The Life of a Meat Chicken, Week 2

The meat chickens are now one week old. Most noticeable in their first week of life is the appearance of the white feathers that will replace their fluffy down. This usually starts on their wings. Our chicks are still in the brooder but don’t require the heat lamp as much, especially with September temps still in the 80s/90s. They are starting to outgrow their space, evidenced by their ability to “fly” out. In a few days Andy will move them onto the floor of the chicken house, and at about 2.5-3 weeks they will be moved outside to pasture.

Two weeks old!

How does your mom cook rabbit?

The title of this post has been a running joke between Andy and I ever since we were dating. He recalled the story of visiting a college friend’s family, where members would shoot guns from the windows of the house and served rabbit for dinner. He was asked “How does your mom cook rabbit?” with the answer of “She doesn’t.”

We added three meat rabbits to our farm last fall when our friends the Burns family were looking to thin out their herd? (flock? what do you call a group of rabbits?…Wikipedia for the answer, it is a herd). They also gave us a frozen, dressed meat rabbit to try. Well, it sat in the freezer since then, until Andy pulled it out last Sunday night to thaw. We are debating breeding either one or both does, and so we wanted to make sure we liked it.

Meet Funny, Kara, and Oreo, our breeding stock.

To be honest, I thought I would be freaked out by seeing the carcass, because of course rabbits are  cute and cuddly. It wasn’t as bad as I thought. On Wednesday our friend and neighbor Kristin  was over for a playdate, and she is a poultry and culinary expert, so we asked her how to cook it. She recommended sticking it in the crock pot and seasoning it just like you would chicken.

First, I soaked it in salt water. Next, I put it in the crock pot with some Penzeys spices and a little water, and cooked it on high. It was done in a few hours, and smelled really good. Te meat pulled right off the bone (which I left in the pot) and I shredded it and cut it and served it with some barbecue sauce on the side. I told the kids it was chicken <wink> and they all ate it and liked it. And we did too! Andy thinks it will make great shredded barbecue sandwiches. The meat was very lean, which is an added bonus.

Rabbit is becoming quite the rage in higher end restaurants, and we will be excited to add it to our inventory this fall. If you are adventurous and looking for a high protein, lower sodium meat (I found some neat links about it, including this one from Livestrong touting the benefits for athletes), let us know!