I can see the progress in raising a years supply of meat.
Sure, it's been slow. And extremely difficult. And full of blood, sweat, and tears. But still – I can see the progress! And I'm so thankful that the land is beginning to bear fruit for us.
Well, technically not “fruit.” Meat, really. But the term bearing fruit sounds better than bearing meat, right? Never mind.
We made it a goal here on the homestead, last year when we began working this five acre piece of property, to produce our own meat. Ideally all of it. But at least some of it. Lawd have mercy – we're getting there! We've been digging fence posts, stringing hot wire, and building gates more often than I care to. Good gracious. That's hard labor. But as we prepare for the summer, fall, and winter ahead – it blindsided us how close we are to producing our annual meat supply. Wow! Could we actually do this?!
Mind you – it's anything but a self sufficient production. Our hay comes from a farmer down the road and that supplies our sheep (and cow) with their main food supply. Our pigs are fattened on grain that comes from within the state, but not grown on our farm. The meat chicken's grazing is also supplemented by grain from within our state. Frankly, I'm thankful to support this particular grain company – who sources only organic, non-GMO, and local grains. They're fantastic and I'm happy to put my money in their wallet.
That being said. We're still growing and harvesting the meat here on our farm – and that's something to get excited about. At least… if that's what you're into. Which, I totally am.
Raising A Years Supply of Meat
1. First, let's decide on how much meat we eat and thus, how much meat we need.
I don't track this as well as I should, but I would guess that our family of four eats about 10-12 pounds of meat per week. 5 of that usually comes in the form of a broiler chicken and the remaining 5-7 pounds is an assortment of beef cuts.
(Roughly) 11 pounds per week x 52 weeks per year = 572 pounds of meat per year.
Thus, 572 pounds of meat produced on the farm is our goal. This allows each person (Stuart, myself, Georgia, and Owen) about .4 pounds of meat/day. We usually have two vegetarian meals and one meat-centered meal each day.
2. Then, let's decide on what type of meat to raise.
If you like chicken, by all means raise chicken. And if you've got the land for a steer or other large animal, by all means, utilize it! We run our animals on five acres here, only two of which has been “developed” thus far. The pastures are far from ideal and we're a heck of a long ways from conquering our watering system in this dry, desert climate. All of these factors went into play when deciding which animals we would like to raise for food.
Thus far, we've decided on:
Chickens: We run our meat chickens in a very large, open, outdoor pen where they can have access to grass, bugs, weeds, and sunshine. Even with growing enough for our family for a year, and providing them with ample space, we still only utilize a small fraction of land for their production. The other bonus is that they're usually harvest before they reach 11 weeks of age, so the land and time commitment to raising them is minimal.
We like to eat one chicken per week – this provides us with 3-4 meals plus stock. Thus, we plan for about 50 birds – one for each week of the year.
Pigs: One for us, one for my parents. Again, our pigs have access to a large, outdoor pen where they roll in their self-made mud puddle and lay in the sunshine all day. And again, even with ample room for rolling and frolicking in the pasture, they still require pretty minimal space. Plus, they make bacon. An ideal candidate to have on the farm. Our pigs were purchased from our hay farmer, just a quarter mile down the road. Don't tell my husband this but I'm really flirting with the idea of bringing a breeding sow onto the property…
We've already also talked about raising another pig next year – we'll have another mouth to feed and our other kiddos will be getting bigger and more hungry, no doubt! But for now, one is enough.
Sheep: Adding meat sheep was a great move for us. Much of our land is rocky terrain that is too steep for a cow to maneuver easily. Bringing the sheep onto the farm will be a great way for us to manage this scrubby landscape and with proper time, care, and good management – turn it into healthy pasture. Sheep are quick to fatten – often ready for harvest at just ten months old. They also don't require a ton of feed or any grain, happy to graze and munch hay for their calories. We added breeding stock this year so that we can self-replenish our meat sheep harvest each year with new lambs.
We will most likely raise anywhere from 1-4 lambs each year for butcher, depending on our ewes.
