NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Unworkable idea or is there hope?  (Read 964 times)

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« on: June 14, 2019, 10:48:15 am »
Hi everyone,

First time post on here so hellow to anyone who reads this. If my location matters to the following story then im in central Scotland.

Bit of a background. I fairly recently finished uni and currently have an unrelated temporary contract full time job delivering mail. Anyway, i have always like the idea of bringing on some poultry or any other animals (pigs perhaps). I dont have much experience at all. Only thing ive got experience with, from a small holder perspective, is keeping hens for eggs and growing vegetables.

The reason im posting is because i wonder if it would be possible to raise chickens for meat but remotely. I don't have the space and so would need to rent somewhere or potentially buy a small parcel of land. My question is, would it be possible to manage birds with my set up. Im thinking i could visit and feed the birds before work in the morning and then in the evening afterwork too. Then obviously my weekends are free too.

Im not sure if im barking up the wrong tree here entirely or if im being totally unrealistic but im hoping there might be some people on here who can help me establish that. I guess the big question is, can you raise livestock remotely?

P.s i should add that i have been inspired by joel salatin in regards to this idea. Im not sure how popular he is on here or how high a regard is held in.

Thanks for any help or advice.

Jamie
Voss Electric Fence

macgro7

  • Joined Feb 2016
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2019, 12:28:45 pm »
A lot of people do that to be honest  ;)
Growing loads of fruits and vegetables! Raising dairy goats, chickens, ducks, geese rabbits and a little boy on 1/2 acre in the middle of the city of Leicester, using permaculture methods.

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2019, 04:27:08 pm »
Thanks macgro7. That is very good to hear. Is there anyone who publishes what they do online with regards to this idea? Itd be good to learn more about it.

Any and all help is really appreciated

Jamie

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2019, 05:01:19 pm »
Hi Finglas  :wave:  from a few miles south of you.


There are a few problems you would have to face: first, working hours. In the winter, as I'm sure you are only too aware, it doesn't get light here til after 9am, and gets dark by about 3.30.  Working 9-5, if you do, means that you leave for work and get home during the hours of darkness.  That makes it difficult to do anything with your chickens.
Secondly, the whole point of raising poultry for the table these days is for it to be free range and probably organic.  That would be difficult to supervise, again in winter.
Third, with a flock of edible birds left alone all day, every weekday, they would easily get stolen, whether they were housed or free range.  Sadly there are plenty of thieves about.
If the land you were to rent or buy was near someone who was happy to keep an eye out 'over the garden fence' on your stock, in return for free table birds perhaps, that would make it manageable.
Which brings us to another question, where would you kill and process the birds?


Different livestock could be easier to manage; for example sheep, although they need to be checked daily, are fairly self sufficient.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2019, 05:31:32 pm »
Fleecewife raises some good points which should all be considered but none of which mean it’s hopeless. Personally I’m ok with sometimes free range, mostly penned. Indeed, my birds currently don’t have the same access to roam but spend fewer daylight hours locked away in a hutch than many others. They also haven’t been eaten by foxes or run over.
Theft is everywhere, I’ve heard many cases of animals and birds stollen from back gardens.
Have a go with a handful and see how it goes.

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2019, 10:12:44 pm »
Thank you both for you replies. I really appreciate it. I didn't even think about the day light issue in the winter! I guess that shows how little i know but its good to find out now i suppose!

On the topic of killing and processing i was thinking i could do it "on site" although perhaps id need running water and power to get them quickly into a cold environment.

My dad has a fairly large back garden. He lives semi-rurally and doesn't have many neighbours. Im thinking maybe i could do it there. That would get round the water and power issue but it assumes they are ok to travel a short distance in a vehicle ?

Thank you both i appreciate you taking the time to give me advice.

Jamie

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2019, 10:14:22 pm »
Just to add as well. I would definitely consider a similar idea with another form of livestock. I thought chickens would be more manageable but if another avenue would be better then id love to hear about that too....

Thank you

Jamie

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #7 on: June 15, 2019, 07:02:14 am »
Yes you can process without running water. Some is good, a bucket for cleaning  off your hands and carcass, depends how long you want to hang or how to store them. If youll take one a week or plan to slaughter 12 in one day! Lto figure it out.
Larger livestock may be easier but the investment and hassle around vet bills and  slaughter puts many people off.  I think chickens, ducks, rabbits or similar are an obvious place to start.

