Right now we're in conversation with the couple down the road, David and Ray, to raise a few hogs and possibly some chickens together. They have an ideal, flat-ground pasture with stables that were on the property when they bought the house. So we are thinking between the four of us we think we can handle feeding and cleaning without it taking up too much of any one person's time, since we all work off-property at least a few days a week.
Until recently, Big Ag and I were buying shares of my nephew's FFA hogs, but he's graduated now and is out of the program, so if we still want a freezer full of pork we're going to have to raise it ourselves. And we were buying store-bought organic, free-range chicken, until we discovered even organic chicken has the same bacterial loads of salmonella as factory-farmed birds do, which is not encouraging. So meat birds are a definite possibility. One of the chefs at the winery even offered to do all the butchering of the birds if we give him a few to take home with him!
I feel lucky to be going into this proposition with not only Big Ag, but also two other strong men, who will be strong enough to wrangle the hogs once they get large and potentially unruly. I am hoping we can do all this animal raising before the heat comes, since hot animals are stressed, and I don't want to have to worry about their well-being when it's over 100 degrees.
It will be a lot of work, but I know I will truly appreciate the bacon, chops and sausage in the freezer come summertime.