Local readers, your input is needed!

A reader who is moving to Albuquerque soon left the following comment on my “About Us” page:
“My husband just accepted a job in Albuquerque that starts in Nov, 2011 so we’ll be moving there from Northern Colorado. We currently raise/sell goats, chickens, and pigs for meat. We also sell eggs. (Our other critters are 4 llamas, and 2 sheep). I garden for our own eating pleasure and am striving to be more self-sufficient each year.
Would any of you be willing to take part in a conversation regarding raising farm animals in the Albuquerque area? Do you have contacts or websites that I should be sure to check out?
Some of my questions are as follows:
Chickens don’t like to lay eggs in extreme temperatures (too cold/too hot). How do you handle this in ABQ?
Is there a market for meat goats? (Boer goats)
Pigs: do you know of anyone who raises pigs to market weight and sells to local friends/neighbors that I might talk with? Do you need to compensate in any way for the heat?
Thanks for getting me excited about the Albuquerque area and starting our new adventure!”
Becky – Meadow Muffin Acres – Loveland, CO

I’m going to invite my local readers in Albuquerque to respond to Becky’s questions. Please leave a comment if you know anything that would be helpful to her. My own responses are as follows:
1. I haven’t had any major temperature-related issues with my laying hens. They lay almost all the way through the winter, with a lull in late December and early January, and they slow down a little during the hottest months, July and August, but even during the most scorching seasons I get three or four eggs a day from my six hens.
2. I don’t know how much market there is for goats, but it seems worth a try, especially if they were grass-and-browse raised, because there’s a substantial market for grassfed meats here.
3. I no longer know anyone who raises pigs, more’s the pity, but there would be a good market for them. I would definitely be one of your buyers! I used to know a family who raised pigs just a few miles south of Albuquerque, and they told me that a mud wallow was essential to keep the pigs cooler on hot days. Access to shade was also essential, and on the hottest afternoons their son used to go out and spray down the pigs with the hose. The pigs loved it, and would keep trying to shove their way into the stream.
4. If you are looking for other farm-based business opportunities, a micro chicken-processing facility would be well worth considering. Many of us like to raise our own meat chickens but on a single-household scale the plucker and scalder that make butchering efficient just aren’t affordable. When I had a farm in upstate New York there was a couple who had the equipment and would process chickens for the rest of us, and it was a huge convenience. I would happily work with anyone who had the set-up to process my chickens, as well as pay for the processing. So keep it in mind!
The people at the Urban Store have their finger on the local pulse when it comes to this sort of enterprise, so I would definitely give Kathy a call or email her from their website. All best wishes to you, and welcome to town.

2 responses to this post.

  1. Hi Becky

    I can’t add much that hasn’t already been said. Our animals seem to be well adjusted to this climate and do just fine. Our hen’s laid all through the winter last year, though production was somewhat reduced during the shortest, coldest days. In the summer we provide free access to water, plenty of shade and they do have a hen house when its too hot/cold. We also turn on the heat lamp during the coldest nights of the winter, but I think they would likely do just fine without it.

    We are currently raising a pig that we will process late this fall in conjunction with another family. We provide free access to water, plenty of shade and make sure she has a nice wallow that stays wet all the time. She also likes to be sprayed with the water hose when its exceptionally hot out, but I would agree that the essential part is making sure that her wallow stays wet and cool.

    I can’t comment on goats, they are on our to do list, but we aren’t quite there yet. When we do have goats they will be milk goats and if I knew of a local source for goat meat I would be interested.

    I’ve also often thought how nice it would be if there were a small co-operative of folks who shared a plucker and got together occasionally to process meat birds. It would be nice to share the expense of the plucker and take advantage of the opportunity to connect and exchange ideas and build community while helping each other process our meat.

    Welcome to the neighborhood Becky! My website is http://www.johnnysgarden.wordpress.com I haven’t posted there recently, too busy trying to keep up with the summer but I do monitor the site regularly and will be catching up on things there soon. Hope to here more from you as you get settled in. Best of luck.


  2. I recently visited Kyser Farms. They raise pigs and lamb with lots of tender loving care. The meat is great and very consistent as he has perfected his methods! If you have any further questions contact Robert Kyser at the number on his web page. He will be happy to show you around!


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