Farm Friday - How Far?

Anne Kimball

Bringing Borya Home

How far should I take this farming thing?

Till recently, all our animals were pretty much pets. Sure, we got something back from them: pretty to look at, lots of lovin' when you needed it most, fun, herding, riding, brushcutting, exercise, hobbies...

But until our chickens started giving us eggs last summer, we never got anything truly tangible back from them.

So now that we have animals that actually produce for us, I'm starting to wonder,

why stop there...?

I never thought I could raise an animal with the intention of eating it, though I am by no means a vegetarian and I give credit to anyone who does raise animals for their own consumption (or to sell the meat to others). It is by far a much more humane way for an animal to live and die than to be raised and slaughtered on a factory farm.

In fact, my Rosie came to me in tears a week or so ago, and asked me to watch this video clip about the inhumane lives and deaths of animals on factory farms:

(caution: difficult to watch if you are at all sensitive to the treatment of animals)

And it got me to thinkin'. I decided that I have a few options:

1) Continue to buy the meat under cellophane in the grocery store, pretending I don't know where it came from.

I've been doing this all of my adult life, and it's becoming increasingly more difficult.

2) Become a vegetarian.

Not interested.

2) Eat meat that only comes from local, small-scale farms.

This is how I got started in the move away from factory farms, when I decided I would buy my eggs locally at the Amish farms rather than support eggs coming from hens in "battery cages". I did this for several years before pursuing raising my own egg flock.
I've bought some meat this way, too, same place as I buy my raw milk. Truth is, it's not very budget-friendly. Costs me about $9 or $10 bucks to buy one small chicken. The organic, grass-fed beef? Even pricier.

3) That brings me to raising my own.

Though I never ever thought I would be able to do it, now I'm thinking...maybe I can.

[Image courtesy:]

So I spoke to my friend Theresa who, for my own good, I should distance myself from whenever possible because she is dangerous to me, and we've decided we shall jointly take the plunge next summer and take on meat chickens. We're going to get ourselves an order of Cornish-Rocks, and I'll raise them at my place. Seven or eight weeks later, she'll take the lead with the butchering and teach me the ropes as we go, and we'll each take half for our freezers.

No hormones.
No antibiotics.
Fresh air.
Foraging in pasture.
Humane life.
Humane death.

Food I can feel good about feeding my family, with a clean conscience and a little money left in my wallet at the end of the day.

And if all goes well with the chickens? I may just move on to pigs. Perhaps some grass-fed beef fed on my grass.

We'll see.

How about all of you? Do you think you could eat what you raise? Do you think I'll be able to manage it?

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