raising animals for food and profit

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by .netDude, Nov 25, 2004.

  1. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Ok, my wife and I are about to move to the country. I grew up out there on my Grandparents dairy farm, and love(d) the 'home grown' beef, pork, veggies, honey, fruit and milk that we used to consume. My wife did not grow up in the country. I would like to raise beef cattle and pigs, but she want's nothing to do with raising animals for slaughter. I've discussed what I feel are the benefits to raising your own livestock, but can't really seem to make any headway. She's amicable to dairy farming, but my job won't allow me the flexibility of that.
    I'm sure that I'm not the first to go through this dilema, does anyone have any advice on how to handle this?
    Thanks.
     
  2. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Since gettin a new wife is probably not in the equation, the only thing you can do is get into raising animals a little at a time as you can allow yourself the time from your every day to feed them. raise a couple beeves for other people....... maybe keep half of one and cook it yerself taint that hard to do, whence the smell of good victuals hits her nose she probably wont complain about where they come from.

    My wife raised rabbits as a kid, dont want notin to do with them..... as a teen i could pick, knock, skin and gut in under 45 seconds a rabbit, but a kid will do anything in competing with his cuzins.... i prolly would be amite slower after all these years of not doing that anyhow..... so we is amicable on the no rabbits at this time part.....

    I bought 50 pullets this spring, got jist over 30 left after the varmits and what not have picked thru them.... 10 sitting in the barn, 6 or so over on the radio bus, and the rest roostin up to the chicken coop..... eggs all over everywhere from free range all summer.... shoulda had a rooster and got some back as chicks i guess..... but she decided that home grown eggs are better by far than store bought cardboard substitutes..... and we can sell those we dont eat or give away to pay for the chicken feed......

    She wont eat venison after 4 years back when she was carring our eldest boy, she et a portion that didnt agree with her and now im the only one to eat deer...... so that crimps my hunting, least for awhile. taint brought home any cougar fer her to chew on yet though.... maybe this season. but a person cant sell that anyhow.

    After interducing her to the first animal you eat.... the next wont be as hard for her to try. to get used to growing up and eatin on..... ther really aint nuthin to compare an animal you raise knowing it will feed your family for the winter, and knowing it was taken the best care of, that will ultimately bring you to a consensus upon raising what you eat and eating what you raise..... after all carrots have feeling to you know!

    Wiliam
     

  3. michelleIL

    michelleIL tryna be His

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    I'm hoping early in the spring to learn to shoot a rifle. Once I learn to shoot good, I'd like to get a deer myself! That would be great! I'd definitley have to get a deep freeze and share as well, but I think it would be awesome. Good luck to you!
     
  4. tinknal

    tinknal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Netdude, it depends on how well you can pull this off, and how she will take it, but...(assuming she eats meat), you could gently point out the hypocracy in hiring others to kill her food while refusing to do it herself....
     
  5. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    Here's my line: If you're going to eat meat, you owe it to the animal you're eating to see that it has a happy, stress-free life and a quick, humane death. The way animals are commercially raised and killed fulfills neither obligation. Not to mention all the nasties they consume while growing, and the nasties they (especially chickens) pick up in commercial processing. For example, did you know that commercially processed chicken is chilled in large vats of cold water? Unfortunately, the cold water is typically contaminated with intestinal contents to varying degrees. The kicker, though, is this. The carcasses are not only chilled in the water. They also pick up an extra 10% of their final weight while soaking in this water. What this means is that most commercially processed chicken contains 10% or so of poop-water. Yummy!

    Oh, and let's not discuss the extreme distress of cattle being herded into a slaughter house down a narrow chute. They enter the slaughter house and are "stunned" with a captive bolt to the head. Most of the time this knocks them out, but sometimes it doesn't. In many slaughterhouses, the workers just go about their business at that point, hanging the cow upside down by putting hooks through its leg tendons, then cutting its throat so it will bleed out. How do you think this goes over with a conscious animal that has already been frightened out of its wits and then knocked hard in the head? Not really what I can call humane.

    And how about the pigs that are incompletely stunned and are then immersed in scalding water while they're still conscious? How's that for a good time?

    So my point is, maybe you can guilt her into eating home-raised meat that is lovingly raised and lovingly killed (if you can imagine such a thing). Start small, like with chickens, and move on from there. I bet she'll either come around or go vegetarian on you.
     
  6. pointer_hunter

    pointer_hunter Well-Known Member

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    I thought this was me under a new name! I had the same troubles not too far back. I wanted animals to raise for food along with a garden. DW didn't want anything but fast food. We bought 1/4 beef to help out my uncle as he only found people to buy 3/4 and you just can't butcher part of a cow. Then I slowly worked in a few chickens...then a few more. We butchered the broilers and she even helped bag them. We made it fun by experimenting with different marinades for the chicken breasts to soak in. We spent the summer eating fresh fruits, veggies and healthy beef and chicken...a few weeks back I hear these wonderful sounds drifting out of DW's mouth, "too bad we didn't have a pig...we wouldn't have to buy pork anymore!" :D Who says grown men don't cry?

