Flea wrote: ↑
Fri May 28, 2021 6:57 pm
boyyourself wrote: ↑
Fri May 28, 2021 8:03 am
I’m against industry and factory farming and wanted to do something about it myself. So I did.
This is an honest, straight-forward, no bullshit-no gotcha question: I would like to hear about your farm. Can you provide details? I assume you concentrate on pork based on your previous statements, but I could be very very wrong. What livestock/crops do you produce? How small or large is your operation? I would really like to hear of your animal husbandry philosophy, particularly in regards to feeding, housing, and environmental enrichment. Do you slaughter your own product, or contract that out? What steps do you take to ensure that your animals are treated and managed humanely?
I’ve experienced different styles of farming.
Grew up on thousands of acres running cattle, growing wheat and corn. I liked working with Cattle but hated the rest. So I ran off to college then the mountains.
Then I started looking into regenerative practices until I wanted to try my self.
Bought 200 acres and had laying chickens and pigs
. Sold that place for a million reasons and now have 3 acres which I’ve spent the last couple years.
It’s all based on respect. For the land, the animal, and the consumer.
And in order to respect an animal you must keep it mobile. And in order to respect land you must give it a chance to heal, but you can’t leave it alone or it degenerates, disturbance is required for growth——-the game to play is how much disturbance. Too much and you kill the soil. Not disturbance and you get overgrowth off brambles and weeds and thorn bushes. So with whatever animal it is, for me in the last few years it’s been chickens and pigs on a relatively small scale, frequent rotation is key.
I’m referring to having animals out on grass so really the goal is growing grass to provide as much forage as possible to the animal. Grown right there using sunlight, water, and with proper animal management, the soil gets all the nutrients it needs via animal manure and urine.
Management is key and requires human involvement.
Keeping in mind that the goal is carbon neutral.
So obviously trying to be minimize fossil fuel use and your practices and what animals we are talking about will have a drastic effect on fossil fuel usage. THE number one lie told by both producers and consumers is fossil fuel usage. I’ve seen it myself because I grew up growing subsidized grain and my family still does. You really don’t have to keep track of fuel usage because your books are already cooked. And it’s a lot of fuel. Grain is an annual. You have to plant and harvest every year. This requires fuel and expensive depreciating infrastructure. Plus amend the soil. That usually happens with chemicals and or manure trucked in from feedlots. Cropping is so fucked ecologically and terrible for the soil and not so coincidentally not good for frequent human consumption.
We are keeping in mind the sake of the health of the planet, for this conversation, and for real.
So the sustainability of your diet is based on how much fossil fuel it took to get that food on your plate. For consumers it’s not that they lie about fuel so much as they don’t care or think about it.
Eating tofu which is drive from soy, because you think that eating meat bad for the planet (true for confinement animals) likely has no clue what it takes to grow soy, or the ecological degredation that occurs or the animal displacement that happens. Not to mention the health drawback of soy.
Which animal we are talking about matters a lot here when talking about grain and fuel. Chickens and pigs are omnivores meaning they can eat about anything including grain. You don’t have to feed pigs grain but they’d grow too slowly for it to be a viable on any sort of scale. They also love to forage and that’s why it’s key to have them on pasture or in the woods and ingesting green material which is key to healthy digestion.
Right now I have about 2 usable acres (technically it’s rented out right now and I’m taking a break to be in Telluride full time where my daughter lives because I couldn’t convince her to quit school and farm full time so I’m on a break for now)
But here’s what I did last year....
I raised 15 pigs and 50 chickens for meat. Had a small garden with kale, beets, and potatoes.
The frequency in which I rotated the pigs was determined by a set amount of feed, when the feed was gone it was time to move them and that’s how I kept track of the impact I had on each paddock. So as they grew they were rotated more frequently because the amount of food I gave them remained constant and disappeared faster. Make sense?
This is accomplished by using electric fence or in my case electric netting. They are easy to train to electric fence and once they are they are butter in your hands to move around. The feed I used was non gmo and local corn with whole roasted soybean so it gives em something to chew. Always fresh clean water. Always shade.
No antibiotics. And frequent rotation also creates a parasite free environment because you leave the host behind.
