Weigh In at Five Weeks Old–New Zealand White Meat Rabbits

Today I weighed the kits. They are all doing very well. Almost every kit put on 1/2 a pound and the two that didn’t were like 7 3/4 ounces. A couple were in the 9 oz range. Very good growth over all.

Kit 1: 1 pound 8 1/4 ounces
Kit 2: 1 pound 10 5/8 ounces
Kit 3: 2 pounds 4 3/4 ounces
Kit 4: 2 pounds 1 1/4 ounces
Kit 5: 1 pound 15 3/4 ounces
Kit 6: 1 pound 12 1/8 ounces
Kit 7: 1 pound 12 7/8 ounces

Total litter weight is 12 pounds, 4 3/8 ounces. I’m very happy with that.

Today we also processed the juniors who were 17.5 weeks old. I am not showing any pictures of that. We did five of them, 3 boys and 2 girls. I made the decision to keep one of the does at the last minute. I just really liked the way she looked, she had great ears and nice body lines. I decided I wanted to grow her out longer and see whether or not I want to keep her as a breeding doe. If not, I will sell her. She seems to have calmed down a lot now that she has the cage to herself.

It took us about a half an hour per rabbit. I think it would have gone faster if we’d been able to lock up the chickens who kept getting underfoot and wanting to drink the rabbit blood. Yuck. It wasn’t easy, but it wasn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I think it will be better with the Rabbit Wringer, if it ever comes. The husband didn’t care for the shooting method much and will build us some kind of wooden wringer (since it doesn’t look like the one we ordered is ever going to come) that we can use instead.

The weirdest thing for me was rolling up the inside out fur to put in the freezer. It just felt utterly bizarre and the skin was still warm. I found a way of tanning furs that I am going to go with, but the solution is for 12 to 14 hides, so I am saving this batch in the freezer and the next time we process I will then tan all the furs together.

We didn’t withhold feed for 12 hours. It didn’t seem necessary and it wasn’t when it came right down to it, because rabbit poop is a fairly contained thing being in pellets like it is. We didn’t have any issues with urine or poop getting on the meat. We ended up with about a pound of liver. I’m going to try a recipe with it that I saw on One Man’s Meat for this sort of liver pate bacon meatloaf thing on homemade melba toast. He made it with chicken livers, but I figure rabbit liver will work the same. Also I’ll leave out the mushrooms because I am allergic. But otherwise I’ll pretty much follow the recipe as written.

I took weights of the rabbits before and after processing.

Buck 1: 6 pounds 10 5/8 ounces, dressed 3 pounds 10 5/8 ounces
Doe 1: 6 pounds 12 1/4 ounces, dressed 3 pounds 3 3/8 ounces
Buck 2: 8 pounds 1 ounce, dressed 4 pounds 1 ounces
Doe 2: 6 pounds 5 1/8 ounces, dressed 3 pounds 2 1/4 ounces
Buck 3: 8 pounds 1 ounces, dressed 4 pounds 2 1/4 ounces

Total dressed weight is 18 pounds 4 1/2 ounces.

Right now the rabbits are in our giant chest cooler in ice water. We are giving them 24 hours in that and then we will package them up assuming rigor mortis has passed. We don’t have fridge space to let the meat rest in, so this is the closest we could get. We will add fresh ice as needed to keep them cool. We can keep them in it for longer if rigor mortis has not passed. Once it has it should be easy to fit them in a gallon size zip bag. I may have to cut them into two pieces, but we’ll see how it goes.

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11 thoughts on “Weigh In at Five Weeks Old–New Zealand White Meat Rabbits

  1. Congrats on getting it done and the weight info is very interesting, considering you are tracking it this closely, does that mean that you are tracking costs as well and have a grow out price per pound?

    Will be interested in hearing how you are going to do your rabbit pelts, did you salt them before freezing them or do you not need to do that for this method?

    Will be interested in seeing the recipes you come up with for the rabbit, I am always open to idea’s on how to use them in the kitchen ..

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I don’t have the numbers in front of me right now, but I figured it came out to $1.25 a pound for the dressed meat. I don’t use organic feed, but it is non-GMO, no corn, no soy, non-medicated feed. The hay was not grown with chemical fertilizers, but was spread with cow manure from an organic dairy, so it was a little more expensive.

      I did not salt them before freezing them. Basically I will thaw them out on the day that I process the next batch and then they will all go directly into a solution of alum, salt, and water. I am using the method shown by Marsh Prepper on youtube.

  2. Oooh, congrats on your processing. I hope it went well! I’m still a little surprised you didn’t do broomsticking since it’s like a rabbit wringer just on the ground. They do the exact same thing and use the same muscles. It looks like your dressage ratios are in the “average” 55% category, but they hit their peak at 12 weeks and just go down from there so no surprise. It’s really good to see people’s weights on their blogs. Keep it up!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      It went pretty well. There was one bad experience where the rabbit wasn’t actually dead when we hung him by his feet, he acted dead, but he wasn’t, so had to shoot him again, but other than that it went pretty well.

      We didn’t use the broomstick method because I can’t balance properly with my bad knee, and my husband wasn’t confident he could do it right. We won’t be harvesting them so old next time. No more than 14 weeks old, I think. Which is when they hit about five pounds.

      • I think there’s always a learning curve. My first processing has some mishaps like that to. Broomsticking is pretty easy, but whatever you feel best doing. 5lbs is a big bunny, so I would think you’d do pretty great with that! I know when they get too big my ropes for hanging them snap. 😛

  3. honour says:

    thanks for taking the time to write up your experience. Will tanned hides be sold to help with costs? I’m guessing that dressed weight at about one half live weight is typical. Do you plan to track production costs?
    http://www.ontariorabbit.ca/producers/cop/cost-of-production.php

  4. LuckyRobin says:

    I have kept track of everything I’ve spent, if that is what you mean. Or do you mean amount of food per rabbit to meat? I am thinking about making a bedspread with the hides, actually. We might sell them at some point, but I think a finished product would probably net more than just hides from what I’ve seen. But first I want a bedspread of my own.

  5. lizreeb says:

    Thanks for the really great post! It’s always interesting seeing the numbers, both time and dressing weight. We haven’t processed any yet, and while I’m not looking forward to it – I’m getting kind of anxious for rabbit. (First batch was almost all bucks, but we managed to sell them so..) I think we’re going to try the broomstick method ourselves, but I saw that rabbit wringer online – I hope yours comes! Makes it look so clean and easy. Thanks again for sharing your experience!

    • LuckyRobin says:

      I am happy to share what I can. I know how frustrated I was when looking for information on meat rabbits online. There is a lot on pet rabbits and show rabbits, but meat rabbits, not so much. It was much harder to find than info on chickens. So I’ll put up as much data as I have. We rabbit raisers need to get the info out there.

      I hope our Rabbit Wringer comes soon, too. Right now it is at 9 weeks and counting. I’m not holding my breath, but hopefully it will be here before another nine weeks passes and we are ready to butcher again.

      • Linda Megan says:

        I’ve been waiting for over five months for my wringer, with assurances from the owner that “it’s coming this week”. Now he won’t answer my emails. Broomsticking worked really well.

        • LuckyRobin says:

          It took several months for us to get our rabbit wringer and butcher station, but it works very well. The customer service is atrocious, though. I’m glad broomsticking worked out for you.

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