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How to Skin a Rabbit






How to Skin a Rabbit



How Rabbits
Live & Die

Rabbits in the Fur Trade

Rabbits in the Wool Trade

Rabbits: Meat

Animal Agriculture: Selected Bibliography




The following information is extracted from The Rabbit — Husbandry, Health, and Production, published by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the UN, an agency that creates agricultural initiatives for underdeveloped countries. They consider the exploitation of rabbits for fur, wool, and meat as a suitable source of income and protein. This manual continues to be widely distributed, in spite of the fact that many of these subsidized projects have failed. This particular procedure demonstrates the callous attitude toward animal victims.


Skinning should be carried out in a manner that ensures the largest possible skin surface, which is an important part of its value. The first cut is usually an incision at the hind feet, passing from one thigh to the other. The skin is then pulled off. The skin on the head is of no commercial value, but it is preferable to keep it because it allows better stretching. This operation should be done with care, to avoid mutilation. All these defects reduce the value of the pelt.


  1. Skin cut between the thighs

  2. Skin pulled off the hind legs

  3. Skin pulled to bare the trunk and then the forelegs

  4. Carcass skinned but not eviscerated

  5. Carcass opened, viscera (intestinal tract and lungs) removed

The Correct Way to Dry a Rabbit Pelt

Drying should start immediately after the skin has been removed. It must cool off quickly and dry out to prevent the action of enzymes in the derma, which attack the hair root and cause the hair to fall out. The skins are shaped on a frame. They should be dried in the shade or in the dark in a well-aired dry place.


  1. Frame of thick steel wire covered with plastic or sticking-paper

  2. Skin stretched over frame to dry, turned inside out with frame on inside, held down by clamps or domes pins


The pelt is processed to a semi-finished stage.

  • Dipping – rehydrating with water, salt, and soap; rinsing

  • Fleshing – removing the thin collagenous layer on the flesh side

  • Dressing – tanning with salt, alum, and formol

  • Thinning – refining the thicker skins; dressing again

  • Greasing – infusing the skin with oil

  • Finishing – degreasing, beating, and lifting the hair


The final finishing operation applies to the hair for its special effect, involving shaving and dyeing. The furrier decides on the final appearance.


You will need 20–30 skins for one coat.

F. Lebas, P. Coudert, H. de Rochambeau, and R.G. Thébault, "The Rabbit – Husbandry, Health and Production," FAO Animal Production and Health Series No. 21, ISBN 92-5-103441-9, Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, Rome, 1997, ISSN 1010-9021