Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Cost of living and quality  (Read 349 times)

CloverBee

  • Joined Aug 2023
  • Pembrokeshire
Cost of living and quality
« on: July 04, 2024, 01:38:51 pm »
After another expensive shop, and disappointment in the quality of meat available (didn't buy much, if it isn't Welsh or British at the very least, I don't buy it), me and OH have been thinking...
We are getting on top of our overgrown holding now. Greenhouses cleared and being prepped for veg to go in, the five hives are doing well, hens are next on the list for supplying us with eggs and we'd like to produce some meat for our own use. The cost of doing something isn't a problem, we'd rather have quality home reared meat than pay for the unknown stuff. We have the sheep to start, and may get cattle later on.
Now, I'm thinking way ahead, but how do you go about it? Do they get slaughtered and butchered how you want at the  abattoir? Or do you have to ask a butcher to collect and do it for you? Is there anywhere that does chickens? Or anyone who comes to do that for you? I'm not squeamish to do that myself, but it's been a while and I'm on the waiting list for a course, because I wouldn't want to cause unnecessary suffering, so won't be attempting it until I've had training again. If any one could point me in the direction of information resources or places to consider in/near Pembrokeshire, I'd be very grateful  :)

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #1 on: July 05, 2024, 07:54:09 am »
Don't know what's available in your area but here we luckily have a choice of two local abattoirs. We used to transport animals ourselves to slaughter but nowadays our butcher comes to collect them from our holding and takes them to the abattoir. Once the carcasses are back at his shop we go over to have a look at them and discuss how we want them cut up.

As for poultry I strongly advise you learn to process birds yourself. It's much cheaper than getting them done by someone else. Not all butchers will do private poultry processing anyway. It's good to hear you have already booked yourself on a course.

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #2 on: July 05, 2024, 02:35:34 pm »
We are very lucky too and have a couple of abattoirs within a 10 mile radius that do private kills, and then a few options for butchers too. Find a butcher you like and trust, who treats your meat with the respect it deserves. We sacked off one butcher who kept putting the price up, cocked up our cutting lists to the point we were missing joints, lambs were cut wrong so our customers didnít get what they asked for, and cut everything on a band saw. Not good. Now we have a great butcher who cuts traditionally, great service, hangs our meat for the right amount of time. Our abattoir delivers the carcasses to the butcher, so we drop off live lambs and then pick them up from the butcher boxed and ready to be delivered.


A word of warning with cattle, they sound idyllic but are a totally different kettle of fish to sheep. Research what tb testing area you are in, and be prepared to spend a fair whack of money on handling, as vets wonít treat your cattle if not appropriately restrained (rightly so). And look at your land, cattle will make a fair mess in winter.


Womble

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • Stirlingshire, Central Scotland
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #3 on: July 05, 2024, 03:04:00 pm »
OK, re poultry slaughter, we've done it three ways, results as follows:

1) Done ourselves. Only recommended if you aren't squeamish, and have time on your hands. For your own use, you can actually save a lot of time if you just skin and then joint the birds rather than plucking them. Honestly, though I'm glad I did it myself once, after that first time I figured I had better things to do with my time. I'd do turkeys this way again, but not chickens or ducks.

2) Local poultry abattoir. An interesting experience. The vet made me fill out a load of paperwork which included a box for "% mortality". I wrote "none". The vet then explained to me what % mortality was, and how to calculate it. I eventually managed to explain to him that I knew that, but we bought 40 day old chicks, and I was here with 40 adult birds. He eventually said "ok, I don't believe you, but let's go look at them". He looked in the crates in the trailer and just said "wow! they have feathers!". Overall not a great experience because they were bigger birds than the abattoir had expected, and I think they had trouble processing them. Also when I turned up to collect them at the allotted hour there was nobody to be seen, and I had to basically break into the fridge, find my birds and then steal them. The place went bust shortly after that.

3) Local game dealer / processor. This was the best experience actually. I turned up with the birds in the back of our livestock trailer, which I left there overnight. The birds were then killed first thing in the morning, processed and then collected frozen a couple of days later. Not cheap, but worth it.
"All fungi are edible. Some fungi are only edible once." -Terry Pratchett

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #4 on: July 05, 2024, 06:21:48 pm »
Chickens are quite simple (if you don't create any health issues) and can be gutted easily and plucked with a fairly simple machine. The key point is the bird has to be hot for the feathers to fall out. Plunged into 60C water I think? Pick a good meat breed and to save effort buy as week old chicks. Save going down the breeding route until you have more experience.


