Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Meat Rabbits

Ever thought about raising your own meat? 

Two people have told me, in the same amount of months, that I should raise meat rabbits! I never even heard of such a thing, but apparently, other people have! I hear they taste like chicken and that's not a joke.

On more than one occasion these last months, I have sat on my sofa fretting about food. There are five of us after all. I look out to my big backyard and I imagine a farm. I could raise a cow, two sheep, goats for milk and chickens for eggs (and meat). Apparently, I could raise meat rabbits too. I even had a friend offer to butcher them for me, so I'm all set. 

I sip my coffee and ponder this. I live inside the city limits. The city won't let me have all those animals. But if they are 4H animals they will! I have three kids, I could put them all in different 4H projects. (Oh, and I need a pig too, gotta have bacon!) So that covers me on the animal hoarding laws or public health hazard laws or whatever.

Okay, what next? I need to buy the animals. Some of these animals I could get for free. My friend Peter was one of the people who suggested that I raise meat rabbits. I just think that if you are going to shock a person with a suggestion like that, you should at least offer them some free starter rabbits. I mean he raises them himself and they breed like, well, like bunnies. Am I wrong? He should have plenty to spare.

I would probably have to buy the sheep and the pig. That is hundreds of dollars right there. I might get a cheap cow from my friend who owns a herd of cows. I have a horse trailer so I could pick the cow up myself. I'm on my own for the pig.

My neighbor has goats that she tried to give me a long time ago. I don't know if they are milk goats though. Even though the goats drive her crazy, I don't think she wants us to eat them. If I can't eat them or milk them, then I don't want them. So I would probably need to buy two of my own milk goats. 

I could pick up some chicks at Western Farms when I buy my dog food (you know I'm talking about chickens, right?) Aren't they like a dime a dozen? I just have to keep my cats away from them!

I sip my coffee, still looking outside. Now I will need pens. I will have to move those soccer goals out of the way, I think. My husband is a contractor (of course, that's why we're broke!) So he can build all the pens. He built a house for us, he can certainly build a pig pen. We will just need to buy the supplies. So that's hundreds of more dollars. 

I think the cow and the sheep could live with my horses (they do it on FarmVille). The rabbits need hutches. The pigs need some shelter and some mud. The goats need something they can't break out of (my neighbor knows about that). The chickens need something that can't be broken into. So my husband will build all the pens and that will just save us a ton!

All right, I have the animals and the pens. Now I need to wait for them to grow. I'm guessing the meat rabbits will be available for consumption first (gag). My lovely and capable girlfriend will kill them for me. I will give her a portion of the meat. I will Google rabbit recipes and serve them up. We will tell the children that the meat is chicken (and I will pray that my daughter isn't counting our rabbits). This seems doable. 
Meat Rabbits

Now, I have no idea what to do with the cow and the pig and the sheep (by the way, am I eating the sheep or selling the wool?--that part isn't clear to me yet. I just like the image of fluffy sheep on my imaginary farm). I suppose I could pay someone to butcher Bessie, Wilbur and the Twins. We would have to buy a big freezer to store them in, (wow, that's not creepy!). 

So now I have a freezer full of meat and several bawling children (who thought the animals were pets)--and all for under $2000 (if I'm lucky). 

I guess we could eat for like a year or so off of all that. Plus we would have plenty of milk and eggs (can goat milk go on cereal, or is it only for making cheese?...unclear on that too). 

I think as I sip my coffee. I'm still sitting on the sofa, in my pajamas. It's foggy outside. I'm beginning to see the downside. That's a lot of poop to clean (every day!). That's a lot of 4H meetings to attend. And waiting for the cow and the sheep and the pigs to grow takes months...our needs are now

Arghh! I forgot about the food and vet bills for all the animals. I'm already worried about just feeding us! And I'm certainly not going to call out the vet for the animals when I can't afford to take my own kids to the doctor. Plus, I don't have $2000! Suddenly my daydream becomes a nightmare. Now I'm deeper in debt and I have more mouths to feed!!! How did this happen? 

My thoughts come to a grinding halt. My coffee is cold now. It's still foggy. I feel inept. Even if I had the money, I wouldn't know where to start. No venture begins without a learning curve--and learning curves end up costing you even more money. 

Anyway, I don't have enough time. By summer, I expect our major financial problems to be over. I don't want to end up with a bunch of animals and 4H pins that I don't really need. I get off the couch. So much for the idea of  "free" meat. We're too poor to farm. I decide that if worst comes to worst, I will buy my husband a rifle and a hunting permit. 

I pour another cup of coffee and head to my computer. I guess the soccer goals can stay where they are. I will stick to farming on FarmVille!

My Imaginary Farm