Category Archives: finance

Muscovy ducks as a cash crop

Just been having a think about how to produce a cash crop for next year and I am most confident about Muscovy meat. I am considering having a go at cold smoking and selling two large Muscovy duck breast steaks for £7.99 a packet, as a high end gourmet meat.

They costs us around £4 a bird to raise. Selling them as steaks means that we can skin rather than pluck, and we can use the offal and off cuts for our own purposes. If we produce 40 ducks in the year, this gives us £160 cash crop to pay for other feeds.

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Sheep costs

Without taking into the consideration the cost of feeding, worming and a few other costs, I wanted to work out how much meat we might expect from our Soays and how that compares to the slaughter costs. It seems from a quick piece of research that a ewe’s live weight is around 25kg. I have also found some postings that suggest that hanging weight is around 60% of live weight. So we can assume boned meat to be about 12kgs from each ewe. The slaughter cost is about £25 not including petrol, which gives us meat cost of about £2 per KG. This compares well to supermarket organic meat which is more like £5 – £15 per kg.

I dont; think we will have tonnes of meat from two ewes, but it will be plenty for us to sample. We should have some to sell if we get a decent lambing percentage next year, which will be exciting. The lambs will take a year to fatten, so it might be Spring 2012 before we are selling any Sencemeadow lamb, but we should be able to recoop some expenses this way.


Poultry

The first bag a layer pellets is about to run out, so I recon that make it 2 weeks. The bag cost us £3.75, which by my calculations means that the 6 laying hens are costing us about £2 a week. Which means if we can sell 2 boxes of eggs a week we are keeping them for free. Free eggs for us. None of them have really started laying much, we have had a sporadic handful of eggs, but they are all still a bit young, I recon in a another couple of weeks we will have more. They are just so funny though, whenever I go into the paddock, they all rush over (especially ginger Carmen), and watch me doing what ever I have come in to do. Last night they watched me building a duck house, its so funny having a large feathered audience for my construction work. Tomorrow is beckys birthday and we are picking up 3 Muscovy ducks, this is going to cost us £75, but they are adults and should start breeding this season.  We are also going to candle our indian runner eggs to see if they are working….All very exciting.


Storage bins

Another £60 spent on storage bins and stuff.


Animal enclosures

Been really busy this week trying to build some more enclosures. The little naked neck turkens have grown loads and are now too big for the little arc. So I built them a large run, which they seem to love and are certainly needing less food and water with the increased grazing. These cost about £25 to make. Wicks is the cheapest so far for chicken wire.


New arrivals

Went on a fantastic despatch and dress course this weekend, this cost us £30 each, but was really useful. Check out Gills website for lots of useful info on hens, ducks and rabbits.

www.backyardbunnies.co.uk

Brilliant teacher who showed us some really good quick and humane methods. We also picked up lots of stock. See below.

£90 for 6 laying hens..

£15 for 6 meat chick at 5 weeks old..

£45 for a breeding trio of rabbits..

4 dressed birds for cooking (£32)

Still trying to make up my mind about the cockril situation, we have a 5 week old boy at the moment (I think), so he will stay as long as he doesn’t make too much noise, and then he will have to go in the pot,  he may get old enough to fertilise some eggs before then, or not.

The laying hens have settled in really well, we have one egg already! The girls are called: Bet, Tina, Tasha, Alice, Jenny and Carmen. This will mean something to some people, and nothing to others!

The Rabbits, are also well settled in, and Becs has names them Mc Naulty, Laura and Florence.(don’t ask!).

We are, of course, not naming the meat chick.

It really feels like a real smallholding  now we have some livestock. It’s so exciting!!!!!! Might do a omlet for tea tonight!!!!


Bunnie set up

Hutches. X 2 £84.
Various bowls and bottles £10