Many Homesteading Paths

One size doesn't fit all.

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by Erin Snyder
Though they stick to routine and close to home, Pekins will consume plenty of pests in those areas.

In August 2023, I stood before an attentive crowd to discuss poultry genetics: egg color, sex-linked traits, and broilers. I referred to the previous speaker, who raised Red Rangers but, after seeing how carcasses dress out the same, switched to Cornish Crosses so he could reap the same returns in less time.

Fitted with a microphone and a PowerPoint presentation, I provided a different story: One of my Cornish Cross pullets broke her leg three days before processing weekend because of the strain of rapid growth. But we couldn’t move up the processing date because my husband and I worked several jobs while raising children. So, we kept her comfortable in the house until we could process her. It was the best decision, considering factors we hadn’t anticipated.

“But that’s the point,” I told the audience. “We can choose which ways we take care of our families. There isn’t ‘one solid rule’ to homesteading.”

We face various methods and viewpoints within the Mother Earth News office. While some employees purchase cheap meat to meet a budget, some eat only ethically raised meat, some raise their own, and some don’t eat meat in any form.

But, as I said during my presentation, that’s the point. There isn’t “one solid rule” for consuming protein. Nor for gardening, starting seeds, or working with the seasons. Till or no-till? Plant lights or coordinated seed starting? Raising your own pork or trading goat milk with a pig farmer?

  • Updated on Apr 23, 2024
  • Originally Published on Apr 10, 2024
Tagged with: beginning homesteading, building a homestead
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