June 16, 2013

Homesteading Days Workshop

When we first started raising rabbits over a year and a half ago, we really weren't sure what we were doing.  We figured, "They're rabbits. They'll multiply ..... like rabbits!"  It's pretty easy to breed them but to successfully breed rabbits and grow them out to butchering size you need a bit more knowledge.  There were so many times that I wished we had someone we could talk to about our little rabbitry; someone to ask questions and bounce ideas off of them.  We would have benefited from a mentor but no one wanted to share information with us.

Since then, we decided to share our experiences, good and bad, and the knowledge and resources we attain with anyone who asks.  When we sell breeding stock to others, we encourage them to let us know how things are going and to let us know of their successes and problems.

Because of this pay-it-forward mindset, we were very excited when we were asked to step in as substitutes for a local Homesteading Day seminar on meat rabbits.  It was short notice, but we were happy to step in and help out.  What a great experience it was for us!  And we hope it was as equally fulfilling for the attendees!

We covered as many topics as we could cram into the short session: Equipment, breeds, evaluating stock and breeders, feed, common health issues to watch out for, how to breed (with a live demonstration courtesy of our buck, Stop Asking, and doe, Silverado), kindling - what to expect, how to handle problems, growing out the kits and how to butcher.

The big event was the butchering.  Greg demonstrated how to dispatch the rabbit and process it from start to finish. Then each person was given the opportunity to process their own rabbit, take it home and fix it for dinner.  We were processing rabbits until 6pm.  That's quite a bit later than we anticipated but we wanted to make sure everyone who wanted to try it had an opportunity to do so.  For us, the highlight was watching Greg's daughter and another thirteen year old girl jointly process a rabbit.  It was great to watch them confidently take on the task.

After participating in this short session, we're really excited about the full day workshop we have planned for September 7.  I felt like there were so many topics we skimmed over or missed entirely due to time constraints.  All in all, it was a really great day and we're so grateful for the opportunity to educate others.

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