When you take a rabbit for slaughter and don't bring it back, how do other rabbits react?

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Bike guy

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Do they understand what had happened when you take a rabbit to slaughter and do not bring it back? Are they starting to fear you? You take the litters of a mother one by one every week, I think the others might see you as a danger, or at least they will not trust you anymore. Are they even understand that you eat them? Do they "smell" the slaughter and frying prosses?
 

jaxmarblebuns

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If done properly and respectfully the rabbits will not know what is going on and you will have no problems.

Key element to keep in mind.

Keep the processing area far away and out of the wind path of the live rabbit area/barn. Rabbits can smell death if close enough, and although they probably won’t associate that with you, it’s still not pleasant for them and can cause an adrenaline rush which can taint the meat.

Never let the live rabbits see the despatched ones/dead ones. The processing area should be out of sight of all live rabbits.

Never go into the live rabbit area/barn before thoroughly washing up. Like I said, rabbits can smell the death so if you have blood/remnants that you can’t see on you they will smell and fear that. I personally have someone else grab the rabbits for me (if I’m doing more than one) so that I can keep all the nasties in the dispatch area.

Rabbits/litter mates leaving and not coming back are not an issue, it happens all the time in the wild and rabbits are not domesticated enough to care/be concerned.
 

RabbitsOfTheCreek

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I don't raise rabbits for meat but if I sell a rabbits and come back without them I always say "Say bye to ___ everyone", and if I take a rabbit to get put down and come back without them it's easy for them to tell because of my sadness but they're not afraid
 

Preitler

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No, they don't mind at all. Mine are seem actually relieved when the hutches get less crowded. When one of a pair of mine dies, they aren't overly concerned about the corpse, but they sure miss their partner and aren't too fond of changes in daily life that come with the loss, but imo they don't understand what happened or are very, very pragmatic about it. I tend to the first explanation, either way they go on with their normal life.

Butchering - I can do that in plain sight, no worry about the smell, the rabbits do not care. If something doesn't behave like a rabbit, they are not interested. No problem with smell on hands or whatever.
I don't dispatch in line of sight but behind a low barrier, it would feel wrong and I guess the kicking could alert them. The next rabbit I bring to that spot doesn't care about blood or the offal bucket, only that bowl of oatmeal presented to keep it happy and calm while using the captive bolt gun.
 
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hotzcatz

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The ones here get shifted around a lot since there's up to four doe colonies and up to six or eight buck spaces. A doe can be shifted from one doe colony to another and then sometimes they'll be shifted back to where they started depending on what sorting method is being used. A doe will also go into a nesting hutch and then rejoin a doe colony after a couple of months. They're pretty used to individual rabbits coming and going and they aren't even specifically meat rabbits, although a few do end up in freezer camp. The ones going to freezer camp get processed out of sight of the rest of them. They don't seem upset by death, when one will die of old age in the hutch the rest of them just ignore the flat one.
 

Bike guy

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Thank you all for your replies. It seems rabbits are not intelligent as I thought, not only your comments but also my one month rabbitry experience made me think that rabbits are definitely not clever animals at all.

I made this thread because 4 days ago I had to wash my rabbits and since then they fear me. So I thought If they fear me just because I wash them, they will be terrified if I take one of them and do not bring back, this is why I made this thread.
I know I shouldn't wash them but one night they ripped off the one part of the floor grid and fell down into the feces bin. They were all covered with feces and urine. I know bathing might be a travma for rabbits but I had to. They were stinking, it was an unbearable smell and bathing seemed to be the best option. So I thought if I have to wash them why not add a mild insecticide inside the soap and made a mixture of potassium soap + precipitated sulphur + malathion (the most common soviet insecticide with minor side effects). I put a silicone mat in the bathtub to prevent slipping. The result? When they see me they hide lol. They run away from me when I try to touch them. (Today they let me pet though, I think they will forgive me for washing them, they just need some time).
 

KelleyBee

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Thank you all for your replies. It seems rabbits are not intelligent as I thought, not only your comments but also my one month rabbitry experience made me think that rabbits are definitely not clever animals at all.
yep. Rather than making the mistake of thinking that rabbits (or any animal for that matter) think like us, I prefer to learn as much as possible about rabbit behavior in the wild and then think like a rabbit. For instance, in the wild does stay AWAY from the nest 23 hours and 50 minutes each day. Therefore, it’s ok to remove the nest box out of her cage and into a warmer environment in the winter time, returning the nest every morning. You can do this until the kits are completely coated by about the 5th day of life. Wild does wean their kits at 4 weeks, therefore I separate them from mom at 4 weeks, too, etc.
 

Skai

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Do they understand what had happened when you take a rabbit to slaughter and do not bring it back? Are they starting to fear you? You take the litters of a mother one by one every week, I think the others might see you as a danger, or at least they will not trust you anymore. Are they even understand that you eat them? Do they "smell" the slaughter and frying prosses?
I don't know if they understand but I do the deed in the garage and if I'm taking more than one I clean up the area and myself before going for another one. I do it that way because I want to be able to calm the rabbit before dispatching it. I do think that fear effects the taste of the meat. Plus, killing is not fun and making it easier on them makes it easier on me.
 

Markshere2

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I stop brain activity with a.22 bullet.

The bunny acts releived when they are put on the ground, vs being transported.

I dont put the next one in the blood from the last one, but its close because the revolver stays in 1 place.
I do this out of sight of the pens.

Nobody in the pens seem to care.
 

MaggieJ

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Different animals react to death of one of theirs in different ways. I suspect that the reason rabbits don't react is at least partly because they are prey animals. Chickens don't react either. But my domestic geese mourned for days when my favourite died. They accompanied me to the grave and saw her buried. They made sad sounds and lowered their heads. There is no doubt in my mind that they were grieving. The gander was loud in his grief for days.

Elephants and certain monkeys -- even crows -- have rituals for the loss of one of their own.

Animals never cease to amaze me. We should never underestimate their emotional intelligence.
 

BuffBrahmaBantam

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Bike guy, I have a couple of thoughts. There may be some internal stress if there is a lot of coming and going in your rabbitry. You may not be aware of it. Species differ greatly in how they ‘react’ so just because you do not see rabbits behaving as you would expect from visual observation and your human experience does not mean that they are not ‘reacting.’ Rabbits and humans are so different in terms of their taxonomic relationships. Then again, if your rabbits in general live a stable, stress-free life with not a lot of turnover, they may not mind at all.

Second, keep in mind that we have different senses (sight, hearing, communication, vocal chords) and different social relationships than rabbits. You cannot expect them to have a human reaction to death or loss. They do not have vocal cords like humans to cry and wail, and more importantly they do not have an evolutionary past that relies on longterm social/communal relationships for survival, like humans. Their evolution likely selected for individuals that breed quickly and often to make up for high losses due to predation. Therefore they did not likely evolve strong emotions to worry about death as much as we do. It would be a waste of energy for them to grieve like we do. We are a longer lived species with much longer development and slower growth rate, and one individual human is therefore more important for population persistence. It makes sense that we should be a lot more stressed about the possibility of death. Thus, their response is likely to be different than ours even if they are aware of death. In your particular case, it sounds like they may not be aware of the butchering process.

Overall, be cautious in how you interpret rabbit behavior. Keep an open mind. Also, do not view one species as superior over another due to so-called intelligence (which is always defined in humans terms) or sensory ability or evolutionary past. We are all different, with different strengths and weakness, and I am glad of my rabbits and what they give to me.
 
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