Rabbits: We raised meat rabbits in Alabama and loved the ease and quick harvest they provided. Though we've yet to get them set up on our new farm, we'd like to have our rabbit system in place before this next winter. We could easily be harvesting fresh meat all winter long! They're cheap. Easy. And actually extremely delicious.
3. Doing the math.
Chickens: Last year, our broilers dressed out at about 4.5 pounds each. At fifty birds, that's roughly 225 pounds of meat. On top of that, we utilize heads, feet, and bones for chicken stock. The liver, lungs, kidneys, and any extra trimmings go to the dog which provides him with food (we don't purchase dog food). The feathers from the chickens are used as mulch in the garden beds, along with the blood. Nothing is wasted.
Estimated chicken harvest: 225 pounds.
Pigs: Since this is our first year raising pigs, it's sort of a guessing game. Our pig farmer just came by to see our pigs and said that ours are about a month ahead of where his pigs are at the same age – they've been eating Scratch ‘N Peck Pig Grower, tons of food and garden scraps, and about two gallons of fresh, raw milk each day. On top of that, they also get the leftover whey from my cheese making. I'm estimating them to be a little bit above average when it comes time for harvest in October. I'm using my friend Quinn's stats from her homesteading hog raising to help me guesstimate my yield – her's has consistently been around 200 lbs. of meat per pig and like Quinn, we'll be utilizing EVERYTHING. Lard, organs, and odd bits included.
Estimated pig harvest: 200 pounds/pig.
Sheep: Again, newbie here. But I'll try my best to guesstimate. This year, we'll be harvesting one lamb – a ram lamb. He'll be about 10 months at harvest, which won't be until December – even January, if we feel like he could benefit from another month of eating. He'll be fattened on alfalfa/grass mix, scrubby pasture, and whatever garden scraps I'm feeling generous enough to share (those sheep sure do love lettuce!). Because this is our first year, it's hard to know what to expect but drawing on other's experience, I'll give it my best guess. And (sorry to be repetitive) but everything from the lamb will be utilized – either for us or for the dog.
Estimated lamb harvest: 80 pounds
Total: 225 (chicken) + 200 (pig) + 80 (lamb) = 605 pounds of meat.
(rabbit not included)
(oooh! and I totally forgot about the turkey! let's tag on another 15 pounds for him!)
4. Where does that leave us?
605 pounds of meat would help us reach our goal and then some! Though, let's be honest. Nothing ever works as well as we expect it to. The likelihood of all 50 broilers making it to harvest is minimal. Perhaps the hogs will weigh less than I planned. And, Lord have mercy, what if something happens to the lamb?
It's all part of farming. And as you can see, for the smallholder (that's what Hugh from River Cottage calls us) an animal loss is a huge deal. Because of this, I'd like to prepare to raise more meat than we need. Supplementing with rabbits will help, although they are a fairly small contribution (weighing in at about 3 pounds/each). Another lamb or two would be nice, but that will have to wait until next year when our older ewe has her first lambs. We also have a fantastic rancher just a few minutes away that raises beef for us – we are happy to continue purchasing our annual quarter to supplement the red meat supply.
In a way, raising meat is sort of like gardening. You have to always plant extra, knowing that some seeds will be lost to the birds, others ravaged by ants, and even others will be lost to disease. Calculating loss into the equation is essential if we're actually going to make it on what we raise here on the farm.
5. A few take-away points.
– Raising your own meat is possible! Most people think they need to stop at a vegetable gardening, simply because of space limitations but it's possible to raise meat – even in your backyard! Chickens and pigs both require minimal space. Even lambs can get by in a fairly small area. We give them room to graze pasture because we can, but I know plenty of folks to raise their animals on acre plots in town.
– Don't expect your meat raising to go as planned. Oh wait – did I say that already? Nothing. Ever. Goes. As. Planned. Plan and prepare with a backup. Ya know. Just in case.
– Enjoy your animals while you have them. They're dying for us to be sustained and I think that's a pretty amazing provision. It's important to be thankful and to take good care of them while you've got 'em.
As always, I'm thankful for the Lord's provision in His creation. He's given us land, able bodies, willing hearts, and the opportunity to raise this meat for our family this year. How thankful we are!
