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Dispatching with a pellet gun...

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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#16  Unread postby akane » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:38 pm


Actually for the purpose of feeding to animals if we are looking at a health standpoint instead of ease and cleanliness you want as much blood in the carcass as possible. It provides vital nutrients so you don't want to slit the throat and bleed them out right away. In fact it would be ideal to do cervical dislocation and then leave the carcass sit and do a couple more before processing so the blood does not come out. However aside from a pellet gun being nice and simple this could be messy when feeding and many who do it that way are also grinding the whole rabbit and feeding it as part of a ground meat diet instead of whole prey method so it's all mixed together.

Freezing seems to help congeal the blood so it does not run out all over the place provided the rabbit lost some blood while butchering. When I feed the cats fresh gerbil which I do not bleed out my bathroom looks like someone got murdered, they even had some 2' up the walls, but if I freeze them for a day there's only a streak or 2 on the floor to wipe up. You do not have to freeze though as domestic rabbits should not be carrying anything your dog or cat would get and I've thrown fresh still twitching limbs to the cats while cutting down carcasses for the dogs.

I'm also wondering if I have to let the meat (thats intended for the dogs) rest in the fridge, before freezing, to let the rigor pass.


Resting meat is to make it more tender for human consumption. Dogs don't care. You can pitch it right in the freezer. My akita actually refuses fresh meat and will only eat it if it's been frozen. She prefers freezer burnt so I often throw them in the bags and freezer still wet from rinsing.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#17  Unread postby skysthelimit » Fri Mar 23, 2012 12:55 pm


MamaSheepdog wrote:Speaking of blood- anyone feed that to the dogs/cats/chickens? I think I might see how they like it.



I get a little bleed out through the nose. The dog's lick up the blood pretty quickly. They eat everything but the pelt, and if I didn't claim that they would eat that too. Most raw feeders I know feed the rabbit with fur on.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#18  Unread postby trinityoaks » Fri Mar 23, 2012 2:39 pm


grumpy wrote:I suppose I'm the "odd-man-out". I've processed thousands of rabbits since the mid-70's, and all I've ever used is the "dis-locate" method.

I guess that's ok if you're strong enough and/or have big enough hands to manage it. I wouldn't trust myself to do it right (i.e. as quickly and painlessly as possible) using this method.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#19  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Mar 23, 2012 3:10 pm


I agree with you, Trinity... which is why I have preferred the pellet gun. Since reading One Acre Farms review of the Rabbit Wringer, however, I intend to order one. Our pellet gun is older and just does not seem to have the power it once had and I think I'd rather spend money on the Wringer than a new pellet gun.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#20  Unread postby rawfeeder » Fri Mar 23, 2012 11:56 pm


Thanks for all the information guys! Like a few of the other members here mentioned, I'm not confident enough in my ability to try the dislocate method. But maybe the wringer is something I can look into in the future for a cleaner kill.

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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#21  Unread postby BroodCoop » Sat Mar 24, 2012 6:36 am


When I started this and sought the advice of experienced people I was told by each person I met face to face that the quick whack to the back of the head was the tried and true method. Two of these people were very small women but small healthy women. I was apprehensive about my first kill and it was an emotional experience. After months of nurturing an animal and providing for its well being to kill it does not follow naturally. After having done this a few times it is still nothing to look forward to but if you are going to eat, something has to die. This is a humane, effective and efficient method. I have seen no pretty method.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#22  Unread postby MaggieJ » Sat Mar 24, 2012 7:17 am


BroodCoop wrote:When I started this and sought the advice of experienced people I was told by each person I met face to face that the quick whack to the back of the head was the tried and true method. Two of these people were very small women but small healthy women. I was apprehensive about my first kill and it was an emotional experience. After months of nurturing an animal and providing for its well being to kill it does not follow naturally. After having done this a few times it is still nothing to look forward to but if you are going to eat, something has to die. This is a humane, effective and efficient method. I have seen no pretty method.


A quick whack to the back of the head with what? Your hand? A length of metal pipe? "Bopping" is indeed a traditional method of killing a rabbit and if it works for you that is good... but many of us do not have the strength or coordination to do it properly. A pellet gun or cervical dislocating device like the Rabbit Wringer is a viable alternative that makes it easier for us to make a clean, humane kill.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#23  Unread postby akane » Sat Mar 24, 2012 11:47 am


Bopping though often doesn't kill but knocks the animal unconscious and then you bleed them out immediately. Some may eventually wake up if you don't and they won't be in good shape. Good way to get all the blood out if you are using them for humans or you want the most cleanliness in feeding fresh rabbit but like I said for feeding to animals you want blood in them. You don't want to bleed them out immediately with the heart still beating.

Never attempt to bop a catfish if you aren't a large male or have a very big rock on hand. They have heads like rocks and the counter was gonna give before the catfish. I've never had a kill go so wrong as trying to figure out how to put down a catfish. Those things are durable.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#24  Unread postby grumpy » Sun Mar 25, 2012 8:47 am


trinityoaks wrote:
grumpy wrote:I suppose I'm the "odd-man-out". I've processed thousands of rabbits since the mid-70's, and all I've ever used is the "dis-locate" method.

