Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Preserving Rabbit Hides

I think I have said this before, but in case I haven't this is the year that I learn to not only preserve my rabbit hides but learn to use them. I have always hated that waste of burying a batch of hides because I didn't know what to do with them or if I had the time to fool with them. I am still not sure about the time issue, but I am going to try. So what is the first step (after butchering that is) to keeping those hides for those lovely projects you have floating in your head? The first step is to scrape all flesh and fat off the hide. There isn't much on a rabbit hide, but there is more than you think once you scrape it. I don't have a proper fleshing tool so I use a de-barking tool that is really supposed to be used to de-bark logs. It works. A dull knife can also be used and I always have several of those around. To de-flesh a hide I use a large diameter pvc pipe, put my hide so that part is over the end of the hide and then lean that end against a building. Then I straddle the pipe and begin to de-flesh by moving the knife from the middle of the hide to the outside. Don't put too much pressure and don't saw back and forth or you will tear through the hide. When you get to the edge of the hide then simply continue straight off the edge and that will give a clean edge and pull the flesh right off the hide. Rotate your hide as needed until the whole hide has been fleshed. The hides are small so this doesn't take very long. Then salt the flesh side of the hide liberally and rub the salt in well making sure that all the flesh surface area is covered. Fold the hide flesh side to flesh side, roll it up and place in a box (left open for air circulation) and store for 2 weeks in the summer or 3 weeks in the winter. Once that period is over there are more steps, but I haven't gotten to that point yet. I worked some hides yesterday and have a few more to finish today. I can't wait to make a blanket from these hides. It will be nice to actually use them and not feel like they have been wasted. Our little one was giving me a whole list of things to make with the hides that she would like to have so she might keep me very busy. Rabbits are doing well in the colony, we have a brand new litter of 6. So we should have plenty of hides to work with. Blessings, Kat

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