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Old 09-10-2008, 03:06 AM
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Default Rabbits in Manchester

Webstral 05-19-2008, 03:43 PM Rabbits played an important part in the survival of many Americans in the years following the nuclear exchange. As a good source of low-fat protein (so low-fat, in fact, that an all-rabbit diet is essentially a starvation diet), rabbits offered American survivors an important means of turning grasses and vegetable wastes into meat, pelts, and excellent fertilizer. Throughout the country, wild and feral rabbits kept many small game hunters and their families alive. Domesticated rabbits often became the principal source of meat for many cantonments. Nowhere was this more true than in the struggling cantonments of New England at the turn of the millennium.


Notably, domesticated rabbits played a crucial role in the semi-isolated State of New Hampshire cantonment at Manchester. Hunger and poor planning had led to the loss of nearly all of the cattle, swine, and horses of southern New Hampshire. By sheer good luck, several small rabbit farms survived until they came under the protection of cantonment forces. When Acting Governor Colby consolidated state assets at Manchester (leaving the rest of the state to its own devices), he made certain to move as many of the surviving rabbit breeding operations as could be found. Those with expertise in rabbit breeding and care found they had a place in the Manchester cantonment.


Young children with minimal manual labor potential played an important part in maintaining the rabbits. Dozens of children were trained in the care of rabbits. By early 2001, a very substantial population of domesticated rabbits formed the foundation of Manchester’s meat diet. Their high feed-to-meat ratio, their ability to subsist on grasses not suited for human consumption, and their volumous manure made them key players in the survival of the cantonment. Their usefulness was further extended when greenhouses began producing green crops throughout most of the winter. Rabbits eating hay on the floors of greenhouses lent their considerable body heat to the greenhouses, enabling the greenhouse operators to grow various sprouts well beyond the end of the growing season.


As a result, PCs finding themselves in Manchester in 2001 will discover that rabbit meat is affordable, if not cheap. Local cuisine is coming to revolve around various rabbit dishes. Rabbit pelts are an important trade item. Rabbit manure is the most common animal fertilizer used in the Manchester cantonment. (Green manures are far more plentiful. During the 2001 planting season, Manchester farmers will mix rabbit-based compost with their own composts.)


Naturally, the presence of a substantial rabbit industry is something that has attracted the attention of the Blood Cross in its winter quarters of northern New England…


Author’s Note: This year, my wife and I adopted two rabbits from the local humane society. We didn’t adopt them together, so we are still in the process of bonding them. We are rabbit people now. I’ve eaten rabbit before, but I don’t think I can eat rabbit again. I’d be thinking of my Stewie and Lucinda. (They are both fixed, so we will not be breeding rabbits.) In fact, while at the grocery store I was unable to purchase some crackers called Cheddar Bunnies because they might as well have been called Cheddar Stewies. All of this said, the potential for rabbits in T2k becomes ever clearer as I discover first-hand just how much manure there is from feed I couldn’t eat anyway. All of this nitrogen going into the soil would go a long way towards offsetting the nitrogen demands of maize. I don’t yet know whether rabbit fertilizers make fresh fruits and vegetables a health issue; however, since the cooking process takes care of microorganisms and parasites, there is no good reason the grains can’t be fertilized with bunny stool. I’ve been adding it to the rosemary and lavender I planted outside the house to ward off pests, and I have seen a far better result this year than last in the very same soil.



Webstral

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copeab 05-19-2008, 04:50 PM I'm having _Night Of The Lepus_ flashbacks now ...


Brandon

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pmulcahy 05-19-2008, 10:57 PM My first experience with capturing and eating an animal in the wild was with a rabbit. It was horrifying.


I like rabbits. I even had some as pets in my pre-teen years. They make cute pets with funny and quirky personalities. So I wasn't really happy when we were told that we would have to snare, kill, prepare and eat a rabbit, or nothing at all.


