What should I use to kill my rabbits???


Ridin' The Range
Jan 30, 2011
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:/ Hey I have a few NZ's I am butchering and I want to know what to use to kill them? I have seen them being shot and I dont want to do that. Would clubbing them over thier head work?? If so what should I use thanks


Self Sufficient Queen
May 19, 2009
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Western MA
My dad used to hold them by their back legs with their heads down and use his other hand to snap the neck, then would bleed them out. That's all I know. He doesn't like killing, but said rabbits were the easiest for this reason, quick and painless, then never knew it was coming.


Ridin' The Range
Dec 17, 2010
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I have tried neck breaking and it didn't work. That was a not-cool killing. :(

I have my bun-buns happy chilling out and clout them on the head, then bleed them out asap.

I've found some interesting reading on decapitation. There was a recent article published in JAVMA. Decapitation take 9 seconds before brain waves stop. So my goal with every kill is 10 seconds.

After that research, I believe decapitation is the most humane (non-chemical) way to kill a rabbit, but I can't bring myself to do it.

Hooligan Farm

Chillin' with the herd
Oct 25, 2010
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Cinnaminson, NJ
I did the broomstick method. Since I don't know my own strength I pulled a little to hard so the bleed out process started a little early. But other than that little hiccup it went smoothly.


True BYH Addict
Jan 7, 2011
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We use blunt force trauma with a pipe, hold them down firm and wack.

This is considered a legally human method.


Ridin' The Range
Jan 26, 2011
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Webberville, MI
We would put the rabbit in an empty 5-gallon bucket and shoot them in the head with a .22. Costs a .22 bullet, but kills them quick and clean every time. They don't know anything's going on.


Ridin' The Range
May 16, 2010
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I also break the neck, in a variation of the broomstick or rabbit wringer method. I have a tree with two branches very close together, so I slip the rabbit in there, with the head on one side of the branches and the body (and me) on the other side, and I pull the hindquarters sharply away from the head.

The spinal cord snaps. After that, it holds everything still so I can free one hand to cut the neck for bleeding out.


Ridin' The Range
Feb 19, 2011
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Sacramento Calif
*from the rabbitgeek notes

Broomstick Method and other ways to...you know

*Warning: This message contains graphic language which may upset sensitive persons.*

There are good descriptions for processing in many publications.
"Raising Rabbits the Modern Way" a book by Bob Bennett
"Storey's Guide to Raising Rabbits" a book by Bob Bennett
(Available at many libraries)

As of 10/23/09, There are not any good websites showing how to do
this because animal rights activists attacked the websites that
show how to do this. So that is why I don't have any referenced here.

Over 20 years ago, I worked for the California Conservation Corps,
back in the days of Gov. Jerry "Moonbeam" Brown. We lived dormitory
style in a camp. As part of our "Appropriate Technology" education,
we learned to raise organic vegetables and to raise animals for
our camp kitchen. We had pigs, goats, turkeys, chickens, and rabbits.

That's where I learned to process rabbits.

I was taught to use sharp knives, hang the rabbit in rope loops,
slit the throat and bleed it out. We usually held the rabbits head
with one hand and used the other hand to hold the knife. It worked
fine and in the hundreds of rabbits we processed only one of them
ever screamed and that was while we carried the rabbit to the
processing area we had prepared.

The thing I did not like about it was the presence of sharp knives
in nervous hands, namely - my hands!

Fast forward to 2000. My sons join 4H and start raising meat rabbits
to compete in meat pens for auction at the fair. My nervous hands
are still attached to me. I don't have the hand strength to kill
rabbit with my hands by cervical dislocation, also known as "twist
and crunch." So the "rabbit punch" or "bonking" to the back of the
rabbit skull with a hardwood dowel or round metal bar became my
method of choice.

You stun them by hitting them in the head with a pipe or hardwood
stick. Actually, this blunt force trauma (bonking the back of the
head behind the ears) is similar to what happens to us when we fall
backwards and hit the back of our head on concrete. Hit hard enough
and the subject goes unconscious and often dies from the trauma.
As a friend of mind once said, if you hit the rabbit on the back of
the head and blood comes out the nose, that's a good hit. You hold
the ears and strike the rabbits head behind the ears.

