Long Lasting Meat Shortages are Expected.

We had a financial scare this past week at Kirk’s place of work and it put our minds into overdrive. Simplify and reduce costs has our full attention. The barnyard was the topic of discussion this Sunday after I’d watched a couple disturbing You tubes on Saturday. I learned that about 2020 the African Swine Fever is expected to create a “crippling” global shortage of protein. It has so far spread to 50 nations killing millions of pigs and is extremely contagious.

There is no vaccine and no cure.

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You may not eat pork and we aren’t raising pigs right now so you may wonder what does this have to do with us?  With hundreds of millions of pigs already dead and far more expected to be lost, including in the United States by next year, beef and chicken will not be able to fill the gap. If a vaccine can be developed, then recovery could be 4 to 6 years in China which is the largest consumer of pork. If not….

Couple this with a grain shortage in the U.S. from devastating weather this past summer and fall and you have a huge problem as it will raise the cost of feeding livestock. That will cause farmers and ranchers to sell while the price is high and their feed costs into each animal aren’t yet too high. This will give a short reprieve for us but prices will still hike. Then with fewer cattle and chickens the reproduction numbers will drop. Globally, countries will be vying for protein sources. See the problem?

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What’s our plans? For the moment we have plenty of meat in the freezers. Last winter we had two beef processed. With an exceptionally cold winter in the forecast and our supposed warm fall run off by a bitter cold winter we need to look to lower electric costs. One way is as we eat our meat supply, we also do a little canning to free up a freezer. I’ve wanted to get down to two for a long time now. Meanwhile, we need to formulate a plan with the livestock so we have a small, but steady supply of meat coming in on a steady basis forgoing the gluttonous freezer loads all at once. The pioneers had the bulk of theirs walking around instead of taking up storage. One can not foretell the future but there is a lot of things right now that could go terribly wrong. Though my hubby wasn’t happy, I brought home rabbits and now this spring sheep. I see a way they just might work greatly in our favor.

The sheep are Dorpers, a hardy meat breed that can live off of sparse vegetation. They will do the pasture good and can be quickly processed for use while not taking up much space, much like the two doe white-tail deer we just did. Less feed, less space, and less work freeing us up to create other sources of income and putting more time into our gardens.

Goats, sheep, rabbits, and chickens seems like a good mix for us but:

  • What animals are the largest drain on our income?
  • How can I use our five acres to better feed them without greatly increasing costs and labor?
  • How can I reduce feed costs from outside sources?

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The greatest drain was unquestionably the dairy goats and chickens over the rabbits and sheep. The goats eat grain while being milked and consume quite a bit hay. Just hay and not pasture if I’d let them. We’ve spent four years force marching Nubians to pasture and listening to them bawl over the fence begging to be returned to their city life of hay feeder and grain bins. It was always too cold or too hot for them like a Three Bears and Goldilocks novel. We switched to hardier Saanens making we wonder why I ever left raising them. It was like coming home again. Far less complaining but still use to the city life since mom came off of the show circuit. She just can’t handle pasture. Her digestive tract can’t digest it so she was not help in tutoring.

As for her offspring, it was forced marches until the sheep arrived last spring. Now Virginia, the ewe, takes all but Comedy to pasture and is teaching them the ways of nature. Until now Virginia was herded in three times a year and handled. That’s it. I thought she’d stay separated from the goats but from the very beginning she insisted she would be apart of the group. They’ve all come to adore her, laying their heads on her back in a sign of affection and she on theirs.

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The rabbits have had nothing productive done with them for a year. We still have not butchered part of the last offspring. We had no freezer room and no time. I’d scheduled a day to process some repeatedly as they are so large I need Kirk’s help and invariably something would happen cancelling things. I’m thinking of making some changes and those will be in the next blog post. Though I have not bred them, I have changed the way I feed them with great results. My feed costs are very minimal and this weekend I did my homework creating plans to draw more from our five acres to cover their needs.

The chickens is where I’m troubled. No matter how I look at it and though I’ve come up with better ways to source some of their feed from our own acreage which will begin next spring, they will still require outsourcing for food during our long winters. The grains that will be going up greatly in price. I’ve made plans for them too and hope it helps.

We all need to rethink our way of life and wonder, “What can I do.” Even if it is like me and you begin using lots more dried beans in your diet. What have you heard about the protein shortage?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are not sitting in a good spot. As I listen to Youtube, I hear of a looming housing market crash, banking insolvency, looming food shortages, debt out of control, and political unrest. Not a rosy picture of the future especially when we are personally

 

3 thoughts on “Long Lasting Meat Shortages are Expected.

  1. Valerie

    You are the second source I have heard say that we will have a protein shortage. Mainly I heard beef, but pork makes sense also. We are trying to get back to producing our own. We had a fire last year and are still rebuilding and recovering. I need to get the chickens back and going again. I definitely want to get rabbits. We have squirrels galore and have been discussing harvesting some of them. We also have deer that we will be hunting this year. Nothing better than free meat. I think I have mentioned it to you before, Boyd Craven has a set of books out that details feeding rabbits from the backyard as opposed to buying pellets. I am hoping to follow his outline as much as I can and hopefully save money. We own our own business but that depends on the companies we work for keeping us on. We also had a scare this month and still aren’t sure if we might lose our biggest account. So we are working to reduce expenses as much as possible. Retirement isn’t too many years off and no one can live off what social security pays you. If it survives that long.

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    1. I am so sorry for your fire. That must be devastating. We are overwhelmed by remodeling and repairing and I can’t imagine trying to build everything from ground up though it has its advantages of better designs etc. I have a book by Craven on the subject of feeding rabbits but our climate and situation is quite different. The principle is the same though. I have watched several You tubes on the subject of meat. Mostly by ranchers who are seeing suspicious things going on in the government but no one officially is talking. One video started off with a senator who’s a vet and went to a rancher talking. He laid out four things that made him real suspicious of the government keeping quiet about food shortages. One is the excellent loans last year given to agriculture to put in storage facilities for grains etc. I think we would be wise to simply do all we can to take care of ourselves. Our take it slow just got thrown out the window and food plans are going into overdrive. A bird in hand is worth two in the bush they say and I’d rather we spent some money on preparing than money in the banks which are on shaky ground right now. We won’t need so much money if we are doing our own.

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  2. Valerie

    The worst part was we were in the middle of renovating the house. We had it about half done when the fire happened, so I know how you feel about the remodeling. Another thing I just read about was a shortage of potatoes this year. The weather was so wet that the potatoes rotted in the ground. This was in Idaho and South Dakota, I believe. My family eats a lot of potatoes and due to the fire and not being in the house for a year, I had no garden last year or this year. I am hoping to be able to find enough local to get through. I completely agree that the banks are on shaky ground and I am working to make sure our investments are in items that will help to sustain us.

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