Author Topic: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use  (Read 12293 times)

Offline Cedar

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #30 on: July 08, 2017, 07:23:28 PM »
I might be at some of my happiest when I end up cooking for 10 people on the spur of the moment. And pretty much everything put up for the ingredients. I love to cook from scratch.. Thanksgiving is my showcase as I make sure that everything is homemade, and what I put up that year.

I have taken crockpotted pulled rabbit to work before.. after the initial shock of finding cooked rabbit in the building (which always happens), people do taste it and then they have seconds.

Cedar
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Offline Artos

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2017, 04:00:01 AM »
Excellent info.  When we had NZ Whites I used a pellet gun too.  Take the Rabbit out of the cage and hold the scruff while letting it rest on a stump.  Place barrel at base of skull from behind and the pistol rests perfectly on the back of the hand holding the rabbit, allowing a safe and sure shot.

Can you, or have you, done a series of instructions on how you utilize the acid for tanning?
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Offline Cedar

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2017, 08:00:09 AM »
Excellent info.  When we had NZ Whites I used a pellet gun too.  Take the Rabbit out of the cage and hold the scruff while letting it rest on a stump.  Place barrel at base of skull from behind and the pistol rests perfectly on the back of the hand holding the rabbit, allowing a safe and sure shot.

Can you, or have you, done a series of instructions on how you utilize the acid for tanning?

I drop them into a carrying cage or a milk crate these days. Shoot straight down between the ears. I don't get my body parts anywhere near.... I am using a .22 cal pellet, although that is larger than I need. My friends had bought me a pellet gun as a gift as I was putting down so many of their rabbits for them. I recommend a regular pellet gun, whatever that size happens to be.

I can give you my recipe for tanning today, but if you can wait, I will do one with pics.. I have been tanning ides for 42 years now. Used this recipe on rabbit, goat, sheep, deer, 1/4 of a cow, beaver, etc. Just double the solution if you need more solution. But before you do cool hides like something more than rabbit, do at least 10 rabbit hides.

It is not organic by any means, but my hands are still there, if I mix it too wrong, I will dissolve my jeans while wearing them however. DO NOT WEAR GOOD JEANS when you do this, as then you will likely mix it wrong.

8 oz sulfuric acid
2 lbs cheap salt
2 gallons of water

Use a 5 gallon plastic bucket to mix it in. Keep the solution cooler than 70F, and keep it out of the sun.. one time my solution got too hot and all my hides literally turned rubbery..it was the weirdest thing. It might be interesting some something, (leather hinges??) but probably not the thing you would be after. Also keep it covered and out of where animals can get to it. One morning I had 10+ hides shredded all over my backyard.

I never split my rabbit hides when I put them in. (As I am typing this, 3 deer just walked past my window, one was a 3-pt in velvet.. so coool)

****** TANNING HIDES ******

1. Make solution and make sure the salt is dissolved.

2. Stick the hides in (mine are always frozen and I do not do less than 10 at a time, but I recommend no more than 3 for a newbie)
weigh the hides down and let them sit for 24 hrs. Make sure there are no air bubbles trapped in the hides when you go back a few hours later. Just stir with a stick if you are not wanting to use your hands.

3. After 24 hours, pull the hide you are working on out of the solution. I usually sit down with a scrap piece of plywood as a work table on my lap. If I am lucky I grabbed a old chair with arms to set the 'table' on.

4. I split the hide up the belly with a sharp knife. Make one cut, dont saw, or you will have fur/hair all over the place and a jagged edge to your hide.

5. At the tail end, look for what I call a 'fat tab'. It is kinda distinct. It kinda looks like a 'flap'? But you can get your fingers under it if the hide has soaked in the solution long enough. REALLY too difficult? Drop your hide back in for a couple hours, but try another hide to see if that one is ready.

If you can get your fingers under that 'tab', start pulling it, and the membrane which covers the hide (it will feel slimy-ish) and work the membrane off from tail to head direction. If you work the other direction, you very well could rip your hide in half, especially if they are fryer hides. Deer, sheep, etc.. whatever direction is fair game, but I think it also comes off easier on the larger animals in that direction as well.

6. When you get that membrane off, your hide will feel like wet leather. Not slippery-slimy. Make sure to get all the membrane off, as if you don't, that spot will tan out hard, and not soft.

7. Return the hide to the bucket and solution for 24 hours. I do not split my hides as then I can easily tell which ones I have done and not done, without having to fish each one out and look. I can just tell from it being split up the belly.

8. After the next 24 hours. Pull your hides out, strip the water from them (I hold it at the 'head end', and run my hands from the 'head' to 'tail' direction stripping the water out. I use something to lay the hides over, while I work one. Keep them out of the direct sun probably is best. Air flow is your friend though, so dont go find a hurricane or anything, but a nice breeze on a back porch does help.

