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Your Take: Would You Raise Your Own Food?

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AppetizerAfter reading a New York Times story about raising your own rabbits and then listening to an NPR show on raising your own chickens in your backyard for food, I jokingly told my lovely wife that I’d be setting up an area in our backyard for our new petting zoo. We’ve been trying to eat more local produce (we like supporting local businesses, we automatically eat only what is in season, and it’s often tastier than buying it from the store) but we’ve never made that leap for meat.

She seemed puzzled at why I’d want an actual petting zoo in our backyard until I mentioned we’d only have rabbits and chickens. She remembered that on our honeymoon to Hawaii, we ate a lot of fresh eggs at the bed and breakfasts we stayed in. Fresh as in they just popped out of the chickens and were still warm (we washed them before we used them). They were delicious and I always joked I’d like to get chickens so we could eat hour old eggs.

She seemed amenable to the idea of eating eggs from chickens but she wasn’t a fan of the rabbit idea. I consoled her by explaining it was easy to kill rabbits, as I had read in the New York Times article, and I didn’t mind doing the hard work. Unfortunately she prevailed mostly because, well, we don’t eat rabbit. :)

I was only half kidding about the rabbits and chickens, we simply don’t have enough space for it (we live in a townhouse), but someday in the future I’d love to give it a try.

Have you ever considered raising your own food? Are you doing so already? I’d love to hear your stories!

(Photo: peet-astn)

{ 38 comments, please add your thoughts now! }

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38 Responses to “Your Take: Would You Raise Your Own Food?”

  1. Terry says:

    We live in the country in NE Texas and recently began raising chickens for eggs. It can’t be beat – they are fabulous and are so much better for you (as proved in a scientific study-lower in cholesterol than commercially produced eggs). Raised as a city girl, this was all new to me – and last week I learned how to slaughter a chicken for its meat. The meat was very tender, and knowing it had NOT A BIT of chemical enhancement made me feel all the better. We have a garden that we plan on expanding and using to barter for wild hog meat (I’m NOT willing to do that kill!)with our neighbors. Fresh veggies are fabulous and worth the work.

  2. Jamie says:

    Although I was raised a city girl, we moved to a semi rural area awhile back. three years ago we decided to eat better and now our food. There is so much done to our food anymore, you just cant trust it. We started with chickens, the easiest animal I have ever cared for. I go out there 2x/day intentionally, other times for fun, and we have fantastic eggs. The next year we added two goats, one was pregnant. Now we drink raw milk, make cheese and ice cream, and have recently breed one for a fourth addition. With the goats we dont need to lock up the chickens at night, they seem to ward off predators. this year we added rabbits. Now that I have culled and eaten rabbit, I will never bother with chicken again. The rabbits are easier to clean, they are all white meat, and bertter for you. My rabbits are free range, running loose with the chickens and goats, and I will never go back to the old lifestyle.

  3. eric says:

    Yeeeeah…I don’t think I’m up for killing for my own meat. I guess I would wuss out :P

  4. Kevin says:

    I just started raising chickens and plan to start raising rabbits in the next 30 days for that very reason. Next year I may incorporate dairy goats as well. We have a fair amount of land, so it is a little easier perhaps. I just like the idea of raising my own animals while knowing they have a good life instead of stuff in a chicken house somewhere. Their poop also makes good fertilizer for the garden.

  5. jamie says:

    We live in a residential neighborhood in Fremont, CA. we started an organic garden in our backyard 3 years ago and added 3 chickens 22 months ago. We love our 3 girls. we got em when they were young pullets. after 3 months they started laying. they are incredible animals. we get nearly an egg a day from them. 2 or 3 wks go by before the skip a day. even now we get 2 or 3 eggs a day. my 10 and 12 year old children love them. i made a chicken coup with scrap wood and wire mesh on top of which i placed a plastic garden container with and open lid. the chicken go there to sleep at nite and lay their eggs there too. They require some work. I lay hay on the side yard where i fenced off an area for them. Hay keeps the poop dry and rid of the smell. i pick up poop from the box where they sleep every day. periodically i put the soiled hay into compost box and add new hay. the poop goes to the compost too. the chickens loves vegetable scraps as well as worms from the compost box. We buy them organic feed which cost $26.95 for 50 lbs. that last about 3 months. Our biggest worry is the noise they make. our immediately neighbors were supportive and understanding and we share our eggs with them too. But yesterday we received notice from our HOA. We will have to give up our chickens. We are looking for a good home for them now. We knew we would have to give them up if a neighbor is not happy with them. The experience was wonderful, not to mention the eggs. Next time we move, it will be to a place where we can have a few chickens.

  6. Shana says:

    I grew up in Alaska, in the middle of know where my dad has always been a hunter and fisherman.I have dressed dear, cleaned fish, and trapped with him, but other than the fish I have not ever intentionally killed another animal, even though I married into a hunting family.
    I really want chickens for eggs and meat, and rabbits specifically for meat. I know that the first time I kill them and clean them I will be doing so through my tears, but I will get over it and after a while it will be like cleaning fish, no biggy at all. Unless I can talk my hubby into doing it for me then I’ll be set.

  7. Chester says:

    I’ve hunted, fished, gardened and raised animals for food and eggs off and on nearly all my life. It doesn’t bother me to kill animals for meat that I raised for that purpose. To all the people out there that say they can’t kill the animals after they’ve raised them as pets, I say just don’t raise them as pets….don’t name them, and raise more than one or two, so that when time comes to slaughter them you won’t be so emotionally involved.
    As far as the cost of raising your own food vs.buying it at the store…you probably CAN buy it cheaper, but you don’t know what it has been treated with. Besides, it gives me something to do in my old age!!

  8. Barbara says:

    My 3 hens live in a large dog house (left behind when the neibors moved)They lay eggs in a covered kitty litter box.I used cinder blocks to make short walls on east and west side ,placed 2×4 For roof support. For a roof a sheet of 4×8 plywood.Around the back and part of the front , is fiberglassed 3 foot tall pool support . for the door I have a metal screen door bottom held in place by posts ,so door slides.I am too old and sick to process them. They will lay for at least 10 years.


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