One of the dilemmas facing a city dwelling farmer is how to produce meat. Basically, the question is whether to raise, buy or eliminate meat altogether.
Raising meat is the most attractive option to any homesteading family, however, for obvious reasons, also the most difficult. If your farm is anything like ours, you have your pick from chickens or rabbits. There are a few other candidates that may work such as ducks, goats, pigeons or pigs depending on how much room you have. For rabbits, you would need a set of parents whom you will not slaughter. They should produce about 6-10 babies every 12 weeks. Doing the math, this puts rabbit on the table about once every other week. Not bad. Chickens are not even close to as productive. Using the same formula, you could expect chicken dinners about once every 10 weeks. Of course, the numbers can change dramatically based on the number of animals you keep. Double the parent rabbits or chickens and you will get twice as many dinners.
Buying meat is also a complicated venture for extreme homesteaders. While high quality meat is available at most grocery stores, you really have very little way of knowing anything about where it came from or how it was processed or raised. Usually, you can be sure that it is relatively safe to eat and this may be all that matters to you. If asked, we would say our chickens and rabbit are high quality, but we're a little biased. They eat our leftovers and vegetable scraps, so perhaps they share our nutritional content.
Going vegetarian is great, but anyone who has tried it who was not fully committed to it knows how long meat abstinence lasts. We've tried it a few times with moderate success, however, for reasons unknown to beast and man, we always jump off that wagon at some time or another. For those who have the will power and won't miss the taste of a mouth watering, juicy, salty, meaty, oozing with goodness steak, (you can see where our problems lie), this is likely the best route for the dedicated homesteader.
In the long run, we have resolved to implement all three strategies. Taking the seasons of plenty with the seasons of not-as-much and deciding which best fits our current situation. Adaptation, if you will. It is the way of the urban homesteader.
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