Another batch of friers processed

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Olbunny

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We just got through putting up the last of our 4th litter of kits. So far we have harvested 93 friers. We will have 33 more friers and 2 older rabbits to do.
This last batch was probably our best so we're getting better at growing them out. As far as age / weight is concerned. We averaged over 2-1/2 pounds per frier. At 12 weeks.
I'm kinda humbled by the amount of meat we got but I know it was a lot of work too. We continue to stream line but we still need to go do chores twice a day, every day. And having animals, well they are always on my mind. As they are depending on me .
I'm kinda glad I can compare what it would cost to replace that protien for my family and knowing it is healthy, hormone n steroid free meat, is also important to me.
I'm going through one of those is it worth all the work moments. But when I see what is happening with food security and quality. It inspires me to continue. My grain costs are escalating but so is the price of protien in the store.
I also have the advantage to be able to barter. Our neighbor has chickens, halibut n salmon. That's nice to have.
Our biggest problem right now is freezer space. Glad it's 20 below outside and we can use coolers.
Anyhows kinda venting, whining, a bit. But going out to do chores in my longhandles in the evening isn't as warm as it used to be
 

LatchawBriarPatch

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I can't wait till we get to where you are with our Rabbitry. I keep seeing the price on chicken climbing up, and hear about shortages on pig, and combine that with the local butcher shops being swamped and unable to take new customers for months during covid....I want a steady self sustainable protein sorce available for my family. I want my kids to know how to run a Rabbitry as well. Wow! 93 rabbits that is amazing! I'm going to be happy with making it through our first littler in April.....if I can keep our Rabbits alive that long. I've been spending too much time in the illness and issues part of the forum. :)
 

KelleyBee

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Our biggest problem right now is freezer space. Glad it's 20 below outside and we can use coolers.
Anyhows kinda venting, whining, a bit. But going out to do chores in my longhandles in the evening isn't as warm as it used to be
Have you tried canning the rabbit? After what happened with food supply chains in 2020 and knowing those in charge want us not using so much energy, in early 2021 I taught myself how to can for the first time, emptied out my deep freeze over several weeks by thawing all frozen meats and canning it where it requires no electricity to remain edible. Now my deep freeze is used for only the barest amount of fresh meats….about 1 month’s worth food for 4 adults, and freezeable veggies from my garden (I won’t can veggies since the canning process kills all the good nutrients and enzymes). This way, if the electric goes off permanently, my loss is minimized and I still have nutrient dense canned meats to feed the family. I also have store bought canned veggies stocked with my home canned meats.

Like another poster, I cannot wait until my rabbitry is as far along as yours. At the moment we are on our first wave of growouts and awaiting our first wave of second litters.
 

KelleyBee

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I can't wait till we get to where you are with our Rabbitry. I keep seeing the price on chicken climbing up, and hear about shortages on pig, and combine that with the local butcher shops being swamped and unable to take new customers for months during covid....I want a steady self sustainable protein sorce available for my family. I want my kids to know how to run a Rabbitry as well. Wow! 93 rabbits that is amazing! I'm going to be happy with making it through our first littler in April.....if I can keep our Rabbits alive that long. I've been spending too much time in the illness and issues part of the forum. :)
When did you begin your rabbitry? I started in August this year with three 8 week olds. Then in September I lucked out and found a trio of rabbits available who were of breeding age (the does were 8 months, the buck 1.5 year, so I could begin breeding them right away). I was frustrated with the wait, just like you. So now that trio gave me 10 kits who are now 5 weeks old. I am amazed by how fast these animals grow. ever about rabbits is truly amazing. They were designed for procreation, without a doubt!
 

LatchawBriarPatch

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When did you begin your rabbitry? I started in August this year with three 8 week olds. Then in September I lucked out and found a trio of rabbits available who were of breeding age (the does were 8 months, the buck 1.5 year, so I could begin breeding them right away). I was frustrated with the wait, just like you. So now that trio gave me 10 kits who are now 5 weeks old. I am amazed by how fast these animals grow. ever about rabbits is truly amazing. They were designed for procreation, without a doubt!
I've had my two does since the end of October. They will be 7 or 8 months old in April. I'm actually ok with waiting. My Buck who was born April 2020 is having trouble adjusting. I'm not sure he is going to make it. We have had him for only two weeks. I'm happy for the time to make sure we even like keeping rabbits as pets and that we can keep them alive, healthy, and happy. I'm thrilled with the amount of info that needs to not just be head knowledge with rabbit care and keeping, but experiential knowledge. This is what I'm excited for my kids to learn.

