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Why We Raise Our Own Meat on the Homestead

Let me first start by saying that there may or may not be graphic photos below. Each person has their own limits, so once you get past the first photo (below), you're taking your own chances. 

Ok, now that that's over with....

We don't raise all of our meat.

With that said, the bulk of the meat in our freezer is either raised here, shot on private property (venison), or bought from a local farmer/homesteader.

The only thing we raise on our homestead for our own freezer is our meat rabbits and the occasional rooster. I learned very quickly into this homesteading journey that raising chickens for meat is simply not for me. My patience level isn't there quite yet -- the messy killing, the scolding, the plucking....no thank you. This is why I skin our chickens when we have extra's to process. 

So, since I hated processing chickens, and it wasn't worth it to send them somewhere else to be processed, we opted for rabbits. It takes 8-14 weeks to raise them and 5 minutes to butcher them. That's my kind of fast food!

I am often asked why we raise rabbits for meat. Or why we don't buy meat from a grocery store. Let me just add, I buy most of my chicken from the grocery store or from a friend who raises them. I make sure it is organic and as natural as possible. But we don't eat chicken regularly, so it isn't a huge ordeal for me to just pick it up at the store when I need it. We mostly eat rabbit, venison (a LOT of it!), beef and pork. Our rabbit comes from our homestead, our venison is harvested by mountain man in the fall and winter, our beef normally comes from a cow share or my brother-in-law, and our pork comes from a fellow farmer/homesteader up the road who we purchase a pig from once or twice a year. Some of these things are processed in a clean facility, others we process ourselves.

So, why do we raise our own meat or purchase meat from trusted farmers?

  • Because we know how it was raised and where it is coming from. Do you realize that the bulk of your meat bought at a grocery store is raised in a filthy commercial warehouse type building, caked in feces and rarely ever gets to touch the ground outside? Or do you even consider the fact that your meat, once processed, touches machines that have been working on all kinds of other meat all day long, never stopping to be cleaned? What about the feed they eat, filled with chemicals, antibiotics and artificial growth hormones so that they grow quicker...unnaturally. You are what you eat. Your body becomes antibiotic resistant, which causes super bugs and viruses that are resistant to antibiotics. Don't believe me? Look at the news. Each and everyday there are headlines talking about viruses that don't respond to antibiotics like they should and people begin dying. It's not because we need big medicine and new antibiotics, it's because we need to stop eating crap, and stop drenching our food in antibiotics.
  • Because it's healthier. When our animals are raised on non-gmo or organic feed, or are completely pasture raised, their meat provides us better nutrients and sustenance. We are healthier because our food choices lived healthier lives. Studies report that pasture raised meat is filled with more nutrient rich vitamins, fats and other benefits which cause our bodies to break it down more easily and enrich our own bodies with those nutrients. Eating meat filled with fillers and unnatural chemicals can shave 5-20 years off of your life...hows that for an eye opener?
  • Because it provides education for our child. We want him to know where his food comes from. We want him to know that the grocery store isn't the "norm". We want him to understand how to be self-sufficient and never have to live in fear of not having something to eat. There is always something to eat out in the woods and in the field. No worries, little one, when you have the proper knowledge and tools.
  • Because our animals are killed humanely and with love. Yes, with love. We serve those animals for 8 weeks to 3 years, depending on what we are processing. We love on them, care for them, tend to them, poor our lives into them. And when the time comes, we praise them and thank them for their sacrifice. We have a one-on-one connection with an animal that God created. It's practically spiritual to feel that connection with your food, and honestly, it makes you appreciate it more. Do we get attached to their sweet little baby faces? Sure we do. We're human. But it's a different type of attachment. We understand what their purpose is, and it's not to be cute and cuddly. In fact, you might insult them if you tell them how much you love their sweet little noses. They are amazing creatures, don't insult them by merely putting them into the pet category. They are fierce and graceful. They are loving and equipped by nature to do their job, do it well, and then lay their life down for our family. We love our animals, period. And when the time comes to process them, it is a labor of love, not of empty words and actions.

handpicked grass clippings from our yard

Gladys and I sharing a moment -- one of our healthy, happy, free range egg layers.

Some rabbit meat getting ready to go into the oven with some hard apple cider.

Well loved rabbits!!

Ultimately...we raise our meat because we care about animals.

We care enough not support a food system who could care less how an animal is raised, fed, butchered, and packaged. 

We care enough not to support a food system who is bought by the people making the money, so that they can make more money. 

We care enough not to support a food system who pumps their animals full of unnatural things all in the name of "making a quick buck" and "bigger meat sells better".

We care enough not to support a food system who does not support natural living -- and who definitely doesn't support us.

That doesn't make us bad or insensitive people....

If anything, it proves just how good we are.

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