Saturday, March 13, 2010

Rabbits

We have more new "farm" animals! These are called American Chinchillas which are a very rare breed of livestock--The American Livestock Conservancy calls their conservation status "critical." I found these on craigslist, from a homeschooled boy that lives about 20 minutes away from here. He is into 4H and breeds all kinds of animals. He had these two does bred for us, so hopefully in a month we will see some little babies.

Guy loves the rabbits. He likes to just sit here and feed them--shoving carrots and lettuce and, well, anything he can find into the cage. Partially I decided that rabbits would be a good animal for us to have as Guy really likes feeding and just hanging out with them. Maybe now he will stop harassing our chicks a little. But probably not.

So, meat rabbits. Oh boy. I know, it is hard to stomach for me too. But I am so tired of all of the food controversies... the way that animals are raised in this country is totally disgusting and inhumane. I would like to get to a point where we don't really eat any meat that we didn't raise ourselves or was sourced locally. Not that we eat a lot of meat. We don't. But it is part of our diet and so we need to find a way to be as responsible as possible, for our wallets, the planet, for the animals themselves.

I am hoping that we can sell any excess babies. We will see.

So when considering a meat rabbit breed, the idea is that they need to grow to a harvestable size quickly, so that they are still tender meat when they are slaughtered. These rabbits can also be used for their fur, but their fur takes much longer to mature. I have no idea how to use fur but I like the idea of making use of the whole animal.

I found two good blogs last night about raising rabbits for meat. I am looking for a lot more information so hope to have more resources posted in the future.

Polyface Apprentice
Living the Frugal Live

2 comments:

Laura said...

Oh, how fun that Guy likes to feed them.

Killing them will be hard. Our goats are due in another month - 6 weeks, and we are thinking of killing at least a few of them for meat. That will be hard too.

And I think we might get 30-50 cornish cross meat chickens, raise them for six weeks, and kill those too. Those will be easier because they won't be so identifiable.

Maybe we'll eat some ducks too.

So what else does this kid have?

Amy Manning said...

Yes, it will be hard. All of the above will be hard. But it will help us be more conscientious of what we eat... The parts I don't eat get fed to the dogs or the chickens. Make stock out of bones and put the bones in the compost pile, buried deeply. Blah blah blah.

He had a couple other kinds of rabbits and some pygmy goats. He was also going to start breeding snakes. I don't think he is into meat at all. The house that he lived in was huge, probably 5,000 square feet, brand new, etc. I was impressed with his business attitude, the fact that he was willing to sell us a rabbit on a friday night, a night typically teenagers would be out and about.

Wilco is giving away 5 free cornish cross chickens with the purchase of a bag of starter feed. I'm not as fond of Wilco anymore, as their salespeople obviously don't raise livestock, they sell run of the mill feed, and their prices are more expensive than another local business that mills all their own feed.

But I like the idea of the free meat chickens. :-) Too bad they've been bred to have huge breasts so they don't reproduce well. I think they have to be artificially inseminated.