Me and a friend butchered two pigs right there on the property and the rest got sent to processing which sucked after doing it myself.
I will say that some meals I had on my farm last year that were only pork that I raised, harvested, butchered, and cooked myself, combined with potatoes, beets. Kale, onions, and greens, was the best thing that ever happened to my jowels and that lifestyle beckons me.
This is graphic but you asked about the humanity———I shot them with a 22 magnum. Both clean shots. The first time wasn’t super smooth because the one I had chosen new it was chosen. They were used to me so she wasn’t scared of me but she knew. I scattered feed in a line and got pretty much got a point blank shot between the eyes as she ate. Scared the shit out of the others and they scattered but got her out and they went right back to eating. Trusted me again right away.
The next one went differently. I spent two days meditating before it was time to take the life of something I love and respect. I walked into their paddock with a calm that I had never experienced before or since and I don’t know how else to put it, it just felt right. Not good or bad or happy or sad. Taking a life to feed life and make room for more life. And directly connected to the consequences of my own decision making, which is as gratifying as anything though gratification is not the goal.
This pig was just chilling too. Literally laying down and not caring that the end of my rifle was almost touch it’s head. To me that’s because of the love and respect I gave that fucker his whole life.
The rest i took in to a processing facility and that worked out but it’s not the same. Something awesome about never loading an animal on to a trailer at the end of its life.
But they knocked back a few Hamms a piece and some ice cream as their last meal and life goes on.
Good work guys.
I also raised 50 chickens for meat. Never done that. They were inside for their first 3 weeks then moved out on to the pasture in a bottomless 10x12 pen that was strurdy enough to keep out predators yet portable enough to move no problem. Which I did every single day for 5 weeks. What a true joy to watch em line up in the front of the pen every morning and walk along as I move their pen with a dolly——-to fresh pasture. Fresh grass. Fresh bugs. Away from yesterday’s manure that you so thankfully left on my grass. This respects the chickenness of the chicken. This would take about 5 minutes total a day. This couldn’t be more different than a confinement facility.
I will never do this again but I butchered them all myself because I wanted to dial in every aspect of the process.
Tastiest chicken ever. And the bones were dense as hell and almost impossible to snap. Factory chicken bones are grossly brittle.
Portable mobile infrastructure is key in this style of farming.
These are amazing ways to raise pigs and chickens, and people love chicken and pork, but they require grain supplementation which jacks up the carbon footprint (still much better than confinement, obviously.)
But to really get down to raising meat without fossil fuel we are talking about grass fed grass finished beef. And if we imagine worst case scenario which is running out of fossil fuel, then say bye bye to grain cropping and consequently bye bye to chickens and pigs. (True worst case is running out of water in which case we all die)
Luckily with sunshine and water you can grow grass. Herbivores eat the grass. It ferments in their stomachs and gets converted to meat. That’s your carbon neutral meat source.
Daily cattle moves is ideal but not paramount.
Massaging and caressing the land with cattle using electric fence which super portable and easy to set up. Never over graze. Never feed lot.
Medicine is not required in this scenario. This produces a naturally healthy cow. After all we are mimicking migratory patterns Of natures herbivores (just like on the Serengeti which has dick high grass for a reason), it’s all we got since the Buffalo left.
Even better If can follow the cattle with laying hens that scratch out the larvae and spread the manure——-pasture sanitation occurs with eggs as a consequence.
These practices improve the ecology and attract wildlife. Good soil means earthworms and bugs therefore tons of other life. No Round Up required in this scenario either. (Covid sticks to round up)
And I haven’t tried this but would like to—— I know people that feed their cattle in a hay shed
All winter. They shit and piss 50 lbs a day and if you layer wood chips and hay all winter to soak up the shit and piss, you have yourself a nutrient dense carbonaceous diaper that is one step from being compost to spread back onto your field.
If you also layer your hay and wood chips with corn, it starts fermenting. Then you put a few pigs in there and they turn your compost for you by rooting out every kernel of corn in their. Now it’s aerobic and ready to be spread back into your pasture in the spring Sequestering carbon and producing an abundance of nutrient dense food at the same time.