I read your article about the growing rabbit problem in Iceland and I offer this advice - get them under control now. Look at the problem rabbits have caused in Australia and Down Under, they have many predators. Iceland probably has the fewest predators of almost any inhabited area. A few foxes, an occasional polar bear, minks and birds of prey. Also there is probably some minor predation by sheep dogs, pet dogs, cats and automobiles.
Dr. Dana Krempels at the University of Miami, says her calculations on rabbit fecundity shows that one female rabbit and her offspring can theoretically produce 50,653 rabbits in three years, 69 million in five years and 64 BILLION in seven years!
Of course those calculations are based on a zero mortality rate and rabbit mortality is very high where there are predators. Even so, one female will actually be responsible for a couple hundred offspring per year. That is three to four generations. Rabbit are mature at a few months, gestation is about 30 days, producing 6 - 9 kits and ready to be impregnated immediately after g birth.
One of the best ways to control rabbits is to eat them. The meat is low in fat and cholesterol and very tasty.
To help you appreciate rabbit, I am enclosing some tried and true rabbit recipes.
A word of caution however. Rabbits are susceptible to the disease tularemia (rabbit fever) and it can be passed to humans. It is rarely fatal but very painful. If you kill the rabbit yourself, and plan to butcher it, wear a face mask since inhaling the germs is a vector. Always inspect the liver. If there are any spots, destroy the carcass and sanitize your hands.
My name is Jerry Ison but I sometimes write under the pen name Buck Thorn. Especially when writing about the outdoors. It just sounds more macho!
I live in a small rural community in the Great Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee, USA.
Here are some recipes from: Buck Thorn’s Blue Collar Cookbook Game Meals
KENTUCKY FRIED RABBIT
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup paprika
2 tablespoons salt
2 tablespoons pepper
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1/2 cup milk
2 (3 - 3-1/2 lb) rabbits, cut up
In a bowl, combine the first eight ingredients; mix well. Store in an airtight container in
a cool dry place for up to 1 year.
To prepare rabbit: Place about 3/4 cup of coating in a large resealable plastic bag. In a shallow dish, beat eggs and milk. Dip chicken pieces into egg mixture, then place in the bag; seal and shake until coated. In a large skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil over medium-high heat. Brown chicken on all sides; remove to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 50-60 minutes or until juices run clear. Yield: 4 servings.
BUCK’S RABBIT STEW
Salt and pepper
1 Rabbit, quartered
3 Large tomatoes, peeled and chopped
3 Tsp tomato puree
3 Large potatoes, cubed with skin on
6 Carrots, peeled and diced
4 Stalks celery cut into large pieces 1” –2”
Seasonings: we use dill, rosemary, cumin and thyme
2 Bay leaves
1 Chicken bouillon cube
1¼ cups red wine
1 Cup frozen peas
* Season with salt & pepper enough flour to coat meat.
* Heat oil in a large skillet. .A cast iron skillet works best; the temp doesn’t drop when all the pieces are carefully placed in.
* Roll the rabbit in the seasoned flour and add to the skillet.
* Cook over medium heat until brown. Remove. and drain
* Warm up a crock pot, and stir in the wine, bullion cube, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, puree and bay leaves.
* Add the rabbit pieces and lightly stir. Cook on low for 3 hours.
* Turn heat to high and stir in the frozen peas. Add celery pieces. Bring to a boil then immediately reduce heat to low and cook until the rabbit is tender and the carrots are cooked, about another 45 minutes to an hour
* Serve with corn bread muffins or sourdough bread and your favorite brand of dark beer.
Note: You may wish to very carefully add a few drops of Buck Thorn’s Deep in Dixie Fire Water about ten minutes before spooning out the stew. Remember, just a few drops; this is powerful stuff!
RABBIT SLOPPY JOES
From Buck Thorn’s Blue Collar Cookbook
~ 24 Rabbit legs or 1-1/2 lbs cut-up rabbit (This is a good time to use the backs, ribcage, etc.)
~ 1 medium onion, sliced
~ 1 can Manwich Bold sauce
~ sliced Swiss cheese
* Place the pieces and onion slices in a crockpot or soup pot. Cover with water.
* Cook until the meat starts to fall off the bone.
* Remove the meat and allow to cool.
* Debone the meat and shred into smaller pieces.
* Place the meat in a pan and add the Manwich sauce. Mix well.
* Heat until warmed through.
* Serve on buns topped with Swiss cheese.
BRAISED RABBIT WITH RED WINE
1 2-1/2 pound Rabbit
1/2 pound small Mushrooms
1/4 pound small White Onions
1-1/2 cups dry red Wine
1/2 cup Chicken Bouillon
2 Tbsp. Oil
1 Tbsp.freshly chopped Garlic
1 Tbsp. Tomato Paste
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/2 tsp. Pepper
2 Bay Leaves
1/2 tsp. dried Thyme
6 sprigs fresh Parsley
Wrap the parsley, thyme and bay leaves in a small piece of cheesecloth, securing with string to form an herb bouquet. Sprinkle the rabbit pieces with salt and pepper.
Over high heat, heat the oil in a large, heavy bottom pot or Dutch oven. Add the rabbit pieces to the pot and brown for about 5 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Drain off the fat. Add to the pot the mushrooms, onions and garlic. Cook the rabbit and vegetables together for another 5 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the wine, bouillon, tomato paste and herb bouquet to the pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered, for about 40 minutes, or until the rabbit is tender. Remove the herb bouquet.
To reduce and thicken the gravy, uncover the pot and cook over medium heat for about 5 more minutes.