There is bacon at the end of this long road. I can smell it from here…
Inspiring! Now if I could only talk Paul into a small plot of land…..sigh. I’m so glad your goals are being fulfilled. keep up the good work!
Janine, please come for a supper! We’ll drink raw milk right from the udder and harvest a chicken in your honor! 🙂
I’m not a homesteader, but I have so much respect for what you are doing! It seems so rewarding to have such an active role in feeding yourself. Good luck with all the harvests!
Thank you, Jessica!
Love this! As a producer of humane animal proteins, I love that more and more people are venturing into providing more of their own meat. I would much rather show people how to provide for themselves instead of selling them a cut of meat. It is hard work but it is also very rewarding work. It’s also so great for families with little ones to learn and witness where our meats come from and how they get from the field to the plate. Well done!
Yes! I love watching little ones learn that!
I would love to know what you all feed your dog and how he/she is doing on it! While we raise rabbits and chickens most of the raw diet is supposed to be red meat and it ended up just being too expensive to continue.
Amanda – this is hilarious. I JUST finished typing up a post on this and will get it up tomorrow! Stay tuned!
It’s so true that you don’t need much space, we have two hogs, 6 rabbits, a dozen chickens and so very many dogs 🙂 all on a third of an acre…. plenty of room still for a garden and a play area for the kids. Doing my best not to get attached to my cute pigs. I love your articles Shaye don’t stop writing!
Thank you for the encouragement, Camille! I love to hear what people are doing in small spaces. Thanks for reading!
Thank you for this post! It is so helpful to see someone’s thought process for raising meat. While we are happy to have someone else raise our beef and provide our milk for dairy products, I would like to start raising meat chickens and pigs. This is definitely a post I’ll be coming back to. If you can, let us know what the final meat tally ends up being.
Absolutely! I love the accountability of a blog – it holds me responsible! 😉
Can you please post some rabbit recipes? We have just started our rabbit raising, bred them last night and hoping in 12 weeks to have some fryers.
Once I get set up with my rabbits again I’ll get right on it! YUM!
Your figures for lamb are really high. In the past when we’ve raised lambs, they butcher out at 35 – 45 lb of usable meat, maybe 50lb if you’re taking all possible bones for dog bones. 80lb seems like a really high estimate.
You are such an inspiration to me. My husband and are are working to get our very own little homestead up and going. Hearing you talk about your homestead journey in this One Amazing Life is music to my ears. I adore your recipes and words of wisdom. Thank you for writing this awesome blog. I spend part of my lunch hour everyday reading your page!
P.S. So excited to hear you and your hubby are expecting again. The photos of your beautiful children remind me that someday I will get to be a Mommy too.
Glad to spend lunch time with you, Annie!
Hey Shaye, love the post! It’s really great to see how you’re able to get one step closer to feeding the family from your own farm! I think your math may be a tad off, though. I only count up to 505. Unless I forgot something, which is entirely likely. 🙂
I am very excited to see your new rabbit setup – we are planning to start raising our own meat rabbits this year, as in our neighborhood yard that is all we have room for. Baby steps, though! These posts are very encouraging that we will get there eventually!
This had been my goal for years and for 2 years now we have raised ALL of our meat – so it IS possible! I have a family of 6 (with 4 being boys who eat a LOT). We raise 1 steer, 2 hogs, 70 butcher chickens and 30 layer hens. It’s definitely work, but with the meat we raise and the huge garden and fruit trees that we can from – I can easily keep my grocery bill under $200 a month – which allows me to stay home with the kids (and do LOTS of chores). We also have a pond in our pasture that we stocked about 5 years ago, so now we get to add fish to our meals. Good luck to all that are trying this – it’s a lot of work, but it’s definitely worth it!
What a great post. I love how you broke everything down. We are working on self-sufficiency as well. Right now we have 71 chickens (we started with 75…) and will send most of them to freezer camp soon, but will keep half a dozen or so for eggs. We just started with meat rabbits and are excited about that prospect. Next spring, we are adding hogs (we’ve had them in the past). The one remaining item we have yet to agree on. We have an 8 acre wooded pasture area and my husband wants to get 2 beef steers. I personally would rather have sheep (I LOVE lamb meat) but he’s reluctant and says they are harder. I am enjoying reading about your adventure with sheep and we’ll see what we end up doing… Do you know if they can be housed together?
