Below, is an estimate of butchering guidelines. I say an estimate, because different strokes for different folks. You’re gonna work out your own system no matter who says what. So this list is a little bit of what he said combined with a little bit of what she said.
Fryers: 8 – 16 weeks. That means, the meat is supposed to be tender. You can fry it or BBQ it without having to worry about it being tough. Of course, some are strict and say this MUST BE DONE AT 12 weeks while others stretch it to 16 weeks because of size. We did the 16 weeks when it came to New Zealands but when we did it, we noticed the rabbits were starting to get fat on them even though we were allowing them to go around the yard in our chicken tractor for a bit. That fat might of made us think they were bigger than what we initially thought they were at 12. Ours didn’t look like they were at a good butchering weight at 12 weeks, so we let it go to 16. You be the judge.
Roasters: 16 weeks – 6 months or anything unbred. That means, the meat will be tougher, so you may want to roast it in the oven, like a beef roast, or boil before they grill or fry. Now please take note, some are very strict about this and knock the timeline down to 16 weeks, period. Anything over that, in their mind, becomes stew.
Stew: 6 months or more are considered best for the stew pot. Some even consider anything over 16 weeks to be stew – see Roaster above.
When you decide what is best for you, what you will base it on is toughness.
Also, remember, rabbit is a very healthy, easily digested meat. Barely any fat. You can easily search nutrition factors, but here is a great link for you..
Another SOURCE: To summarize here are the benefits of rabbit meat:
- low in cholesterol
- low in calories
- low in saturated fats
- high in protein
- low in sodium
- all white meat
- 100% of the RDA for B12