...

I have never canned meat before. Definitely not rabbit meat. I will have to look into it. Thanks!
 

Olbunny

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Yes we can food. Been canning salmon for a long time. Canned moose meat is the best.
We started our rabbitry 1-1/2 years ago. We bought 3 does, black New Zealand, and 1 California buck. Raised them near a year to begin having kits. This has been our first summer of breeding.
We're fortunate that we have had 2 good does that have had 8 + kits per litter. We will cull 1 doe soon. And keep 2 of the daughters from our best doe over winter. They are sisters n have always been together so I expect them to be fine over winter. We have big pens so room. And they are a beautiful grey color.
And our daughter adopted a drop off that has given us 7 this last litter.
Anyhows I will carry over 1 buck 5 does. I will need to find a buyer for friers if I keep 5. I am currently researching private chefs and need.
We have had good luck with grow outs. Beyond the birthing process no deaths or sick kits.
My biggest problem has been dealing with the cold. 3 weeks of minus 10-20. Been overfeeding the hay to insure they stay warmer with something to eat on. So it's scattered around on the pen floors. Pee freezing as fast as it comes out.
I've let it build up so they were not on the wire and a bit of insulation under them. But concerned about urine burn on their hocks. I'll just have to clean them now it finally warmed a bit. Heat wave of plus degrees. And more snow.
Gotta say I'm looking forward to a couple months of no friers to tend. Another 4 weeks with the 30 friers left to go.
4 rabbits full time has turned into keeping 35 plus rabbits full time. And rabbits poo. Will try marketing that also
 

KelleyBee

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I've had my two does since the end of October. They will be 7 or 8 months old in April. I'm actually ok with waiting. My Buck who was born April 2020 is having trouble adjusting. I'm not sure he is going to make it. We have had him for only two weeks. I'm happy for the time to make sure we even like keeping rabbits as pets and that we can keep them alive, healthy, and happy. I'm thrilled with the amount of info that needs to not just be head knowledge with rabbit care and keeping, but experiential knowledge. This is what I'm excited for my kids to learn.

...

I have never canned meat before. Definitely not rabbit meat. I will have to look into it. Thanks!
I know some people say you should wait until does are 7 to 8 months old before mating, others say six, still others say ok to breed them at 4 months. What I have learned as a better way is to look at weight. Once a doe has achieved 80% of her mature body weight, she is ready to breed. One of my New Zealands reached her 80% weight at 4 months, so I successfully bred her. She has a littler of 4 and has been a great mom. She also had no issues with mating. My second New Zealand doe, a litter mate, did not reach her 80% weight until last week, at almost 6 months. She was finally bred, but not as early as her sister because her weight was a factor. The older does I spoke of earlier were never bred until I got them at 8 months old and they wanted nothing to do with the buck, it was a horrible experience for all of us, but I did get the litters we are currently raising, but their breeding had to be assisted by me. That wasn't so fun.
 

Zee-Man

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@Kellybee I can understand your reticence for canning vegetables. Many nutrients are degenerated by the heat of the canning process. Let's just look at one food, Apples, and two nutrients Vitamin A and Vitamin C. In all cases 100 grams (do notice as we progress nutrients are being concentrated as well)
Raw, with out Skin - A 38 IU C 0.4 mg
Boiled Apples, no skin A 44 IU C 0.3 mg
Applesauce A 11 IU C 1.7 mg (while my source didn't say, I suspect ascorbic acid was added)
Apple Butter A 22 IU C 0.6 mg

With A you can surmise that as the apples cook the Vitamin A is steadily reducing even though since the quantity of apple is concentrating. On the other hand you can also see that Vitamin C is barely affected . So while cooking (canning) does diminish nutrient you need not fear destruction. In some cases, nutrients are concentrated instead.

More importantly, however, is shelf stability. While a freezer is running, it preserves food well. But, what about when the power is out? In some part of my service area the power is never out for more than a few minutes, in other parts the power can go out for 2 weeks! Imagine if you had been hit by hurricane Sandy?! Canning some vegetables would be a good idea.

