A Guide to Homesteading Animals

Thinking of starting your very own homestead? Unsure of what animals to rear? This is the article for you!

Goat

Goats are a great helper on the farm. You can always count on the goats to help rid the uninvited guest of the farm also known as weeds. To them, gnawing on weed isn’t a chore. In fact, it is a delicacy to them. If you have a decent size field for the goats to roam and feed on weed, you essentially pay $0 for their feed making them an extremely affordable animal to rear. Apart from grooming your farm, they also produce delicious milk. Goat’s milk creates one of the creamiest cheese and butter. It is also packed with protein and healthy fats which catalyzes weight loss.

One thing to note, however, be sure to purchase strong and durable goat fencing. Goats are the masters of escaping. Any opportunity they get, they’ll try to slip past the fences. To prevent them from escaping and inhaling every single crop on the farm (even the ones you painstakingly nurture), you’ll need an electric or welded fence.

Chickens

The animal spotted on almost every single homesteader’s farm. The low maintenance needed to care for the chickens coupled with the great products they bring to the table is recognized by every homesteader. On average, a hen lays one egg in a day. At this rate, with just a few hens, your supply of eggs will never run out. Not only do you get a steady supply of eggs, but they are a guarantee of the freshest eggs you’ll ever enjoy. Besides eggs, you’ll also get to enjoy fresh chicken meat.

Cows

Popular for their milk and meat (beef). The amount of milk produced by cows in a day can be as much as 8 gallons! That will mean a lot of milk drinking and recipes that require the use of milk. But that also means a lot of milking to be done. You’ll either need to install an automated milking machine or you’ll need to make the effort to milk them two to three times a day. This is important as it prevents the cows from falling ill. So do take this into account before you commit to buying cows to rear.  The amount of beef provided by a large cow is so substantial that it can last you and your family an entire winter. The taste and quality of beef are largely dependent on the cow’s feed and living conditions. To achieve Kobe beef’s marbling and taste, it is encouraged you feed them forage which includes hay, silage, and pasture. Grain supplements can help to speed up the growth of cattle and fatten them up.


Pigs

Another commonly spotted animal on homesteaders’ farms. Pork is a favorite amongst many. It is almost certain that every family’s breakfast table will spot sausage and bacon on it. Pigs are one of the easiest to feed. That is because they eat almost literally anything. By anything I mean, your leftovers, compost, hay, and the list goes on… This will definitely help you manage your food wastage situation. However, you’ll need to feed these ravenous creatures many times a day. They have an extremely healthy and big appetite. Pigs are not recommended for first-time homesteaders. You’ll need to be mentally ready to catch them when they run out of their pigsty. That is not going to be an easy job for sure.

Sheep

Wool is a treasured material. You can spin out some of the best quality wool like cashmere, lambswool and merino wool. All of which can be made into some of the best clothing and beddings. Apart from its wool, they also produce some pretty amazing milk and meat.

Rabbits

Similar to wool, the Angora breed has one of the fluffiest furs of any rabbit species. Their furs are often used as yarn. The uses of this woolen yarn are endless, from jumpers to scarves to all things warm and furry. It is also extremely well received in the market, with an increasing amount of customers demanding more of such fur. You’ll be able to fetch a high price if you intend to sell Angora fur. To raise an Angora rabbit, it is fairly simple. Rabbit’s fodder is cheap and they only require a very small space. If you decide not to have your rabbit live in a hutch, you can always allow them to roam freely around your backyard. The only thing to note is to use bunny tractors to fence up the area to prevent them from going missing.

Bees

For an endless supply of honey, having bees are the way to go. Honey is used in thousands of recipes. You do not even need to think that hard on how you want to utilize your honey. Just a simple cup of honey water every morning will go a long way. In addition to consuming honey, bees also produce wax which can be used to create beeswax candles. Beeswax candles can help neutralize pollutants in the air by eliminating odors, dust, and mold. It essentially acts as an air filter. As part of their pollination cycle, they are essential to a healthy plant’s growth. You will soon see your garden blossom in no time.


Dog/ Cat

Dogs can act as guardians of the house. They are very sensitive to sound so no burglars and thieves will be able to get past them. For sheepdogs like the Bearded Collie and Belgian Malinois breed, they can help round up your sheep.

Cats are the hunters of the house. Rats and mice are what they look out for. You can be sure that no rats and mice will be found in your barn or where you store food.

Horses

Slightly more expensive than all the other animals listed above. Mainly because you’ll need to take into account the huge space they require, food,  grooming, etc. They require about two acres of grazing area and at least four to five feet wide and eight feet long of stable space. But they will be extremely useful. They possess an enormous amount of strength that is perfect for heavy object lifting and they offer an eco-friendly transport alternative to your cars.

Be committed to your homesteading journey. Do not give up halfway, leaving the animals high and dry. Happy homesteading!

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