Raising Animals For Meat - One Man's Adventure

David Trammel's picture

One of the websites that I subscribe to their weekly email newsletter is Chris Martenson's Peak Properity. If you watched the recent video with Greer, Orlov, and a few others linked in a different thread, you will have seen Martenson too. I find their newsletter useful since it agragetes a lot of links to articles and news I find interesting.

(I haven't signed up for their membership but I'm seriously considering it)

Anyways the newletter also contains links to podcasts and articles they have on the site. The one this week caught my eye as a possible carreer for a resourceful Green Wizard in the coming days, that of a meat animal rancher (be it cows, sheep, or other animals all the way down to gueni pigs, lol)

Adam Parks runs Victorian Farmstead Meat Company, which practices a better way to raise their animals and sell their products. Adam talks about what got him into the business of being a "meat-repreneur", and why the way the meat is butchered is as important as the quality of the meat itself. Included are some tips to cooking that good food too.

Here's a link to the podcast


Just below the podcast is a link to the transcript of the podcast, if you are like me and prefer to actually read things.


On a personal note, with the way meat prices have climbed over the past decade, I find myself limiting the amount of meat I buy anymore. Its more of a special treat for me than a day to day essential in my diet.

I wonder how many of us do the same, or have you opted for a less expensive cut of meat?

Magpie's picture

I grew up eating meat every day, pretty much. We never had the expensive stuff, always chuck roasts, stewing cuts, and ground beef, plus chicken legs/thighs. Once a year we'd get a frozen king crab from my grandma in Alaska. When I left for college, I cut it down to cooking meat dinners twice a week (used 50-100lbs/person/yr).

Since I started down this path, I might eat some meat once or twice a week, but the volume is much, much lower--it's hard for me to estimate, but I'd say it's between 5 and 12kgs (11-26lbs) per person per year, not counting bones and lard. Maybe as much as 10% of the meat I've eaten the last three years is home raised (rabbit, chicken, pigeon, snails), hunted by me or people I know (abalone, lobster, hare, boar, deer, hedgehogs, house sparrows), or roadkill.

My (upper?) middle class parents only know a little about my eating habits, but they'd be pretty horrified if they knew everything! I have to say, though, it's really cheap and, in the process, I've become a passable butcher for small animals. This gets me a lot more street cred than I imagined, and I have friends call me in to "do the deed" from time to time in exchange for some of the meat.

I save money every year from lawns I mow and recycled aluminum and paper to purchase a grass fed cow, pig, turkey and the occasional chicken from a rancher that I know personally. He raises his animals on grass about three hours east of where I live following Joe Salatin's methods. After I have placed my order which I make with a collection of friends, the rancher delivers the meat, cut, wrapped and frozen. I find a quarter beef, side of pork, one turkey and chickens throughout the year supply my needs. The bottom line is about $4.00 a pound and that is if you can order the entire animal.

This works for me, but it requires a freezer and all of the attendant care one of those requires. However, I am willing to extend that effort as I have come to really value such meat and the community that develops each year as I get friends together to place the order.

Lately my garden and canning buddy and I found large, frozen, primal cuts of beef, suitable for jerky making and roast beef sandwich makings, at .50 a pound. The place we found this meat is the local freight salvage and surplus store in our area. Although this meat isn't grass fed, the price seemed very worth it because of the amount of jerky we were going through. We would spend close to $5 a pound for this meat from the local Mexican market chain.

We have to cut our own, but my friend has a pretty good slicing machine, so about once a month, we thaw one of these giant roasts, slice it up and put it through the dehydrator for jerky.

It seems to me that it is sometimes necessary to find a way to aquire tools like a freezer, dehydrator, slicer, and their complexities to take advantage of surplus items that from time to time show up in your world. Naturally, my way won't work for everyone, but if you can invest in even a small freezer, you could allow for more meat in your life is that is what you would like.

Just an idea.

David Trammel's picture

I will second that part about having a small freezer. I have one of the top loading 5 cubic foot kind and it is always full. I find that having it allows me to take advantage of when meat and other food goes on sale. The grocers all have a bin for Manager's Specials in the meat department and you can often find a roast on sale in that. 3-4 pounds of meat and I cut it up into 1/3 lb bags. I prefer to use stew meat over ground beef for my meals.

I am also looking forward this year to trying out the food dryer I found at a thrift store. Jerky recipes would be appreciated lol.

Blueberry's picture

In the future you might consider a Chop Rite number 10 from Lehmans. Have had one for about 20 years also have the one my mom used when I was growing up. If you taste your own ground meat you will wonder what the heck are they selling in the store. Good for making deer burger by adding bacon, also your own sausage from a pork shoulder.


I raise my own meat here now. I don't see much activity or interest in the 4th circle here, but I am up to chickens, rabbits, goats, and pigs. The chickens lay eggs and the goats give milk in addition to the meat.


David Trammel's picture

I don't raise any animals (other than a cat, and she I suspect thinks she's raising me, lol) because I rent. I'm considering it when I retire but for now i have a co-worker who has chickens and can get me eggs at $2 a dozen.

My mother, who lives in Tulsa, wants chickens herself and has been badgering me to make her a coop.

ClareBroommaker's picture

Thanks for linking your homestead blog. Have you chosen your animals in part for their beauty? I ask because all your animals look beautiful to me, exceptionally so.

I need to buckle down and learn about rabbits and/or chickens. I've been asking my husband for years to do chickens because I think we ought to, yet I personally do not want to do it. He is showing no interest, so if it is going to get done, I will have to do it myself.

My sister keeps rabbits and really recommends that I do rabbits rather than chickens. My space is pretty limited. The city yard is only 25 feet wide and already occupied by a house, a separate garage/tool house and two concrete patios, one of which is "roofed" by grape vines, a vegetable-herb-fruit garden, ornamentals, and a clothesline. I'd really hope to grow a good part of the animal feed and not decrease the direct-to-humans food from the garden. Typically, I think of chickens as being fed a lot of grain, yet squirrels here will raid the grain while it is still green. All said, I don't know if it is practical for me to raise either chickens or rabbits. I surely don't want to have to "import" pricey animal feed to a large degree.

P.S. Did you ever taste that Florida broadleaf mustard? That's my favorite mustard for its flat leaves and mild taste.

I really do need to do an update on the homesteade blog ... it's been a busy time here. I did indeed choose my gold-laced Wyandotte chickens for their looks. I like to say my chickens "lay good, are good for meat, and look good while doing it." Of course, I then point out that good and excellent aren't the same, and that meat and eggs are two different body types at the extremes of production. Oh, chickens and gardens don't mix very well (don't get me started on the goats and what they keep doing to my gardens ...!) although putting your compost pile inside the chicken yard speeds things up in addition to giving those busy little chicken feet something to do.

I chose Rex-furred rabbits because of how soft their fur is. Since Rexes come in about 20 colors (for showing) it isn't hard to find pretty ones ... the trick right now is finding standard Rex rabbits, as all I've seen lately are the mini Rexes (I have a pair of those, also).

Ya know, we only got one serving of mustard greens, between the deer, the goats, and the heat now. I did get seeds saved, so once again my motto is, "Maybe next year!"