Guineas? Turkeys? Rabbits? Which is the best home grown meat?

savingdogs

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So here is the deal.....I have three males living here with LOVE meat...they are certainly carnivores. And I'm no vegetarian.

We are raising ducks for meat and eggs and are raising chickens but they are layers. We will add some meat chickens in spring. We also raise goats but DAIRY and cannot bring ourselves to eat our goat friends or our layers except cockerels. So we still buy tons of meat and I want to raise our own (and not pay more money than buying the meat at the store would have).

We love bacon but really don't have room for pigs (very sloping, forested property) and we have no barn or shelter for them.

After reading a thread about Guineas, they interest me, and we have enjoyed eating rabbit. Turkey is a staple meat in our house.

But can anyone compare the maintenance, cost, requirements and personalities of these three? We have free range areas and large chicken and duck coops currently and live in a Pacific Northwest rain forest climate.

Are rabbits to expensive? We can't free range them here.

Can turkeys co-exist with ducks and chickens? How about Guineas? Anyone have experience with all three to compare them for me? Or which coexists peacefully with ducks, goats and chickens. We currently have a very harmonious group.
 

Wifezilla

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Guineas are loud. Really really really loud.

My grandma raised rabbits to support a very large family. They were cheap. Ate scraps out of the garden and pellets.
 

tortoise

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Rabbits are easy keepers. I am super-fussy and I also cater to show/4H buyers, so I have a nice cage setup. It's not necessary.

Cages can be made out of chicken wire. A "tractor" is a really nice option to get them eating as much grasses/wild food as possible.

Rabbits produce the most pounds of food per breeding pair. They're not as good as chickens, but not bad for food efficiency.

Almost all of our kitchen scraps (minus onion) goes to the rabbits.
 

farmerlor

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I've read that rabbits are the most efficient, cheapest source of meat for the small farmer. We just got back from the feed store and the cost of chicken food has gone up again. Turkeys are pretty expensive to raise unless you're doing it large scale and can sell a lot birds. You may want to revisit the pig issue at some future date. The pigs would love some sloping forested land and our pigs lived in a very large dog house quite happily.
 

AL

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My neighbor has guineas, turkeys and chickens (large fowl and bantams) all together. They do fine. They do have about 3/4 acre or so to free range, but most of them roost in the same small shed.

Guineas are obnoxiously loud - and the sound is horrible even if it were low volume. They are great insect and tick eaters though
 

freemotion

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Have fun catching the guineas! I'd have eaten mine if we could catch them. They see well at night, too, and roost in the rafters or in a very tall tree.

My farmer-dad says that rabbits are the easiest to dress. We ate them when I was a kid living at home. They breed like....well, like rabbits! We decided to give our big doe a break during the worst of winter one year and the buck got her through the wire of the cage somehow!

We keep hens, guineas (down to one, dh and I are having an arm-wrestle about getting more...I do almost all the care so I'm winning...so far, no more guineas) and turkeys with the goats with separate living quarters, somewhat, and they all pasture together. Except for the guineas, who think they own the entire neighborhood....we've heard about the nests of rotting eggs from our neighbors....

You need to check with your local extension office or ag university to see if blackhead is a problem in your area. If not, you can put the turkeys and the chickens together.

Rabbits can be tractored in a yard, btw. We've been thinking about it, but have had far too many projects and big responsibilities lately to start something new. We'll do it eventually, I'm sure. If we had to grow our own dog food, it would be rabbit.
 

Blackbird

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We have all three.
Guineas and rabbits are extreme opposites. Guineas are loud, flighty, and all over the place, love them, but I guess it takes a certain type of person to deal with them. They aren't always good mothers if you freerange them because they'll run their babies to death. They do taste good though, a lot like pheasant. IMO not very efficient if you are a big meat eater though.

Turkeys (I've found) can be rather hard to raise from poults. I don't want to say they die easy, but in some cases they do..

The poultry all get along fairly well if housed together. They'll have typical squabbles but most animals do. I see no issues if they were freeranged.

Rabbits can live on a lot of what already surrounds you. Twigs, sticks, hay, straw, leaves, moss, bark, they like it all, really. Somewhere said a trio of rabbits could produce several hundred pounds of meat a year through reproduction. Litters up to 8 a common, and gestation is only a month. Not only that, there are also fiber rabbits which can be kept for their fur, or of course, any rabbit you butcher you get a nice hide from that you can tan.


(Go rabbits!)
 

savingdogs

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Well I've been talking with a friend on here who has some beautiful show rabbits, they are also a meat breed and rather exotic so resale might be good on some as well, and hubby says he could build me some hutches. I'm really interested in how you would tractor them....we have experience in the past of rabbits being able to burrow out so I wonder how you would design a rabbit tractor? It would be nice to feed those babies cheap.

I would not mind guineas being loud...I am deaf and we live where there are no real neighbors to bother.

So turkeys can die easily? My goats LOVE the ducks and they actually have some mutual area here, are the turkeys similar to the goats dealing with them? How about their poo, is it bad?

Thanks for all the imput you guys! :pop
 

Blackbird

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Well, some people will probably say turkey's don't.. That's just my experience... :hide

We used to have chickens in our goat barn, they would roost on the milk stand and dividing fence and poop into the feeders below, so we had to constantly throw them out.
 

farmerlor

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Turkeys ARE a little fragile as babies, more so than say chicks or ducklings but once you get them to a couple of weeks old they're pretty hardy if you've got some good stock and just good common sense to take care of them. Turkeys seem to get along with everyone and everything. We had a duck attach itself to one of our turkeys and they were best of friends. The problem with having ducks and turkeys together is that waterfowl are SO messy that you'll be doing double duty trying to clean up after them.
 
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