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Date:12/18/2014 11:35:38 AM
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Making big plans for the 'small farm'
So yesterday my family had a very close friend and his family over for the afternoon. A nice simple visit, breaking bread and reflecting on years gone by. My friend, is one of those TRUE friends, that seems to be hard to find these days. We've known each other since we were five years old and although we lost track of each other for a handful of years we picked up as if it as just a few days.
Well long story short, my friend has been a great help and inspiration to my family in our desire to break our dependence on the grocery stores. This year we raised up about 60 meat chickens on his small farm. Of those, I put ten in the freezer so far and will be getting another five or so next butchering. He also butchered a pig and along with meat, he rendered the fat to lard. For those who are gun shy of using lard in cooking, do your research, and a taste test! My wife and I have cooked with store bought lard for years (in moderation) but let me tell you, NOTHING beats homemade!
So during the visit, he and I started making plans for our next expansion projects together. He does already have some rabbits, and has bred the does off. Quick calculations tell us that the feed/cost to meat conversion is actually significantly better than with chickens, so we will be leaning towards a blend of both. With regards to the chickens, instead of getting a large flock at one time like we did this year, both of us are going to go with multiple smaller flocks throughout the year and have a rotation going, in an attempt t o keep the costs down. We are going to do the same with our pork production. Having room for up to 4 pigs, we are thinking to have two initially, and as we prepare one for slaughter, we will be bringing in another. Lastly, with both kids in 4H they are looking to expand their workload as well, and an article on working goats caught their attention, so likely we will be adding at least two goats to the family, to be trained for harness work.
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