“The first supermarket appeared on the American landscape in 1946. Until then, where was all the food?… It was in homes, gardens, local fields, and forests. It was in the pantry, the cellar, the backyard.” – Joel Salatin
Like many Americans, you have come to homesteading to be able to provide for your family, friends and community in the way that you see fit. The last time so many Americans felt the way you feel now was during World War II. During the Second World War, many of us had a victory garden and raised poultry because foods were either being rationed or were not available. The systems which are now the backbone of the United States’ economy seem to be growing quite weary and failing in some respects. So much instability creates a great unease. Homesteading, on the other hand, creates security for you, your family, friends and community. One word sums up the reason most people homestead today and it is “Freedom”. Freedom from chemical and feed companies, hatcheries, freedom from grocery stores and price increases, freedom from shortages, poor quality, excessive antibiotics, super bacteria, genetic engineering, freedom from food-centered government regulations and instability.
Homesteaders are changing all that. We are pushing back from the table of ease and frankly our desire to fall in “love” with those adorable, squirming, fluff balls in favor of a sustainable, self-reliant food supply for our family.
Freedom is an immense amount of work. We have to take on much responsibility to ensure that freedom. Just because it is a lot of work doesn’t mean that it isn’t fun and highly rewarding. Having a large garden, raising a small amount of grain for flour and feed, cattle for milk and beef, pigs for lard, bacon and hams, goats and sheep and of course poultry gives us work, responsibility, enjoyment, security and freedom.
Of all the aspects of the renewed interest in homesteading, nothing has more pull than raising one’s own food. Waking to your roosters crowing and sending the kids out to gather fresh eggs and milk the family cow for your morning’s breakfast; all the while watching your birds, hogs, cows, goats and sheep busy themselves with their daily labors of seeking out tasty nibbles is fulfilling and dare I say romantic.
We cannot deny, even though we love our animals, raising livestock isn’t for everyone. There are disadvantages to raising livestock, it takes work – lots of work. For that matter rural living isn’t for everyone, it takes work – lots of work.
Raising livestock truly isn’t labor in the traditional sense; not to us. To us, raising all livestock gives us a sense of peace, relaxation and security. No one raises livestock successfully unless they love the animals they work with. You will have your moments when you wonder what you got yourself into, but know it is worth it
and those days are few and far between. All animals need regular care and poultry is no exception. By all means, fall in love with your livestock; just remember that everything on your homestead has a purpose. Know why you are embarking on this adventure. It will solidify your purpose and prepare for all that is to come.