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First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

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First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#1  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Dec 12, 2016 8:11 pm


So last night we finally got everything set up to butcher rabbits. Well this morning I woke up in the mind set of processin at least one rabbit. I will say I had quite a few snags. So let's begin...
So I went out to get the doe, realizing I didn't know where the broom I needed was. My first mistake right there. Well after getting the doe I decided to walk in the back door vs. Going back around, which was a good idea because I found a broom that would work. I brought her up let everyone who wanted to say bye to her say it and I thanked her for becoming our dinner tonight and whatnot and then I set off to work. I set her on the ground where she struggled a bit initially and then finally got still so I corrected her position and had her held up ( Here's where it gets really good you guys). So I pull at the same time my boyfriend opens the door and she screams and my hands slip, boyfriend goes "oh" then shuts the door. I touched her eyeball and no movement but I still pulled until I heard the breathe leave her lungs just to be safe.
Little did I know inside the house was my boyfriends 10 yr old brother who isn't too into the idea of processing animals to begin with.Now heres what happened in bulleted list order (the funny part)
-I'm outside preparing to cull and process rabbit on carport
-Boyfriend opens door and rabbit screams at same time
-10 year old inside is mortified and says ohhuhhoohhu.. Some I feel sick sort of noise
-Then everyone spends several hours trying to convince him it's ok lol.

Alright now for the serious stuff, she screamed which messed with me for a bit but its ok because I spent probably 30 minutes with her laying in a tote, trying to figure out how to use the skinning hooks ( Could someone please share some photos of where to cut and how to hang? I could hardly find anything.) well I used them the best I could. I did have some issues telling the organs apart so if anyone has pics I would love to see those as well :).
Hmm, I think that's all. It was a pretty good first time in my opinion. I definitely need to practice and how do I clean/cook the organs? Do I need to clean the organs before I cook them for my dogs? And also I found a mushy feeling sac I tried to cut it open but was kinda afraid something might squirt out haha. It was to the left side about the ribs. Oh and where do I cut the throat for best and fastest bleeding out? How long on average does it take to bleed out?
Oh and I don't have garden shears so I used pliers to break the front and back legs and cut them off. The bones are sticking out pretty sharp any recommendations on how to fix this or will I just have to get shears to fix it? Oh and here's a pic
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First rabbit for dinner! This is my First ever animal butcher and first time eating rabbit.
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Any advice on processing Silver Fox in particular would be greatly appreciated I spent more time than I would've liked trying to clean to fur off the meat.
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:04 pm


Sounds like you had quite an adventure today, Buttons. :P

If you haven't already watched Grumpy's butchering video, I do recommend it. :)

For pictures of rabbit organs, do an image search using those keywords. When you find a helpful picture, go to the page.

The liver is the large, dark, lobed organ right up against the diaphragm. You will see a small greenish-black sac in between the lobes. This is the gall bladder and it is filled with a very bitter substance. It needs to be removed intact. You can either cut it out along with a small amount of the liver or you can look for the white threadlike tube that leads to it. This thread can be pinched between the index finger and thumb and pulled away, bringing the gall bladder with it. The contents of the gall bladder are not harmful, but they would make the liver taste bad.

Hope this is a bit helpful at least. Sorry, but I'm too tired for more tonight.

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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#3  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Mon Dec 12, 2016 9:37 pm


That was very helpful! I'll look up photos of the organs and then the day after tomorrow when I process the next I'll take pictures of all the organs :)
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#4  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Wed Dec 14, 2016 4:35 pm


Buttons
We both had "first times" this week.
Congrats!

I had an experienced person help walk me through my first time.
Here is my experience for you... I had very little issues with fur everywhere.... we cure the pelts, so a lot of care if taken to get it off cleanly.

A. Whacking stick... sharp smack on the back of the head, at the base of the ears, with a hardwood "Stick" then hold the rabbit over the garbage and slit the throat (I have experience with chickens, so I'm really good at this) You are aiming for the jugular, so it is more insert into the side of the neck, blade facing down and pull slide out and down. (I am going to try the broomstick method, because I'm not sure I have the strength to whack with the right amount of force)

B. we hung ropes from the beam in the garage, with loops for the feet. Try and loop between the "heel and toe" and make sure the rope is tight.

