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Deb862 02/25/07 12:45 PM

Is it worth it?
 
Hi everyone. I know I've seen threads over the years about this, tried to do a search in the archives, but really couldn't figure out what words to search for or wasn't getting what I was looking for, so forgive me for asking again! :)

Aside from the taste/health, etc. reasons for doing so, is it worth it to set up a homestead to try to produce all your own meat? We are wondering for just the 2 of us if it is really worth it to raise our own or just purchase what we need at the grocery store. If we have enough land to attempt to grow most of the feed we would need for the animals would it be financially worth it for us? (I know it would be taste-wise worth it!). How does one figure this out?

stanb999 02/25/07 12:52 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deb862
Hi everyone. I know I've seen threads over the years about this, tried to do a search in the archives, but really couldn't figure out what words to search for or wasn't getting what I was looking for, so forgive me for asking again! :)

Aside from the taste/health, etc. reasons for doing so, is it worth it to set up a homestead to try to produce all your own meat? We are wondering for just the 2 of us if it is really worth it to raise our own or just purchase what we need at the grocery store. If we have enough land to attempt to grow most of the feed we would need for the animals would it be financially worth it for us? (I know it would be taste-wise worth it!). How does one figure this out?

It will cost you more to raise just about anything by the time you feed and house. But it is well worth the effort IMHO.
Pork for me is about 1.50 a lb.
Chicken is about 1 dollar a lb.

I process every thing myself. So thats the in the freezer price.
If you had to pay for processing it would be higher.
I hope this helps :)

vicker 02/25/07 01:41 PM

Comparing the taste and texture of home raised and store bought is like night and day. I have to believe it is way better for you also. I would say that it costs about the same or maybe a tad bit more. But, you have to consider that you are getting much better quality. If you got the same quality at the store, it would cost you way more.

big rockpile 02/25/07 01:43 PM

I think I did best with Rabbits.

But most meat I raise now days I just feed them a chunk of Lead,pretty cheap.

big rockpile

LamiPub 02/25/07 01:51 PM

Eepends on what you want and how you are set up. Some animals are easier and cheaper to raise. Of course you don't have to raise your own. If you find another homesteader who raises meat it is still cheaper to buy from them (and fruits and veggies from farmers market) and have it processed than buy at the grocery store and you get all the added benefits of taste, health etc. If you are a small family and couldn't eat a whole hog or beef you can always find others who will split it with you too. Checking into coops could also get you quality food and still save you money. When looking at the cost compare the price of homegrown with comparable quality grocery store food. For example if you always buy the cheapest generic brand, the on sale about to expire stuff, etc than of course it is cheaper. If you buy the prime local or organic meat, milk, produce etc than you would save money raising your own.

Deb862 02/25/07 02:27 PM

We were kinda thinking along those lines, too. We thought if we maybe raised 2 pigs, some chickens, and a beef cow every year it would obviously be way to much for just the 2 of us, but that we perhaps could sell or trade with others in the area possibly so that it would maybe even put a small amount in our pocket, too. Does anyone know what and how much you would have to produce yourself to feed 2 pigs, 50-100 chickens, and maybe a cow for 1 year? I am thinking that we would pasture them as much as we could but have absolutely no idea what we would have to grow to other than that for them.

luvrulz 02/25/07 03:04 PM

The healthier aspects are enough to keep us raising our own. When we get ready to butcher a cow, for instance, we find someone to buy half or a quarter. We've even traded beef for 250 blueberry bushes! Most people will barter and are happy to buy your excess pork or beef! The rewards are benficial all the way around!!

ChuckinVA 02/25/07 03:11 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deb862
We were kinda thinking along those lines, too. We thought if we maybe raised 2 pigs, some chickens, and a beef cow every year it would obviously be way to much for just the 2 of us, but that we perhaps could sell or trade with others in the area possibly so that it would maybe even put a small amount in our pocket, too. Does anyone know what and how much you would have to produce yourself to feed 2 pigs, 50-100 chickens, and maybe a cow for 1 year? I am thinking that we would pasture them as much as we could but have absolutely no idea what we would have to grow to other than that for them.

I think since you are new at this it might be better to do it gradually. Start with something simple to raise, like chickens and work your way up to a cow over time. I have raised chickens for about 4 years and have learned enough to know that I don't have the time to add something else to take care of with my work schedule etc. You might have more time and therefor e the learning curve might be shorter. I read a couple good books several years ago that might be helpful to you. Both are published by Storey Books. One is Successful small scale farming by Karl Schwenke.The other is Small Scale Livestock Farming by Carol Ekarius. they may be available from your local library. I got mine at tractor Supply.