I have always read not to use heat, so of course I use a blowdryer set on high. I blow dry the fur side first, and use a dog slicker brush to unclump any hair. Then I start dead center of the hide, flesh side, and run the blow dryer in circles far enough away from the hide to keep from cooking it, but close enough it will start to shrivel and contract.

9. When it starts to shrivel and contract, set your blow dryer down a sec (which is not needed actually, but if I am doing alot of hides, I dont want to spent 2 days getting them all done).. but whatever method you use to dry, when the hide starts to contract and dry, pull the hide in as many directions as you can think of (careful on fragile hides) to break the fibers which break down the hide and make it soft. Your hide will look all wet again.. get used to it, you will see it multiple times go from (yay) "dry!", to (oh dang) 'wet' again when you are working the hide.

10. Eventually your hide will be close to dry. Pay particular attention to the neck area where the hide is thicker, and the edges where it is thinner and you don't work them as much for some reason. Both of these areas I tend to see turn hard as a plank due to neglect in working these areas.

11. You are probably close to done. Just keep checking it for moisture and work the hide in that area.

12. Some people use neetsfoot oil. I don't. I do no further processing with the hide unless I am making something from them. This solution makes for a very white hide. Like paper white. IF you do not get all the fat off the skin though, it will be yellow from the fat.

13. There are all sorts of tanning solutions from brains/smoke, to bran, to saltpeter, to ... but I find that the sulfuric acid is what gives me the best results and I have had complements from professional tanners and taxidermists. It is tried and proven for me.

14. Good luck and if you have any questions, feel free to ask me.

PS.. You CANNOT reuse the solution, I have tried. To dispose of it, I have always tried to kill blackberries with it, but it doesn't work. It doesn't seem to hurt the grass either.

Cedar
« Last Edit: July 13, 2017, 08:10:07 AM by Cedar »
"Do not breathe simply to exist."

"Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." - Jean Luc Picard

"A person who works with his hands is a laborer, A person who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, A person who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist."

Offline ericksonrs

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2017, 10:55:54 AM »
Just my chemistry days coming back...but if you haven't worked with sulfuric acid before...two things.  Wear eye protection and add the acid to the water NOT water to the acid.  So mix the salt and water first for Cedar's solution and then add the acid to it slowly.  It won't explode or anything, but adding water to acid can cause the water to boil violently and spurt acid where you don't want it.


Offline Artos

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #34 on: July 14, 2017, 08:42:55 AM »
Excellent, thanks, im saving that.  Do you use gloves when handling the hides or rinse them before going to the wringing/stretching stage?

http://cptcaveman.wordpress.com/

Best curse ever: May the full horror of your actions be revealed to you.

...whose only purpose is to right all wrongs, to make strong the weak, mend the broken, vanquish the proud and make powerless those who abuse the frail.

My Orders

My orders are to fight;
Then if I bleed, or fail,
Or strongly win, what matters it?
God only doth prevail.

The servant craveth naught
Except to serve with might.
I was not told to win or lose,–
My orders are to fight.

~ Ethelwyn Wetherald

Offline Cedar

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #35 on: July 14, 2017, 08:48:25 AM »
Just my chemistry days coming back...but if you haven't worked with sulfuric acid before...two things.  Wear eye protection and add the acid to the water NOT water to the acid.  So mix the salt and water first for Cedar's solution and then add the acid to it slowly.  It won't explode or anything, but adding water to acid can cause the water to boil violently and spurt acid where you don't want it.

YES!!! Always add the acid LAST. I have not mixed this up for awhile, so I failed to add that extremely important part. You also ought to wear safety glasses or a face shield, but I have to admit, I never have. Thank you for adding that.

And never use metal in connection with anything in this process. I use a handy stick for stirring. An old plate or a clean rock/brick for holding the hides under the solution.

Cedar
"Do not breathe simply to exist."

"Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." - Jean Luc Picard

"A person who works with his hands is a laborer, A person who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, A person who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist."

Offline Cedar

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Re: Judging Meat Rabbits for home use
« Reply #36 on: July 14, 2017, 08:51:37 AM »
Excellent, thanks, im saving that.  Do you use gloves when handling the hides or rinse them before going to the wringing/stretching stage?

Yikes.. forgot another step. I have not done this in awhile, nor taught it for many years, and I was in a hurry (and probably not 100% awake when I typed it).. my apologies.. I do wash them in fresh clean water, but nothing too exciting.. just a quick rinse, no soap, unless the hide had a small dirty spot on it, but I never use gloves. My hands have never been a 'hand model' quality, but it was never due to the solution. You WILL know about any cuts on your hands which you did not know about prior though.

Cedar
"Do not breathe simply to exist."

"Make now always the most precious time. Now will never come again." - Jean Luc Picard

"A person who works with his hands is a laborer, A person who works with his hands and his head is a craftsman, A person who works with his hands, his head and his heart is an artist."