Nevertheless, my fellow soldier and I were doing well -- until we got the poor rabbit we had thought we killed about halfway skinned. It woke up! It kicked and actually screamed (something rabbits do only when suffering horribly -- which it was). We finally actually did kill it, using a dagger I used to carry in the Army in the field -- but my friend had to do it, stabbing it into the place he figured the rabbit's brain stem was.


We finished skinning, preparing, and eating the rabbit, but we were so miserable we were doing it only to pass the exercise. I was trying to weep as quietly and discretly as possible. It was one of the most horrible experiences I ever had.

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Targan 05-20-2008, 12:10 AM I have elderly relatives who have related to me their catching and killing of feral rabbits in Australia during the Great Depression. Children in those times played a major role in keeping families with low incomes alive by catching rabbits for the pot. I've killed and eaten wild rabbit. I have no problem with it. I do like animals but I've never had much respect for herbivores. Eyes on side of head = food animal. Eyes on front of head = carnivore (respect).

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General Pain 05-20-2008, 01:53 AM I have elderly relatives who have related to me their catching and killing of feral rabbits in Australia during the Great Depression. Children in those times played a major role in keeping families with low incomes alive by catching rabbits for the pot. I've killed and eaten wild rabbit. I have no problem with it. I do like animals but I've never had much resepct for herbivores. Eyes on side of head = food animal. Eyes on front of head = carnivore (respect).


nice one targan

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Headquarters 05-20-2008, 03:09 AM My father told me how many people had little cages in the backyards during the Nazi occupation breeding rabbits for food and fertilizer.Rationing was strict and many relied on bunnies to get a balanced diet .(Something of a priority when you are going to be slowly rationed to death over 5 years..)


The skins can be used as well-although this is taking it up a notch as far as knowledge is involved.Curing and tanning etc .


Other than that anyone can do it .Him and his brother and sister -all kids-took care of a little herd of 4-20 head at any given time .Feed was whatever greens and spoils they could get .


He was kind of traumatized by having to slaughter at such a tender age though..so maybe an adult should be controllingt this end of the operation.Or at least a juvenile.


Skinning and cleaning the rabbit is easy -done it plenty .Just dont pierce the intestines or the stench that erupts will make you retch.Instantly.But only the first half hour or so -then you get used to breathing through clenched teeth and the retching more or less stops..more or less..hehe.


I kind of feel bad for the furry little ones -but I think hunger is a more powerful sensation..



What about pigs ? They eat anything ,their meat is good if its fresh ,the shit is usable for making gas for fuel or manure ,and the hides can be used for leather to some degree.

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thefusilier 05-20-2008, 04:23 AM Well done Webstral. Nice little addition to your ongoing New England project.

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Hangfire7 05-20-2008, 02:46 PM Well rabbit is good.


The same can be done with chickens if you have them to start with, but, you can do the same with most fowl, pigeons, qual, ducks are some that come to mind.


Another one that was used was guenia pig, prehistoric people in the Yucotan used to raise guenea pigs that they let run freely in their hovels. Their remains were found with those of turkey and primative ears of corn.

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  #2  
Old 05-17-2009, 10:02 AM
Littlearmies Littlearmies is offline
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Being someone who loves to get the "numbers" I was interested to find that, with modern feed and care, modern farmed rabbits will:

1) Produce (on average) eight litters per year with around forty kittens surviving. A breeding doe needs 0.56 sq.m. of space, her adult offspring will need 0.18 sq.m. of space towards the end of it's life.

2) That the offspring are typically ready for slaughter after between 11 and 13 weeks when they will weigh around 3kg - and the usable meat from a rabbit is typically half this amount.

3) Hence one breeder rabbit can typically generate 60kg of meat per year under modern conditions.

4) That rabbits are typically fed anything from 100g to 350g of pelletised food per day in modern rabbit farms.


As I've never actually kept a rabbit I thought I'd find some more detail on what they actually ate:

"Most pet shops sell food mixes specifically designed for rabbits and these usually consist of a variety of grains, pellets and dried vegetables.

There are also rabbit pellets sold in some stores. These are compressed food pellets designed to meet a rabbit's nutritional requirements.

