Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Our first rabbit dinner, Tanning, and Growing Babies

Life has been very busy lately between this, that, and the other thing happening in addition to our day to day routine. Going to check up on the rabbits every morning has become something of a calming ritual before greeting the inevitable insanity of the day. Seeing the babies had opened their eyes yesterday morning was a nice thing to wake up to.

I am not entirely sure how much of this is rose tinted sunglasses, and how much of it is true, but this new crop of babies moves and squeaks a lot more than the first in my mind. Even at only two weeks old they are evading me in their wobbly, off balance way. Some of them are fairly good at it. For the most part they are doing well, and I am happy with how fast they are growing. There is one smaller one who didn't grow between yesterday and today I am concerned about. That said, that's one day and we will see how he does tomorrow.

By day 14 Dawn's first litter was an average of 168.83 grams, and was having some growth problems. The difference between the largest and smallest kit in that litter was 64 grams. Sunny's first litter was 196.75 grams on average and growing well. The difference between the largest and smallest kit in that litter was 33 grams.

In this litter where Dawn has one fewer baby to care for, and is a more experienced mother with better weather the kits are doing better, and are indeed, fat. The largest kit is 230 grams, and the smallest is 199 for an average of 214.8 grams, and a 31 gram difference between the largest and smallest kit. There is a whole host of things that are different in this litter that could account for the better growth rate.

* Experienced mother
* Smaller litter
* Warmer weather
* More experienced handling for weight checks
* Mother is getting more hay to eat
* Mother is more accustomed to where she lives

Over all, many factors are possibly involved and we don't have any data to draw conclusions. We can just see that the babies are doing much better than the first litters, and we hope they continue to do so.

Weight Chart

Our First Rabbit Dinner
Slightly less routine was our first rabbit dinner from our own animals. The Lady of the House and I decided to wait a couple days to eat our first kit to give the rawness a chance to subside/ I am glad we did because I think that if we'd tried to eat our first rabbit dinner Thursday night it wouldn't have been as good for purely psychological reasons. As a note, butchering your own meat off a whole animal is a whole new skill set. I'm not even going to try to tell you how to do it yet since I am in no way expert at it. You can however find many tutorials online.

The food was great, unfortunately we forgot to get photos of the dish to share.

Meat Course:
1 ~2.5 lb cleaned and dressed rabbit with meat removed from the bones.
2 Cups white wine
~ 2 sprigs of fresh lemon basil
1 sprig of fresh basil
2 large fresh sage leaves
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
2 large pinches of dried rosemary
1 generous pinche of dried chipotle

Place all of the pieces of rabbit which should ideally be of relatively similar sizes into a deep 12" cast iron skillet. Pour in the 2 cups of white wine, and mix in the other spices. Pour in water until the water level is just below the top of the rabbit meat. Set to low medium heat and cook for 30 minutes, or until fully cooked through turning occasionally.

We served the rabbit over wild rice cooked with fresh chopped scallions and olive oil. Fairly simple standard fare that you can read the directions on the box to cook. For vegetables we had so called "Candy Cane" or Chioggia beets that we'd roasted.

Aside from not quite cooking the Chioggia beets properly it was very tasty. The rabbit itself tastes something like turkey when slow cooked with liquid. Over all, yeah I'm fairly sure I can eat almost exclusively rabbit for meat.

The Lady of the House has been the point person for tanning since I have been focusing on the studio, and planting more and more of the tomato plants we've found. So far it seems to be going well, and how much actual work each pelt takes seems to go down with each one. Unsurprisingly it is taking her a good long while for this first run. That said, the pelts that are nearly done are looking and feeling great. I hope to do a post on tanning some time soon with photos.

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