During the last twenty years, our family has slowly increased the production of food for our dinner table. This includes veggies, eggs, berries, and now meat. We chose to raise beef cattle because we had the available space, and frankly, we love steak and roasts. There is nothing that compares with the flavor of fresh beef and previously we had been purchasing a half a steer at a time for our freezer, from a local farmer.
Our first three calves were Black Angus feeder calves about four months old. We later added two more, another Black Angus and a Hereford/Angus cross. Starting with feeder calves, you can expect a minimum of one year to butchering, but the time is mainly dictated by the amount of space you have to store the beef in the freezer. It is possible to raise your own beef on small acreage. What are the factors to consider if you plan to add beef cows to your family homestead? Space Requirements The amount of acreage does not need to be large and extensive.
We are not talking about ranching or creating a South Fork here. If you are planning on grazing the cows on pasture you need about 2 acres per animal. Cattle can be raised in a feedlot situation where you provide all the roughage and concentrate feed for them in a smaller enclosed space. Neither of these situations fit our picture of how cows would fit into our homestead farm. We like our animals to have a bit of space for roaming around so we are using two separate one acre fenced in areas.
Most of our acreage is in a Tree Farm program so we do not have a lot of cleared land. We also raise Pygora goats, sheep, chicken, ducks and turkeys so all the cleared space was not available for the cows. But we used to have horses so the two fenced in areas were already set up. Having two separate fenced in areas allows us to move the cattle from one area to the other to let the ground rest and to help with parasite control.
Each area has an open shed for shelter, which is a Steel Building, although the cows seem to prefer being outside. Electric fencing was run along the inside of the post and board fencing. Safety Considerations Cattle are large and consideration should be given to who will be taking care of them. While the cows may be docile, the size of any 1000 to 1500 pound animal should be respected. Animals react quickly and can seriously hurt a caretaker if precautions are not taken.
Gentling the cattle with feed is one way to gain some control over your small herd. But beware! The cows will follow you, enthusiastically, for grain and you should know where they are in relation to you , at all times. Have a plan in place should veterinary care be needed. A chute or some other suitable method of restraint should be thought out before disaster strikes. Nutrition Water is the most critical nutrient to provide for your cattle.
The average full grown cow will consume an average of twelve to twenty gallons of water each day. We provide water in stock tanks in the fields. If you plan on relying on a stream or pond, be sure it doesn’t dry up in the heat of summer or freeze over in the winter. Because our area suffers from frequent power outages, we keep extra tanks filled with water, in the event the power is out for an extended time.
If the power goes out, the electric pump for the well does not work. Grain can be costly but we feed a small amount once a day, mainly to keep the cows gentle and willing to come to us. The majority of their diet is hay, which is provided using large round bales. With no real pasture, our cows eat through two large round bales each week. You will need to provide a salt or mineral block also. Costs Since these vary greatly by region it is hard to give a good estimate of the cost to raise beef cattle on the homestead.
In our situation, we try to barter for the needs using other products from our farm and businesses. I will tell you that I don’t think this is the economical approach to take to add meat to your freezer. But if you are looking to control what goes into making that meat, the peace of mind that comes from knowing no chemicals were used, and that the animals lived a good life before providing food for your family, then, the cost may be worth it.
To us, the answer was yes. It is worth every dollar spent. Raising your own beef for the homestead may not be the most economical project you choose, but, to us it is a fair trade off for the knowledge that the animal was fed wholesome food with no chemical additives. The taste is above anything a super market can offer. If you haven’t had the pleasure of dining on fresh local beef, give your local cattle farmer a call and see if he has any to sell.
More on Fencing Good fencing is a must. The weight of cattle pushing against a flimsy fence is a recipe for … well, escaping cows. We learned this the hard way, early on. The first area we put the cows into had been used for years for our horses. Some of the fencing should have been replaced prior to the cows being placed there. They pushed on a section of fence and it gave way, allowing the cows to roam freely for an afternoon.
By the time we realized they were missing it was evening feeding time. While we could see hoof prints at many locations, such as the vegetable garden, we could not find the cows. We looked for hours and even canvassed the two nearby neighborhoods. As darkness approached, I placed a call to the non-emergency number for the local police department hoping someone had seen the cows roaming and called in a report.
Our farm is in a rapidly growing suburban area and it took a few minutes to convince the dispatcher that I was not making a prank call. Guess that was a first for her. No one had called in reporting cows on the loose. Up until this point, we had kept the dog in thinking (mistakenly) that he would cause the cows to run if he found them. Giving up for the night, we let the dog out and he immediately found the herd not too far from the barn, hiding in some tall growth behind a shed.
The electric fence was added within a few days. Since then we have not had any roaming cattle. Janet Garman with Timber Creek Farm. Timber Creek farm is located along a river in Eastern Maryland, we are farming a large family tract of land. The tree farm property has been in the family for generations and we have added the animals and vegetable gardens. We are raising Pygora fiber goats, Border Leicester sheep, Black Angus cows, chickens, ducks and turkeys.