    My advice...go slow. Find out what she does and does not like about the whole thing and do your best to make this look appealing to her. She may be ok with just a few laying hens and then when she has to buy more eggs from the store because others have bought all your eggs, she'll throw in the idea of getting a few more birds. Try a small batch of broilers...25-30 in 8 weeks, butcher. Maybe she'll be ok not seeing the beef ever until it's in a package. Don't ask her to do anything she is not willing to do. You can't force an idea on someone....simply make your way seem more fun and fulfilling and she'll come closer in time.
     
  7. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    In my family I am one of the squeamish ones. I get fond of ANY animal that I am around much.

    That being said, pointer-hunter has given good advice. Don't push, and start things slowly. Also take responsibility for all animal care yourself: it is HARD to not get attached to a fluffy, gently peeping chick or a soft-eyed calf!

    The first year you will do well just to get in a garden, fruit trees, and a laying flock anyways. NEXT year you MIGHT talk her into meat birds, as it only takes a couple of months from start to finish. Besides, you are not going to ask her to take care of a slaughter animal,....are you? :no:
     
  8. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Thanks all for the tips!

    William: "Since gettin a new wife is probably not in the equation," - LOL!!!, nope, not an option! LOL this too: ".... after all carrots have feeling to you know!"

    Laura - good tip, she'll probably go vegan If I'm not careful here, I did go down that road, but not in such detail.

    I have no intention of asking her to help with the processing in any way, given her feelings. If like you say, she comes around, that would have to be her choice.

    I guess the garden / fruit / chicken way is the way to go to start. And I'll take it slow with the livestock idea.

    Thanks!

    Greg
     
  9. Blu3duk

    Blu3duk Well-Known Member

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    Glad i could impart a little tickle to yer funny bone..... I keep telling my DW that i believe it is my callin to make folks smile once a day every now and agin.....

    As for processing meat yerself, it can be done by a complete newcomer.... but is best to have it done by an outfit setup for it, and or by a nieghbor who at least has a cool room to hang it in and a table and such to let you make a mess of things so to speak til you get one of your own, also nice if that nieghbor helps you do the processing for a part of the critter.

    Above all else have fun whilst learnin a new thing or three.

    William
     
  10. Ken Scharabok

    Ken Scharabok In Remembrance

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    Remember the classic advice: Don't name any livestock you are going to eat. If you do, make it something like Hamburger, Sir Loin or Pork Chop.

    Once talked to someone who both they and a neighbor raised one Beevee each year. They then swapped at slaughter time. That way they didn't have a personal attachment to the animal, yet knew the conditions under which it was raised.
     
  11. Xandras_Zoo

    Xandras_Zoo Well-Known Member

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    Yeah... the advice that's been given is good. Maybe get some birds that get extremely obese... they'd be suffering then.... the only humane thing to do would be to put them down.... and then all that meat go to waste? Or maybe get some really old meat birds now, and just wait till they're just about dead (again, they'd be suffering) and then kill them? Just to get her used to the concept of eating something that you've raised. Then maybe you could work in a "Well, we could raise some birds that taste a little better.... those others were kinda old.... ? By not buying meat at the grocery store, at least we're not supporting it..."
     
  12. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I pet 'em and love on 'em, and when it's time I kill'em and cook'em up. It takes getting used to it. It helps to need the meat, I know some families where one does the killing and cleaning and the other does the cooking.
    For me it used to be once the skin or feathers where off it was just meat to me, then it became once it was dead,

    now it is once I deside I am hungry or they step on my toe for the ump-teenth time. or scratch/peck me when I reach for the food bowl

    "hey, bird, ..come here...you're dinner tonight..."
     
  13. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    I never really intended to process the meat myself (except chickens), I would have the beef and pork done for me! I have processed beef before, and though I don't really have a problem with it, I don't find it much fun either! I also don't have the facilities to do so (actually I don't even have the farm yet, hopefully by the end of Dec / mid Jan. (<CrossingMyFingers />), but it doesn't have the facilities and I don't plan on buying any processing equipment). That being said, I still need to convince her that growing our own is the right thing to do. By the way, what's DW?
     
  14. Laura Workman

    Laura Workman (formerly Laura Jensen) Supporter

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    DW=Dear Wife; DH=Dear Husband. It goes on from there.
     
  15. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

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    My sense is that it's your desire to want this is more than DW and if she is not atuned to the idea of animal slaughter of your self raised meat, then don't do it.
    There are pets such as your beloved dog or what you bond with in a 'pet' way, and there is domestic stock like like poultry, beef, pork, etc. that are raised for eating purposes. To get to the table stage, the slaughter, butchering, and storage is a fact of that lifestyle. I would suggest that if you see the benefits of 'home grown' meat or produce that would offend your spouse in killing it, then buy it at a local farmer's market and still have the benefit of 'home grown'. Save yourself the grief of relationship disharmony. Maybe she would be keen to the idea of beekeeping and raising honey or that sort of thing which is a by product of the living stock, like milk from the cow, eggs from the poultry, etc.
     