C. Cutting:
carefully start your cuts just beneath the "heel", being careful not to cut the tendon at the back of the leg.... peal the fur down, pushing your finger between the skin and meat.... (might need a sharp knife to help things along some...)

once you get it down a bit... put your knife down the inside edge of the leg (the space you just made with your finger) and slit the inside leg of the skin...this will make it possible for you to pull the skin from the legs down around the hips... (your rabbit is now fur wearing shorts)....

Using your fingers work from the leg openings and pull the skin from the meat so your hand can go inside between the skin and meat all the way between the two legs, along the belly....

slide your knife in there and facing the blade towards you, at the horizontal, cut the fur.... so now your rabbit has a flap and you should be able to see the legs and crotch area fully with out fur... (except for right at the crotch)

goto the back.... work the skin loose of the meat and again make it so you can reach under the skin between the two legs at the back... slide in the knife, horizontalfacing towards you, but slightly up, pulling the tail down... slice up and toward you...

You should now have a flap of skin with the tail.... holding that you will notice you have the poop hole attached, cut that off and remove the tail (if you want).. there should be just a tuft of fur left at the crotch... we will get to that later.

now, pull the skin down in a steady even pressure... you may need to cut a few placed were the skin if not separating well from the meat.... keep pulling till you are past the elbows..... push your fingers through at the elbows.... the head and from paws are encased in skin..... remove head...

(If you are curing the pelt, turn inside out and remove the front paws and cut the head off the pelt.)

you should have a naked headless bunny in socks at this point with a tuft of fur at the crotch.
Following the line of the leg cut on either side of the tuft, in a V, to pull that out. (watch for poop)

Being very careful it is time to open the body cavity:
(If you are doing a buck, here is were you pull the penis off)
Facing your sharp edge of the blade toward you, make a small shallow incision at the bottom of the V... pulling down and toward you. (you are trying not to knick and organs or the BLADDER!) keep with the small shallow incisions till you get down to the organs.

slice carefully down the center till you reach all the internal organs... you should be able to reach in and pull the rest apart to the diaphragm.
You will see the bladder hanging with a bunny berry tube going up to the poop hole ... reach around and separate the bladder tube and poop tube from the inside of the cavity. Grasp firmly as far up as you can the poop tube and bladder tube, pull down.. it should come and fall right into the garbage.

reach around the stomach and intestines and pull them away from the inside of the body cavity as well.. they should fall into the garbage also. (be carful not to puncture the stomach.. stinky)

the liver will be sitting on the diaphragm and the kidneys will be tucked up beside the loin.. kidneys are small and round, one on either side... liver is a multi lobed dark flower petal thing... pull them out and set them aside, detach the gall bladder as Maggie said.... I like to save these two organs... the liver for me kidneys for the dog...

using your fingers or a sharp knife, break the diaphragm and reaching deep, pull out the lungs, heart and esophagus... you can keep the lungs and heart for the dog too... or yourself... Remove the diaphragm.

Clean up any fat in the body cavity and back... cut down at the heal, using pruning shears.... put the rabbit meat in a bucket of clean cold water.... rinse again before bagging.

You can keep the tail, feet and pelt for curing if you want.... or freeze to cure later ..... or toss (I think it is a waste to toss, but you might not have the time, space or desire to cure the pelts, feet and tail.
Very little issues with fur.

I learned a lot and feel very confident with the butchering part... not so much the whacking.
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#5  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Wed Dec 14, 2016 10:45 pm


The broomstick worked well for me and since I do eventually want to tan my hides so I'll be working on my technique with that. One of my biggest issue was actually cutting just the skin on the backs of the legs for the hooks. I'll be doing the other two does tomorrow or maybe Friday depending on how long I'm out tomorrow. Congrats on your first processing as we'll! I'm overly independent so I just dove in both feet first with no clue what I was really doing (seriously). I do have a question though... Where is a good spot to grab and pull for broomsticking? I noticed the fur/skin is a bit slippery to hold onto when nervous.
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#6  Unread postby AnnClaire » Thu Dec 15, 2016 12:14 am


I would recommend only a slight change ... I take the head totally off and cut off the front feet before any other butchering ... Taking the head off allows for a better bleed out and helps keep the blood pool from forming at the shoulder area.

