Raising Your Own Meat: Pastured Pork, Grass-fed Beef and Lamb

For several years our family has been raising our own meat. We’ve found that not only is it a healthier alternative but it is much cheaper than buying meat from the store.

Pro’s of Raising Your Own Meat:

  1. Home grown meat is a healthier alternative than buying prepackaged feed-lot meat at the store. If you want to avoid the antibiotics, fillers, colors and solutions, raising your own meat is a sure fire way to know what’s in your meat and where it comes from. We’ve also raised pastured pork and found huge differences in the quality and taste as well as the assurance of knowing what goes into our pork.
  2. It’s cheaper! We were shocked at how cheap it is to raise meat. If you have an initial purchase of around $300 for a calf and raise him for 18 months on grass, he could yield you around 500 to 600 lbs of meat (at around 1,000 pounds live weight). Depending on where you live, you will have the costs of feeding hay through the winter and you will have the butchering costs. Raising pork will have additional costs of buying corn, however you should be able to pick up a feeder pig from around $25 to $50.  We’ve been raising all natural, grass fed meat on our own land for much cheaper than what we could ever regular store bought and the high quality, all natural grass fed meat for. Even if you buy a whole, 1/2 or 1/4 cow from a farmer who raises beef, you will do much better than buying those individual cuts in the store. Before we could raise our own, we bought beef from a local farmer. Even paying around $4.50 a pound for 1/2 a cow ended up being an incredible savings considering that you are getting everything from hamburger to steaks and roasts!
  3. It’s rewarding!  Raising your own meat is incredibly rewarding.  The time invested into raising your own meat is an experience your family won’t forget! 

Other Considerations When Raising Your Own Meat

  1. You will have to invest your daily time into raising your own meat. That means you will need to monitor them, making sure they have enough water and grass:  a great chore for your children to keep up with!  Our cows and sheep are easy to care for.  For pork, you will have to invest more of your time in oversight. From our experience, pigs are more high needs than cows or sheep, although they yield a high amount of meat in a shorter amount of time. 
  2. You will need to have the fencing and land space to raise your own meat. OR you could work out a deal with someone who has land to graze your animal on their land for a fee.
  3. It takes time. Raising a cow for beef could take a good 18 months. We usually take our pigs to the butcher in 6 to 8 months. We haven’t figure out the lambs yet… we’re still experimenting on the age and weight of when to take them in.

On Saturday, we loaded up a few of our field stock and took them in to the butcher. While I was at the butcher shop, I bought some sausage ($2.49 lb) and hamburger ($2.89) to hold us over the next few weeks while our meat was being prepared. I don’t have our costs for raising the meat and butchering it yet..but I hope to post those when I get the final totals from the butcher shop.

3 Comments

  • Mike says:

    Thanks for posting.  I’m an IT business analyst living in a subdivision, but have felt God calling us to a more agrarian life.  We’re in our second year raising meat birds on a friends land.  He raise and process his chickens in exchange for land and water (from his well).  God is good to allow us to live in community with one another.  We are adding turkeys to the mix this year and sheep next year.  With 5 growing children, they NEED tasks that are contributing to the family and not just taking out the garbage 🙂  Your family has been an inspiration to us.  Thanks for sharing!!

  • BethTN says:

    We find the farm work great exercise…..  Our children thrive on the day in and day out hard work of farm life….it challenges them, gives them a good healthy work ethic and makes for good strong muscles….
    Thanks for the comment. 

  • Pauline Doyle says:

    We’re raising our first cow at the moment – we got her at 2 months old from the dairy farmer behind us. She will be slaughtered at the end of summer. We’ve just got a new calf to take her place when she goes. We’ve also just had our first lamb born. So far we’ve eaten a few of our own cockerels, and mu husband shoots rabbits sometimes.  This is all a very new experience for us having grown up city people. We do feel kind of sad about killing our animals as they’re such a part of our life now, but as  friend said, You can’t be sentimental.” I guess we’re kind of soft and so far removed from the agrarian way of life it’s going to take a few years to get into this kind of life, but we’re loving it. God has blessed us!
    Pauline in Devon UK

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