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Why my wife and I buy half a pig every year

The Cost Savings / Financial Cooking Tip

Every year my wife and I buy half a pig from a farmer and pay for the butchering.

My parents buy half a pig, my younger sister and her husband buy half a pig, my older sister and her husband buy half a pig. So two pigs total, bought and butchered.

This process bypasses the normal farmer to butcher to distributor to grocery store routine, cutting out at least two middle men.

This results in a significant price difference.

In 2018 the cost of our half pig was $200.92... for which we get 3 large coolers full of pork, including ribs, sausages, ground pork, roasts, bacon, side pork, etc. If you want any of the meat smoked or extra services, that costs extra.

So a typical pig is going to garner you a little more than 200 lbs of meat. About 210 lbs on average.

So our share of half of pig is about 105 lbs for $200.92, so that is slightly less than $2 CDN per lb of pork.

Compare that to the prices of various kinds of pork you might find in your local grocery store. Like $6 for 1 lb of bacon, or $4 for 1 lb of ribs.

But basically you are looking at savings of roughly half of what it would normally cost you to get the same amount of pork from the grocery store. Or more savings, depending on the prices in your local grocery store.

So as a financial cooking tip goes buying your meat straight from the source saves a lot of money.

Bypassing the Farmer and Butcher

If you raised your own pigs and butchered them yourself, you would save money that way too. But then you run into the problem of how much time requirements are needed to be raising 1 or more pigs. It only really becomes effective for your time if you are raising lots of pigs, feeding them all, and preferably butchering them yourself for maximum profit when selling the pigs to interested 3rd parties.

The amount of time required to do all that becomes truly prohibitive.

This is why hunting to me makes a smart / low time requirement alternative. The deer, moose or elk will provide a decent amount of meat, and your only time expenditures is learning how to hunt, and learning how to butcher the deer yourself - which may or may not include learning how to make sausages with a sausage press.

The financial savings / time savings of hunting thus starts to make a lot of sense... But there is still the cost of getting your hunting license and the necessary equipment (firearms, bows, learning how to shoot properly, etc), and the actual hunting tags. So there are additional costs involved.

However hunting deer is so old school... especially when there is something even smarter.

Why not farm deer instead?

The deer feed themselves, you really just need to capture them and fence them in.

Deer farming has been a thing in Ontario for decades (perhaps longer) and when I was in high school I regularly passed a deer farm every time I went to school or whenever my parents when shopping or to visit relatives that took us past the deer farm.

It was just a thing that was there that I saw regularly.

But mention deer farming to city people and it is a bit like trying to explain to them that cows are female, bulls are male, and they are all cattle. They don't know that such things exist, and they don't know the difference between a sow and a boar.

So yes, deer farming is a thing.

The beauty of deer farming is that once you have the deer fenced in with a large enough area, they can graze within the forested regions of your property, there are hopefully no predators getting in through the fences, and the deer basically fend for themselves with respect to feeding themselves and breeding.

The trick to deer farming is you have to know how to manage your livestock. To only eat what you need as opposed of just eating them constantly because you can. So for example only eating the males who lack a mate, or the older males who are past their prime.

Another trick is that you want to prevent inbreeding, which can lead to diseases. So you will want to add new deer once in awhile by trading them with other deer farmers. So there will be some financial costs of trading deer once in awhile if you do decide to prevent an abundance of inbreeding.

Farming Rabbits is Easier

So yeah, if you really want to make your life easier. The solution is rabbits. Very high in protein, very lean. Goes well with fried potatoes.

Fence them in, grow a garden so you have other things to eat with the rabbit meat, any vegetables you don't eat just feed to the rabbits.

Bonus, rabbits also make nice mittens.

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