I finally did it - Dispatch/Process

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Joined
May 7, 2024
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Location
Granville, TN
Today was the day I was dreading, my first dispatch and processing day. I've been building up my Silver Fox breeding stock quickly, have three beautiful does coming in via transport on the 17th (and all being bred for me) from a couple of rabbitries and needed cage space. Of my original three mixed rabbits I purchased to learn from, I slated two to be processed for today....the broken Rex mix buck and the Charlie I post about a couple of months ago. (I opted not to breed her, didn't feel putting that strain on her system was ethical.)

I dispatched Charlie first using the hopper popper method. She wasn't used to be handled so it was a bit of a struggle getting her positioned quickly but the dispatch was clean and quick. I struggled a bit with the processing since it was all new for me but used Teal Stone's butchering video for guidance and overall, went pretty well. Then was Buckie...I really grew to care for Buckie, after settling in with me, he became such a sweetheart, playful and wanting pets and to be loved on. I had upgraded his living conditions significantly and spoiled him and maybe I'm humanizing it but I do believe he appreciated it all and was happy. My feelings for him coupled with knowing it was harder to do a cervical dislocation on an older buck had me ask my better half last minute to do the dispatch. He kindly did and I did all the rest of the processing from there. His hide was definitely more difficult to separate compared to Charlie's.

Overall, I'm mostly proud that I followed through and did what was required (except the last minute bail out on Buckie's dispatch), learned some methods that worked well for me (along with what didn't), things I will implement to make it physically easier next time and I did each rabbit in 30 minutes which I don't think was too bad for my first time.

I now understand even more how important it is to handle the babies every day to get them accustomed to being handled, that was a real struggle with these two and I want to reduce that struggle for both the rabbits and myself moving forward.

I wish I could say I was happy right now, unfortunately I'm melancholy at best. It is hitting me harder than I'd like. But I'm not turning back, I have 9 littles to processes in August and with my last mixed doe bred yesterday and three incoming bred SF does, October will be busy as well so I need to toughen up and just continue to remind myself that my rabbits are well cared for, loved and have the most humane dispatch I can provide...far better than the factory produced/raised/dispatched chicken that I just pulled out of my oven.

I thank everyone here for all of the continued guidance, support, and education you give...it is appreciated more than you know. ❤️
 
Sounds like it went well. You'll figure out what works best for you as time goes on. Great job pushing through. Nothing wrong with asking for help. The first ones are usually the hardest. As time goes on you'll get more comfortable, confident and figure out what works best for you and the animals. I have processed animals most of my life and for me at least it never gets easy. I always take a minute and thank the animal for feeding our family as well as make sure the animal has the best life possible. Great job! ❤️
 
My first was a cull from the person who I bought my first duo from, and I wasn't attached. The first litter I dispatched were all nippy American Blues with bad color coats. I did three young bucks in a row, then sat on my patio and cried. It's good to get more practical about it, but not to stop having feelings about it.

Congratulations!
 
My first was a cull from the person who I bought my first duo from, and I wasn't attached. The first litter I dispatched were all nippy American Blues with bad color coats. I did three young bucks in a row, then sat on my patio and cried. It's good to get more practical about it, but not to stop having feelings about it.

Congratulations!
Thank you. I'm not going to lie, although I made it through it all without crying as I forced myself to stay focused on the tasks at hand, I did shed some tears quietly last night.

Funny side story, I got a black doe and a blue buck a couple of weeks ago from a doctor up in Kentucky. Really nice gentleman from the Caribbean where he told me it's extremely commonplace that people raise meat rabbits as his family did when he was young. He confessed to me that he started raising them two years ago with the intention of processing but he hasn't been able to bring himself to dispatch any yet. He called himself a coward...I was very quick to correct him and tell him it's an admirable trait to have such compassion and empathy and I bet he's a darn good physician for caring so much. And he created the most amazing grotto for his rabbit hutches!
 
I do get attached to my babies...but I've trained myself into seeing it as a limited time attachment. I want my animals to feel loved even if i plan to eat them! Theres also the plus with nz's that when they hit about 3 months they lose a lot of the cute cuddliness and get downright annoying. That makes it a bit easier 😆

You're doing great!
 
Thank you. I'm not going to lie, although I made it through it all without crying as I forced myself to stay focused on the tasks at hand, I did shed some tears quietly last night.

