We are a small farm. We have 4 acres at the house that is set up with 3 large paddock pens and enclosed structures to shelter the animals if they need to. We use the paddock pens in the winter to separate the cows, pigs and lambs. We have 8 acres of newly seeded grass divided into (4) 2 acre pastures so we can rotate pastures throughout the summer months. My husband works full time as a correction officer in auburn prison and I work part time as a nurse. My girls are 9 and 12 and they go to Hannibal schools. We take care of the animals on our own as a family.
We have been raising meat for 5 years now. We originally started raising it for our family and immediate family, we did this for 2 years, then the 3rd and 4th year we raised it for our church family as well. Then last year 2015 we decided to take this GREAT meat to the public to everyone could enjoy "HOME GROWN" meat without all of the hormones and antibiotics that you find in the meat at the stores.
2015 was our first adventure in taking the meat to the farmers markets. We did 9 markets including going down towards NYC. We didn't know what to expect as far as how much meat we go through from June to October. Boy did it fly out of the freezer. We had a hard time keeping it in. So for this year we now know what to expect. We are planning a lot more animals for more meat to make sure we have what we need to take care of the public.
BEEF: We try to raise Hereford/cross steers. They are put out on our pasture from May to November so they get the nice rich protein grass and water. In the winter if they aren't big enough yet to go to slaughter they come back to the house go into one of the paddock pens with dry hay and bailage and water, we also grain twice a day to put weight on them. When they are big enough to go to slaughter one month before they go we grain them while they are on pasture, this marbles the meat and makes it very tender.
VEAL: We are raising 2 holstein bull calves for veal. They are in an inside pen during the winter with heat lamp, they get nice cows milk twice a day for 4 months then they will go to slaughter. During the summer they will be in a paddock pen outside to run around and play, they have a lean too for shelter if they want to go in and out as they please.
PIGS: We raise pigs from all stages of life, some may be piglets some may be 150-200 lbs when they get here and then we finish them out for slaughter. Pigs stay at the house year round. They have a very large pen with a shelter area to get out of the weather if they want to. They have feeders that is filled with grain, they lift the doors with their snout and eat as much as they want and whenever they want, this makes them grow faster and healthier. They have water in a 55 gallon barrel with a bowl at the bottom of it with a pedal that they push that fills the bowl and they drink as much as they want.
Lambs: We are raising hair sheep. We have grown to 1 ram and 16 ewes (all hair). We are breeding them and then their babies we will raise for meat. The lambs and their babies will go to the land and run with the steers on the grass and be rotated around like the steers. When the babies are big enough to get ready for slaughter we will grain them the last month also to make the meat tender.
Ducks: We are raising Muscovy meat ducks. They are in an open pen where they can go outside if they want or stay inside from the weather. They have grain and water all day. They are raised for 5-6months then go to butcher.
Chickens: We buy 1-2 day old chicks, they come to our farm and we put them in a metal trough with heat lamps to keep them warm, they get as much water and grain that they want. When they get a little bigger usually by 2-3 weeks they get their feathers and then I move them to an indoor screened in pen still with heat lamps and as much water and food that they want. By 4-5 weeks they are big enough to go to an outside pen, until they are ready to go to slaughter. They only take 8-9 weeks from 1-2 day old chicks to 4-6 lb chickens.
Eggs: Our eggs come from our own chickens. They are free range and grain and water.