Today's Quote

“If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.” Thomas Jefferson

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The high cost of Meat

So we all know that meat is probably the biggest grocery expense. With rising grain costs eventually that meat is going to get costlier and well let's just say store meat is not all that great. How does one go about reducing that cost for the family? Think there is no way that someone living in town or in an apartment much less could do that? Well guess again. You might not be able to provide everything, but you can at least cut the cost by supplementing. Here are my suggestions. 1. Fish Catfish and tilapia can be raised in barrels or large trash cans with very little up front cost. The last time I purchased fingerlings (tilapia) I paid about 14.00 for a hundred. Now remember that you don't have to eat all that you raise and you can overwinter breeders and then won't have to purchase fingerlings but the one time. So that 14.00 (probably a little more by now) stretched over several years of production is a minimal cost. I won't explain the set-up other than to say that a couple of 50 gallon barrels will fit in a small space such as an apartment balcony and will provide lots of fresh meat. There are lots of videos on youtube about raising fish in a barrel if you are interested in the rest of the set-up. Which like I say is relatively cheap considering the amount of meat to be had. We are getting ready to set-up our old hot tub which we don't use and figure the cost to set it up will be at max 50.00. Butchering is not that messy that it can't be done in the kitchen. 2. Rabbits Rabbits are not considered livestock and therefore there typically are no restrictions placed on them in cities. They are small and quiet and a trio can happily live in an apartment. Their feed can be supplemented with wild weeds and greens that are picked from clean (non sprayed) areas. So feed input can be minimal with a little effort. One can raise them in a colony setting or in cages. The set-up will cost some money especially for cages, but there are many times when used cages can be found pretty cheaply. Rabbits can also be litter box trained and so can adapt to colony living even in an apartment. When I was growing up we had a house rabbit that was litter box trained and Cocoa spent more time outside of her cage than in her cage. The only problem with rabbits inside is chewing. So steps would need to be taken to protect walls and door trim and of course electrical cords. Butchering again is not that messy that it can't be done in the kitchen. And you don't need any loud firearms to dispatch. 3 rabbits can provide a lot of supplemental meat for a family. 3. Birds While I certainly would not recommend chickens in an apartment, most cities will allow laying hens in a backyard. So if you have a backyard that is fenced a small coop and a few laying hens will provide a good amount of eggs. The closest city to us allows 4 laying hens. 4 eggs a day for 7 days is 2 1/3 dozen a week. Chickens require very little store bought feed if any. Allow the chickens to free range the yard and then feed them kitchen/table scraps when you have them and they will be happy and healthy. Our chickens get no store bought feed and are very happy and healthy. You can also raise bugs for them if you are so inclined and there is loads of information on the net for doing so. Another poultry idea that could be done in an apartment with a little extra effort are quail. They are small relatively quiet birds a little larger than a cockatiel. If I remember correctly the ratio can be one male to 4 females. A couple of large parrot cages would be plenty and fit in the corner of the living room or bedroom if need be. I have never raised quail so you would need to do more research on articles written by people who have. However, I would definitely considered quail if I lived in town where traditional livestock might be a no no. 4. Potbellied Pigs Potbellied pigs are typically considered pets. However, they were livestock long before they were pets and if not overfed like the pets tend to be then they stay pretty lean. They are small and pair would fit in a nice sized backyard. However, they do root so if allowed complete freedom of the backyard will decimate it. It is doable though and if their area is kept clean then there is no more smell than you would have with a couple of large dogs. 5.Nigerian Dwarf Goats or Pygmy Goats This can be iffy. Some cities might consider these small goats pets, some might not. Check first. They are small, don't eat much and two would easily fit in a small backyard. Nigerian Dwarfs will provide milk along with meat (offspring) and pygmy were bred for meat production so they can be chunky little guys. The only drawback is that a firearm is required to dispatch and most cities have ordinances against that. One could get creative and if the goats are used to riding in the van/car then they could be taken elsewhere to be dispatched and then brought home to butcher and wrap. So there you have it, livestock that can be had pretty much anywhere. Now of course if you have land in the country then your options are almost limitless. Each of these options will be able to supplement your meat supply at little cost. Note***If you regard pot belly pigs as pets that is great. Some of us see them as small livestock which is what they are and what they were before Americans decided having pigs as pets was a great fad. Don't flame me. Many of us have to feed our families. If you have the money to purchase and keep glorified pets great for you, but leave the rest of us alone. Blessings, Kat


Kelle said...

Yet another great article Kat. Kind of goes along with my post today :o) Great minds think alike*wink*

Blessings for your day,

living from glory to glory said...

Hey Greetings, We have rabbits hutches ready for the need to raise them for meat but still holding as of now. Try to pressure can meat for now. Oh noticed that some of your blog Roll they have changed there address.Take care!
Blessings Roxy

Kat said...

Thanks to both of you. Roxy don't hold off until you need them to start raising me there is a learning curve and things happen. Also, thanks for the blog roll check. I will try to update that soon. Thanks, Kat