Have a plan

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In the world of homesteading it is easy to get “carried away” with your projects. From the animals, to the garden, to the equipment you use. Sometimes it is necessary to stop and ask yourself why.
Do I really need to buy this piece of gear? Is this animal going to be a productive part of the things that we do? How many of theese do we REALLY need. There are times that I have brought on new projects just because they were a good deal. That can be a great thing if you have a plan. Right now I have about 30 meat chickens out in the yard, I bought them because a local feed store had them on close out, and I was able to purchase them for around 25 cents each what a great deal!!!

I already keep chickens and know the ins and outs of what it takes to raise them and keep them safe. If I did not have a reasonable plan to shelter the chickens and tend to them, it could easily get out of hand. Instead of enjoying the chickens and harvesting a good deal of meat, you could end up cleaning a mess and disposing of carnage leftover from a predator attack. That means not only are you out the cost of the chickens but also the cost of all feed involved. On top of the feed cost you are also out the time and effort you put into setting up and tending to the birds.

This kind of thing can really get you down and put a damper on current and future projects. Let’s face it we don’t mind the hard work but no one wants to do all that hard work with no return. After a few screw ups you may find it hard to dive in and do the work if in the back of your mind you are thinking of the failures of the past.

The best way to eliminate the failures is to have a good solid plan. If you are raising an animal for butcher you consider many things. How do you care for the animal, where can you get the supplies needed, when is it time to butcher, are you going to butcher yourself or have someone else do it, if someone else is going to butcher how will you get the animal to them. What happens if the animal gets sick, find someone you can consult with that has more experience than you and can guide you through tough times.

Another consideration is how many can you reasonably care for? How many animals can you house at one time? Once they are butchered is it going to be enough meat to fill your needs? Or maybe it us too much and you don’t have means to store so much, no sense in all that effort and seeing it go to waste.

Try to make good solid plans so that everything goes smoothly. You can’t plan for everything so keep in mind you may still have to adapt improvise and overcome many obstacles along the way. If you realize a plan is not working then change things a bit. Make connections with people that are into the same kinds of projects. You may be able to fix little problems by talking to someone else and getting their point of view.

When a project goes terrible wrong, don’t be afraid to say maybe this one is not for me. Part of your plan should be an exit strategy, do I butcher early? Is  there someone that will buy the animals so you don’t loose everything? Make sure you learn for mistakes like theese and do a better job next time. Before you know it you will have so many successful projects the failures will be just funny stories you tell to folks that are just starting out.

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