October 23, 2017

Monday Musings: I am not in the Meat business...kind of.

I live on a beef cattle farm. That is the only type of meat business I plan on ever being in on this farm. I am in it for the product of my animals including the cows. My ducks give me eggs (eventually), the chickens give me eggs and more chicks/pullets, and the cows give me calves. One day we might have goats for milk, and we will soon have temporary pigs (not our pigs) and they are for meat but that's a different story since that is our payment for housing the pigs.

So I am not technically in the meat business when it comes to my poultry. They can be on this farm if they do 1 of 3 things: 1. Lay eggs, let's face it that is why I got chickens, 2. Provide protection, my roosters/drakes are living here on the basis of alerting the entire flock to danger plus fertile eggs, and 3. Provide "pet" value love, I have a few (and I mean few) chickens I will let live past their prime on this farm because they provide a special place in my heart.

I bring this up because yesterday I did a trade of some money and 4 cornish hens for 3 Khaki Campbell ducks (a drake and 2 hens). I know exactly what is going to happen to the Cornish hens, what should have happened over 18 months ago but the previous owners were without running water for almost that long and butchering a chicken without running water... *shutter* So they were overweight, really sick because they caught a cold before I got them and couldn't shake it, they couldn't walk, they waddled like a duck, and they were one scare away from a heart attack. They lay 1 egg/week. That, on a production farm, just can't happen.

I know a lot of people may not think it was necessary to have the chickens taken away to be culled just because they weren't producing. I pay the feed bill, I decide what chickens to bring into my flock, I protect my flock as much as I can from predators and illness, and I use their products to make money to pay for said feed bill. That is my homestead, I don't like making the hard decisions but that's what I signed up for when I decided to get living animals. We have had the unfortunate task of putting down a dog recently (not via a vet) because he got hit in the road and we have lost a few cats and put one down (used a vet, $120 later) due to cancer. Those are the decisions you might have to make as just a pet owner none-the-less a farm animal owner. Our poultry are just as much livestock as our cows and both balance on the edge of being livestock and being pets. We love all of our animals as caretakers but you have to be one step removed from "pet" or else those hard decisions add u quickly and take a toll on you as a person.

One last note: Besides being inhumane to allow them to live any longer, they were very very sick. I tried to bring them out of it but they only got sicker. Here are three of the 4 chickens that gave someone else meat today. Just want to thank them for being good chickens.



Happy Homesteading.