how some people do it because I look at their cute little faces and I fall in love, but then they get older, they start using unneccessary space and I know my original plan was to do this so I need to follow through or my rabbitry will crash into the ground seeing I'm currently not profiting and am starting aquaponics, to make herbal tinctures for humans and animals, to make money for rabbit stuff >3<
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#4  Unread postby shazza » Mon Oct 24, 2016 12:57 pm


if you use the whack method you typically hit them right behind the ears, but if you're using another method and something goes wrong, i would just smash wherever i can hit it x: better to have a crushed skull than a rabbit in pain. just a warning it could get bloody that way.

i clean and sell the skulls of my rabbits, so my preferred method is cervical dislocation, where you separate the neck bones, causing instant death. it's a pretty simply method and can be done alone, but requires a bit of coordination. i use a fairly heavy metal rod - doubles as a whacking stick should i need it, but thankfully so far i haven't. with young rabbits you really don't have to pull hard at all, but older adults can require some strength. it's essentially the same as a hopper popper, but it can be pretty much free. make sure you don't have a bad back (which...i do, but i've never had to do more than a few at a time so far.) i always hold my rabbits on the floor until they stop thrashing - it just looks so undignified to hang them up while they're moving, even if they do probably bleed better. it also gives me a little chance to catch my breath. taking a life is never easy, especially if it's one you're attached to :(

i went take some photos, maybe it'll help. it's just me home so this is from my perspective. i can take some others from third person perspective later when my husband comes home. no bunnies were harmed in these photos! little rosette was a bit upset with me for holding her in that weird position for the few seconds it took to get the last photo, but i gave her kisses and some parsley and she forgave me very quickly.

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we have a couple of these metal rods lying around and they make perfect dispatch rods. put bun between feet and lay the rod right behind her ears, in that dip.

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lightly put your feet on the rod to hold the rabbit in place. i try to make the transition from this to the next step quick, because this is where they get wiggly and try to run away. grab the rabbit's feet in your dominant hand and...

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in one quick motion, put your weight on the rod and yank the feet up at a 90 degree angle. you'll be able to feel the neck pop and the rabbit will start its death throes. you can do an eye test if you aren't sure - if they don't react to you touching their eye, you're good. if you have doubts, you can pull again or use the hammer. it's pretty quick and relatively stress-free for the rabbit. there is some bruising on the neck where it breaks, but we usually don't eat the neck anyway so it's never been an issue.



i envy you guys who can process your rabbits outside, lol. i live too close to my neighbours and the kids play in the streets here all the time and i just know i'm going to end up traumatizing someone's sweet little darling and get yelled at, so i do it all inside in my kitchen sink, heh.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:16 pm


Well we live literally right off the road, so there's a question of location lol. I'll probably do it in the backyard or in the side yard or something, I've been told though that if the other animals smell blood they will freak out, now of course I won't be bringing the other rabbits out with me to process them. I've also been attempting to sell them before I process but meat mutts don't seem to be all that popular, or Silver Fox for that.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#6  Unread postby FourRingCircus » Mon Oct 24, 2016 1:58 pm


I found a nice filet knife in the fishing section at Field and Stream - WalMart has the same one. It was $15 I think? It has worked well. ANything bigger and I am prone to cutting myself :oops: . I had a 6" blade and first and it just got in the way. Scissors are nice to have on hand, as are pruners... not necessary, but come in handy. The pruners can get through bone and cartilage saving your knife blade... I use them for joints, the neck, and the pelvis. I use the scissors for random things like trimming, or to cut down the belly for less of a risk of puncturing anything compared to the sharp knife tip.