Notwithstanding folks who take on extra risk, the USDA has extended the shelf life of home canned goods to 18 months from 1 year (sorry no source). Nonetheless that is a guideline about quality, not preservation. If the seal remains good the food remains uncontaminated. Of note is honey "canned" by ancient Egyptians remaining viable centuries later. Having said that, storage conditions can effect the seal. Dry conditions are best. Humid or even wet will allow typical metal lids to rust and break the seal. I clean out canned goods, annually, at Thanksgiving, checking for broken seals or signs of spoilage (always from a broken seal even if it looks sealed).

Now, the USDA, Ball, and most instructors tell us to never reuse a lid. The sealing compound can become impinged with that first use. My frugal side will not allow me to be that categorical. When I wash my used lids I inspect for any nicks in the enamel or void in the compound. Barring defects I will reuse lids. Once in a while, a used lid will not seal. In that case we have beans (or whatever) that night.

An important step in the canning process, specially for meats, is to wipe the rim of the jar before placing the lid on. You can use cloth, but this step is so important that I use paper towel and always a fresh section for each jar. Fat/oil will inhibit the seal, sometimes causing it to fail weeks or months later, if not right away.

Something that gets glossed over when talking about canning is botulism. Botulinum is ubiquitous. The bacteria can survive the 275 F of pressure canning. Botulinum enjoys an oxygen free environment. Which is exactly what a canning vessel is. The bacteria iself is not harmful to humans (and most animals). The spores, however, are a nerve agent aka poison. Fortuneatley the never agent is destroyed by 212 F. Whether home canned or commercially canned, always cook your neutral to high pH (>4) food to the boiling point, preferable for 10 minutes or more.
 

KelleyBee

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@Kellybee I can understand your reticence for canning vegetables. Many nutrients are degenerated by the heat of the canning process. Let's just look at one food, Apples, and two nutrients Vitamin A and Vitamin C. In all cases 100 grams (do notice as we progress nutrients are being concentrated as well)
Raw, with out Skin - A 38 IU C 0.4 mg
Boiled Apples, no skin A 44 IU C 0.3 mg
Applesauce A 11 IU C 1.7 mg (while my source didn't say, I suspect ascorbic acid was added)
Apple Butter A 22 IU C 0.6 mg

With A you can surmise that as the apples cook the Vitamin A is steadily reducing even though since the quantity of apple is concentrating. On the other hand you can also see that Vitamin C is barely affected . So while cooking (canning) does diminish nutrient you need not fear destruction. In some cases, nutrients are concentrated instead.

More importantly, however, is shelf stability. While a freezer is running, it preserves food well. But, what about when the power is out? In some part of my service area the power is never out for more than a few minutes, in other parts the power can go out for 2 weeks! Imagine if you had been hit by hurricane Sandy?! Canning some vegetables would be a good idea.

Notwithstanding folks who take on extra risk, the USDA has extended the shelf life of home canned goods to 18 months from 1 year (sorry no source). Nonetheless that is a guideline about quality, not preservation. If the seal remains good the food remains uncontaminated. Of note is honey "canned" by ancient Egyptians remaining viable centuries later. Having said that, storage conditions can effect the seal. Dry conditions are best. Humid or even wet will allow typical metal lids to rust and break the seal. I clean out canned goods, annually, at Thanksgiving, checking for broken seals or signs of spoilage (always from a broken seal even if it looks sealed).

Now, the USDA, Ball, and most instructors tell us to never reuse a lid. The sealing compound can become impinged with that first use. My frugal side will not allow me to be that categorical. When I wash my used lids I inspect for any nicks in the enamel or void in the compound. Barring defects I will reuse lids. Once in a while, a used lid will not seal. In that case we have beans (or whatever) that night.

An important step in the canning process, specially for meats, is to wipe the rim of the jar before placing the lid on. You can use cloth, but this step is so important that I use paper towel and always a fresh section for each jar. Fat/oil will inhibit the seal, sometimes causing it to fail weeks or months later, if not right away.

Something that gets glossed over when talking about canning is botulism. Botulinum is ubiquitous. The bacteria can survive the 275 F of pressure canning. Botulinum enjoys an oxygen free environment. Which is exactly what a canning vessel is. The bacteria iself is not harmful to humans (and most animals). The spores, however, are a nerve agent aka poison. Fortuneatley the never agent is destroyed by 212 F. Whether home canned or commercially canned, always cook your neutral to high pH (>4) food to the boiling point, preferable for 10 minutes or more.
Yep, that all aligns with what I’ve read and have learned.
 
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