Another trick from either MaggieJ or One Acre farm is to lay the butchered carcass down, pick up one of the back legs and seat your hand at the hock joint and with your other hand, grasp the foot and bend sharply to the inside. This should separate the bones without causing a sharp break.

The front paws should come apart similarly, but I use a paring knife to split those joints.

As for the screaming and the BFs little brother, well, sorry about your luck, but he does need to know where food comes from ... and it ain't the grocery store :P
cheers - AnnClaire

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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#7  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Thu Dec 15, 2016 4:06 pm


ButtonsPalace wrote:The broomstick worked well for me and since I do eventually want to tan my hides so I'll be working on my technique with that. One of my biggest issue was actually cutting just the skin on the backs of the legs for the hooks. I'll be doing the other two does tomorrow or maybe Friday depending on how long I'm out tomorrow. Congrats on your first processing as we'll! I'm overly independent so I just dove in both feet first with no clue what I was really doing (seriously). I do have a question though... Where is a good spot to grab and pull for broomsticking? I noticed the fur/skin is a bit slippery to hold onto when nervous.


my pelts seem to be going well....
wash pelts well - dawn and water... get off all the blood and try and reduce the "greasiness" of the skin side.
5gallon pail 3/4 full of cold water, 1.5 rounded full cups of alum and same of pickling salt, swish washed pelts 2x day (skin side out)
pelts are pressed just below surface with a dinner plate. (not compressed, the plate just makes sure none are floating on the surface)

after 48hours... take all the pelts out, reserve the liquid.... add additional 1.5 heaping cups of both alumn and pickling salt.
Each pelt... peal the fatty bits off starting at the bottom working toward the neck...
After pelts are "pealed" Place each pelt, skin side out, back in pail or prepared water

14 days later rinse pelts well and hang to dry.
Everyday after you need to "Break" the skin as the pelt dries. (this is the part I don't really understand, but have watched some videos... so... we will see)
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#8  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Thu Dec 15, 2016 9:17 pm


I did cut the head off almost immediately my only delay was that I didn't know how to use the skinning hooks that were too far apart lol. Do rabbits really bleed that little though?!?! I mean I had a 10 gallon tote and figured one bunny worth of blood would at least cover the bottom but when I realized she was done bleeding I saw there wasn't barely even a tiny puddle. I even asked my boyfriends step dad if he thought that was all... The skin does peel off like a sweater although I've heard it's harder to get off bucks? Is that true? Thank you guys for the responses by the way. Its been nice getting on and reading them and writing down tips people have gave me that I really want to remember.
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#9  Unread postby SarniaTricia » Fri Dec 16, 2016 11:28 am


ButtonsPalace wrote:I did cut the head off almost immediately my only delay was that I didn't know how to use the skinning hooks that were too far apart lol. Do rabbits really bleed that little though?!?! I mean I had a 10 gallon tote and figured one bunny worth of blood would at least cover the bottom but when I realized she was done bleeding I saw there wasn't barely even a tiny puddle. I even asked my boyfriends step dad if he thought that was all... The skin does peel off like a sweater although I've heard it's harder to get off bucks? Is that true? Thank you guys for the responses by the way. Its been nice getting on and reading them and writing down tips people have gave me that I really want to remember.


I processed 5 bucks....
Born 14Feb2016 - just awful to get off, needed a lot of strength to get it off(my mentor is a big guy so I let him have the honors and seven he was struggling).... and I couldn't "peal" the extra fat off the pelt after the 48hour soak, so the pelt was garbage (I will try and work on a solution for this as I HATE to waste a pelt.)
Born 30May2016 - no problem.... slow steady pull got the pelts off fine and they cleaned up really well...
Born 1Aug2016 - no problem ... same as above.
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Re: First Process Story, Questions and Pictures

Post Number:#10  Unread postby ButtonsPalace » Fri Dec 16, 2016 2:10 pm


So the longer you wait the harder it is to peel the skin, and bucks are harder. Thankfully I myself haven't had to process any bucks yet. The part where you have to pull the penis off really disgusts me haha, although one day I will probably have to do so >3<. The last pelt I tossed in the compost pile because I had done a rather bad job... But anyway I think tomorrow I'll be processing the one we call skunk (She has a white spot on her nose and forehead) and the Lilac. I want to freeze them until I have the supplies to tan which should be very soon.
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