Processing isn't easy... it is taking a life, one you raised. If you eat meat at all, though, that's a part of it. I like knowing where my meat comes from. Our freezer is filled with beef from a farm down the road and rabbit from my backyard. I was given a homemade rabbit wringer and it has worked well. There have been two instances where they turned their head and that didn't go well :( - I am going to see if DH's cousin can narrow the gap at the base which should help prevent that in the future... there's (literally) too much wiggle room. I did the broomstick method starting out as well. It wasn't hard, but the wringer is a lot easier for me.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#7  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Oct 24, 2016 3:46 pm


I do plan to eat them, the part of knowing I'm taking a life is making it a lot harder for me, but then I'm thinking about the fact I've loved these animals and gave them everything I could up until now. Knowing they are loved and not shoved into a tiny commercial cage in a cramped room makes it a lot easier. (I'm not saying all commercial rabbitries are bad either)
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#8  Unread postby akane » Mon Oct 24, 2016 4:56 pm


I don't use a knife. A pair of shears (my best ones were for fish bones) or sharp scissors is it. I find whacking, cutting the throat, and similar methods to have a learning curve best not attempted the first time. Heck, 100s of rabbits later and some cavy (guinea pigs) I still don't like doing those. I only whack fish with a hammer on a cement block with minimal chance to miss. Broom sticking (which has variations of items you can use instead of a broom) or pellet guns is probably the safest start. The former being the least bloody and traumatic for humans. Unless you pull hard enough to remove their heads and then you will see lots of blood. Rabbits are fairly docile to being put in place for broom sticking. Pressure behind their ears tends to just lay them down still so if you are light with your first foot you have time to position your second foot and pull without a freaking rabbit most of the time. If you have a higher strung breed and colony or outdoor pen raised them you might have more trouble. Otherwise you can't really mess it up. There's only one spot for the broom to go and you just keep pulling until you feel the neck dislocate. Short of falling over while trying to stand on a broom or bar it's pretty foolproof but not the easiest for some people with back or balance issues. Pellet guns work well for much the same reason. You put the pressure behind the head instead of at the forehead and they just go flat while you adjust the angle to go into the brain. Get the pellet anywhere in the skull and they are out. I did a second shot twice now but I'm not sure I ever needed to. They will splatter blood from the bullet hole and often ears, mouth, nose, etc... while kicking their feet. Be prepared for kicking. Nothing just falls down dead like tv. A lot of the time the faster the method the more kicking you get so it is not bad. If you've seen the peta videos of animals (often horses for the most effect) thrashing as they are hauled down the line after the bolt gun no they are not alive and they feel nothing. That is what the body does. You can fully pop the head off and still get thrashing. Especially in poultry. Watch for eye responses if you are concerned about them being fully dead or not and the front of the body doesn't normally move much, usually none, when signals to the brain are properly stopped.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#9  Unread postby Zass » Mon Oct 24, 2016 5:55 pm


A lot of the time the faster the method the more kicking you get so it is not bad.


I find that the more relaxed the animal is in the last moment, the less kicking I get. I think it has something to do with pent up energy.
Energy in muscles tensed to spring, or something like that.
For the most part, kicking is good because it means a successful kill was achieved.
A rabbit who's head is not connected to it's spine would not be able to kick consciously, which leads me to the reasonable conclusion that what we are seeing is nerves and muscles releasing energy without the animal's conscious direction.

I tend to hold them upside down over the sink immediately after breaking necks or pelleting. It lets me hold them cleanly up above any blood that might come out, instead of allowing them to drip or kick the stuff all over their fur.

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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Oct 24, 2016 7:47 pm


I was kinda thinking about giving them lavender before being processed, maybe put some drops of it in their water or something, so they'll be calm. I'm glad you said the more thrashing the faster the death that makes me feel so much better, when I had to cull Sailor he thrashed so much we weren't sure he was dead and when I tossed him into the river he had one last thrash (I can't tell you the thoughts going through my head in the moment I tossed him and he thrashed, I thought he was still alive, everything went black and I cried, But I remember seeing him looking so lifeless as he floated down, no struggle for air.) I'll probably do the broomstick because I don't want to see blood spurting out of the back of my bunnies head, that would be a little traumatizing.. XC. Sounds like I'm still short a few supplies (Cutters, knife)
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#11  Unread postby SoDak Thriver » Tue Oct 25, 2016 6:02 am


Hey, Buttons, have you had rabbit before? A recipe you really liked? Something you're looking forward to making? I find that fasting 12-24hrs before processing day and thinking about my red curry rabbit or root veggie soup with rabbit helps put me in touch with why I'm doing what I'm doing. The hunger helps me focus and get past my mistakes.