Food mixes and pellets specifically designed for other animals should not be given as these may not be suitable to meet the rabbit's dietary requirements and could even harm the rabbit.

Rabbit mix does not perish quickly and so may be stored for some time in dry conditions without problem.

Rabbits should be fed a basic rabbit mix and ample hay, which is vital for their digestive system, daily along with fruit and vegetables or plants and flowers.

Any changes in diet, even changing to a different rabbit mix, should be made gradually as a sudden change in diet can cause the rabbit to become ill."


"Any hay given to rabbits must be dry, clean and free from dust and mould.

Grass hay such as Timothy or Oat hay is best given although alfalfa hay can be beneficial to young growing rabbits and also pregnant and nursing mothers. However, alfalfa hay is considered too high in calcium and protein for continued use throughout adulthood although can be given as an occasional treat."


"Some fruit, vegetables and herbs that are safe to feed a rabbit are listed below:

* Apple (seedless)
* Asparagus
* Banana
* Basil
* Broccoli
* Brussel Sprouts
* Cabbage
* Carrots and Carrot Tops
* Cauliflower leaves and stalks
* Celery
* Chicory Greens
* Cucumber
* Dill
* Endive
* Fennel
* Grapes
* Green Pepper
* Kale
* Mint
* Orange (peeled)
* Oregano
* Parsley - a good tonic
* Red Leaf Lettuce
* Red Cabbage
* Romaine Lettuce
* Savoy Cabbage
* Spinach
* Tomato
* Turnip Greens
* Watercress

Fruit, vegetables and herbs that should not be fed are:

* Apple seeds
* Potato and Potato Tops
* Rhubarb and Rhubarb Leaves
* Tomato Leaves

Some plants and flowers which can be fed to rabbits are:

* Clover
* Dandelion leaves
* Groundsel
* Marigold
* Nasturtium

Plants and flowers that are poisonous to rabbits include:

* Autumn Crocus
* Begonia
* Black Nightshade
* Busy Lizzie
* Buttercups
* Carnation
* Chrysanthemum
* Clematis
* Cowslip
* Geranium
* Hemlock
* Laburnum
* Laurel
* Poison Ivy
* Poppy
* Yucca

Like human beings, rabbits need to be fed differently at different stages of their growth to ensure healthy development, digestion, and weight. Throughout a rabbit's life, avoid any sudden changes in diet; new foods should always be introduced gradually. Remember to keep fresh clean water available at all times, too. Water bottles versus dishes are recommended.

Baby rabbits: A baby rabbit, or kit, feeds solely on its mother's milk for about the first three weeks. During the first few days, the milk contains high levels of antibodies that help protect the kit from disease. After three weeks, the kit will begin nibbling on alfalfa hay and pellets. By 7 weeks of age, baby rabbits can handle unlimited access to pellets and alfalfa hay in addition to mother's milk. Kits are usually weaned from their mother's milk by 8 weeks of age, depending on the breed.

Juveniles: Between weaning and 7 months of age, the young rabbit can have an unlimited amount of pellets and alfalfa hay. At 3 months of age, start introducing small amounts of vegetables into your rabbit's diet. Introduce one vegetable at a time. If any vegetable seems to cause digestive problems, avoid feeding it in the future.

Young adults: Young adult rabbits from age 7 months to 1 year should be introduced to timothy, grass hays, and/or oat hay, and it should be available all day long. The fiber in the hay is essential for their digestive systems to work properly. At this point, they will require little alfalfa hay, as well as fewer pellets. Alfalfa hay has more calories and calcium than rabbits need at this stage of development, and the high calorie content of pellets can also begin to cause weight problems. Instead of offering unlimited pellets, a good rule of thumb is 1/2 cup of pellets per 6 lbs. of body weight daily. To make up for the nutritional loss, you must increase your rabbit's intake of vegetables and hay. You can feed your rabbit some fruits during this stage, but because of calories, limit them to no more than 1-2 ounces per 6 pounds of body weight daily.