I love your blog and have really learned a lot from you. Thank you for doing this.
Yes, they can be! You just have to be careful because sheep can’t have copper – so don’t supplement the cow with copper if the sheep has access to it.
Katie and Mark
Oh, this was such a welcome post to read this morning! We’ve just introduced three piglet to our homestead (1 for us, 2 for friends), in addition to the dairy goats, chickens and ducks. We’ve just written a post on our blog introducing the piglets and describing our plans for them. Although we openly encourage discussion and an exchange of opinions on our blog (that’s what it’s there for!), we’ve been getting some personal attacks on the matter. By raising our own food, as sustainably as we possible can, on pasture, in the sunshine and supplementing with our food scraps and extra orchard fruit, we’re still seen as lacking compassion, being blood thirsty and self-righteous. http://controlledjibe.com/2014/06/20/swine-time/
Like I said, it was a great time to read this post and see all the positive, encouraging comments! We hope to add broiler chickens next year and really value your blog and all the helpful how-to’s and advice.
Katie and Mark
Hey Shaye! I noticed you said you have two vegetarian meals a day, and then one meal centered around the meat. How do you do this? i have a hard time using our meat sparingly,. Every time I try to do a vegetarian meal, my husband never goes for it…?
Better start convincing him that vegetarian meals can be delicious! 😉
A great breakfast idea, precook brown and wild rice, 2 cups and cook up quinoa, 1 cup with stock. Saute onion, peppers, carrots and mushrooms, allow all of this to cool, mix together and store in fridge in a baggie. Warm up a two cup serving per person in a small skillet in the morning, slightly browning the rice and quinoa. In another skillet cook two eggs per serving to go on top. Quinoa and eggs are both protein, and rice is pure energy food and fabulous if made with stock, that’s how I cook rice too, stock, no water. Maybe a little parmesan cheese on top? Most days just some sriracha, meatless, full of protein and oh so good.
You really should try making head cheese when you butcher the hogs. It is so good! There are two styles, but I prefer the traditional style. Another version is pickled with vinegar and known as souse. It is also good but not the same.
Love this post! We have layer chickens and just put 35 meat chickens in the freezer. Now we can’t agree on what to get next! Hubby is not quite a eager (or maybe more realistic on how much work it will be for me with a big veggie garden three littles to take care of too!)
How much room would you say is required per pig, goat, sheep or cow? Or can you point me to a good resource?
Here’s a good resource, Alisha!: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603421386?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creativeASIN=1603421386&linkCode=xm2&tag=theellihome0d-20
My wife is a big time gardener and I have had 6 back surgeries we just moved onto a little 2 acre farmette that has been neglected for a few years and one of her main wishes was a large garden. We have a 100′ x 50′ plus area perfect for it and we bought a compact tractor to till it but we were planning to till row and leave rows of grass that we can still cut wit a push mower to keep the weeding down, kinda as a work saver has any one tried this before? It would also give her la3rge isleways to work with for hauling compost and such. Lord knows the rabbits produce enough fertilizer year round
GO GIRL! We just did our 57 meat birds (though SADLY hubby wasn’t down with butchering them ourselves this year) and we have just started on our rabbit venture. 8 born the other day. Can’t wait. — I wish we could do more here. I am gonna try a couple feeder pigs next year and see if that ticks off the landlord. We couldn’t find any this year due that disease that’s killing off so many piglets.
Farming seems to always be about next year doesn’t it???
Love what you are doing. It inspires me to keep forging ahead.
Branden Sheard suggested I contact you about buying one of your fabulous pigs when the time is right. Please let me know if you would be interested in selling me one. Email or phone 206-324-8267. I love your site. Beautiful photography and writing.
Karen, I wish I could! We aren’t equipped to sell pigs… yet 😉
Found your blog via Farmstead Meatsmith (who knows, I might be coming to help butcher some pigs this fall!)
Have you taken your list above and put some expenses against it, so you have a sense of the monetary contributions that went into raising this meat?
