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Motor City Homestead » Blog Archive » Nuture vs. Nuture: The debate rages on

Nuture vs. Nuture: The debate rages on

So last night was the big night:  we butchered our first litter of rabbits.  Thankfully, I have a good friend who is a real, honest-to-goodness farmer from our friend to the north (Canada).  He was in town and offered to show me the ropes.  I don’t know what I would have done without him.

 I’ll be honest - the whole process went remarkably well.  In fact, it went much better than I expected.  It was quick, and not nearly as messy or smelly as I had heard it would be.  Still, I couldn’t sleep last night, and woke up feeling really, really awful.  I’m not from a hunting or farming family - so killing something with my bare hands is way outside my comfort zone.

 Thankfully, I have a caring wife who LOVES to process emotional turmoil.  And she had some very wise things to say.  What struck me most was this statement, “This might be hard for you because you have a very nurturing attitude towards animals.”  And she’s right.  My dad’s a vet, and we grew up in a household that took in strays and injured animals, tried to nurse them back to health, and then either kept them as pets or released them back into the wild (of our backyard).  From all my life experience, killing an animal feels like the exact opposite of nurturing.

But, that got me thinking about the whole concept of nurturing.  The purpose of nurturing is more than just creating safety or comfort.  True nurturing is helping a person, plant, or animal fulfill it’s highest purpose in life.  With a plant, you feed and tend it so that it either produces flowers, or produces fruit - and our goal is to generate as many flowers or as much fruit as we can on that plant.  With a pet, we feed and care for it so that it can be a faithful companion.  We give it love so that it loves us in return.  With a child, we nurture them in order to generate character, belief systems, goals, and desires.  To (gently) push them towards being all that God intended them to be.

Our rabbits were born to be our food.  Whether or not that’s a rabbit’s highest purpose is a discussion for another time.  But, in the microcosm of our tiny 0.1 acre homestead, the rabbits’ highest purpose was to grow as large as possible to provide meat for my family.  To that end, we nurtured them.  We fed them well, protected them from predators, gave them comfortable living quarters, and provided lots of fresh water.  When the time came, I (and a few brave friends) ended their lives as quickly, respectfully, and humanely as possible.   So, in a strange way, butchering our rabbits was the culmination of the nurturing process.   In the end, we helped them achieve their final purpose - providing food for my family.

8 Responses to “Nuture vs. Nuture: The debate rages on”

  1. joanEmom Says:

    isn’t there an animal you cd keep that doesn’t have to be killed to feed your fam?
    ….like an egg laying sort of animal or a milk producing animal.

  2. Nate Says:

    That’s awfully hard to pull off in the suburbs. And, in either case, we’ve already made the decision to eat meat. So, somewhere, something is dying so we can eat. As difficult as it is, I’m much happier knowing what went into our food, and how it was treated. Plus, rabbit is delicious.

  3. joanEmom Says:

    i see.

  4. Bruck Says:

    How did you prepare the rabbits (for consumption, not for their demise)?

  5. chad Says:

    JoaneMom, chickens are super easy !! If your city allows them. A small flock of chickens will produce more than enough eggs for an average family. And if you’re willing to put up with a rooster you can have baby chicks which lets you eat them too.

    Not as cuddly as rabbits though.

    I”m thinking about borrowing our neighbor’s rooster to see if I can get some baby chicks out of the deal. (I live in a mexican area of inner city chicago so there are quite a few chickens and rooster running around)

  6. Sarah Says:

    I just found your blog last night - it’s great to read of another homesteader somewhat close. I’m down in Erie. We’re considering raising rabbit for meat (I raised them for 11 years as pets, so I will have the same emotional response I’m sure). Only problem is I’ve never TRIED rabbit meat to know that i Like it. But everyone I talk to says it tastes like chicken - so one of these days we’ll try it and make the decision to breed or our own meat from there.

    Do you know if hunted rabbit tastes the same as home bred?

  7. Nate Says:

    I’ve heard that wild rabbit has a much stronger flavor than domestic - but i’ve also heard that if you soak them in milk or buttermilk overnight it pulls lots of that gamey flavor out.

    Regarding rabbit tasting like chicken - I can guarantee that in a blind taste test, properly cooked rabbit would be mistaken for chicken breast every time. Our kids usually ask about half-way through the meal, “wait, is this rabbit?” For two of them it means they’ll ask for seconds, and for the oldest, it means he’ll reluctantly finish his meal.

    You’d be surprised how many rabbit breeders are out there - I bet one of them would sell you a rabbit to try. Check out the earlier post on cooking rabbits for the general rules, and I’ll be adding rabbit recipes to the cooking section soon.

  8. Fernando Says:

    shenanigans@uncooperative.troops” rel=”nofollow”>.…

    ñýíêñ çà èíôó!!…

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