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Raising Food

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Just wondering if anyone here raises food for their dogs?  I've got some chickens for personal use (eggs) and am debating getting some muscovy ducks for myself and the dog.  Based on several different websites I've calculated that the feed cost based on what I would pay for feed would be about $5 after 8 weeks, though it would likely be a bit less as the ducks would be able to free range some. 


8-10 weeks should yield an 8lb duck, so all in would put me under $1/lb and potentially around $.50/lb depending on how much free range time the birds have.  Of course that doesn't include start up costs, but even $1/lb for duck is intriguing. 





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We raised broiler chickens for ourselves and the dogs a few years ago, and they were eating machines. We had about 50, and they were going through about 70 lbs of feed a week. We decided it is cheaper to buy the meat. But, with that said, they weren't free range, since broilers can barely walk as it is due to their fast growth, so free ranging ducks and chickens may be a little better on food. 


If we had the land for them, we would still raise our own cattle, sheep,  goats, pigs etc..for both us and the dogs. 



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Raising your own meat can be rewarding, especially if you love animals (I know that may sound weird to some people). I have muscovies. They aren't real big at 8 weeks, probably around 4-6 pounds. Compared to a Pekin, muscovies are slow growing. They also require clipping of the flight feathers if you don't want them flying. Once they establish "home," they tend to stay close by. This tends to work in rural areas, but not so great in urban areas. Muscovies are great foragers! Depending on how much land you have, they can get a lot of their own food foraging. If you want a fast growing, meaty bird, I would get Pekins and incubate them. Silver Appleyards are a good meat bird that also broods. Regardless of breed, once the ducks brood, they're done making eggs for the year which greatly limits your production. If you collect the eggs and incubate them, then you can get far more (some breeds produce up to two or three hundred eggs per year).


Rabbits are another option. They're quiet, clean, tolerate the cold well, and produce well. My Silver Foxes have sweet temperaments. New Zealands and Californians are popular meat rabbits, but don't always have the nicest temperaments. I highly recommend rabbits. When kept in a colony setting, it makes their care even easier IMO.

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