In the most recent Homesteady Podcast, K and I sat down to talk about which 3 animals the beginner Homesteader should be raising (AND PROCESSING!) on their homestead!
RAISE MEAT ANIMALS.
There is no easier way to shrink your grocery bill AND fill the freezer with the help of your homestead.
Think about it… Gardening takes hours and hours, lots of skills, and in the end you have some salad (not nocking it… just pointing out the difference in raising livestock.)
Livestock is SOOO different. With a little infrastructure and a few minutes of daily chores each day your freezer can literally be filled!
We has a little criteria each animal needed to meet to be considered “EASY” by us…
Every animal on this ‘Easy Meat’ list needed to be
- Something you could source easily on craigslist, FB marketplace, or from a local farm
- raise and finish under 6 months time (meaning NO WINTER LIVESTOCK)
- an animal you could buy young feeder stock (not have to breed your own) easily
In order of difficulty…
Cornish Cross Meat Chickens!
The Cornish Cross meat chicken is a wonder of modern farming. No other animal grows so much delicious, tender, juicy meat so quickly! In just under 2 Months a little chick turns into a 5ish LB beautiful roaster chicken! These chickens can be raised during the warmer months of the year in a simple chicken tractor (like the Suscovich Tractor we love!) and be processed in your backyard with a few simple tools!
Feeder Lambs (Hair Sheep)
Feeder lambs are usually 8-12 week old weaned lambs that are ready to hit your pasture!
IF you have a good quality pasture on your farm, timed properly you can raise a feeder lamb on JUST PASTURE! No need to buy any feed.
Usually feeders don’t have too much time to develop much in the form of health issues, so literally put these animals out on pasture, and then before winter put them in the freezer!
When it is time to butcher your lambs you can take a day, and with a 22 rifle, a few sharp knives and a hand meat saw, you can process the whole animal in your backyard.
Benefit to lambs when it comes to butcher time is that they are the EASIEST 4 legged farm animal to butcher, and yet when you learn how to butcher a lamb, you know 75% of what you need to butcher all the rest of the 4 legged meat animals, pigs, cows, etc!
Feeder Pigs are 6 to 8+week old piglets that are weaned and ready to come onto your farm for the summer.
Feeder pigs are an incredible way to put a TON of meat in the freezer quickly! In just 6 months your little feeders can be 300 lbs HANGING (that means dressed out, not including weight of any organs) weight!
With a feeder full of grain and a good water system to keep them from getting thirsty, pigs are a pretty hands off way to grow a bunch of meat!
Plus, they are a great way to use up scraps, food waste, and even excess product from your homestead, be that extra cuttings from the garden, acorns from your trees, or extra milk from your milk cow!
Butchering a pig is NOT as easy as the other two animals in our list, thus we put them at 3rd place. Honestly, I suggest you get a butcher for your first batch of pigs.
In time you can learn the skills needed to butcher a pig, and then you can start processing them in your backyard.
HOWEVER, IF you can’t find a butcher to process your pigs, don’t let that stop you from raising a couple piggies in your backyard. Just be sure to only get a couple, as butchering your own pigs in the backyard is quite a task for a newbie.
If you are a beginner homesteader, any of these would be a great first meat animal.
We suggest picking JUST 1, and taking a year or 2 to get good at raising that animal before trying another, or leaping into the world of breeding.
And since all these are ‘easy in’ feeder animals, they are also ‘easy out’. If something doesn’t work well you get to put it in the freezer and try something new next year!
So don’t be afraid to pick 1 this spring and START GROWING YOUR OWN MEAT!
Want to learn more about all 3 livestock?
The Pioneer Program has in depth educational videos on Chickens, Sheep AND Pigs! For just $5 a month you can have access to the ‘Netflix for Homesteading Videos!’. CLICK HERE to learn more.
Did you like the new format of this email? I am going to try to make our emails all focused on a single topic, and be helpful summaries for those of you who can’t watch or listen to the podcast but have a chance to sit and read the email I send! If you enjoyed it please respond and let me know!
– Growing all three animals this spring Aust
Do you want to raise animals for meat but you have no experience doing so? In this episode of the Podcast we share with you 3 great choices for meat livestock for beginners!
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