Due to a plunging temperature we didn’t slaughter rabbits yesterday. The ground was frozen, the water spicket was frozen, and the hose was stuck to the ground. Without running water it is too hard to keep the slaughter station and knives clean. So instead we decided to take all the rabbit heads that have been building up in the freezer out to the Sardis Raptor Center in Custer. Since it was Saturday, their one open to the public day, we didn’t have to call ahead to make an appointment to drop them off.
They have some beautiful birds in recovery out there. Ska, the snowy owl in the photo above is my favorite. Some of the birds are there for the rest of their lives, like Archie the vulture who has a cracked beak and weak legs. He can’t tear up his own food so he would die if released back into the wild. They feed him hamburger or other finally chopped meats. Some birds will be released back into the wild after their injuries heal.
They had several bald eagles, a couple of golden eagles, a red-tailed hawk, a brown hawk, and some barn owls. They are majestic creatures, especially the eagles. And the size of them was remarkable. I know that they say that an eagle can pick up a toddler, but I didn’t really understand that until looking at one of these eagles at eye level. They are huge and powerful.
Anyway, Sardis accepts the rabbit heads and any dead whole rabbit or kit as long as it has been frozen for at least 24 hours. They especially like the heads though, because the birds need to wear down their constantly growing beaks and trying to get through the skull of a rabbit or any small animal helps with that. I am glad to do it as otherwise we would just be throwing them away and we want to use as much as possible of the rabbits we raise.
After Sardis, we picked up some local Timothy hay for the rabbits and then stopped by my husband’s parents’ house to visit for a couple of hours and to pick up a couple of Christmas gifts that had finally been delivered. One of them was my pasta machine. Now with my new ravioli press, I can make homemade ravioli. I am excited to try it. We will be making rabbit sausage so I will use some of that to stuff the ravioli with.
It is supposed to be warmer this afternoon. Right now it is still frozen outside. I hope it will warm up so we can get started on the next batch of rabbits. We also need to cut up and grind some of the 4 rabbits that are now aged. At least we can do that indoors. Three of them will go to making sausage and one will go to making stir-fry meat and all bones with meat hanging on will be boiled for stock and soup meat.