I guess that's ok if you're strong enough and/or have big enough hands to manage it. I wouldn't trust myself to do it right (i.e. as quickly and painlessly as possible) using this method.



I've tried different methods...never tried using a dispatch weapon. I've seen ricochets and the accidental damage they can do. Even a B-B gun can ricochet wrong and an eye can easily be lost. Although rare, it only takes one time. Then it's too late.

I've never processed for the animal food trade. It's always been for human consumption. BTW I get $9.00 a pound for rabbit liver. I know my barn cats patiently wait for the lungs, kidneys, and hearts when I process a dozen or so for the freezer. I had one customer that wanted all of these parts saved and added to the package before it went into the freezer.

It's all in what one is comfortable with when it comes to processing. This is the way I was taught from an old rabbit breeder back in the 70's. I followed his instructions and became very proficient with this method. Like anything else, it takes practice. I've never been comfortable with a flopping animal slinging blood everywhere. From the time I put my hands on an animal, until they are completely expired, you'll only witness a subtle leg-kick every so often. They are immediately placed on a skinning gambrel and I always have at least one hand on it as a restraint. Again...it's a matter of personal preference.

A little tid-bit of info: Look for a Falconry Club in your area. You can get a dollar a piece for frozen rabbit heads. They use them as a training aid and treat for their birds.

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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#25  Unread postby akane » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:15 am


I've seen ricochets and the accidental damage they can do. Even a B-B gun can ricochet wrong and an eye can easily be lost. Although rare, it only takes one time. Then it's too late.


What's it going to richochet off of? The rabbit? The dirt under the rabbit? Grass blades? Even when I do them indoors (didn't really want to haul rabbits out to the wooded area in 0F with wind) I take care to know what is behind where I'm shooting and use the softest area of aglime. I'm debating if those cheap $20 puzzle mats are soft enough to absorb a bullet so I can shoot on the concrete and I don't have to leave blood in the horse stalls. Next fall I may have to get some and target practice one to see what happens.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#26  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Sun Mar 25, 2012 11:23 am


When we have used a pellet gun, we point the rifle at the base of the skull, aiming toward the nose. The rabbit falls immediately dead, there is some back leg movement, and usually bleeds out thru the mouth. That being said, I really like my Wringer and I use it most often now.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#27  Unread postby greeleyfarm » Mon Mar 26, 2012 12:37 am


Grumpy: I and all the breeders I know use cervical dislocation through "broomsticking." I am pretty well used to seeing a fair bit of kicking before I can put them on the gambrel, although sometimes there is very little. Wondering what your chosen method is... Do you do is by hand? I have been curious about that method, but a little too nervous to try it out yet as I've never seen done except on video.

My buddy just got a wringer in the mail and, frankly, I think it's the future for all my culls. I haven't tried it personally yet, but it seems really slick and he has nothing but good things to say about it. Now if I could get one for my ducks...

To all: One of my biggest peeves about processing rabbits is all the clotted blood around the neck. Anybody have experience with a technique that minimizes this or a good technique for cleaning it (other than scissors)? My Buns are all for human tables is the only reason I ask.

Akane: thanks for the hilarious note about catfish! Duly. Noted. I will make sure to have a large knife at hand if I ever meet one in a dark alley.

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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#28  Unread postby grumpy » Mon Mar 26, 2012 6:15 am


I hold the head firmly in one hand and I use my thumb placed against the 2nd cervical vertebra at the base of the skull, with their hindlegs held in my other hand. A steady pull until the animal is stretched out, then a quick upward snap with the head tilted back slightly towards the tail. They immediately stiffen and are placed on the gambrel while I restrain and keep them stretched out with a free hand. The corotid is lanced and the animal is bled out. Once the bleeding has slowed, it's a quick downward movement with the hand that's holding the head and you can feel the separation of the head from the body. The head remains attached by a loose flap of skin.

From the time the spinal cord is broken until the head is separated, is about 20-25 seconds. I've done it this way for longer than I care to think about. I've tried "whacking" them but was dissatisfied with the bruising and blood-clotting on the neck area. It takes just a few moments to clean one and drop them into fresh cold water.

It's an easy method, but one that's difficult to explain. I wouldn't have the first clue as to how to video it and place it on here.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#29  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:14 am


greeleyfarm wrote:My buddy just got a wringer in the mail and, frankly, I think it's the future for all my culls. I haven't tried it personally yet, but it seems really slick and he has nothing but good things to say about it. Now if I could get one for my ducks...


There is now a dual purpose Wringer for rabbits and poultry. It's more expensive, but might be worth it if you process poultry often.
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Re: Dispatching with a pellet gun...

Post Number:#30  Unread postby OneAcreFarm » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:56 am


greeleyfarm wrote:To all: One of my biggest peeves about processing rabbits is all the clotted blood around the neck. Anybody have experience with a technique that minimizes this or a good technique for cleaning it (other than scissors)? My Buns are all for human tables is the only reason I ask.


I have heard that using a piece of rebar seems to minimize the bruising and clotting when "broomsticking"...I am not coordinated enough to use that method.. :lol:
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