LamiPub 02/25/07 03:41 PM

We are currently buying our pork and beef from friends. Poultry was so cheap at the store raising it ourselves didn't seem financially worth it but I like having chickens for eggs so we have layers. Chicken prices have been going up in our grocery stores and the chicken has no taste imo so I am considering raising some for meat and giving it another try. (My problem is I don't mind the scalding and plucking but I hate dressing the chicken). I am more interested in having dairy livestock and am still trying to talk husband into letting me have milk goats. We currently get milk from a good friend. I just like knowing I can always have eggs and milk. If you post separately in the poultry, swine, and cattle forums I bet you could get a lot of info on the most productive way to raise these animals and the space, cost, materials and time needed.

goatlady 02/25/07 04:56 PM

In your particular situation it might be best for you to just find local sources for your meat, poultry, etc. Support the local farmers who are already experienced rather than spending lots of $$, time, and effort starting from scratch UNLESS you want to completely change your lifestyle. When you have animals you don't go on any vacations or weekends away.

mrs.H 02/25/07 08:04 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by big rockpile
But most meat I raise now days I just feed them a chunk of Lead,pretty cheap.

big rockpile

:rotfl: :rotfl:

But your an old hand at this!

donsgal 02/25/07 10:02 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deb862
Aside from the taste/health, etc. reasons for doing so, is it worth it to set up a homestead to try to produce all your own meat? We are wondering for just the 2 of us if it is really worth it to raise our own or just purchase what we need at the grocery store.

Doing it for "just the 2 of you" is the absolute best reason in the world to do it. I would raise my own food (which I will in the near future), even if it cost MORE than buying store-bought, because I know it would be of superior quality and more healthy.

donsgal

jen74145 02/25/07 10:12 PM

Think it depends how you look at it.
If you raise, say, rabbits, quail, and other small stock, and grow/ forage for food for them as much as possible on your own, then you might come out ahead in the cash department.

My main reason is that I don't think anything should ever suffer more than it must, and factory farms aren't kind... call me sentimental, but guess it's a karma thing.
Too, SO much healthier for you, as you decide what it is fed, how it is slaughtered, and all the in-betweens. That can lead to lower medical bills and less time missed at outside paying jobs, too.

Rockpile has a point too, hunting/fishing can be a great way to obtain your own meat... healthy, humane, and can even be enjoyable.

seedspreader 02/25/07 10:45 PM

Just remember that when you are figuring out the price of meat at the store that they also inject 10% (by weight) "solution" into all the meats at places like walmart, etc.

Quote:

BEEF: A great deal of your fresh beef products are “enhanced” with a water-based solution. What drives the decision to merchandise beef this way?

Peterson: I think the whole idea of solutions, or “pumped” product, is going to revolutionize the meat industry over time. The solution process will ultimately be one of providing a flavor profile. This is no different in meat than in other foods. “Cooking” at home is becoming a lost art — much by choice — therefore the consumer is expecting to buy a piece of meat that has a particular flavor profile, stick it in the oven for 15-20 minutes and yet have something they remember eating when they were growing up.

Food additives, whether in solutions or otherwise, are becoming part of our food experience. The fresh beef area is one of the last great food bastions that have been generally untampered.

Preservative issues are more a factor of the packaging, as opposed to the solution itself. Clearly there are color stabilization benefits with the herb-based solutions we use.
Bruce Peterson (head of walmart meat) in an interview in 2003. http://reclaimdemocracy.org/walmart/..._practices.php

vicker 02/26/07 06:58 AM

Mmmmm "herb based solutions" :stirpot: drool

That is the biggest crock that I've read in some time LOL
My mom didn't make rubbery over salted meat very often.
That movement is all about profit. :frypan:

michiganfarmer 02/26/07 07:04 AM

I do it because I love the land, I love the animals, and I think its the proper way to live.

I dont know how the finances work out. I havent ran any numbers

cybercat 02/26/07 07:41 AM

just the 2 of us
 
Deb we are in the same situation in that is is just us 2 no children. We are different in that hubby was raised on a farm and I am city bred but raised with a home garden.

Ok, here is what I have discovered in my search on this. Buying enough land to grow your own feed is real hard to find. Not to mention the cost of the equipment to harvest it. I am looking at winter feed here for all other season we would be pasturing. Also if you have no experiance doing this I would suggest getting out to one of the small farms to see if you can handle the work. Many love the idea till it comes down to the actual working with the animals.