We keep track of each animal’s feed bill seperately and will calculate the actual cost at harvest time. We’d love to have you this fall!
I love how you have broken down the estimated weight of each type of meat! We are doing broiler chickens and pigs right now. We also hope to put some deer in the freezer. We have catfish in our pond, but we generally don’t eat them. We do hope to add an aquaponics system later this year though that would provide tilapia and perhaps some freshwater crawfish! YUM!
Do you plan to butcher the various animals yourselves? Where do you learn how to do this?
We have had our house for sale 9 months and finally have an offer, and have made an offer on a farm. The owner is also giving us 2 beef cows, a pet horse, and laying hens.
When you raised the meat chickens, did you do enough for the whole year, or are you constantly raising a “batch” to butcher?
I’m a city girl with much to learn!
We raise enough meat birds for the entire year. We watched a few YouTube videos on how to butcher and just went for it!
Shaye, do you freeze them? Can them? What do you do with 50 chickens, once they are all cleaned up, I remember in the video of processing you put them in plastic bags, so do they all go in the freezer?
They all go into the freezer!
If you enjoy duck I would recommend having them as well on the farm, even if you don’t enjoy it…I have Muscovies, some would call them ugly, but they are beautiful, they are large, fast growing, great mothers, I have hens that hatch out 20+ ducklings she does all the work and they free range. The cannot fly because they are so heavy. You can sell the eggs fertile or not, any ducklings you don’t want to raise, or grow them up and sell them, take them to animal swaps and things. I get $20 for drake and $15 for hens, and $5 for ducklings, $4 for cooking eggs, $7 for fertile eggs. Good money to help sustain my chickens, or buy farm material like fencing and such. Plus Muscovies are not a fatty duck at all, and have a very unique taste to them compared to the “store” ducks. They are also quiet, no constant quaking or “aflac ing” 🙂 another breed which is tasty is the Rouen breed, they look like mallards but are much much larger and don’t fly as well
I just want you to know that your posts make my heart so very happy!!! 😀 I’ve only read a few so far, but I really am grateful to Jesus that He allowed me to stumble upon your site. SO helpful. SO encouraging. We’re just starting out on our homesteading journey, and I really appreciate all of the wonderful info! Thank you mucho!
Thank you so much for this inspiration! I’ve always wanted to raise livestock, but I never imagined that I could provide all of my own meat for the whole family. Your post made this seem totally possible! I’m excited to buy my own land soon when my husband gets out of the army. I will definitely be returning to your blog often! Happy farming 🙂
So glad to see and hear about others doing the same thing we are. Our homestead is In its first two years and I empathize with all of the infrastructure building. We have forty acres of which we have layer hens, raise broilers and have a half acre vegetable garden. Plans for the spring include pigs. We are also investigating growing our own wheat. A great deal of it has been leased out for conventional wheat but we will likely seed drill the majority of the property with pasture grass for goats and sheep. We are on the high eastern plains of Colorado. Our climates too sound similar in challenges.
Did you calculate how much is cost to raise and feed your meat birds?
We didn’t this year! I’ll make sure to document again next Spring! Last year, it cost us about $20/bird… but I think we’ve done better this go round!
I raise my meat birds in a 10 X 10 X 2′ partial covered mobile pen. I am adding approximately 20% of green material, worms, bugs to my chickens diet. I also add Japanese Beetle Lures to lure them to pens and help control their numbers & feed my birds also. I usually move the birds daily unless I am cleaning out an area to garden in (they scratch the ground up and fertilize as well.). If there is a way to factor in labor savings and free fertilizer that further reduces cost per bird. I have not bought fertilizer in years.
Just found your blog today, and have been pouring over all of your posts! You’re homestead is gorgeous, and oh so inspiring! What an amazing steward you are! 🙂 we are hoping to purchase around 5 acres in the next year or two! Can’t wait!
I am new to your blog, and just wanted to say (1) you are beautiful! and (2) thank you for sharing your experiences! I think about what it would take to be self-sufficient with meat a lot, and it always seems really overwhelming. Reading even just the beginning of your journey is really insightful and encouraging! I can’t imagine we’ll be doing anything like this for quite some time, but my husband and I are already planning to start raising chickens next summer (this summer was spent trying to get our home and property under control, haha). Small steps, right? Anyways, thanks again and God bless you guys!