Funny side story, I got a black doe and a blue buck a couple of weeks ago from a doctor up in Kentucky. Really nice gentleman from the Caribbean where he told me it's extremely commonplace that people raise meat rabbits as his family did when he was young. He confessed to me that he started raising them two years ago with the intention of processing but he hasn't been able to bring himself to dispatch any yet. He called himself a coward...I was very quick to correct him and tell him it's an admirable trait to have such compassion and empathy and I bet he's a darn good physician for caring so much. And he created the most amazing grotto for his rabbit hutches!
Yes. I got "lucky" with this part because the buck that was on that list broke his back, making that one a must do now situation.
 
I do get attached to my babies...but I've trained myself into seeing it as a limited time attachment. I want my animals to feel loved even if i plan to eat them! Theres also the plus with nz's that when they hit about 3 months they lose a lot of the cute cuddliness and get downright annoying. That makes it a bit easier 😆

You're doing great!
That's why I got plain old white tamuks. Hoping that's the case with the babies.
 
That's why I got plain old white tamuks. Hoping that's the case with the babies.
One of the many reasons why I decided to go with Silver Foxes was to not have patterns and will have mostly blacks and chocolates (with hopefully a few Blues and Lilacs for fun as i do have a blue buck and possible dilute carrying does)...the patterns make them so individualized and harder, I think, to not get attached to. The current litter I have from the last mixed rabbit I have will be ready for processing next month and it'll be tough, they all acquired nicknames by accident 😳. I may have one more litter from that doe as I bred her on Saturday so we'll see if she took. If she didn't, I'll also process her next month but obviously, if she did, then that'll be her last litter before being 100% Silver Fox...
20240705_205153.jpg
 
One of the many reasons why I decided to go with Silver Foxes was to not have patterns and will have mostly blacks and chocolates (with hopefully a few Blues and Lilacs for fun as i do have a blue buck and possible dilute carrying does)...the patterns make them so individualized and harder, I think, to not get attached to. The current litter I have from the last mixed rabbit I have will be ready for processing next month and it'll be tough, they all acquired nicknames by accident 😳. I may have one more litter from that doe as I bred her on Saturday so we'll see if she took. If she didn't, I'll also process her next month but obviously, if she did, then that'll be her last litter before being 100% Silver Fox...
View attachment 42328
Yep! That right there is why I wanted plain rabbits. At least to start off with. Those would be hard for me. At least until I'm in the swing of processing. Those are adorable
 
Let someone else do them. If you can. Don't think I could do my one doe. I'm keeping one female from her last litter this time. Retiring her. She's a good pet. I've noticed she is off balance lately. She has had alot of babies and other than being off balance she is fine so just riding it out. She spends alot of time in the garage when I'm home.
 
We've processed around 7 litters. It's never easy. We used hopper popper, but have yet to dispatch older mamas at around 5yo. I've grown very attached. Just cant decide the best method. Itll be sad , but we need their space for new the new ones.
I'm wondering if maybe .22 or pellet gun would be best for the older breeders whom we've become more attached to. Older is harder with the hopper popper and maybe with a gun, can just set them down on some grass or, in my case, woodland but with a salad on ground so they wouldn't see it coming while they munch on fresh greens? I'm thinking possibly less traumatic for both bun and selves...
 
I processed 16 today using a .22 high powered pellet rifle. We use hay or lettuce and let them eat. They don't see it coming and it happens quick. It's pretty quiet, neighbors don't notice. I think it's roughly $200 for a pellet rifle that's strong enough, haven't had any failures to dispatch with it.
 
I processed 16 today using a .22 high powered pellet rifle. We use hay or lettuce and let them eat. They don't see it coming and it happens quick. It's pretty quiet, neighbors don't notice. I think it's roughly $200 for a pellet rifle that's strong enough, haven't had any failures to dispatch with it.
I have not dispatched a rabbit with a rifle. Where is the proper aiming location on them? If they are head down eating is that the best angle to get them at?
 
I have not dispatched a rabbit with a rifle. Where is the proper aiming location on them? If they are head down eating is that the best angle to get them at?
Stationary looking at their food is preferable. I try to come in at an angle to hit their brain and spine at the same time. I can usually get right next to them while they are eating so it's easy to aim.
 
Stationary looking at their food is preferable. I try to come in at an angle to hit their brain and spine at the same time. I can usually get right next to them while they are eating so it's easy to aim.
Makes sense. Thanks! Hearing that the hopper popper isn't as good on older ones I'd like to be able to use this method in the future.
 

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