  16. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

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    I don't know what the dynamics in your household are like... and I can appreciate the "if you eat meat you should be able to do the dirty work," but there is a reason "butcher" is a profession!

    We raise chickens and sheep, and slaughtering a lamb you've had around the place as a nobby kneed, photogenic, youngster isn't fun.. and for some people, it isn't possible. Butchering said lamb is work. It requires strength and skill.. to say nothing of a strong stomach if you're already squeemish about the whole thing.

    I agree with the poster who said "if you must name them, name them "Lamb Chop," "Coq au Vin," etc." To this I would add:

    Some people can't help but make pets out of anything winsome. On our place, cute and friendly can keep you alive for quite some time. Accept this... accept that the animal that you thought was going to be freezer bait just isn't this year and move on.

    Large numbers make individuals harder to "notice." So if you've got a flock of 2 ewes and they have 3 lambs between them, it is really easy for your wife to notice and appreciate each lamb's personality. But if you have 6 ewes, who throw 9-10 lambs... it is now much harder to distinguish between the lambs and what you end up with is a couple of favorite ewes and maybe a favorite lamb or two. This is probably why starting with chickens make sense... chickens are part of large groups, so individuals don't stand out.

    This is another reason why raising one or two beeves is maybe not a plan.

    Large and hostile or dangerous is easier to get rid of than small and cute: So you're not going to be eating suckling pig.. but when the thing hits 200-300 pounds of grunting hungry and potentially dangerous porker, she might have an ephphany and be glad to see it gone.

    Nobody loves a militant. Which means that even if it is hypothetically true that your wife who consumes meat should be comfortable with where that meat comes from... arguing about it isn't going to win you points.

    If your wife isn't comfortable with slaughtering and processing, either send her away for the day and have her come home to clean and shiny... or send the animal out. Period. Do not expect her to turn a hand here, and make it easy for her to be away. This discomfort is part of who your wife is... and you love your wife, right? So in a manner of speaking, this is part of her charm.

    And lastly... I've had guests look suspiciously at their morning eggs and ask "are these real eggs?" Or at their chicken pot pie and ask "is this real chicken?" Some people are just not comfortable with "farm fresh." If you think about it... why should I expect someone who grew up with food which came from the grocery store, never known any other way of doing, to regard my eggs as "normal?" Even their childhood stories (Old McDonald Had a Farm) make no mention of eggs, chicken pot pies, or lamb chops. There is something a little unsanitary about eating eggs that came out of my chicken coop where chickens poop on the floor!

    This isn't a "my way is right" situation. Frankly, no home grown meat is worth alienating one's spouse for.
     
  17. Terri

    Terri Singletree & Weight Loss & Permaculture Moderator Staff Member Supporter

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    Here is the take on the situation from someone who CANNOT look at her critters as meat.

    Laying hens are a good thing.

    I can-and have- helped other people butcher chickens, but I will never eat one of my spent hens. It just isn't going to happen. I AM the one who kills the odd rooster that NEEDS killing, but I CANNOT eat one of those, either. I regard my laying flock much the same way that I regard the family cat. I get attached. Which is why some of my laying hens are 4-5 years old. Ah, well, an old hen does not eat much, and we can afford the odd $10 a year.

    Now, even if you buy sexed chicks you will end up with the odd rooster, but fortunately feed stores have bulletin boards that you can post a free rooster on. I do not ask what they will do with the roosters. I just don't.

    A milk cow would be AWSOME!

    But, I would not eat the calf. That isn't gonna happen either. I would sell it as a weanling, and remind myself that the young steer will go out on pasture for a good long time, and be well fed and well treated.

    Now, I HAVE considered meat chickens. But, I know myself very well. I would get a uniform batch so that I cannot tell them apart, and get the cornish because they mature in just a few weeks. But, I would not butcher them myself, and there is no slaughter house in my area. Every time I have to kill a rooster I remember it as a soft and fluffy chick, and why should I beat myself up like that?

    Sometimes roosters have to be killed, or they will kill each other. But, I cannot eat my own birds. It would be different if I could not tell them apart, and if someone else did the slaughtering. But, that cannot be done in my area.

    So, that is how someone who cannot help to make pets out of animals deals with the realities of homestead life. I give myself a break by not killing anything unless I really have to, and by not eating my own critters.

    Yes, I KNOW that it is better for a critter to die quickly at home and be used at home. It is MUCH better for the critter. But, it is NOT better for me. I have decided that it is not really worth the emotional wear and tear.
     
  18. jim/se kansas

    jim/se kansas Well-Known Member

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    Do you know what you call the Easter Bunny on the farm?
    Supper! :haha: :waa:
    Have a great day. Jim
     
  19. .netDude

    .netDude Well-Known Member

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    Hope my post wasn't misconstrured, I'd rather continue our life in the 'burbs than alienate DW or cause problems. It's really not to that point. Our intention for moving to the country is to have a better life!

    'wolf - good idea regarding the farmers market. I could probably even split a herford with the neighbor. And bees, yes, I'll try that.

    Terri, thanks - all good points. We have spoken about dairy cows, and that's definately an option.