Awesome post! Just one thing, I think your total math was wrong, it actually totals out to 505 not 605 😀 but that is still AWESOME!
What an inspiring blog!! I’m a little old to be starting my own backyard homestead and my hubby isn’t on board…yet but my 14 year old son is all in! (The grandchildren are 8 and under but I am sure they will be anxious to help!) We just bought 9 wooded acres and our house isn’t yet built but I already have a raise bed of onions and garlic planted in the garden area of our land. I’m learning all I can about raising chickens and have convinced my husband the money spent on hunting licenses and trips for deer meat is no different than having chickens. He can bring in the deer meat – I’ll bring the meat chickens!
So glad I came across this blog while searching for organic chicken feed!! You’ll be marked as a favorite and a “go to” site for me!!
I dont want to start one of the side conversations on your blog but I just wanted to say first off…its great you raise your animals and give them a good live & are providing your family with clean eating the best you can. That said, its a lot cheaper & healthier to be a vegetarian family. And I hope it’s something you look into & consider. Pigs are smarter then dogs so no matter how well they are raised it’s still a sad ending : (
Shaye, I so admire what you are doing. I wanted to do that for many years, never could convince the other half, so for that reason and many more, I am now divorced and doing it my way. And now I am fifty, but that’s not stopping me. Lol. I just built two raised beds, one is 5×21 feet and one is 5×26 feet. Next is the chicken coop. I can’t wait. Probably need to plant garden beds first though, I can get peas, lettuce and spinach and the like in now, but still dropping down to almost freezing here in Wichita, KS. Love to hear, I mean read your blog, so entertaining. Keep up the hard work, Diamond lady. Congrats!
Love this blog post! I am a graduating ANSC major from University of Tennessee.
Could I suggest considering goats? They have a leaner meat and will clear brush better than sheep. I may be partial but they have a lot of pros over sheep.
Maybe just something to look into in the future.
Reading your story was very in lighting, and gave me hope that this dream my husband and I have will happen, and can happen. We brought 5 acres almost a year ago, so far we have 24 chickens, two pigs…this is something we are learning as we go…we are new to Tenn. and don’t know too many people. But with the internet and stories like yours it has given us hope and that it can be done…we have a full garden planted, and plan on canning most of it..which is another thing, we both have never done this. So this year is going to be hard but a lot of learning, and fun ! Having your own meat, food …is something people should start thinking about doing…it’s just my husband and I but we are so thankful and blessing to be able to have our own land !!
I grow chickens (both layers and broilers ), rabbit’s and just added 2 pigs this year. I see many have costs concerns with raising their own meat but the tastes and health factors are hard to ignore. I make good use of all feed and supplement feed whenever possible to offset actual costs. All our animals have access to greens and I pick greens for rabbit’s to add to their diet and also free feed them hay. We have rescue dogs and cats and I almost forgot our worms who get the coffee grounds so we are essentially a waste free farm. We even use all manure produced for raised beds or to fertilize our pastures. We will be adding 2 cows next fall. All the above ramblings is to say any effort one makes toward self sufficiency is a good investment with increased savings and health as a dividend. Successful wishes to all. Happy Trails !
You wrote this:
This allows each person (Stuart, myself, Georgia, and Owen) about .4 pounds of meat/day. We usually have two vegetarian meals and one meat-centered meal each day.
Are you really eating a pound of meat PER PERSON PER DAY???? That is a huge amount of meat!!! We (Netherlands) have a normal intake of 120 grams of animal protein a day. This is considered a healthy portion. An american pound is more then 4 times that amount!! I am shocked!
That means we each eat about .4 of a pound of meat/day. Not a pound… that would be less than a half of a pound. I don’t know how much that is in grams though… 🙂
Awesome post! We too are working towards sourcing our own meat and whatever else we can! Luckily, our hay farmer down the road will trade eggs for bales as he doesn’t like raising chickens:)
Very inspiring! Do you butcher all your animals or does someone else?