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2019, 08:54:25 pm »
Hi Steph.

Thanks again for you help. Do you stay on the same site as you have your birds ? Or do you travel to them daily?

I really appreciate you all discussing this with me and it makes me really think about it. Even if I could start really small scale. Just to cut my teeth as it were. Maybe that would be good. Minimise the risk of things going too far wrong!

Jamie

Eve

  • Joined Jul 2010
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #9 on: June 16, 2019, 11:19:37 am »
Definitely put them in your father’s garden if you can, that’s your winter & holiday cover sorted!  :thumbsup:

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #10 on: June 16, 2019, 12:58:58 pm »
There's one question we have forgotten to ask I think.  That is, what do you intend to do with the chickens? Is your plan to produce enough for your own consumption, or to sell them on?  I know that to produce, say, lamb for sale as meat, slaughter and handling have to be done under controlled and approved conditions, but if it's for your own consumption then as long as you are within the humane laws you're OK.  I have not produced chickens for meat other than the odd elderly hen, so I don't know the rules for chicken meat.
www.scothebs.co.uk

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Steph Hen

  • Joined Jul 2013
  • Angus Scotland.
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #11 on: June 16, 2019, 02:22:22 pm »
I’m lucky, we live on a farm so they’re here, but I’m not here all day everyday. Growing up I sometimes had ponies in fields a mile away, it was a bind getting to them every day, and twice when necessary. That’s why I recon best to have a go and see how you get on... just getting a handful, as a trial.

finglas

  • Joined Jun 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #12 on: June 17, 2019, 10:54:27 pm »
Thank you all again for your help.

I think it would be sensible for me to start with a few just for my own consumption. That way I wouldn't need to concern myself with too much of selling and with the regulations associated with that. I guess it would allow me to focus on learning the birds and what they require to live in good conditions etc.

Thank you all again, hopefully in a few months I'll be able to report back with some progress!

Jamie

GBov

  • Joined Nov 2019
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2019, 10:40:23 pm »
I don't know how you are getting on with it, or if you have even started but I have done chickens remotely a few times, as needs arose and one thing is REALLY important.

Security from predators!

Solidly build your pens going over the top with your engineering and materials.  You will never stop a human taking your birds but you can stop everything else by building to stop elephants getting in. lol

The other thing is, chickens do not need to free range but they do need space so go big, keep smaller numbers than you will want (chickens are addictive) and give them lots of levels to work with and I found deep deep shavings kept my birds busy, esp with a few handfuls of birdseed thrown in.  They would dig for hours to find the tiny little seeds.

Keep your water up on a table, chickens can reach it easily but can't fill it with bedding if it is 3 feet off the floor.

And if you are only doing a few at a time and have control of your own kitchen, process your birds at home.  With a bit of care there is very little mess involved and good lighting (and music) makes any job go faster.  Either scalding or dry plucking, both are easy enough and as learning takes time, start with just one or two a day, when processing time comes round.

Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Unworkable idea or is there hope?
« Reply #14 on: December 07, 2019, 12:02:30 am »
Hi Jamie,


Can I suggest you start with a small-scale experiment? You could buy a small number of day-old meat birds from Craigievern Poultry near Drymen and raise them for yourself in your Dad's back garden. We've had Sassos from Craigievern before and were really impressed.


You'd need to buy or borrow either a heat lamp or an "electric hen" brooder to get started, plus something like an old shed for housing (check gumtree - old sheds are often given away for very little if you'll dismantle them yourself). The cheapest way to make a temporary run is probably electric poultry netting, which will be expensive to buy to begin with, but if you were to buy second hand on Ebay, you'd get most of your money back if you later re-sold. Everything else, you can make yourself or improvise.


When the time comes, you'd kill them on-site, and then take them home for processing (they don't all have to be done at the same time).


Do you see what I'm getting at?  Try it out as low-key as you can, learn what you're doing and what you want to do, and then re-adjust.

We did something similar when we started out, and for example, we learned that it was worthwhile keeping our own chickens and turkeys for the freezer (own consumption), but that it was far easier to work a regular job than it would ever be to make money out of it by selling to others (the one exception to that might be Christmas turkeys, but that's by its nature seasonal). We also learned loads of little things like it being far easier to gut a bird that's been starved overnight than one with a full gut.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

 

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