“Along with roots, people sometimes forget rabbits, ducks and chicken eggs are a very quick way to feed a family with food that is far more filling than veg. In an emergency animals can convert so much of the wild greens around us (that we can’t safely eat) into something that gives your body real energy! Raising your own meat is also far more kind, ethical and more earth friendly than ANY other meat you’ll find in the store (as well as most the shipped in produce from nuts and avocados, too). My rabbits are loved, happy and spoiled. And if you feel bad cutting their lives a little short, just look at nature. Just about EVERYTHING eats rabbits. They’re designed either by God or Natural Selection (whatever you believe) to be the ideal food of the grand majority of healthy predators, worldwide. ….And they’re delicious. BETTER than chicken in my opinion.
Another great food for fattening up meat rabbits is the leaves from Mulberries, so perfect for taking advantage of a male or a female that has been trimmed up. They LOVE them and they’re very balanced for rabbit nutrition enough to make up 50-60% of their diet. One Mulberry tree creates more rabbit food than timothy grass growing in the same square footage 😉
My meat rabbits love eating ginger leaves and I like them too, despite being a a little tough/stringy – the flavor is really good! I chop them fine against the leaf strings and use them in any dish that calls for fresh ginger and/or mild greens. They’re not bitter, even in the 110 summer heat where I live. Just tossed with some oil in a pan, maybe a little bacon they make a great side dish ;)”
Her comments are on this video:
In my opinion, animal foods are superior to vegetable foods. If I were forced to choose between a carnivore or a vegetarian diet, I would choose the former.
Yet keeping animals for food isn’t easy compared to growing plants. There are unique difficulties, and sometimes land or neighbors can be an issue.
Feeding chickens from your own land can be quite difficult or impossible, and rabbits take a lot of tending. We’ve kept them before – twice – and given up both times. If we needed them to survive, we would make it work, just as we would find a way to completely feed our chickens from the land if need be.
If there were food shortages, all of us would have to work a lot harder. Right now, our gardens and animals are not vital to our survival and it’s easy enough to go buy meat and vegetables to make up for the lack coming in from our backyards. If times get a lot tighter, our homesteading will have to do the same. Planting lots of mulberries for rabbit fodder and growing corn to feed the chickens will just have to happen. If you can’t count on bagged chicken feed and alfalfa pellets, growing food just for the animals becomes a priority.
In the past I have side-stepped keeping animals due to the difficulties involved, instead focusing on potatoes and cassava and chestnuts, etc., as filling staple crops. Long-term, however, it’s much better to also have animal foods. We have the acreage for a few cows and pigs and goats and chickens and such, though many do not.
If you can afford the time and the land, Melinda is correct: animals turn low quality green material into high-quality foods such as meat, milk and eggs.
Those God- given creatures also provide the fats necessary for proper development of children, and sustained health of adults. Unless you can grow avocado (and we can’t), the only other source of fat I can think of, off hand, is nuts.
We tried chickens, at first, but had issues – too many hawks (there is a family, at least 3 little ones, I reckon by the peeping) nesting in the Sycamore that overlooks the yard. Ducks seem to be large enough to give the smaller raptors pause, though I doubt one of our bald eagles would think twice about having one for a snack – fortunately, they are more interested in the fish at the river! We are working out now how to use the ducks for weeding – part of the technique is timing, and part is selecting vegetables that the birds won’t snack on. Our ducks are champion snail and slug exterminators and hunt down grasshoppers with glee.
This is a funny story, I’m sure many homesteaders can relate: We got two ducklings from a nearby coop, presumably unsexed, but I figured I has as good a chance at two drakes as I had a drake and a hen. We decided to hedge our bets, and ordered up TEN sexed females (in ducks, like chickens, the girls are hens) .. at $14.70 each. It seems, we wound up with a dozen hens, and no drakes. Now that I think on it a bit, nine ducks would be plenty on 1/3 acre, 5 on a small lot (1/6 acre). We have to buy extra feed for the ducks, so selling a few dozen eggs here and there helps: They are the best eggs for your baking, and make omelets to die for!
We have been pondering alternative feeds, and think this one is promising: we create several small pools, stock them with fathead minnows, and plant them with water chestnut, American water lily, and lots of duckweed and azolla. The surface water enhances the local biome, and aids with keeping the yard cool in the summer, Minnows create fertilizer for the plants in the area where the pools are – I have devised a simple means of flushing them regularly to remove the sediment from the bottom, no power needed. Surplus minnows may be sold to area fishermen, fed to our own captive stock of fish (crappie, catfish, ect) or given to the ducks .. who don’t mind having a little fish for dinner, either. Fish and eggs are a great way to get a LOT of calorie production out of very small areas.
Love your program, reminds me of Ice Age Farmer, Winder what happened to him, he stop posting in November, hope he’s ok, wish I could find out about him!
Yeah, I don’t know what happened to him either.