This year is all about lowering the cost of meat consumption. Alex and I eat an excessive amount of meat. I was raised in a culture where a meal wasn’t really a meal unless it had meat and beans. From frijoles charros with bacon and pig skin to rabbit stew made from scraps, I strongly believe we may be eating way too much of the stuff. So I’m taking a step back and re-evaluating my meat dishes. How many of them can become meatless? How much meat consumption can I reduce per pound? Can I really produce enough meat this year to stop going to the grocery store?
I don’t sound too confident, huh? Well, this year,I figured I would start by raising my own meat. My animal husbandry skills are still pretty mediocre but I managed to hatch out 7 quail chicks this year. They have since been sold. I then went ahead and traded quail eggs for some meat and egg-layer chicken eggs. I hatched 8 chicks, 7 are still going strong and I hope to have some chicken meat in the freezer in a few weeks.
Then there’s the rabbits. My grey doe had a litter of 5 bunnies. One rabbit will be gifted to my sister as a pet. One other will be butchered and traded for a work apron. The last three I hope to sell. If they don’t, I’ll go ahead and visit my friend’s farm again. I’ll make sure to bring him a large amount of eggs for the trouble and maybe a rabbit pelt. I picked up some free rabbits with a friend and now have a bunch of rabbit meat in the freezer.
I am hoping to produce all of my meat in my backyard. I am also going to learn how to not waste a single part of the animal if possible. I started with my first butchered rabbit. The offal was fed to the chickens and dog. The ears were frozen for future dog treats. The meat was eaten and the bones made into bone broth. Next time, I will be learning how to can bone broth. The pelts were tanned but I pickled them too long: the fur fell right off. The feet were prepared correctly to craft some rabbit foot key-chains. I’ve made a lot of mistakes but ended up with a good amount of meat and usable material.
So, it’s totally true that starting off, you’ll have more losses than gains raising animals for meat. When I first started raising animals, I lost 17 quail to predators and have barely been able to keep 3 alive long enough to hatch more animals. I’m only just regrowing my flock and in addition, barely about to take my first rabbit litter to market/butcher. I went through all this garbage for one simple reason:
They say you should never prioritize someone else’s needs over your own. Alex, however, prioritizes my needs over his own all the time. He worries constantly over my sour stomach and tries to find alternative sources of food to ease the pain. In return, I’m constantly researching the newest food prep to ensure Alex gets all the nutrients he needs and heal his weakened body. We both suffer from physical ailments and my mental garbage does not help. We hope that by eating food we produce from our garden we’ll be able to help our bodies heal.
If we can’t give up meat, fine. I’ll just raise lean meat, use healthy animal fats, and grow pesticide-free veggies to ensure we’re getting the best food possible. It’s a long, hard journey but sometimes… When I really, really think about… I’m so happy. So happy to start being responsible for my own life. Are you raising your own meat this year? What are you sustainability goals? Comment below and share your thoughts with us!
As always, continue to be kind and tender to one another.
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