Farm Animals
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Farm Animals










animal husbandry 



  newchickens-300px   It doesn’t take a lot of land to have a few farm animals. We only have three and a half acres, but we have found ways to enjoy a number of farm animals over the years. Here at Mystical Ventures, we have raised chickens and goats and dogs (and a few cats in the past). Of course, rabbits and squirrels and chipmunks and possums and woodchucks and wild turkeys and deer have also graced us with their presence, but we haven’t raised those. Animals put us in touch with Our Creator in a number of ways. Some animals have been on this planet longer than humans. God not only saved Noah during the flood, but two of every animal He had created. Animals definitely live off the land, though if we can help them in procuring food and water, and care, they usually thrive much better than on their own.  Funny thing… do people.  God seems to care tremendously for all his creatures. He watches over the sparrow (Matt 10:29) and sustains all his creation. In the Book of Jonah, God’s divine love even seems to extend beyond any covenant to all living creatures, human and non-human: “And should I not be concerned about Ninevah, that great city, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand persons, who do not know their right hand from their left, and also many animals.” (4:11)


Paul J. Schaefer wrote a very insightful article a few months ago in Commonweal Magazine, entitled: "What We Owe Animals." (June 1, 2012)  In it, he talked about his experiences growing up with animals on a small farm, writing: "Raised on a farm, I accepted the fact that animals were in service of our family's needs, not the other way around." and that "My father's moral sense in his treatment of animals was an expression of his religious beliefs."   Schaefer's contention is that there are a number of folks today that decry the killing of animals, want all animals to be free range, and in America are willing to spend $3 billion per year on pets, but ignore the fact that those neatly wrapped cellophane packages of chicken and stew meat and pork chops, and even pet food was once alive.  He calls for clearer thinking, to remember with Aquinas that humans are the ones with a soul, and that as moral agents, we are the ones who must decide how to treat lesser orders of being.  He suggests we resurrect the use of the word, "husbandry" to help us describe the complex relationship between humans and animals.  The word, "husbandry" was once linked to farming, thrift, care and management of resources.  It is a word about balance and one that makes an enormous amount of sense here at MV when we talk about a sustainable lifestyle.  For the full context of Schaefer's article, go to:

One of the reasons we have raised chickens and more recently, goats, is that raising such animals can make us more sustainable. We can have access to our own eggs, and milk (and yogurt, kefir, cheeses and butter should we choose to make them) as well as chicken meat and goat meat. Years ago, my husband came down with an allergy to red meat, a rather odd allergy, but after a few trips to the emergency room, we decided we could live very well with just chicken, turkey and seafood. Health experts tell us that is better for us anyway, and my husband’s cholesterol level looks more like a twenty-year old rather than a senior. Goat meat is becoming more and more popular, too. In 2010, 63% of the red meat consumed world-wide was goat. It has just as much protein as beef, but less fat and cholesterol than chicken. It has more iron than beef, is high in potassium and is a good source of lean red meat. For more specific information about the nutritional value of goat meat, see: 

We are just at the experimental level with goat meat, but have yet to see it flare up any allergy. Since we do grow so many of our own vegetables, however, we often eat and even prefer vegetarian meals. Consequently, our goats are dairy goats and are primarily used for milking and most of our chickens are laying hens. On the Animal Husbandry page, there will also be a place to pose questions and possibly chat with each other.


Each month, there will also be a Farm Animal Notes column, which will explore what may need to be done that particualr month to care better for our four legged friends.  See our first column for September below.

Farm Animal Notes

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