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So I cooked the first of the rabbits we processed last week. Fried it like chicken. What went wrong is I have never fried chicken and I cooked it too long resulting in rubber rabbit so I popped it into the crockpot for three hours and it was divine truly' truly divine by dinner time. I now know better for next time. I served with glazed carrots and potatoes (grandpas favorites) and for desert we had watermelon fresh from the garden. Best of all I know where my dinner came from and how it was raised no plastic wrapped package from a mystery industrial farm

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Comment by Dianne Felder on September 14, 2010 at 6:44pm
Well, actually, the 75 rabbits are the ones we moved with us from So. Calif. to N. Calif. when we bought the egg ranch. We had already gone up several weekends and built all the hanging cages and installed the auto water system so it was ready for the rabbits (plus room for expansion, you know how rabbits multiply LOL) when I got there with the trailer loaded full of rabbits and a couple of 33 gallon trash cans of worm filled rabbit mulch from my old rabbitry for the new worm beds. We were very adventurous back then. LOL It seems to me the maximum number we had was in the neighbor hood of 125 breeders and way more during bunny season. I loved it. My kids weren't all that crazy about it if I couldn't feed but never complained (until the subject comes up at family gatherings, that is :)

Have fun.
Comment by Treasa on September 14, 2010 at 5:50pm
Thank you Chris for the Kind words. Diane is did try frying and ended up with rubber rabbit I fryed too long but after a few hours in the crock pot it was wonderful. From the sounds of it you had a lot 75 rabbits wow. I will let you know if I get too many. I look forward to the next class.
Comment by Dianne Felder on September 14, 2010 at 9:51am
Thank you Chris! I just remember all the little things that came up over the years that I had to either figure out for myself or from networking with other breeders. I do wonder how in the world rabbits can be kept through the summers here.

In N. Calif. we would rarely get into the low 100's and it was a challenge to keep them cool enough in a long, low barn with excellent ventilation on the occasions it did. I would put 2 liter bottles of cold water in each cage that they would lay next to and also mist their ears every hour to help them cool their blood. We had no means of installing fans there or evap. cooling.
And the nights really cooled down nicely there, 30 minutes from the ocean, so the hottest part of the day didn't last all that long.

Here in the valley that is an entirely different story and I would think those methods wouldn't come close to being enough. :(
Comment by Dianne Felder on September 13, 2010 at 10:30pm
LOL Yes, I remember years ago when my girls got into 4H and decided to get into the rabbit project. We bought a couple of 3 American Chinchilla rabbits for them to show and then, of course, they wanted to breed. It is quite a process going from 3 bunnies, to show rabbits, to breeding, to mama's in nest boxes. It's amazing though, how fast they grow. I guess it was pretty amazing how quickly my rabbitry grew also from those original 3 rabbits, to two totally different breeds and the 75 rabbits we moved with us from S. Calif to N. Calif and a much larger facility. I don't remember how many rabbits we grew to but it was quite a few. LOL. The first time we butchered was quite funny too but we finally got quite fast and efficient. The right setup is really important when butchering to make it much easier.

Have fun with your rabbits, I sure enjoyed mine and would love to hear from you some day when you have enough to butcher that you don't have room in your freezer. (My family was just talking about how we miss rabbit meat the other day) Rabbit is extremely healthy, low in cholesterol and fat and high in protene and it's amazing how many things you can make with it. Frying is a little challenging because of the low fat content and special care must be taken to make it come out moist and tender.

I know Chris teaches a class on rabbits and can probably help with all your questions, but if I can be of any help just holler.
Comment by Treasa on September 13, 2010 at 8:15pm
I will have to try your rabbit recipe. Sounds Great. I just got a doe so I have a pair now. they are both young so it will be a while before I have any litters of my own. For now I am just picking up a few young ones and raise them to fryer size then off to freezer camp. It is hard to find rabbit locally in the stores and when you do it is very expensive 10-12 dollars per pound. I wasn't going to breed but I purchased a buck for the freezer and really like him nice shape and disposition so i decided to breed. so my future is looking like it will be full of rabbits. When I have some I will let you know.
Comment by Dianne Felder on September 13, 2010 at 1:33pm
Yes, I can honestly look back and say those were the good old days (late 70's early 80's) even though it was very labor intensive. Didn't seem so bad at the time but looking back I realize how hard we worked. But I really miss the big garden in river bottom soil, the fresh eggs, home grown pork, beef and rabbit and mmmmmmmmmm abalone. My son even caught a big batch of crawdads one time in the local creek and we threw them in the bathtub for a good rinsing then popped them in a boiling water bath. What a treat.
Comment by Dianne Felder on September 13, 2010 at 11:50am
Wow, Treasa, I thought it was too hot here in the valley for raising rabbits. When I lived in N. Calif. we owned an egg ranch and I had a great rabbit barn where my show rabbits (Rex's and Netherland Dwarfs) grew into quite a business. Naturally, one has to find an outlet for Rex bunnies (dwarfs make great pets only) that aren't going to be shown so we started butchering and enjoying many different rabbit dishes, plus, they sold well. We made a new friend who stopped to buy eggs and rabbit fryers often on his way home from diving for abalone. If he was successful, so were we as he loved trading his catch for our products.

Two favorite rabbit dishes were to simmer the rabbit till very tender, shred off the bones and add BBQ sauce for BBQ'd rabbit sandwhiches (I mostly did this with fryers that got a little older before butchering), the other was to place cut up rabbit parts, seasoned with galic salt and pepper in a roasting pan, cover with thick sliced onions, halved peeled potatoes and carrots or other root crop and pop into the oven until done. OH MY Gosh, my dad was especially taken by the dish and my kids loved it too.

I'd love to find a souce for fresh rabbit! It doesn't often appear in the meat dept. like it used to and then it is very expensive (sorta like abalone. LOL)
Comment by Treasa on September 8, 2010 at 6:15pm
I had never butchered either, never even cleaned a fish. So you can do it. No Plucking
Comment by Judy on September 8, 2010 at 8:32am
I'm seriously thinking of raising meat rabbits, unfortunately couldn't take Chris' class but hope to in the future. One concern of course is butchering and that will be a hurdle to overcome for sure but grew up cleaning fish so maybe the transition won't be too difficult. Dinner sounded wonderful and must be very satisfying providing all that for your family. Well done!

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