Musings of the Empress -- country life, culture and more
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Friday, February 18, 2011
Emergency Preparedness -- Rabbits for Town and Country -- Grow Meat!
4 wks. old California Black
New Zealand cross
Whether you live in the country or city, in an emergency situation a source of fresh meat is welcome. Even country land can be hunted out after a time, so grow your own meat -- raise rabbits.
* efficient converters of feed
* you can gather your own feed in the country
* high protien
* extremely low fat ( add fat to recipes when living off rabbit meat completely -- the dreaded "rabbit starvation" stories may not be all fiction)
* short gestation period (28 - 31 days, multiple litters per year)
* rapid maturation
* can keep live until needed (no refrigeration)
Information on raising rabbits is available online, at your bookstore, or in my article "Makin' Money with Bunnies" BackHomeMagazine March 2010 (Brag ! Brag!). If stumped, contact Art or I through our blogs with your e-mail. We also consult by phone if needed.
Occasionally you may need to buy or trade for new unrelated rabbits to avoid inbred genetic faultssuch as wolf teeth, or small litters. We added two new does this fall. Now there's 11 does and 4 bucks in our herd.
grade(not purebred) broken coat pattern due Feb.27
French lop doe due feb. 28
Purebred rabbits, such as the Palominos we started raising a year ago sport ear tatoos for identification. We can get more rabbits which will be unrelated to our current Palomino doe and buck (below) from the local breeder.
Stick with rabbits from the large breeds for the most efficiency in meat production -- Californian, New Zealand, Palomino, French Lop, etc. A French lop Buck is on my "want" list: 12 -14 pounds with larger litters up to 13 in a batch.
I must admit we keep medium sized rabbits as well, for three reasons: coat color/pattern variety for pet sales, smaller bucks are best for first breedings of does - smaller offspring for easier first delivery, and the pure pleasure of seeing what colors/ patterns you get when mating two interesting rabbits. 14 genes determine coat color and pattern, so there are always surprises in store.
Lula, typical Silver Martin color/pattern, medium breed
The meat is delicious and can be prepared fried, stewed, roasted, and grilled with extra fat. Raising rabbits can provide meat for your family and extra income for sale as breeders or pets. In hard times, they make great barter items. * * * Ordered from The Ready Store online today. Recieved an e-mail about delayed shipping due to unusual demand. I'll let you know how long it takes, and how the dry milk and dried green beans are.
Ordered open pollinated seeds from Terratorial seeds -- my usual seed company. OP seeds produce plants from which you may save seeds for the following year. Saving your own seeds is a very good idea!
Ordered Dinner's in the Jar this morning for more meal storage recipes. Amazon also carries the oxygen- removing packets that will keep your jarred dinners very dry and fresh.