When to Butcher.

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When to butcher your livestock.

     Today we will discuss when to butcher your live stock. I have looked around for a good resource on when to butcher guidelines but have not found any, so I am going to list most of the critters that are grown on homesteads for meat production and when it is considered “a good time” to butcher.

     With so many different types of animals being raised in all kinds of conditions, like the creative folks that homestead in the city. I have put together a chart of when to butcher every animal I could think of. This list is a guideline some folks say they get better results doing whatever it is they are doing, but this is what I found to be the most widely accepted information.

        Animal                      Age

Cows1 1/2 to 2 years
Pigs6-9 months
Cornish cross
20 weeks
8 weeks
Quail7 weeks
Pheasant8 months
Turkey4-5 months
RabbitsFryers 8-10 weeksRoasters 12 weeks
Goats8-10 months
Sheep9-10 months

     This list of the Ideal age to butcher is yet again a guideline. I am not saying that if you take your animal at an earlier age it will be wrong, nor am I saying that if you let your animal go longer it will be terrible. I get ask when should I butcher for lots of different people, and I hope this will guide in the right direction.

     There are very few exceptions where waiting to butcher will actually cause harm. Such is the case in a Cornish cross chicken. I have heard of people letting them live for a long time using lower protein food. For the most part, when folks raise them to eat and wait to long to butcher, there can be considerable health issues. I have seen broken legs because the body gets to heavy for the legs and also, what I assume was heart issues. So keep this in mind when planning to butcher, “If I wait till __________ to butcher is it the right thing for the animal?” After all, we are all trying our best to raise the healthiest animals possible aren’t we?

     So whether your butchering cows or you are butchering quail, I applaud you for taking the production of your food into your own hands. You really get a good feeling when sitting down to a dinner that you raised your self.

      Please feel free to comment if you think that the age listed is actually wrong, if there is good reason for it, maybe I will adjust the chart. Also, if you feel that another animal should be added then, by all means let me know in the comments. I tried to list most animals homesteaders are raising for meat, but some may have slipped past me.

Butcher knife

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