Brisbane Local Food

Growing local

Increasing the quails prior to fall. These little guys are a valuable source of eggs. We also need to start to process the older birds for meat.

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Comment by Dave Riley on February 15, 2018 at 0:16

Around here the chicken focus is big with an active Poultry Club in Caboolture and ready availability of heritage  breeds.Nonetheless, livestock bring rats, flies and pong -- so it isn't a project embraced impulsively.

Even from local farms here,  animals escape -- and can cause damage that the owners are liable for.

Some of my rabbits got out and took up residence under the local fish and chip shop.

You need to be able to recycle manure and be ready to pay vet bills. In the case of rabbits, it is no longer viable to keep them at all in the face of the latest virus release and its expensive immunization (around $40-$60 annually). Rabbit meat is now imported from New Zealand at approx $30 per carcass.

I don't like pigeons in my neighborhood -- or anywhere CBD -- but keeping a dovecote is a logical food and manure enterprise.

Then maybe we should take up the enterprise of  New Zealand and look to harvesting possums for meat (there are maybe 47.6 million bushtail possums in NZ). They live off our land after all and  invaded over there.


Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 14, 2018 at 10:51

If I had room then I would get a miniature goat - but only for milk (and cheese).  Having been around goats a little, they are far too much like dogs for me to ever be able to kill.  I can't think of a large critter that I could knock over.  I reckon I could do the guinea pigs but you'd have to make sure your friends didn't find out.  It has a social stigma.  A friend of mine is doing pigeons. The advantage is they look after themselves and will sit on eggs (unlike my over-domesticated quails).  

It is hard to watch something be killed.  It's harder even to do it yourself.  However, for me it is a part of trying to live more ethically.  

Comment by Elaine de Saxe on February 14, 2018 at 10:20

Good points. Chook while cheap and easily available is possibly nutritionally not very good. Or it's not in the flavour stakes anyway. No dark meat, no real flavour. Hence the myriad of dishes where everything but the kitchen sink is added to chicken to give it some flavour.

And the conditions under which the majority of chooks kept for food are housed is horrifying with the overly large breasts weighing them down, sick ones on the floor being trampled by their mates. I can see why the food industry likes chook breasts but the meat is so dry and flavourless I wonder why they put the animals through such a time for something hardly worth having.

Even the organic ones are no more flavoursome. They use the fast-maturing white chicks in order to compete but really for the extra cost - usually double or more - they are not worth eating anyway.

Doubt we could keep pigs. A neighbour with rented acreage keeps sheep and goats to what purpose I don't know except for lawnmowing. Pigs are in many ways the ideal animal for a small farm, being carefree what they eat and fairly fast growing.

Currently watching the repeats of River Cottage Australia and still finding the slaughtering however humane, difficult to watch. 

Comment by Dave Riley on February 14, 2018 at 9:32

When you kill and eat your own the respect for your food rises sharply as you are more attuned to the energy and  life force it constitutes.

Unlike vegetarianism's  abstinence, killing an animal for food after offering it a good life, draws you into magnificent web of existence and mortality.

No good for Queensland -- as it's illegal -- but rabbits can service a system of resource management. I even farmed them from vegetable shop scraps and leftovers plus some grain -- and I didn't have a garden.

However, I think chooks are better as there's the egg aspect, easy housing and cheapness of feeding. But as meat, the problem is that dead chicken is so cheap and readily available.

I reckon what neighborhoods need are pigs --collectively owned and fed.In conjunction with a local butcher who has a smoker...

Garbage guts #1. Hams. Bacon. So many cuts. Slaughtered from 4-12 months.

However, my chooks will eat ANYTHING in around 40 minutes or less and hypothetically I could raise them to slaughter. Indeed when they stop laying, you do have that choice -- but why kill and cook an animal whose food substitute is so easily bought in a shop and after so much service?

One of the great urban traditions of Brisbane is the longstanding habit of keeping chooks. Not so in Melbourne when I was growing up.

Guinea Pigs make menu sense-- especially if you don't like mowing lawn.I'm sure aquaculture works well but it does require infrastructure.

Indeed, one of our great tasks collectively is to re-integrate animals into the production landscape in tandem with grains and vegetables -- and not as separate industries.Consider the logic as recycling.

One thing I've learnt to respect sand for is that it makes a great surface to keep chooks on.

Comment by Lissa on February 14, 2018 at 6:03

Good aspirations. Could you kill a bigger animal do you think?

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 13, 2018 at 21:30

The chickens are MUCH easier to manage.  I couldn't kill one of them either - unlike the fish and quails, the chooks are pets.  You'll never find one of my fish or quails with a name.  Even then, it's a tough gig to kill something. I'd love to get to the stage where the only meat I ate was that which I raised.  They have good lives and fast, painless deaths.  

Comment by Lissa on February 13, 2018 at 17:34

Learning to farm, and use to best-purpose, live animals isn't easy. I couldn't do it with snails so realise that any chooks I eventually end up with (I think quail are a bit too daunting now, but that's a good thing to have realised) will lead a long life past their use by date for egg laying. This meat eater just can't bring herself to kill things.

Comment by Andrew Cumberland on February 13, 2018 at 13:47

It's been a difficult learning curve, to be honest. 

Comment by Lissa on February 13, 2018 at 4:34

You're becoming an expert with Quail Andy.

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