Monday, October 30, 2006

Rabbits are seen differently here in France to how they are in England. In England, a domestic rabbit is a child’s pet and a wild rabbit, of which there are many, a pest. For everything from the ethics of eating game animals through to how to prepare the carcass to some recipes, have a read of Hugh Fernley-Whittingstall’s books, The River Cottage Cookbook pp 364,367 and The River Cottage Meat Book pp 150,177.

Here, rabbits are raised for meat, either farmed and sold in butchers and supermarkets or bred on a domestic scale in hutches in the garden. The meat, according to the Food & Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations, is “highly nutritious, low-fat, low-cholesterol meat rich in proteins and certain vitamins and minerals”.
Our friends Julie (in photo above) and Samuel have recently begun their meat production line with a breeding pair kept in separate hutches. A single female can produce from 25 to 40 offspring a year. Unfortunately, their female took an extreme dislike to the male and fought with him each time they were introduced rather than going at it like … rabbits! Their solution was to eat the female and buy another. In The New Complete Book of Self-Sufficiency, John Seymour warns that the doe (female) must always be taken to the buck’s (male’s) hutch and never the other way round, “or their will be fighting” p 124. You can perhaps guess which way round Julie and Sam were doing it … oops!

As we’re in France, it’s high time that I started some bilingual blogging, and so I’ll attempt to put a link to the French language version.

1 comment :

Steve the Weave said...

my first experience of permaculute was i Africa, in Zimbabwe, there are whole communites and schools there with permaculture designed landscpes,a nd kids growing a lot of their main meal at school as aprt of the cirriculum. And rabbits was defintely a part of that. They kept the cages above compst heaps, all the weeds from the veg lot went directly into the hutches,a nd rabbits could clean out their hutches straight onto the heap.. perfect!

i think there are a lot of advantages of starting with 'small' livestock. Goats etc, have such a big impact on the land... we were talking about rabbits ourselves here the other day, so it is interesting to read you piece. You must send me some recipes!