The concept of sustainable food sources is being discussed widely today. People are getting more and more concerned about the rapid depletion of food given the surge in population. So how best to ensure that you’ll never run out of food? Here comes homesteading. This article will provide you with all the tips you need, including about which livestock to raise and how to go about raising them.
Coming in as one of the top 3 farm animals that are the easiest to raise, Pekin ducks not only require very low maintenance but also provide huge eggs and tender meat.
One of the factors contributing to the Pekin duck’s low-maintenance title is the fact that they occupy very little space. All you need is three square feet per adult duck and you are good to go. Simply build a small shelter, maybe a kid’s size pool for their dipping adventures and they will be more than satisfied. As for the food they require, though they consume more than chickens, they hunt better. They feed on practically anything from aquatic organisms like fishes to nuts and berries to insects like worms and mosquitos. Additionally, they can help you groom and maintain your garden. They feed off pests, protecting your healthy plants and chomp on those that are weakly rooted. Their webbed feet also help protect your garden floor unlike the sharp claws of chickens.
Comparable to Pekin ducks, rabbits require very low maintenance while providing succulent meat. It is cheap to feed them and they do not require much space. All you have to do is purchase some rabbit fodder and throw in some optional vegetables. For their shelter, you might need to build or buy hutches. However, you can opt to let your rabbits run freely in the backyard but always remember to fence up the area with some bunny tractor as a preventive measure.
Your supply of meat will never run out as the reproduction rate of rabbits is relatively high. Rabbits gestate for about 28 days (a month). Each litter consists of approximately 6 bunnies and they will be ready for consumption by the 8th week. Just like how Pekin ducks can help your garden blossom, rabbit droppings are one of the most organic and best working fertilizers out in the market.
This should not come as a surprise to you, but chickens are a great choice for the beginner homesteader. Arguably the most common farm animal to raise as opted by the masses due to the great products (meat and eggs) they bring to the table. It is to be noted that the number of eggs the chicken produces in a day varies with their breed.
To construct a chicken coop, allocate four square feet per adult chicken. The coop needs to be sheltered for the chickens to remain dry. Also, don’t forget to create a nest for them to lay their eggs. The coop should be cleaned regularly as chickens are vulnerable animals and prone to illnesses. Besides the comfort of the coop, security is important too. The coop should have durable and strong fencing as chickens are often preyed upon by predators like hawks.
When it comes to their feed, chickens will eat almost anything. You can give them feed from the store, or even weeds or compost from your garden.
One word, magnificent. Goats are the perfect little “helpers” on the farm. They are amazing at clearing the weeds of your field and of course, they provide great meat and milk. If you find yourself searching for self-farmed milk but lack the acreages to rear a cow, goat’s milk is a great alternative. In fact, goat’s milk is more easily digestible than cow’s milk.
The Nigerian Dwarf breed is one that produces milk the fastest. In just a day, they can produce up to 1 gallon of milk. Weighing at only 75 pounds, they are small, making them suitable for even a small field. They are not fussy with their feed so wood, shrubbery, vegetables, and hay are fine. The only thing they need is for companions to eat and hang with them. Goats are social animals so it will keep them mentally sound if they were to have a goat buddy. As for where to house them, some opt to let them roam the pastures freely while others construct a small hut for the goats to take shelter when it rains. Regardless of which option you choose, one thing in common is that your field is well-fenced. Goats are really sneaky. In the blink of an eye, they could very possibly escape through your loose wires.
Don’t be mistaken by how the books depict pigs. Pigs are far from the storybook stereotype of being filthy and messy animals. In actual fact, they are very clean farm animals. Pork is also one of the most sought after meat simply because of how good it tastes.
The myth about pigs being smelly can be easily debunked by allowing them to roam freely in the meadows. The more pigs move, the less emission of foul smell. Additionally, the feeding expense incurred will be significantly lower. Corn, bread, milk, compost or anything you can find in your fridge or backyard can be fed to the pigs. However, if the pigs are not free-ranged, you’ll need to prepare heaps of whatever you are feeding them since they have a massive appetite.
The perfect source of honey with very low maintenance. All you need is to construct hive boxes and a small birdbath as their source of water. Admittedly, hive boxes are not the cheapest but it will be a worthy investment when walking into your backyard to enjoy that unlimited flow of honey.
Most of the time you do not even have to purchase bees. During the spring, bees are the most active. Deck on your bee suit and gloves with some sugar water in your palms to attract them.
There is no shortage of options for the beginner homesteader. With some planning, you’ll be ready to welcome new animals to your home, be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor in no time. Cheers to a sustainable world!