I have been getting a ton of questions lately about how can we raise our own animals for food and harvest them. Which I don’t mind getting. It is a great conversation we need to have.Raising and then harvesting your own livestock is not an easy thing to do nor should it be. We are taking a life.
Here is one of the comments I received
“Just curious but do you feel any guilt naming and treating your pigs as pets and then slaughtering them? I get what you’re doing and coming from but just asking man to man?“
When I read this comment I had to scratch my head! To me, the comment is saying I would feel better about you harvesting your pigs for meat if you didn’t care for them just throw them some food every once and awhile. Or why don’t you buy your meat from a grocery store? Then you won’t have to think about what kind of life that animal lived. Why do we feel better about that because those pigs are raised in confinement never seeing the light of day or being able to dig in the dirt like pigs were created to do?
I feel good about the way I raise my pigs not just good I am proud of the life my pigs have here at Lumnah Acres. I know they have had the best life that they could! I name my pigs so when I am out feeding them I not calling them pig. I also like naming the pigs so when I am eating this great delicious food that is healing our bodies I can give thanks. We are Modern Steaders so we can supply our friends and family with the best food possible. We are very conscious of what this takes. And we know it takes living food to sustain us so we can live a healthy life.
I realize that this is not the norm. You can’t buy this quality of food in the grocery store but I think if you have or when you have the chance to try food of this quality or know the story of your food it will click and make sense to you. Believe it or not, all the food that we eat has a story. We just don’t know that story. Must of the food we eat we wouldn’t want to know the story. We are sharing the story of our food and everything we go through to get it.
“I would rather be a death row executioner than a butcher, or worse one of those factory workers that have to kill 1000s of farm animals a day with a pressure gun.“
This comment was on How to Harvest a Pig Humanely video
My knee-jerk reaction to that comment was getting all mad and defensive. But when I stopped sat back and thought about it I thought. “Now that is harsh! I am with you loud and clear I wouldn’t want to work at a facility that kills 1000s of animals a day either. Taking an animals life is not easy. It would be a lot easier for me to send my pigs to the butcher. But then the pigs would not have a humane death. I wouldn’t be able to get back all the meat, skin, fat, bones etc from the butcher and make all the wonderful food we did and none of the animal went to waste. I feed what we couldn’t eat to our chickens maybe 1 gallon. What the Chickens would not eat we composted and that will be composted for to years and then it will feed our fruit trees. Here is and earlier post we did on why we raise our pigs
Then I felt Sorry for them
I don’t enjoy getting comments like this but I do think we need to have these kinds of conversations. We are so detached from our food its not even funny. We don’t know the story of our food. Where was it grown? We don’t even know what country it came from. What kind of life did it live, what kind of soil did it grow in. I mean know of days they can grow a chicken in the US fly it to China and process it over there and then it comes back to our grocery stores and we have no idea. They don’t need to put that on the label!
When we hear comments like these we don’t need to get mad and all worked up about them. We need to welcome them and use them to start a conversation that we have been putting off for way too long. We need to take pride in HOW WE Raise our FOOD. We shouldn’t leave it up to someone else to do it behind closed doors! I would love to hear your thoughts on this
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Some people don’t understand. I have a small homestead here in NY. I raised Three pigs a couple of years ago they were named and yes she grandkids treated them like pets but they understood that they were food .one asked me why I butcher them instead of buying at the store .I found a documentary on line about how chickens and pigs were raised for the stores . My one granddaughter said “their so sad there. I’m glad ours are happy their never sad” when it came time to butcher they were OK with it and it was done with great care and giving thanks . The best part is the they noticed how much better the meat tasted then the store. There always going to be a few people out there with negative thoughts Al . I hope to catch you next butchering class told my hubby I want to go so we’ll see how the year goes …. side note I was wondering how the air locks are working
Take care and keep doing what your doing.
That is awesome that you have the Grandkids involve. We didnt have much success with the apple cider vinegar. I think the apple mash was too dry. When I started the process there wasn’t and liquid in the mash. We squeezed it all out! Lol
As a kid, and I’m now 66, we raised chickens for eggs and meat, we also had two pigs, every year. They were carefully and humanly cared for as they grew, including pasturing…the last few months they were penned up in a large pen, fed grain and apples, etc…they were not named, other than the food for which they would be, ham and bacon…these were very large animals maybe 400 lbs, providing our extended family with nutrients food. They cured in our smoke house. It was difficult to see them shot, but it was very quickly done…it’s a part of life that is necessary, if we are not vegetarians….hamburger comes from beef, chicken nuggets from chickens, perhaps if we all knew where our food comes from, we would be less wasteful!
