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

savingdogs

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I'm also hoping I can sell some live bunnies, the creme of the cremes, since they are such an uncommon breed and the one doe has won best of show in the past. This could offset the cost of the hay and pellets and our freezer could end up filled for almost free.

It would be our self-sufficient dream to not have to buy meat from the store next year. Between the extra cockerels, the extra drakes and now non-show quality bunnies, we should certainly lower our grocery bill. I just need to learn how to recognize a show quality bunny!

I'm still thinking about those turkeys, geese, tilipia though. Especially those fish. I don't think I'd have a care in the world about processing fish.
 

Libertyhomestead

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The difficulty with Turkeys (and broilers) has a lot to do with the factory confinement breeds that most people try to raise. We make a point to stay away from factory breeds as they are completely ill suited to a self sufficient model. If you're going to raise the standard factory breeds like broad breasted turkeys keep in mind that they can not reproduce naturally so you'll be forced to pay someone else for new poults each time.

We started raising pure breed Beltsville White turkeys this year. They are small turkeys, however, they pack more meat on a smaller frame than other breeds. Smaller frame means less feed to meat ratio. The body type is BBW in miniature at 18-22lb average. They are heritage and can breed naturally so you can keep a breeding flock going year after year. We keep them right in with our layer flock and they are all one happy family.

The trick to poults is to let a broody hen do the raising or put day old chicks in with the day old poults in the brooder. We do this and it works wonderfully. The poults raised with chicks learn much more readily and as adults the turkeys stay with the chickens and return to the coop to roost at night.
 

savingdogs

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Where would you get something like a Beltsville White?
 

me&thegals

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We had great cornish X this year! Pastured, but small.

We also love our Bourbon Red turkeys. Very great at comingling with the chickens and ducks, great foragers, not noticeably huge eaters, about 6-7 months to be 25+ lb. Great tasting!

Our Rouen ducks have been easy so far, but I haven't tasted them. They're living on whole corn and grazing so far.

A place near us has indoor tanks of tilapia, hydroponic lettuce and herbs on top.

Thinking about rabbits, too. :)
 

Libertyhomestead

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savingdogs said:
Where would you get something like a Beltsville White?
The true Beltsville white is only available from private breeders. It's estimated that there are only about 250 breeding adults left so its important to find people to grow their numbers. They are often confused with Midget Whites which are not the same as Beltsville whites. I have found two breeders that can trace their stock back to the last of the original flocks from the USDA. Look for breeders that reference Ames, IA or Brian Tibbot.

I am very happy with the poults hatched from "Featherbrained Farm". They are dedicated to preserving the original meat qualities. I hatched eggs from two breeders and the Featherbrained Farm poults were twice the size from one week on. I found this breeder on eggbid.com but I think that site closed down now.

Sandhillpreservation.com has true Beltsville also but I don't know if they cull to preserve the original meat qualities.
 
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