So for us and what we want this is how we will do it. After getting our place(which should be this year) first comes chicken coup and chickens. I dual purpose for not have to many animals. Then we are getting the fields ready and looking for our milk cow a must for us. After she is in and settled and have all we need to store or work her extra then comes 1 or 2 pigglets for growing to butcher. The meat steer we have a farmer friend that we can buy off the hoof from so I do not think we will raise one ourselfs depends on the land size. I also have a very good friend to split a cow with so excess is not a problem. We will have the whole garden growing the herbs right to the potatoes. Also many types of berries and I hope nut trees also.

Now my hubby has butchered when he was growing up so we do not have to send ours out for that. I will be doing most of the day to day chores which will include all the garden planting ,weeding and picking. Let out chickens and collect eggs. Feed those animals an extras that they need depeding on year. Hubby will be taking care of milking the cow since he has down that when growing up. We both will be storing food, canning and freezing extra. waste goes back to feeding or compost. This is alot of work but it is how we were raised. Nothing compares to homegrown and the health benifts are amazing.

Your diet just might change a bit too. Because store boughts meats most of the time have more flavor than the veggies and fruits, we tend to eat more of them. Home grown you tend to eat alot more veggies and fruit and its can be a seasonal feast thing with meat being a smaller portion of the meal. I would suggest getting out to a local small farmer to see what is involed. Also buying some home grown veggies at a farmers market to taste the differeance. Just maket sure it is home grown and not shipped in from another state. We have a few like that here so you have to ask. Visit them yearound so you can see and taste the difference of all the types of food.
Good luck for many it is well worth it for some not use to it to much work. You have to make your own choise on if it is worth it on what you want and need.

Deb862 02/26/07 08:37 AM

Thanks, cybercat. We want to do something close to what you are doing. I should add that we are not novices, although not exactly "seasoned" long-time homesteaders either. We had 22 acres at one time and raised all of our eggs, probably 25%-30% of our veggies, etc., and had started raising our meat birds. We have raised and butchered chickens, so that's no problem for us. As for the work, we really don't find it work! We love doing "chores", chopping wood, handling critters, etc.

What we are looking at trying to do is be able to live on half of our current income (DH is retired) and be able to grow as much of our food as we can. Eventually, we would like to transition into me being able to work only part time. We don't wish to be market farmers or anything. We would just be trying to live well on less money. We have already sat down and figured out our finances as regard to things like utilities, etc., and now are concentrating on the food issue, hence, my question.

From looking at our experience raising chickens in the past, we see many things we would do differently. We fed them commercial feed (probably way too much, too!!) but that seemed an expensive way to go. So, we were thinking that this time for meat production we would raise 50-75 birds, 1-2 pigs, and possibly a cow (but maybe not!), have them on pasture when we can (we're in NY), and supplement feed as needed. Our thought is that we would produce for ourselves and sell what's left to family and friends to offset the cost of the animals thereby not making a "profit" per se, but getting our food basically for free. Also, I thought I read somewhere that it only takes 1 acre of corn to feed something like 2 pigs their corn for the year but I can't remember if I am remembering correctly?

Rockin'B 02/26/07 08:50 AM

Outside of all the positives like the health aspect, animal husbandry, etc; I'd do it if it cost me more than the store simply for the quality.
Store bought meat is horrible. Even the premium cuts of beef are tough and have no flavor. Commercial meat cannot compare to home raised for flavor and tenderness.
I know I can raise beef for less than the supermarket cost and it's much higher quality from every point of view.

cybercat 02/28/07 10:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Deb862
From looking at our experience raising chickens in the past, we see many things we would do differently. We fed them commercial feed (probably way too much, too!!) but that seemed an expensive way to go. So, we were thinking that this time for meat production we would raise 50-75 birds, 1-2 pigs, and possibly a cow (but maybe not!), have them on pasture when we can (we're in NY), and supplement feed as needed. Our thought is that we would produce for ourselves and sell what's left to family and friends to offset the cost of the animals thereby not making a "profit" per se, but getting our food basically for free. Also, I thought I read somewhere that it only takes 1 acre of corn to feed something like 2 pigs their corn for the year but I can't remember if I am remembering correctly?


Deb sounds like we are planning the same. Biggest thing for us right now is the cost of the land and house and what we will have for a mortage. So if you have enough saved to buy right out with no mortage then go for it. Right now I am trying to figure out how I can make a few extra bucks of the place we are looking at in case hubby looses his job. As far as the corn for pigs go check the pig forum. I do know Tamworth are great pigs for pasture feeding so that would be a breed to look into. Good luck on your plans. :)


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