When I do make mistakes during the dispatch, I remember that my rabbits have good lives that end in one bad moment. I treat them like they are a gift here for my stewardship. They are not kept in cramped quarters and fed antibiotics and put in a feed lot or under constant light to maximize productivity until death rescues them. Every rabbit you raise and eat is an animal not purchased from some house of horrors. Remember that while you process.

As for equipment, I also use a filet knife. They are very sharp when you get them and easy to keep sharp. I also have a kitchen shears that I use all the time in the kitchen so it's not a dedicated rabbit tool. If you use Grumpy's method, you'll need a pliers as well. I don't keep the organ meat for my own use, so I skip that step, but otherwise I use his method to the letter.

For dispatch, I use the same method Shazza depicted. I use a piece of broom handle. The first time, it can be hard to keep the rabbit from scooting backwards, but you'll get the hang of it quickly.

Good luck to you!
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#12  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:55 am


I may just do that then, the broomstick. I appreciate all of you guys help! I'm almost in tears at the compassion of the people on this site. All of you have been in my shoes, and I love reading your replies. I keep rabbit talk open and I'm forever reloading the page to see if someone else has replied because I love hearing from you guys. I've wanted to do rabbits for years and now I'm finally able to and you guys have helped me almost every step of the way to where I am now, and I can't even begin to tell you how much I appreciate all of you!
I am looking into getting a knife very soon, I'm gonna go set up a little Rabbits for sale outside and see if anyone stops, maybe I'll sell a rabbit, obviously I am going to discuss cage, feed, etc. I'm not letting someone take a rabbit with no clue what to do.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#13  Unread postby Dwc77 » Tue Oct 25, 2016 9:25 pm


Maybe have someone help you until you feel comfortable with the process. The more you get a chance to see rabbits get butchered the easier it will become. I remember watching my dad and older brothers butcher them and thinking wish I was taller so I could help :lol: and even tho I have processed a lot of rabbits by myself it is nice to have ol Dad give me a hand sometimes! Good luck Buttons ;) As far as fasting for up to 24 hrs to focus SoDak Thriver I must say that should do the trick :lol: :lol: :laugh2:

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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#14  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Tue Oct 25, 2016 10:48 pm


I would probably pass out if I tried fasting, I've never had rabbit meat either. But I'll probably ask the lady who processed me last three to help me out or see if she'll walk me through it.
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Re: Between doing it and pussing out (Help please)

Post Number:#15  Unread postby Homer » Wed Oct 26, 2016 6:01 am


The "cheap" knife advise above is good advise. I have knives I've spent upwards of $80 for and still go back to my $10 fillet knife I've use fishing for 40 years. lol (very flexible and easy to sharpen)
http://www.target.com/p/rapala-fish-n-fillet-with-sharpener-tan-4/-/A-14126411?ref=tgt_adv_XS000000&AFID=google_pla_df&CPNG=&adgroup=&LID=700000001170770pgs&network=g&device=c&location=9029042&gclid=CLucsLml-M8CFQIMaQod6UQHzA&gclsrc=aw.ds

Watch Grumpy's video! Several Times and take notes if you need. When you decide you are ready, set a day and time, get your supplies together and let Nothing interfere with that.

http://rabbittalk.com/learning-aid-for-usda-protocol-processing-video-t18360.html

Think about that first meal your going to make if your mind starts to wonder probably won't hurt any either. ;)
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