We used to buy two Jacob lambs and rear them for 5 months before slaughter by the local butcher. We actually had too much meat, but you can't keep just one lamb.


Rearing cattle sounds like a nightmare and best avoided I think.


As to selling your produce I think the regulations are now too complicated to make it worth the effort. Find a decent local producer and buy in bulk. Purchase a top quality chest freezer, so to gauge that you are looking for E rated (the old A++) with an autonomy (time without power before the contents begin to warm- not get too warm, which is much later) of at least 25 hours. That is a measure of the insulation. quality.

CloverBee

  • Joined Aug 2023
  • Pembrokeshire
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #5 on: July 05, 2024, 07:02:00 pm »
Brilliant, thanks for all your advice guys. Lots of food for thought there! We are the kind of people that really analyse stuff before going ahead with it, so it's all appreciated. As we have the land we were wondering if it's something to do ourselves, the other option is rework the household budget and find a decent local butcher and buy already done! This is hard as we are rural and work stupid hours with our jobs, and they are usually closed by the time we are done. Jobs are something else to factor in the doing stock ourselves route.
Thanks again for helping with my musings before any commitments are made!

PipKelpy

  • Joined Mar 2019
  • North Shropshire
  • Dreamer with sheep.
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2024, 08:38:26 pm »
Re cattle, why folk say they are a nightmare is beyond me!

They arent, to me they are like dogs, depends on how YOU handle them.

Mum used to have some right nutters, Limousine X!

Me? I have a different opinion, nasty and they go!

The ones I have reared and eaten, some have been bought as calves, reared on a bucket, halter trained, tied trained, so when TB tested, they are tied to a gate and stand calmly. Bullocks were castrated (by vet) by being tied to a gate and the gate pushed in on them to restrain them. (Our gates, depending on which set of hinges they hang on, go different directions for different purposes). Calves that were born here, though reared by their mums, I have still halter trained, we're currently eating Effy!

Cattle ARE fun! Yes, they can be ockered, but buy a calf in and rear it. Buy 2 so it has company. If there is a dairy farmer nearby, try and get a.couple of calves off them. I have reared Brown Swiss X twice, the first one I took to 29months, he was magnificent! He filled several freezers! The 2nd one, I sold half as we still had some of the 1st one left.

Speak to your vet, mine are happy with my setup, animals are quiet.

But to be honest, you DON'T want ANY animal that looks at you and thinks target practice. Would you have a dangerous dog?
No matter how crap you feel, always remember you're one of the lucky ones with your own piece of land and loony sheep!

twizzel

  • Joined Apr 2012
Re: Cost of living and quality
« Reply #7 on: July 05, 2024, 09:52:09 pm »
Re cattle, why folk say they are a nightmare is beyond me!

They arent, to me they are like dogs, depends on how YOU handle them.

Mum used to have some right nutters, Limousine X!

Me? I have a different opinion, nasty and they go!

The ones I have reared and eaten, some have been bought as calves, reared on a bucket, halter trained, tied trained, so when TB tested, they are tied to a gate and stand calmly. Bullocks were castrated (by vet) by being tied to a gate and the gate pushed in on them to restrain them. (Our gates, depending on which set of hinges they hang on, go different directions for different purposes). Calves that were born here, though reared by their mums, I have still halter trained, we're currently eating Effy!

Cattle ARE fun! Yes, they can be ockered, but buy a calf in and rear it. Buy 2 so it has company. If there is a dairy farmer nearby, try and get a.couple of calves off them. I have reared Brown Swiss X twice, the first one I took to 29months, he was magnificent! He filled several freezers! The 2nd one, I sold half as we still had some of the 1st one left.

Speak to your vet, mine are happy with my setup, animals are quiet.

But to be honest, you DON'T want ANY animal that looks at you and thinks target practice. Would you have a dangerous dog?



Cattle just need a bit more consideration than sheep, in terms of handling. We have a few ways of restraining cattle here- a full handling system with crush, a calving gate - both of which work very well, and we have restrained behind a normal gate although this isnít ideal and quite often led to me getting a squished hand or OH getting reversed into and trodden on.


A few bucket calves would be a good place to start. And a chat with the vet to see what they expect handling wise.


And not all limmys are nutters. Weíve got a herd of them  :innocent:

 

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