Farming, it may seem complicated at first, but is in fact a simple process, the only question is it right for you.
Some may think of farming as sitting back and watching over plants or livestock, but unless you can afford to pay people to work your land you will have to participate in the harvest and up keep. Now you may be thinking how you will be able to afford the land and provide other needed items that you are not producing. Well that is quite simple, while you may not be able to mass produce food like the large companies, you can produce more than your family needs to survive. With your extra food you can sell it at a farmers market or to friends. Now with all of the logistics out of the way an interesting topic looms: Will you farm livestock or fruits and vegetables?
If your a vegetarian your answer is simple, you will grow fruits and vegetables, however if you are not you still have a difficult decision. While both livestock and fruits and vegetables can yield a profit – livestock can do this with less work for you. The kinds of livestock farming that you could participate in are raising them for sale or raising them and selling their meat and other products. Raising livestock for sale may be another solution for a person who does not want to consume animal products, but selling the meat and other products of the animals is potentially more profitable. The kinds of livestock that you could chose to farm are cattle, pigs, sheep, turkey, and chickens. Each of these animals have reasons both for and against farming them. The cattle can be butchered and milked, both of which could be sold. The sheep’s wool can be harvested as well as mutton. Chickens produce both eggs and meat. Pigs and turkeys however only produce meat.
No matter what animal you choose to farm you need to be able to provide some basic necessities like a clean shelter, clean water, and nutritious feed. The shelter needs to be clean of mud and manure, as well as providing enough space for the livestock to be comfortable, this includes ventilation that does not create drafts and proper bedding material, which will need to be changed often to prevent sickness. The clean water is necessary as it helps regulate the body temperature of the animals, and clean water will help prevent disease. Nutritious food is as important to the animals as it is to you. In colder weather they will have to burn more calories to stay warm which means more food, for your animals you want to find one that provides a balanced meal, with the right proportions of minerals, vitamins, and protein. These will lead to a healthy and ready to eat animal that produce highly before they are harvested. Now time to pick an animal while keeping in mind all of these items that we need to provide them with.
Chickens are arguably the best animal to farm, even with the intense competition from the other possibilities. Chickens have won this spot as they are small and relatively easy to care for. You can raise a large number of chickens having all of them end up being used for meat and before the female chickens grow to when you decide that they will be butchered, they will lay eggs which will generate you money. You now may be thinking of commercialized chicken farms or factories were cages are stacked on top of each other only allowing them to survive until they can be butchered. This is not at all what you should think of when you envision your chicken farm as this is bad for the chickens and unhealthy. There are other ways to farm chickens you also do not want them cramped and too close together as diseases will spread quickly. The other way to farm chickens is organically, which can also add value to your chicken and eggs when they are sold.
The requirements for organic chicken are quite simple, you only need to use 100% organic feed and provide enough for the animals, animals resistant to prevalent diseases, providing adequate living space, and all products of the chicken that are labeled organic must be treated as such from the second day of life. At first you may see this un-exhausted list as a burden, but at a closer look will reveal that most items on the list are common sense factors, like providing enough feed for the animals and enough space for them to be comfortable in. With all of these requirements met you can get certified organic, but remember to keep the receipts handy to show to the certifier that you have met all of the requirements for an organic farm. The humane treatment of the animals go along with being certified organic. You do not want to be considered like what you thought when you envisioned earlier the chicken factory farm with the cages.
Humanely treating animals is not the difficult task that it is made out to be by the companies that provide our animal products. The reason they argue this point is that they are solely focused on making a profit, they are not concerned with the well being of the animals they raise. It does not in reality take a large effort to treat animals humanely, the problem with the current system of factory farming is that it the companies are trying to produce all of the food in the same space to cut down on transportation cost, but if there were local farmers harvesting the livestock in smaller quantities then the animals would be able to live and be slaughtered humanely. Some may argue that slaughter can’t be done humanely, even though this is true to some extent if people are going to continue to eat meat then we must ensure that the animals are treated as humanly as possible by ensuring that they do not feel pain when they are slaughtered.
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