I bet you have some great family recipes and know your way around a smokehouse! DO you still raise your own livestock for food?
Hello. I have to agree that home raised food tastes better. I raised some hens untill they got too old them they went to a real farm. I’m glad they ended up somewhere with other chickens. I plan on starting fresh in the spring, because in Michigan it’s cold for chicks right now, and yes that includes meat birds. I’ve had home grown chicken from family members and it’s much much better than store bought. You talked about how far food travels and how disconnected we are as a people with the origin of our food. I think about a term I’ve heard a couple times talking about that, food miles. While I wish I could say all but at least some of my food is measured in food feet. Keep it up.
You are doing it right Al. I raise and butcher my own meat for the same reasons. The reason some folks ask those uncomfortable questions is that the truth about our food is not easy for them to face. There must be death for us to eat meat. Unless you only eat fruit, grains, nuts and seeds, there is even death involved in the vegetarians meal. It is just the facts. Better to love our animals and only give them one bad day, than to treat them as a commodity or not allow them life at all. How many pigs would ever be born if no one was eating them?
People need to realize that ALL food has a story. When I grabbed a little peach cup from the store the other day, I noticed that it was “made in China”. So, what is the story of that peach? How was it raised? Who was the farmer? What kind of sprays were applied to it? Are those chemicals even legal in the US? Was child labor or slave labor of some kind involved in the process of getting that peach grown, harvested packaged or shipped?
We raise our animals well and give them a humane and quick end, which seems to anger some folks. I wish they were as involved, aware and emotional about the rest of the food that is consumed in this country.
I suspect that most people know why you grow your own, or hunt for your own food, but are trolling or trying to put you on a spot. They don’t care what your answer is because they have their own agenda rattling around in their confused little echo chamber. Personally I’m tired of trying to explain to these people why I do what I do, and will continue to do what the human race has done for millennia. Why is it okay to let someone else do all the “dirty” work, but you shouldn’t do it yourself? If they don’t like it …… tough ……. don’t watch!
Al your doing a great job providing for your wife and daughter. Keep It up, thanks for sharing and allowing us to enjoy the journey. We have gotten so far removed from our food, we don’t even recognize much of the fresh items in a grocery store if it’s not tagged.
Trying get my household into more fresh items and growing what we can ourselves. It’s not easy taking an animals life, but the good lord provided and it would be wasteful to not enjoy the bounty.
Naming an animal doesn’t change it’s nature and function, just the way we assign feelings toward it. Your pigs have been a great source of entertainment along with the food they provide, I’m sure living with them in person it’s even more so. I laugh each time I see Andy, he does stick out from the flock.
Have a great weekend Lumnah’s .
In the future, all the naysayers and critics will wish they had accepted your wonderful informational videos! Our world is changing and in the future, food supplies which are now overflowing will become geographically limited. Your fantastic family oriented videos reflect love as it was designed!
I worked for a trucking company that shipped butchered frozen chicken meat to grocery stores across the U.S. I didn’t stay long and stopped eating chicken for a long time after that short-term job. The trucking company was located next to the chicken “farm”. Chickens kept in cages all their lives. Never seeing the ground. Never being touched or talked to. I know this because on occasion I had to go to the “farm” office to collect information for the shipping labels. I was offered a tour and took it.
Anyway, during my tour, a dead chicken was found in one of the cages. I heard someone yell at someone else about it and someone yelled back to throw it in the grinder and put it in the feed. Now, no-one checked to see what the chicken died of and yet they fed it right back to the chickens. This is not what I want to consume.
I want to KNOW that the food I eat is healthy, to begin with. I want to KNOW that the food I eat isn’t full of hormones & anti-biotics which then pass on to me. I want to KNOW that the food I eat hasn’t been contaminated with poisons to kill weeds or bugs that I then consume.
Al, I will take your way above the grocery stores all day long. We raise our own chickens and have been for 2 full years now. Next Spring we will get a couple of piglets to raise. We bought one of our neighbors home grown pigs and had it butchered. Awesome meat compared to what we have eaten from the grocers. When we raise ours we will give the butchering of our own a try.
Thank you Lumnah family for all your teachings. I believe your videos should be shown in High Schools across the United States. I don’t think the younger generation fully appreciates where their food comes from and what is actually in it.
