One of the hardest parts of raising rabbits for meat is the actual butchering part. Even if you are raising rabbits for pets or show, you are likely to have culls that you will need to take care of. The best way to deal with extra rabbits is to eat them. Besides, not every rabbit you raise will have a good temperament, a good breeder, or worthy of showing. You will need to know what your plans are for those rabbits well before you start breeding.
When I was raising rabbits to show them, I never thought I would be able to dispatch one. One day, though, one of my breeders became injured. I did everything I could to try to help her heal. I researched natural remedies for my doe and even spoke with an online veterinarian to try to help my girl. After much work trying to make her better, I could tell that she was suffering. I did have a farmer friend that offered to put her down for me, but I was too attached. I knew if I was going to raise the rabbits, it was my responsibility to raise them until the end, even if that meant putting them down when they were beyond help.
You may think that nothing will happen to your rabbits where you will have to make that sort of decision, but you will be fooling yourself. My rabbits were very well contained, but a neighborhood dog came just a little too close to the cage and spooked my girl, causing her to jump frantically around in the cage and break her back. There was nothing I could do but show her mercy and put her down.
Yes, butchering is not my favorite part of raising rabbits, but it is necessary. Every time I go to butcher a rabbit, it is difficult. It has become easier now that I have become more proficient at it as a breeder of meat rabbits, though. We will cover some of the basics of butchering in the next post.