Mature adults: Mature adult rabbits should be fed unlimited timothy, grass hay, and oat hay. Once again, you should reduce the pellet portion of the diet. A standard guideline is 1/4 cup of pellets per 6 lbs. of body weight per day. Several servings of vegetables are required (2 cups per 6 pounds of body weight daily). Make sure to choose dark, leafy greens, and feed at least three different kinds daily. Iceberg or other light-colored varieties are NOT nutritious. Also, make sure you are offering dark yellow and orange vegetables. Treats, including fruits, must be fed sparingly."


So, essentially, rabbits are very suitable for farming in T2K and are pretty sure to be a staple meat component of the diet for many communities. I must confess I've eaten it a few times and it didn't appeal to me (I'm similarly underwhelmed by venison, to be honest - and I'm wondering if it is to do with the fact that both are low fat / high protein meats) but I'm sure that in T2K that wouldn't be a consideration.

Apologies for this being a long post but I tend to like to have the roots of my T2K building blocks rooted firmly in reality and I'm rather using the site here as a notebook.
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Old 05-17-2009, 10:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Littlearmies
Apologies for this being a long post but I tend to like to have the roots of my T2K building blocks rooted firmly in reality and I'm rather using the site here as a notebook.
It is cool with me. I'm a numbers guys as well and I found it interesting.
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Old 05-17-2009, 03:34 PM
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Webstral Webstral is offline
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When feeding my rabbits (now up to three), I have settled on a more-or-less standardized vegetable diet:

1 cup dandelion greens (lots of vitamin A)
1 brussel sprout (they like things that they can gnaw on)
approx 2 tbsp watercress (more vitamin A)
approx 2 tbsp mint
approx 2 tbsp parsley (more vitamin A)
approx 2 tbsp collard greens
1 leaf baby spinach (too much gives rabbits kidney stones)
1-2 pea pods
1-2 basil leaves, plus stems
approx 1 tbsp broccoli stem
approx 1 tsp carrot (root vegetables are treats)
approx 1 tsp celery
1/2 stalk of bok choy, cut lengthwise

It's important for rabbits to get plenty of vitammin A. The staple of their diet, though is orchard grass. Orchard grass is perfectly adequate, and it's inexpensive. (Timothy hay is about 5x as expensive) I can get a bale at the local horse feed outlet for $20. A bale will last about four months. The container for the bale was the most expensive part of going this route. My rabbits will have to live for a number of years to pay the investment off.

For several months, I have been enjoying a rabbit-style salad on the way to work. While I'm prepping the rabbits' breakfast, I fill a tupperware container with the same ingredients. I don't add mint anymore, as this acts as a stool softener for me. I don't eat the broccoli stems, either. When I buy broccoli, I cut the florets for my consumption and mince the stems for my little companions. Since I have started eating my rabbits' breakfast during the morning commute, I have experienced a delightful improvement in my time in the water closet. I'm in and out in about thirty seconds without any straining or unpleasantness. The watercress and dandelion greens are somewhat bitter, and the watercress can be strongly peppery. I've become addicted to the little jolt to my taste buds in the morning. How I will integrate the rabbit breakfast into my routine this summer is an open question.

Completely OT, my newest rabbit, Merlin, is another rescue rabbit. He had a severe maloclusion, and his incisors had to be removed. He has no way to incise hard vegetables, like brussel sprout and carrot. Once he gets a bit into his mouth, he can grind it up with his molars. Leafy greens don't present a problem, although the uneaten bit hangs out of his mouth. I have to cut his hard vegetables into little strips for him. Poor little guy. He's doing well, though.

I have adjusted my family's diet to take advantage of the fact that there are always some kinds of vegetables in the house. We also keep plenty of garlic, scallions, and red onion on-hand. One can do a lot with all of these vegetables. When I occasionally make a root vegetable stew, the rabbits get leftover parsnip, turnip, and rutabaga. It works for everyone. My wife would like more meat in the mix, but that's why God make take-out.

Webstral
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