So, as most of you know, we chose the Rex breed of Rabbits because they are so multi purposeful! They have such a soft, velvety fur I knew I didn’t want it go to waste whenever we did use some for meat purposes. Well, we processed a couple of our own Rabbits (with the help of a close relative), a few weeks ago and I finished the pelts!
The Method I Used
After doing some research, I chose to do the “egg tanning method” with salt and egg yolks. With any method, it’s a long process. So, after it sat for a few days with the salt, I scraped it and then re-salted for couple more days, as the edges needed a bit more drying out (I chose to flesh/scrape it after I salted it. Some do that beforehand). Once I got finished with that, I rubbed the (mixed) egg yolks all over the leather side of pelt (a thin layer) and put a damp towel over it, allowing it to set for 48 hours.
After it had set completely, I washed the entire pelt with dish soap and began to stretch and break the hide. This is done by pulling it every which way you can until the fibers break, revealing a nice white in color leather. This took a day to do, and the first pelt that I cut into a sample piece (the black and white one) I actually did not end up stretching. the difference between that one and the one I stretched is huge! The stretching is such an important step.
Once it was about 70% dry, I used blow dryer (light air, and cool setting) to fluff the fur up a bit! I have to say, the whole process was hard work because it was all by hand, but I really enjoyed it all the same!
What I Plan to Do Next
With our next pelts, I plan to scrape and flesh it right after it comes off the Rabbit to see if that might be a little easier for me. I also plan to add an oil to the leather a bit when it is at it’s stretching step of the process, as I have heard from experienced friends that does help it become more supple! Other than that, I am just learning as I go. I hope to get better with time, and I am very glad I was able to use their fur for something!
Once I get more practice with other pelts, I will definitely be posting a more detailed blog about our pelt process (using this egg tanning method). So, more to come in the future, but for now I hope you enjoy the photos of our very first ones!