The dogs guard the farm and keep the animals safe. So they are earning their keep, but their keep is the costliest on the farm too, running upwards of $300 a month, which is not bad for 7 dogs. But I have rabbits that need to be fed for 6 months to be of a good size for butchering. That is a lot of care. And the chickens do lay eggs, but I do not need that many. I end up giving the eggs away and feeding them to the animals and with grain at these crazy prices, that makes for some expensive eggs. And the potbelly piglets are great, but how much pork can I eat. Even with the bed and breakfast going it would be cheaper and easier to buy a pig already for butchering IF I could find anyone who raises them organically around here and I have not yet.
I could have some lamb and goat too since there are always extra males born that do not sell. If they are butchered when they are young and not during the mating season, they are quite delicious. Raising sheep to feed the dogs is likely cheaper for me than buying dog food at 1 dollar a pound too. And the sheep are grass fed only, so they are about as organic as they come. I do not routinely use chemical wormers or give medications routinely either, though I will do both if necessary for the comfort of the animal.
I traded two female pot belly piglets for 2 Meishan piglets that are older. Meishan pigs are known for huge litters. Their fecundity is well documented and some trials have been done attempting to cross Meishan pigs with large pigs that do not have as many piglets. So far the success rate has not been great. Meishan pigs have large litters, but they have more teats and seem to be able to raise the litters without problems or losses.My idea was to cross the Meishans with the potbelly boar to have smaller piglets. But if I cannot sell them, who actually needs 15 pigs?
I am not permitted to sell the meat I raise in Alberta. That is I am not unless I jump through hoops. First the vehicle must be refrigerated in transport even though the meat is frozen solid. The vehicle must not carry livestock. What farmer has such a vehicle? The freezer that the meat is kept in must be solely used for sale meats, not anything the farmer keeps for him/herself. And that freezer must be in a separate building housing only the meat for sale freezer. And there must be a permit from the health AUTHORITY, (who came up with the term authority for health, they mean Gestapo) which means the premises must be inspected. Then the premises must be identified and registered too. That is tremendous effort to sell a bit of meat from the farm.
The Fat Ewe Farm is a fibre farm, or was supposed to be. This is not the area for a fibre farm I have painfully discovered over the past 5 years. We feed hay for too long and it contaminates the fleeces then the spinners do not want them because picking out the vegetative matter is too time consuming. It is also a rare breeds farm, and as of late that has been the only place any money is being made, but that took 5 years. Meat is the byproduct. What to do, what to do? What do you think?