Our fiber from the sheep and goats is processed into yarn by local fiber processing companies and spun into beautiful soft yarn. Our chickens and ducks supply eggs for our family and many of our neighbors, too. Every day brings a new challenge as we work towards being self sufficient in our food needs. Our jouney towards self sufficiency is hard work, but it’s work we love. Our mission, through the work on our farm, is to be able to provide food for our family and to encourage others in their journey into their own farming projects, big or small.
Follow us on our journey – we have a blog and a Facebook page. Enter your email address: Delivered by FeedBurnerSee Also: Hentai Cow Milk
Its really hard to discern the truth about the dietary health health supplements available on the market currently. How do you know which of the nutritional vitamin health supplements to choose inside the market? This short article responses these crucial inquiries and delivers some high-quality decisions for major supplements available nowadays that are normally only obtainable to buyers by medical professional places of work.
Find out about the different unique sporting activities nutrition health supplements out there and how they will improve your sporting performance
Image source: Pixabay.com Sure, rabbits are cute, but don’t let that put you off! Rabbits are also an excellent meat source. Still on the fence? Here are our top nine reasons to raise meat rabbits: 1. Clean(ish) as a whistle Though rabbits, like most livestock, are prolific poopers, they generally choose one spot to eliminate waste in consistently. Clean-up is relatively simple, since their waste is in pellets.
When kept in a wire cage 1-2 feet off the ground, urine drains away into the soil below and the pellets can be raked up and removed. Compare the mess of a rabbit to the mess of chickens, and you’ll find the rabbit looks downright fastidious. 2. Ready-to-go garden compost Unlike chicken poop and other kinds of manure, rabbit waste is the perfect pH for the garden without the need for composting before application.
If you’d prefer, you can put it in your compost, as well. It also makes a great base for compost tea! 3. Perfect for small spaces Because of their small size, rabbits don’t require a lot of space, making them a great choice for the urban or suburban homesteader. In addition to needing very little place, rabbits very rarely make noise. Occasionally they will squeal, but that is under extreme circumstances.
Typically, they are very quiet, which means the neighbors will hardly know they’re there. 4. Easy to feed Whichever way you choose to do it, rabbits are easy to feed. The simplest method is store-bought alfalfa pellets. They can be fed yard clippings such as cut grass, weeds and even surplus veggies from the garden to supplement pellets and cut down on feeding costs. Some rabbit raisers will grow fodder, such as wheat or alfalfa grass indoors under a grow light, which can ultimately replace pellets when done properly.
The simplest way to feed rabbits is to place them in rabbit tractors, an open-bottomed cage placed directly on the ground. Let your rabbits munch to their heart’s content, and then simply move the cage when they’ve had their fill, (and trimmed the lawn!) so they have a fresh batch of grass on which to snack. You may find your growth rate will increase if you supplement with pellets, but overall rabbits do just fine dining on the go.
5. Prolific and fast-growing The age-old joke about “breeding like rabbits” is funny for a reason. Rabbits can have anywhere from 4 to 14 babies per litter, though the more typical range is between 8-10. Gestation is a mere 28-32 days, and, depending on the breed and your particular rabbits, can be ready for the freezer between 8-10 weeks old. 6. Cleaner to process Image source: Pixabay.com No feathers.
No flimsy skin. No dunking in boiling water. While most homesteaders will admit it takes about a half hour to process a chicken, with some practice, a rabbit can be processed from start to finish in around five minutes. Think “taking-off-a-sock” simple. Get a nearby homesteader to show you how it’s done, and pretty soon you’ll be able to take care of business in record time. 7. Inexpensive Though start-up costs aren’t necessarily small, if you take the time to hunt for deals, setting up your rabbitry doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg.
Scour Craigslist and check local homesteading groups for materials or cages. Once you’ve got your housing set up, your cost is mostly in food, which (as we discussed above) is easy to bring down by adding in grass and other plants you already have growing in your yard to their diet. 8. Healthy meals Rabbit meat is a very lean, high protein meat. It also is very low in fat and cholesterol, making it a healthy meat option.
Although it’s a heart-healthy meat, it does require some adjustment in cooking methods. Because of the low-fat content, it needs to be cooked on low heat for a longer time in order to avoid becoming dry or rubber. While it doesn’t cook the same as chicken, it has a very similar taste and can be used in almost any recipe that originally calls for chicken or even pork. A slow cooker or pressure cooker is perfect for cooking rabbit! 9.
Steady supply of fur Certainly plenty of homesteaders believe in taking advantages of all the resources a particular animal has to offer. Well, not only do rabbits provide a steady supply of meat, but a steady supply of fur, as well. Rabbit skins can be tanned and then used for small projects individually or sewn together for larger projects. Don’t have time to tan the hides right away? Stick them in the freezer until you’re ready.
What advice would you add on raising rabbit? Share it in the section below: