Hard decisions and growing

Choosing to be a farmer is a lot tougher than growing up to be one, I believe.  I’ve had to learn that emotionally led decisions will kill a farm. Yesterday I discovered that one of my does was unable to move her hind legs. She was real lethargic at the end of her unsuccessful pregnancy, which resulted in stillborn bunnies. Now she was practically paralyzed. After sending out emails and phone calls to all my more experienced mentors, I went with my gut.

My reason for raising rabbits is to produce a more sustainable meat animal. Rabbits require a fraction of the feed and infrastructure as chickens and we can produce as much meat as we’d get from a cow in the 24+ months it’d take to grow a beef steer. When an animal lives out it productiveness, a farmer must make decisions based on economics and what is best for the farm and family. Just because we give an animal a name, we can’t let emotion rule. The cow that stops giving milk, the hen that stops laying, the rabbit that can’t reproduce become food themselves.

It was time to learn what harvesting a rabbit is all about. I’ve already watched a friend harvest and process 6 rabbits, but now it was time to step up. I called my buddy Lonnie up to get some guidance. Lonnie used to have a thriving rabbit meat operation and he gladly offered to come over to help. Lonnie showed me his preferred method of slaughter and then tricks he picked up to skin and eviscerate. In the end, a rabbit I had hoped would produce several litters, instead will feed my family.

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2 responses to this post.

  1. I’m so sorry! That is such a hard decision to make. But they are farm animals–not pets–and at least she fulfilled a purpose, if not the one you had hoped.

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