Bonking is my second choice. The act of bonking raises my anxiety
level and I don't like it. The violence in striking the rabbit annoys
me. Yes, I've smacked my fingers before with this method too.

The broomstick method has become my preferred method to dispatch a
rabbit. A broom handle, mop handle, or other STRONG dowel is used
to facilitate cervical dislocation. I have metal rod that is about
half an inch in diameter that I use a lot.

I take the rabbit to be killed to a flat area. Hard concrete floor
seems to work best, although I've also done this on the kitchen floor.
I do not attempt on soft ground or on a lawn.

I like to have classical music playing while I process rabbits. Helps
keep me calm. I thank the Lord and the rabbit for the food they provide.
Then I put the rabbit down on the floor and give it a moment to calm down.

I gently place the stick behind the rabbit head across the neck. The
rabbit doesn't know what the stick is for and usually doesn't get nervous.

Put the stick right behind the head in the hollow of the neck. Try to
keep the rabbit head in a straight line, its jaw flat on the ground.
The stick should at least two feet long. The stick should extend at
least 12 inches on each side of the rabbit.

I usually kneel down to setup the rabbit and position the stick.

Now comes the important step. Step on the stick to one side of the rabbit,
this should pin the rabbits head and neck to the floor. Be sure rabbits
head stays straight and does not twist sideways. Grabbing the rabbits
rear legs, straighten up and place your other foot on the stick on the
other side of the rabbit. As you do this, pull up on the rabbits rear legs.

With the neck pinned down, pulling up on the rear legs will dislocate the
neck, stunning/killing the rabbit at that moment. There will be some
reflexive kicks and jerking, but the rabbit is dead. You will feel the
neck bones separate.

This sounds complicated and it takes some practice to get it done smoothly.
You can practice on a stuffed toy until you can do this step smoothly.
The step and pull should take less than a second to complete. You can
then hang the rabbit by the feet in your butchering area, remove the head,
and let it bleed out. You can then continue to process as normal.

If you have trouble with balance, or cannot bend, then this method may
not work for you. I would direct you to learn how to bonk the rabbit by
hitting them with something in the back of the head.

I've checked the rabbits eye for involuntary reflex and the rabbit is
gone. It's dead. No doubt. There is some kicking by the rabbit, that
is nerve reflex only.

Be advised that with bonking or broomsticking there could be bleeding
from the rabbits nose so be sure you are someplace that is easy to
clean up.

For me, the broomstick method is the least violent method for killing
rabbits. It works on 5 lb fryers, 10 lb roasters, and 15 lb French Lops.
Using the power of the legs to pull up makes it possible for small
people to kill big rabbits. I also use this method to euthanize rabbits
that are sick or failing to thrive. Instead of thanking them for food,
I thank them for spending time with us, tell them to say hello to Jesus
for me and send them over the rainbow bridge.

I hold them until the kicking stops, then I put them in double plastic
bag, then into the freezer to be sold as animal food or donated to
wildlife rescue for animal food.

Small kits that need to be euthanized can be dispatched by blunt force
trauma to the back of the head. I put the kit in a small plastic bag,
holding the kits body in my hand with the kits head extending past my grip,
I bring my hand up and rap the back of the head on a hard surface like a
table top or corner of an appliance. Then the kit is put in the freezer
as above.

Again with any method of dispatching, there will probably be some reflexive
kicking. This does not mean the rabbit is alive or that you did it wrong.

One more note, CULL does not mean KILL. Cull means to separate from
the herd. Many of my rabbit culls are sold as pets, or breeding stock,
or as show bunnies. One person's cull may be someone else's Grand Champion.

Some of our best show rabbits were culls from another breeder. Why does
she cull such nice rabbits? Because she cannot keep all the rabbits
that are born in her barn. So she culls by selling.

I may cull for weight, for color, for body type, or any other reason.
I may kill some culls, but not all culls are killed. When people started
using cull and kill as if they mean the same thing, this upsets people
and gives PETA ammunition.

So I try to use the language of the herdsman properly.

I tried to keep the graphic language to a minimum, if I upset anyone,
I apologize. Considering the topic, I think I did good.

I believe there will be rabbits in heaven. I believe we might see some
of our friends again. So I try to do right by them. In case we meet.

Have a good day!
Franco Rios

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