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How Young for hides?

Discussion of fur breeds, tanning pelts, using the furs, marketing.
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How Young for hides?

Post Number:#1  Unread postby SaratogaNZW » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:08 pm


Whats the best age for butchering that is the best happy medium between 12 week old meat fryers, and tough old mature rabbits?
Anybody have experience with hides varying from 12 week old fryers, 16 week old roasters, 20 week old roasters, and 6 month old Adult Rabbits?

I dont mind leaving them a bit longer than 12 weeks, 20 weeks is ok for meat rabbits for me, so what do you think is the youngest age for good pelts to tan?

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Re: How Young for hides?

Post Number:#2  Unread postby MaggieJ » Fri Jun 24, 2011 4:37 pm


In France, where they raise Rex du Poitou for both meat and fur (and 60% of the profit is in the fur), they butcher at 18-20 weeks.
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Re: How Young for hides?

Post Number:#3  Unread postby akane » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:06 pm


4-6months makes a much tougher hide. I actually had to cut the connective tissue as I went on my 5month old buck because everything was so tough I couldn't just pull it off. Took a lot longer to skin. I also could hardly get the shears I was using through double thick hide when I folded it back to cut around the tail. The does were a little better but still took more effort and I ended up breaking the belly open and stretching the body out on one as I pulled the skin because of the stronger connective tissue. The 3month olds we butchered previously the skin peeled off easy and tore easy at the feet and when splitting it around the tail. I hardly used any tools skinning them.
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Re: How Young for hides?

Post Number:#4  Unread postby arachyd » Fri Jun 24, 2011 5:59 pm


It depends whether your priority is hides to work with and sell or easy butchering for meat. The hide on younger rabbits comes off with a quick pull but is so thin it tears like tissue paper when you put it under any stress and is not very valuable for that reason. It is fine for crafts and fluffy trim that is mostly ornamental. If your priority is getting sturdy hides for making clothing, slippers, blankets or other items that will be well-used you want the thicker hides from older rabbits. You'll have to work at them to remove them from the rabbits and it takes a bit more work to tan them well but they'll take a lot of abuse without tearing.

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Re: How Young for hides?

Post Number:#5  Unread postby SaratogaNZW » Mon Jun 27, 2011 10:50 am


My priority is meat rabbits, but not necessarily fryers. If I can let them get a little bigger, and toughen the hides a little bit more, I will. Just trying to find a happy medium. All things I would want to make with the tanned hides are blankets for the moment, the strip woven one and a (iron on backing) quilt-backed one.

I guess what I would like to know really is about what is the minimum age for a pelt to tan? I have 50+ in the freezer, most at 12 weeks, perhaps a dozen at 16 weeks, and perhaps a half dozen 20 weeks, and a single mature (1 year).
I guess the best way would be to just get started, get the personal experience, and find out for myself! =)

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Re: How Young for hides?

Post Number:#6  Unread postby eco2pia » Mon Jun 27, 2011 12:32 pm


I did 12 weeks and it worked out ok...mostly they tear around the butt/tail when you are scraping the wet hide, so you end up with a lot of usable area anyway, and the tears are small enough to repair, if you were not using them to structurally build a garment, and keeping the weight of the blanket supported by the cotton cord or cotton backing I think 12 weeks would hold up just fine--not for a jacket though.

In the cotton backed blanket I would make sure you are anchoring the layers often, it takes the pressure off the sewn seams from the weight of the blanket--aim for a few anchor points per hide at least, not sure how you planned to accomplish that. Yarn ties would not be pretty to me, but I would worry about the super-sturdy poly thread being too sharp and pulling thru. If you lap the seams on the hides you could maybe anchor invisibly through the seam allowance, but most hides look better butted together....I'll love hearing about your progress!! :)

I had planned a similar project, but have had to abandon it for the time being due to lack of time.

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