Hey there, the answer might be in the comments, but there are so many to read through! My appologies ahead of time if so…
The hardest part of butchering is what to do with all the blood and guts we don’t eat… You mentioned you add blood to the garden and guts for dog food. Can you explain how you keep from attracting different wildlife to the garden? And how you use innards for dog food- or is there another post of yours that dives into this? Very curious, thank you!
I am a new reader and have been so blessed by your blog. Addicted really. I love the practical homesteading info and your heart for your family and God. I was thrilled to learn that we also share the same essential oils and Dave Ramsey. God has shown me that me and my family should start our homesteading journey and move to Montana. I can’t wait! Keep it coming girl!
I will start my first flock of chickens (as an adult) in the spring. I am planning to have some for setting to replenish my flock plus replace the ones getting to old to lay. I plan like you to use as much of each animal (rabbits included) to the best of my ability. As for the feathers I plan to compost the larger ones &I use the small ones for cushions & such. It was great to find your site.
I am wondering the specifics on your pig pen. We have about 1.5 acres, and I want 2 American guinea hogs, which are not as big as most hogs. I am wondering how much land I actually need for them. Your (or anyone else’s) would be a great help.
Lorinda-The Rowdy Baker
Great post! We’ve been toying with the idea of a pig, but since we couldn’t bring ourselves to butcher the chickens we had, I’m not sure a pig would be wise. He’d probably turn into an old, gray, freeloader 🙂
The majority of our red meat comes from hunting – deer, elk, and bear. But maybe it’s time to re-think the pork. I do love sausage and bacon!
Hi Shaye, could you by change give me a time line of these events. That may sound silly but I’m not sure how to start and when to buy. We are raising chickens now and we’re thinking of raising them in groups so that we don’t have so many at once. But we aren’t sure when to get other animals to raise for meat.
Amy Thiessen @ These Wild Acres
This is so awesome! Good for you guys. We raised our Berkshire Hogs this year and LOVED it! I agree.. something is bound to go.. not right. We had an escapee… luckily he was found snoozing a few feet away under a tree 😀 We did 25 chickens as well- I would like to have another round in the freezer before this winter. My brother-in-law raised rabbits- and I have to say, it is DELICIOUS. 😀 Would really like to do a cow in the future.. as I’m getting a little tired of ground pork ;D
Great, inspiring, and helpful post. Thank you. We’re gonna start with meat rabbits and had already intended on adding on laying hens soon after. My in-laws are raising a couple of cows for beef and offered a good bit for our help and are discussing a dairy cow. We were considering keeping it at this but our eventual goal is to raise, grow, or hunt/fish 75% of what we eat and know we will need to add on for that. I have always been a lil intimidated by a hog but you’re posts have helped us consider as well as meat chickens along with (though not in with, we’ve read that much) laying chickens.
This is a great blog, thank you again.
I like that you mentioned it’s important to learn the average daily consumption of meat you’ll be having to make sure that your supply will be able to accommodate the needs. That’s perfect to learn since I’ve been wondering how the suppliers of restaurants are able to manage such a large unit of demand. It might be because they are quite good at math too. I’ll be sure to read more about the topic of meat supplies and see how I can make use of the knowledge. Thanks!
When it’s time to kill the larger animals, do you take them to a butcher or do you do that your self? I would imagine the weight would be hard to deal with.
Hi just wondering if you’ve had time to experiment with the lamb/sheep and see if there’s a less gamier breed than another? Hubs is none too thrilled with lamb we have had in the past and I was wondering which breeds were the least gamey in your opinion
I really enjoyed your article on raising enough meat for a year. I’ve got a question about freezing that many chickens at one time. When you get to the last few birds are you finding, or have you had any problem with freezer burn? Also do you use chest or upright freezers? Also, I just have to ask. How the heck do you feed four people 3-4 meals from one chicken, lol? We’re lucky if we get one meal. Thanks!
this is great reading i’m on the outskirts of a small town sth Qeensland Australia & i grew up on a wheat farm best time lived the city life now back in the bush & reliving my childhood best years doctor has given me the all clear after surgery .country life is hard but rewarding my son is helping us homesteading on 5 acres keep up this great work