Processing and Handling of Rabbit Products

Rabbits are to be slaughtered regardless of the circumstances that are involved (rabbit products, meat for party, family reunion, other celebrations etc.) and some times are being used for the processing of rabbit products for individual or commercial purposes.

Rabbits that are on forage feeding reach table weight around 6-7 months of age. Regular weighing is the best way to determine when this point has been reached.

Requirement for Slaughter and Rabbit Processing

A generally clean place away from any obvious source of flies or dogs.

Something from which to hang the rabbit whilst cleaning it e.g. a branch or a specially placed pole or set of hooks.

A sharp knife.

A bowl or source of clean water.

A container for the blood and guts and anything that is being kept separate from the meat.

A clean container with cover for the rabbit carcass.

Some string or thin wire.

A skin drying frame.

A stick the thickness of a pencil smoothly rounded at on end.

Rabbit Slaughter Procedure

Rabbit should receive water but no food in the 12-hour period before killing. This will help in partly emptying the digestive system and will reduce the risk of it breaking during cleaning of the carcass.

If it breaks there is the possibility that the meat will be dirtied by the contents of the digestive tract. This in turn may lead to food poisoning in the people that consume the meat.

Killing should be carried out as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible, with the minimum pain to the rabbit. There are two methods of killing rabbits. Both involve making the rabbit unconscious and then removing the head to allow bleeding.

1. Neck Breaking Procedure

In this method the rabbit’s neck is broken in the same way as that used for killing hens in some areas. For a right-handed person, both the rabbit’s back legs are held in the right hand.

The rabbit’s neck is then held from above between the first and second fingers- or the thumb and first finger of the left hand. The rabbit is stretched over the upper part to the left leg and the rabbit’s neck is pushed down, whilst at the same time its head is bent back.

With moderate force the neck will suddenly give way indicating that the neck has been broken by dislocation. The rabbit should be immediately hung upside-down by its back legs the head is then removed to allow the blood to drain out of the body.

This method requires more skill, alternatively, the first step is to make an incision into the side of the neck and then followed by cutting the jugular vein and allow blood to drain away.

2. Stunning Method

The neck-breaking method requires a little strength. Those without the necessary strength may prefer to use the stunning method. For a right-handed person, the rabbit should be held upside-down by its back legs with the left hand.

It should be held so that the ears fall forward exposing the back of the head. The point at the base of the ears should then be hit sharply with a good-sized piece of wood or metal, this will stun the rabbit and make it unconscious.

The rabbit should then be immediately hug up and its head should be cut off to allow bleeding.

It should be noted that these methods of killings have a limitation for the fact that they are not acceptable by some believes, example Islam advocate the use of a sharp knife in cutting the throat and the jugular veins as swiftly as possible with minimum pain inflicted to the animal.

3. Rabbit Skinning

Skinning is done easily when the rabbit is hanging by its back legs at shoulder height. Cut off the front legs at their midpoint, and then the tail. Next, cut the skin around each hook below where the string is tied.

Cut from the inside of one hock down, around the anus and tail area and similarly down the inside of the other leg from the hock. No, using the round stick and with care gently work the skin downwards and off the body.

The stick is used to separate the skin from the body without cutting it as would occur if a knife were used. Place the skin over the skin drying frame. It can be cleaned later.

4. Rabbit Cleaning

The body is cut open and care is taken not to cut the intestines. The rabbit gut can now be pulled out. The heart, kidneys and liver can be separated together with other parts required for eating.

It can then be taken down from the hanging position and tidied up, ready for passing to the cook. Once this is done the skin on the drying frame can be scraped clean, taking care not to cut it in the process.

5. Rabbit Cooking

Rabbit meat is relatively soft meat which needs little cooking. It is ideal for cooking in a dry heat or frying. It can be used in stews but it should not be overcooked as it may disintegrate.

It is ideal for people who have digestive upsets and for those with few teeth. Smoking can be used to preserve rabbit meat in the same way that it is used to preserve other meats.

Read Also: Guide to Proper Record Keeping in Rabbit Husbandry

Rabbit Products and by Products

 Rabbit Products

A product is anything produced by a natural process or manufacture whereas a by-product is anything produced incidentally in manufacturing something else.

However, the product or by-product is determined by the main objective of raising the animals as well as the processing method employed.

The skin is a by-product in addition to the head, feet, blood and gut contents. Rabbit meat is outstanding both for its dietetic effect and its chemical composition. It is high in protein and low in fat, cholesterol and sodium compared to meat from other animals.

The meat is high in polyunsaturated fats. Polyunsaturated fats are preferred to saturated fats since PUF are not associated with coronary and hypertensive diseases. The meat to bone ratio has been found to be higher than other animals. Meat does not have intrinsic odour.

In summary, rabbits are to be slaughtered regardless of the circumstances that are involve (party, family reunion, other celebrations etc.). This process therefore should be carried out under some laid down procedure and all sanitary measures taken to avoid food poisoning to those eating the meat.

Rabbits that are on forage feeding reach table weight around 6-7 months of age. Regular weighing is the best way to determine when this point has been reached.

Requirement for slaughter and processing include a clean place away from any obvious source of flies or dogs, something from which to hang the rabbit whilst cleaning it, a sharp knife, a bowl or source of clean water.

Others are a container for the blood and guts and anything that is being kept separate from the meat, a clean container with cover for the rabbit carcass, some string or thin wire, a skin drying frame, a stick the thickness of a pencil smoothly rounded at one end.

Killing should be carried out as quickly as possible and as efficiently as possible, with minimum pain to the rabbit. There are two methods of killing rabbits. Both involve making the rabbit unconscious and then removing the head to allow bleeding.

The methods are neck breaking and stunning methods. For easy skinning of rabbits, cut off the front legs at their midpoint, and then the tail. Next, cut the skin around each hook below where the string is tied.

Cut from the inside of one hock down, around the anus and tail area and similarly down the inside of the other leg from the hock. Now, using the round stick and with care gently work the skin downwards and off the body.

Read Also : 4 Steps to help an Orange Tree Produce Sweet Oranges

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Benadine Nonye

An Agric. Consultant & a Writer (With over 12 years of professional experience in the agricultural industry) - National Diploma in Agricultural Technology - Bachelor's Degree in Agricultural Science - Master's Degree in Science Education... Visit My Websites On: Agric4profits.com - It's All About Agriculture, The Way Forward! Agric4profit.com - The Most Reliable Global Agricultural Forum! Agric4profit.com.ng - The Most Reliable Nigeria's Agricultural Job Board! TheAgriPedia.com - For Everything Premium Agriculture! WealthinWastes.com - For Proper Waste Management and Recycling Practices. Join Me On: Twitter: @benadinenonye - Instagram: benadinenonye - LinkedIn: benadinenonye - YouTube: Agric4ProfitsTV - Pinterest: BenadineNonye4u - Facebook: BenadineNonye

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