The squeamish should skip this post.
Yesterday, I decided to butcher the remainder of my juvenile rabbits. After having to dispatch one last week after it showed evidence of altercations with its hutch mates, I had five that needed to be transitioned to the freezer.
I began setting up as soon as Roomie left for work, just before 0500. She knows what I do, but prefers to have as much distance from it as possible. Since we are at each others’ throats enough normally, I try to avoid situations that I know will upset her.
Afte setting up the processing area, I had a decision to make. Up to that point, the dispatch had been via a .22 CCI MiniMag to the back of the head. Although a clean kill, it has one major disadvantage for me. I have to load them up and go somewhere, normally the range. This means the inherent inconvenience of loading and transport, as well as having to adhere to range hours, and the possibility of other members showing up mid-procedure.
I also noticed another issue last week. The floor of the range is regularly serviced with fresh dirt and mulch, which I didn’t think about until I was cleaning the rabbit. Despite brushing off the fur as much as I could before skinning it, I ended up having to scrub the processed carcass for a long time to get all the flecks of dirt off. I’m still not sure I got everything.
So, I decided to try “broomsticking” for this batch. Briefly, it involves placing the rabbit on a hard surface, laying a round object (such as a broomstick) across the neck area, an as quickly as possible to minimize the time and stress that the animal will suffer, standing on both sides of the broomstick, while pulling the hindquarters straight up until you feel the neck break. It is easier for me, in that I am not limited by time of day, and it appears to be an equally quick kill to the gunshot. However, it does cause some bruising in the shoulder and neck area.
All in all, though , I think I will continue this method. The convenience outweighs the negatives. I don’t have another litter baking, yet. I have decided to wait until their arrival will be after out scheduled visit to NYC (SPIT!) early next month. Although there is little I could do in the event of a problem, I want to be here for the early weeks of their development.
As a side note, I tried one of Skidmark’s knives this time around, and it performed flawlessly. There is no name anywhere on it, just Stainless and Taiwan stamped on the blade. It is now my dedicated rabbit knife. Another blade of Japanese origin is now my go-to utility knife, and the little Kershaw stays clipped to my pants pocket, “just in case”. Thanks again, Skid.