Tuesday, 15 November 2016

More planning - this time meat

Now I appreciate not everyone wants to raise, kill and eat their own meat and in this post I am thinking more about next year and planning the meat,  Writing it down here lets my thoughts develop.  So if this isn’t for you, please take this as fair warning J  If you’re all about knowing where your meat comes from, giving animals a happy and healthy life and ensuring their dispatch is a stress free and quick as possible, then do read on.

As we won’t be self-sufficient in pork etc until November 2017 and as I am getting itchy feet I think I will ask Steven to bring home half a pig from work.  For those who don’t know, he is a butcher.  We would need to buy it from the shop of course, but I would be very interested to watch him do his thing and fill up the freezer for the coming months in 2017.  It would also aid me in my quest to be stocked up for the new year on as much as possible from day one. 
We eat a fair amount of meat.  My motto for food (and drink for that matter) is everything in moderation, which is key, but as there’s 4 of us we do get through a fair bit.  Most weekends we have people visiting and I usually feed visitors.  In 2017 I hope to have family round for Sunday dinners as we’ll have the dining room useable by then.  I would like to be able to put a roasting joint on the table every weekend and look forward to that being from our own smallholding.
I have decided (a stake in the ground was required, so I may be way off) that I would like 40 roasting birds and 40 jointing birds.  A lot right?  Well given that we have chicken a lot during the week and some weeks enjoy a roast mid-week, plus some will be given to family and that we host a lot of gatherings during the year where I put a big spread on, I think this is a reasonable amount to aim for.  I could be way off but until I try, I won’t know. 
We’ve made enquiries about getting fertilised eggs from a nearby farm for a large breed of hen. I think they are called Cornish or Ross cobs, either way, they are big.  We’ll pick 40 eggs up early in the New Year when they are available and get them straight in the incubator for dispatch early May.  The next 40 can go in later in the year for dispatching October time when the flies have died off a bit.  That should see us right with the chicken we would like.  I will need another new freezer though.
We also would like to increase the numbers of our laying hens and to ensure a good start to the year, have decided to trial some hens eggs that we’ve not bred from before.  The eggs are going into the incubator this Friday, 18th November to hatch in 21 days, meaning they will be point of lay (22 weeks) on 12th May 2017.  May 2017 is obviously getting on for half way through the year, so you see why we want to get going on that project?  The chicks will live in the warm kitchen or utility in the house and move to the barn in straw bedding when big enough.  They’ll be under heat in the garage in between those periods as winter isn’t the best time to hatch eggs out.
Obviously some of those will be cockerels so they will be our next table birds which will be dispatched as and when they are needed.
Come November 2017 we’ll have our own pork too.  That leaves lamb.  Our current girls will be going in with the tup in 2017 so we hope to have April 2018 lamb.  Yes, I do like to plan.  ;-)

12 comments:

  1. Facts and figures...good luck...remember some you lose also...goodness it does all take time doesn't it! x

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    1. it does and then I will have to keep notes on what worked and what grew when etc. I love it. Yes I guess it'll be trial and error, that's what makes it exciting.

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  2. I do like a good plan, Ross Cobs is what I plan to switch over to, they are suppose to be good for meat and eggs, I have found a local breeder. I love our home reared meat and would find it very hard to go back to shop bought, we are now on our second rearing of pork and have just done our lambs and goats, we have 4 roosters to do in a few weeks, fish is our next plan we do like fish.

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    1. I hope our breeder comes through. I've never thought of fish! How brilliant of you

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  3. We used to buy in day-old chicks of a meat breed, we could get 100 delivered and then sell half at "off heat" = 6 weeks. That way we covered most of our costs so that what we ate were much cheaper.

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    1. I bet 100 day olds wasn't cheap (no pun intended) was it? I like the idea and I've mentioned it to Ste, recouping costs is on the plan for as much as possible next year

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    2. I'm going back a few years but I think they were about 55p each plus delivery.
      Once our children had moved out we didn't need as many so found someone selling at off-heat age to finish

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    3. The last time we had Ross Cobbs as chicks I think we paid £1.50 each. Last time we bought them off heat and just finished them. Both those times we shared delivery costs with a friend. I could not believe just how much food they got through : )

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  4. Oh yes, I think you know me I love a plan, too! Love reading your posts about all about the very excting things to come. To have lots of chickens is not in our plan at the moment but we may get a couple more layers as I said yesterday I think. We really want to get pigs and that will happen some time next year with any luck. Don't know about pigs in season! but we have a contact from whom we can get as many piglets as we want so at least that is a start.

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    1. I hope you get pigs, it'll be great and we can learn from Dawn who is doing it now ;) I love that you love to plan!

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  5. Sounds a great plan, we eat less and less chicken these days but j would.like to raise more.to eat. In a survival situation I don't think they're a good option though due to the grain needed to fatten them. I'm going to kill a few lambs next and I still have about a third of a cow left in the one freezer. Pigs for us next year as well I think, should go with the lambs well. I need to start hunting more to stock the freezer That way as well. I used to do it loads but don't seem to have time these days.

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    1. Funnily enough I was thinking about this when I visited an organic farm at the weekend - we dropped in to ask what breed their table birds are. They feed them on grass only for most of the year, only supplementing in the winter. I was surprised and made me think that you could do have them through summer and only keep a few layers and a cockerel over winter to produce again for next summer, then you'd reduce the amount you would need to feed. I'm going to read more about it. Time is something we could all so with a little more of I think - despite excellent organising, there's just not enough hours in the day at the minute!

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