Essential Protein for the Backyard Homestead
Most of the past articles regarding self-sufficiency on the backyard homestead have focused mainly on fruit and vegetable gardening, harvesting, processing, and canning. This however, is but one half of the overall nutrition of living things. Vegetables account for the carbohydrates needed for life but are incomplete on their own. The other part of the equation is protein and for most people the perception is that this is difficult, if not impossible, to accomplish at home, most especially outside a real farm setting. In actuality it is not only possible but fairly easy even for a smallholding …even an urban or suburban lot. There are many options for small-scale livestock raising that are simple, easy, and most of all, concealed from prying eyes of neighbors.
More and more urban and suburban townships are acceding to citizen demands for backyard livestock operations used solely for the householder. It is important to stress that this is not for a home-based business, but for the household on which the livestock is grown and consumed. There are many reasons for this, but among the most widely claimed is health. Raising your own, whether vegetable or animal gives greater assurance of what basic resources and nutrition go into the garden or animal. There have been numerous accounts of alleged organic and natural plants and animals actually being less than organic and natural; so my contention is that unless you grow it yourself you can never be totally assured of the organic claims. Add to this is that there is no legal definition of organic and natural that has jurisdiction over such production. Also many items can be fudged, and legally so, for instance, so-called “fresh” chicken eggs are considered fresh up to 60 days from being put in the carton …not even from laying, but actually from packaging. Bet you didn’t know that!
Anyhow, here at Hunny-Bunny in addition to rabbits, chicken primarily for eggs and secondarily for meat, we will be adding Coturnix Quail (pron. co-TURN-ix). This is a venture started here at Hunny-Bunny long ago, before we had hens. It was marginally successful but I decided at the time to concentrate on hens / eggs for fast and easy protein and I was presented with a flock of chickens from a family moving out of the area.
Meantime, I had all the necessary quail equipment already bought, paid for, owned, and in storage. These included an incubator with egg turner, a brooder, breeder pens, and a rack for more pens of hens and meat grow-out pens for the cocks. Coturnix coturnix japonica (Latin), is also known as Bible Quail as it was this species God provided to the wandering Israelites in their 40 year sojourn in the desert.
I restarted my quail production by ordering Coturnix quail eggs, a variety called Coturnix Blonde, which is slightly larger than the standard Coturnix coturnix japonica. A grouping of 48+ eggs is on order and shipping will occur in the next two weeks. In the interim, I cleaned and prepared all the aforementioned equipment and re-calibrated the heat, humidity, and light settings. Additionally, I cleaned and disinfected the feeders and waterers and now all is in readiness for the eggs.
I’ve added quail to the protein production here at Hunny-Bunny Farm for many reasons. It is an easily produced protein; meat can be produced in as little as six weeks. Egg production starts as early as 4 to 6 weeks; they can be produced clandestinely; I had all the equipment needed; and as an added benefit quail eggs have a unique and efficacious effect on asthma and other pulmonary disorders (see http://www.motherearthnews.com/homesteading-and-livestock/natural-therapeutic-coturnix-egg-zbcz1311.aspx).
So all is in readiness and if all works according to plan I may have beneficial quail eggs to sell after Mass on Sundays at our chapel in addition to chicken eggs.
With all the ominous events accelerating throughout the world today and the impending centennial of the Fatima Apparitions on the horizon, it is most essential that we be prepared to provide as much for ourselves and loved ones. Gardens are merely part of the answer to health and well-being in the foreseeable future, but ongoing protein production is also vital. No matter how much we may have set back in stores, no matter how much freeze dried and dehydrated foods we have in storage, sooner or later it will run out … it is inevitable. It is crucial to look to the maintainable and enduring nature of raising our own foodstuffs including small-scale livestock.
Continue to pray the Rosary for the Consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. This is the only comprehensive solution to the precarious times we live in.
Richard of Danbury, D. S. G.