The Local Dr. Doolittle


RACHEL DICKERSON/MCDONALD COUNTY PRESS Hobby farmer Joi Chupp is pictured with one of her milk goats at her 40-acre farm.

Joi Chupp is a hobby farmer who lives in Stella but has ties to McDonald County, as she sometimes works at the Longview Mill.

She enjoys raising several different types of farm animals on her 40 acres.

She has about 25 chickens and has been working with chickens for 15 years.

“I enjoy it. It’s a lot of fun. The roosters drive me nuts. We have way too many roosters and they want to get on my front porch all the time. But you’ve got to have one or two,” she said.

Chupp said she has fresh eggs almost all the time, although she occasionally gets low in the winter. Now and then she will sell eggs to her neighbor, but she has never put a sign out. Her granddaughter takes some eggs when she comes to visit. Chupp also butchers the roosters for meat.

“We’ve been trying to get rid of the roosters, but their skin is tough because they’re so old. They taste good once you get them in a pressure cooker.”

She has 11 Cinnamon Queens. Two of her roosters are Lavender Americans, and other chickens are cross-bred. Lavender Americans lay colored eggs, she said. The descendants of her Lavender Americans are laying green ones, she said.

She has two milk goats, a Lamancha goat, a breed with tiny ears, and a Nigerian dwarf goat that she bought for her granddaughter that she is keeping on her farm. She milks the goats twice a day and is about to start making cheese as soon as her supplies arrive.

“I love making cheese,” she said.

She said the taste of goat’s milk is different from cow’s milk, but she likes it.

“It makes the best gravy,” she said. “The cream does not separate from goat’s milk, so it’s much richer. The only way to get the cream out is to use a cream separator.”

Chupp has sheep, which she refers to as her “money crop.” She is a member of Fiber Folks of Southwest Missouri and the Springfield Fiber Guild.

“I don’t sell that much of my wool,” she said. “I do a lot of fiber arts and teach classes.”

She spins and weaves and makes bags, hats, scarves, etc. She dyes the wool as well. She sells her wares at a lot of local craft fairs. She ends up with a lot of fiber because she also has alpacas and llamas. She has three llamas and five alpacas, and she spins their wool too.

“I’ve got four or five years of wool. That’s more wool than I can use myself,” she said. That’s one reason why she teaches classes. She provides the wool for the classes and makes money off the events.

She also has rabbits, turkeys and cows.

The rabbits are meat rabbits, a breed called New Zealand. She has 11 rabbits. She has several turkeys, but she does not butcher the turkeys.

Chupp has six cows and 15 calves. The cows are about to calve in another five weeks, she said. Two of the cows are milk cows, and the rest are beef.

She also has cats, dogs and a parrot.

Living on the property with Chupp are her husband Steve and two oldest sons, Josh and Jeremy.

Why does she raise animals?

“I just like the animals,” she said. “But (also) we’re closer and closer to being self-sustainable all the time. If we get hungry, we can always go kill one of those roosters; and if we need clothes, I can always spin some of that wool.”

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