At the beginning of the outbreak, we decided to get rabbits to increase our meat production.
We found a rabbit breeder in Nebraska that had the Satin breed of rabbits, which are a good size for meat and they have plush nice fur.
We bought three young bunnies: a buck and two does.
It happened that we got the bunnies after binge-watching Star Trek Voyager.
As a consequence of that, our grandson Nathan named them after characters from the show.
They were dubbed: Captain Janeway, Tom Paris, and B'Elanna Torres.
Before we bred them, Paula read that you have to bring the females to the male's cage.
If you take the male to their house, he may get curious and start looking around instead of doing what he's there for.
That can lead to great frustration in the female and she may bite his pecker off.
We moved Janeway to Tom's cage.
He did his thing several times in a row.
She seemed receptive and went home happy.
When we put B'Elanna in Tom's cage, he went after her and tried like crazy but she wouldn't let him.
She was not very receptive and seemed to be a dud, perhaps too young still.
Captain Janeway had her first batch of babies in the fall of 2020.
She had six, who grew to adulthood and then some.
B'Elanna did not get pregnant.
Before we slaughtered Janeway's babies, we decided to give B'Elanna another try with Tom.
They chased each other around for a while like mirror images of each other, which got us curious.
We decided to look, having finally learned how to sex these critters.
B'Elanna was a boy.
The people we got them from must have sexed him incorrectly.
Or perhaps he decided to be a different gender. /s
Poor Tom got fooled by trans B'Elanna.
The final slaughter included B'Elanna and five of Janeway's kids.
We kept one female named Patches to breed with Tom.
Bunnies are a bit different from people or dogs.
Instead of ovulating on some biological clock, bunnies ovulate when they have sex.
So the more times they do it in a session, the better the chance for babies.
One nice spring Saturday was Tom's lucky day.
He got a personal visit from Captain Janeway and from Patches.
Both females were quite receptive, much more so than B'Ellana.
Tom humped each of them three times successfully.
Dude did it six times in a row. He was visibly exhausted and panting at the end.
None of the females went home frustrated.
The day after Easter of 2021, Captain Janeway and Patches had their babies.
Janeway had six babies.
Two of them were solid black.
She had one solid black one in the first litter.
So far, every solid black bunny has been unusually skiddish compared to the others.
The black ones are the last to come out and the first to run at anything that startles them, which is everything.
Patches had seven babies.
one of her babies died of unknown causes.
It just never seemed to gain weight, possibly a negative result of inbreeding.
Here is our experience when we ate the first of Captain Janeway's bunnies.
Raw bunny meat is light pink in color.
It looks very much like raw chicken white meat from the store.
There are endless recipes showing how to cook meat with heaps of other ingredients so you don't really have to taste it, the general theme of most wild game recipes.
We decided to take the opposite approach, to really taste it, and enjoy it for what it is.
Paula cooked the meat simply on the grill, medium rare, with salt and pepper and some olive oil.
The cooked meat was golden and it smelled wonderful. The texture was light, delicate, slightly stiffer than chicken. The individual pieces were a nice size for individual portions.
There is a common joke that everything "tastes like chicken". That is absolutely not true of bunny meat.
The flavor was very similar to that of a T-bone steak. It seemed odd, eating what looked like chicken but tasted like steak. The unfamiliarity of the bone structure added to the newness of the experience.
I rolled a few bites of mine in a bit of barbecue sauce that Paula made last season. It was fantastic.
The dogs are going to love bunny nights. The upper torso of the bunny is one big chunk of spine and ribs. The ribs are barely more than cartilage but they actually have a fair bit of meat so we cooked it up and divided it between the dogs. They ate every single bit, enthusiastically.
Bunnies are yummy. They have become a welcome addition to our farm cuisine.
Overall, bunnies are easier to keep, breed, and maintain than chickens. They make more meat faster, on less feed. They are quiet and easy to manage. They don't smell as bad as chickens. They are easier to kill and process than chickens, by far.
I now consider bunnies a must for anyone attempting to become a little more independent by producing some of their own food. Bunnies are easier and cheaper than chickens and the meat from farm raised bunnies is much better than the meat from farm raised chickens, which are not at all like the fluffy white meat-foam you get at the store.
My only regret is that we didn't get bunnies sooner. They're so easy they're practically free food.