Why We Decided to Cancel our Meat Birds

We recently decided to cancel our order for 50 meat birds, due to arrive August 5th. Here’s why.

We just have too darn much to do. That’s it. That’s the whole blog post.

I think one of the biggest pitfalls for homesteaders and small farmers is to take on too much at a time. This can sneak up on you, so you haven’t even realized it was happening until you are neck deep in projects.

Summer is always an insanely busy time at the farm and this year is no different. This week I was somehow shocked to find us halfway through July with a pile of projects still under way.

Chicken Coop

Our chicken coop is the oldest building on the farm. It is solid, but in desperate need of repairs. We recently fixed the foundation (video and blog post soon to come!) but still have a lot left to do. We have three windows that need to be replaced, a loft to clear our, and sheet metal siding to put up. This is in addition to cleaning out the entire coop, which is comprised of three separate pens.

chicken coop rough and tumble farmhouse
Slowly but surely fixing her up!

Goat Shed

We have two registered Nubian bucks that are currently out grazing with our cows. We have a registered Nubian doe and her two doelings that are living in their own separate pen. In the next month or so, the bucks need to move into the bachelor paddock and the doe with her kids will move in with the main herd.

These boys will need their own little bungalow that I have yet to build. I plan to make a simple pallet shelter, as they will only be using it from about September-December. Still, this is a project that will probably take me several days, working during my daughter’s nap times.

nubian goats rough and tumble farmhouse
King, Graham Cracker, and Sukie, mid head shake.

Pig Hut Expansion

My husband built a small hut for our pig, Iris, back when we got her as a 9 month old. The hut works fine, but unfortunately my husband made it to fit Iris as the size she was, not realizing how big a sow will get over time.

From the looks of her ever growing belly, we can expect piglets in the next few weeks. The hut needs to be expanded to make room for her and however many piglets she will have.

pig rough and tumble farmhouse
Iris, belly getting bigger by the day.

Shed Clean Out

We have a large pole barn on the property that is half barn, half shop. The shop half was largely filled with crap left behind by the previous owners. We have added our own junk to this pile and it all needs to be cleared out and organized before fall because we are soon getting…


With the animals we have, we will go through around 500 square bales of hay over the winter. About 200 are being delivered. The rest we will be getting by the pick-up load full, just 25 at a time. Once we get the shop cleared out, we can start filling it up with sweet smelling hay.

Butchering the Steer

Last year’s calf had the misfortune of being born a boy. This year, processors are insanely booked and the earliest date we could find for him was next March, currently eight months away. Thankfully, we have a friend who has done custom butchering before so we will be processing the steer ourselves. Not a small undertaking for a thousand pound animal.

I’m not showing you our steer because it makes me sad. Instead enjoy our goat girl squad.

And Oh, Maintain a Household and Raise a Family

My husband works full time. I work away from home one day a week, and the rest of the time I am a full time mom, homemaker, and farmer. I maintain our house, cook meals, do laundry, look after our daughter, and update this excellent (if I may say so myself) blog. In addition to those responsibilities, the majority of the farm work and projects fall to me.

Each of those projects listed above will slowly but surely be taken care of while my daughter is napping, or if the bugs aren’t bad, strapped to my back. My husband will of course help, but the bulk of the work is up to me.

baby and english shepherd rough and tumble farmhouse
Jane and Sunny watching the goats.

It’s Okay to Say No

If this were the situation in my early days of farming, I might have said “damn the torpedoes” and still planned to get the meat birds. After some years of experience and gained humility, I know my own limits.

Would I love to have a freezer full of our own chicken to eat all year? Absolutely. Do I have the knowledge and skills to raise meat birds? For sure.

Do I have the mental capacity and time to plan for the added chores, construction of the chicken tractors, calculation of feed needs/costs, figuring of freezer spaces, and butchering date, all in the next 20 days?

Nope. I just don’t. And that’s okay.

If time allows, this fall I’ll get my chicken tractors assembled. This winter I’ll figure out feed costs. Early spring I’ll order my birds. Next summer we’ll fill our freezer with home raised chicken.

In the meantime I’m going to prioritize my to do-list, and take a big sigh of relief as I cross “meat birds” off the top.

Pin it for later!

Need a reminder that it’s okay to say no? Pin this post for later for solidarity.

To learn more about our family, check out About. If you are looking for meat birds, we like to order from Hoovers’ Hatchery.

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