Having begun this process with chickens I have to agree that giving them the best life I can and doing the process myself has made me more thankful for the animals sacrifice. It makes me want to use the whole animal so as to not minimize the life that has been given. it tempers my impulses to over indulge. The food is healthier and so is my relationship to. Growing up as a city kid I thought it would be harder, don’t get me wrong it is sobering, but after considering the alternatives I realized if I was to take more responsibility for my self I had to learn these skills. It is rewarding in it’s own way. There is no “pleasure” in taking the life only gratitude. My raising them well is my sacrifice to them and is small in comparison.
In these days of food cartels and the global financiers that run them, it’s almost like the scenario you read about in Sinclair’s book the Jungle. Levels of production in various locations all geared towards squeezing the maximum amount of profit on behalf of shareholders.
If i may id like to address the first question you answered.
I have raised my own animals and named them all. I have also raised animals and swapped them with other farmers just before harvesting and both times it was different.
Yes, in both instances you are painfully aware of what you are doing, there are nerves and no matter how many times you do this you always have a moment of ‘dont let me mess this up’ however, with your animal that you name and you bond with. As counter intuitive as it may sound, there is no guilt, in fact if i had to put it into words. There is love and respect. In fact, i have found that the names will stick all the way to the table and are spoken at that point with an ammount of reverance.
I couldn’t have put it any better!
It has to be said that many people do not even know what they are eating. I know the children don’t. It is much better to respect the animals that we consume instead of being blissfully ignorant.
So nice to know that your animals are well cared for even though they’re being raised for food.Would you provide your pigs with vetcare should they fall sick?
We have been watching and enjoying your video’s for some time now and learning allot. we live on 7.5 acres in Maine and my daughters boy friend is all excited about raising a couple pigs this spring , so I think we are going to give it a go. We have mostly field but do have a tree line between 2 fields so we are thinking of raising them there , should be a fun project for the family. But any ways thanks for the great videos and keep them coming. Got to say your breakfast picture looks some good!
Thanks, you and the Family are going to have so much fun raising pigs this spring
Wow I absolutely love this. Yes, I haven’t been able to raise animals for meat since our first pig over a decade ago.
Im just now getting into chickens again which is how I found your blog (just finished the diy chicken feeder not 15 min ago and it was an instant hit).
So far these girls are gonna be layers. But I’m bracing and prepping myself for meat chickens. And this was just the article I needed.
Thank you so much.
Hi Al and family,
I grew up in a small town in Central Newfoundland Canada. I remember just how important it was to raise our own food and vegetables to sustain us. I also remember VERY well just how well ALL our livestock were treated. They all had names and were given the best life possible all the while we knew they were going to helping us live through the long cold winters. We were growing Organic when we didn’t even know it. Chemical foods and fertilizers were expensive and we could not afford it. (thank god)Our meat, eggs and vegetables were shared with the less fortunate and those who were not able to raise their own. I have never forgotten just how good these things tasted and the feeling of knowing exactly how it was raised and harvest. Living in a big city today makes finding decent meat and vegetables has become more and more difficult. Today I have to drive 2 hours to find a local farmer who practices the same ethics that I grew up on. Nothing compares to farm fresh food.
Just a note to those who seem to thing food from a grocery store grows on a tree. News Flash. It doesn’t .
First, of all, you and Gina and Olivia are very respectful of your farm animals.They are give good food and they are treated decently.You should be proud of their decent treatment.You never harm them and they are given a decent end to their lives.That is all.
Secondly, my father raised sheep and goats.The sheep were raised for their wool and the goats for their mohair.We did not raise them for meat.They were raised decently and carefully.
The goats sent me to college so I could become a teacher.I helped on our small ranch because they were helping me become educated.
I did not like the sheep because they were stupid and had no idea of how to behave.The goats were much more intelligent.We lived in Central Texas in a small community and in Texas lamb was not a money-producing food.I understand that many people especially in the north, the east and in the northeast eat lamb.I have eaten lamb and I dislike the taste–it is a heavy, greasy meat. Give me a steak any day of the week and I will eat it–or ground beef—all week long.
Your dogs will hate the sheep because sheep will not do what the dogs want them to do.You will hate the sheep because they will not do what you want them to do.
The lambs are very cute and everyone loves them but they will become stupid and a pain in the rear for you and your family and your dogs.
I enjoy your videos.Please be careful on your next project.I also enjoy your newsletter.Gina is a very good cook and your cooking efforts are great.
Take care and be safe.