So, you’ve got a little farm going on. You have a few sheep, a few cows and maybe even some goats. But, you want more. You want something unique and special for your farm. But, what other animals are there for you to consider? And what do each of these animals need or what will they produce for you? Well, we’ve come up with this article to exactly answer all of those questions. In this article, we’ll introduce three special animals that you can also consider raising for your farm!
1. American Water Buffalo
An American water buffalo is an extremely versatile animal to raise. Unlike goats or sheep, American water buffalo can serve three functions. One, it can serve as a working draft animal. They can be used to help plow your fields. Two, they can be raised as meat or three, they can be raised for dairy production. In essence, American water buffalo can be very useful and are a great animal to raise.
The American water buffalo is often compared to beef cattle and both species outweigh each other in different aspects. American water buffalos are hardier than beef cattle. They can subsist on lower quality pasturage and are highly resistant to parasites. It is also much easier for female American water buffalos to calve as compared to female beef cattle. However, American water buffalos require more work and better tools. American water buffalos have to be raised for a longer period of time (eight to twelve months longer) before they are ready to be slaughtered for meat. Their milk production is also significantly lower. However, buffalo meat and milk are both more nutritious and flavorful than beef cattle.
American water buffalos can also be highly difficult to rear. They require extra equipment and space. For example, they are extremely clumsy and have a tendency to break everything. As such, you’d need to purchase heavy-duty equipment for them. Their young are also poor at withstanding the cold and require shelter in winter. On the other hand, their adults are unable to withstand heat well. They, therefore, need areas of water or mud to wallow in. Furthermore, for dairy production, yaks also require tandem milking stalls due to their territorial nature. In essence, American water buffalos are an expensive investment and will require a substantial startup amount.
Elk is another great livestock alternative for farms too. They belong to the deer family and have been bred over generations to produce a larger and more docile version of their ancestors. Compared to cattle, elk are also much easier to raise as they are able to eat a wide range of plants and plant parts. For example, they are able to eat leaves, shrubs, grass, and even tree bark. This thus makes them an easy and fuss-free animal to raise on your farm.
Raised well, elk will serve as a valuable source of income. You can breed elk for further sale, sell as meat or even harvest their antler’s velvet (the epidermis of their antlers before they begin to calcify) for sale. Elk meat is especially liked as it can serve as a healthier version of red meat. Antler velvet is also very valuable as it is used greatly in Chinese medicines. A bull elk will begin to produce velvet once it turns two and the amount of velvet it produces increases as it ages. By the time it is seven years old, the bull elk will be able to produce as much as thirty to forty pounds of velvet in a year.
Elk are pretty easy to rear. Unlike cattle, they require much less space. The space required for one male cattle can be used for two to three elk. However, elk do require a greater amount of fencing as compared to cattle. You would also have to get special fencing equipment like holding pens and squeeze gates for elk. This is required because you do not directly handle elk. Instead, you pretty much allow them to roam and move freely.
Alpacas are another great and adorable potential addition to your farm. With their gentle behavior, furry coats and cute looks, an alpaca is sure to be loved on your farm. However, alpacas are the least useful on this list as they are only able to generate revenue through one way – fiber production.
There are only two breeds of alpaca – Huacaya and Suri. When you think of alpacas, Huacayas are probably what comes to mind as they are the more commonly seen breed. Their fleece is curly and fuzzy and this gives them that adorable teddy-bear like aesthetic. Suris, on the other hand, have silky fleeces and hence, look shaggier. Each year, only five to eight pounds of usable fiber can be harvested from an alpaca. However, alpaca fleece is usually high in demand and can be easily sold.
Alpacas are both easy and difficult to raise. With their docile nature, alpacas are able to live harmoniously in herds. They can also be trained from an early age and hence, are easy to handle. However, alpacas are also difficult as they require a decent quality of pasturage in order for them to produce good-quality fleece. They also require fences or barns to protect them from the weather or predators. Apart from that, alpacas also require close care as they do not show signs of illness. Instead, you’d have to spend time weighing and checking on them to ensure that they aren’t infested with parasites or sick with an illness.
In conclusion, these are several other interesting livestock options that you could include on your farm. These animals may not be as easy to raise or take care of as common livestock, however, they can add variety to your farm. If you intend to have visitors come to your farm as additional revenue, these livestock animals would definitely liven up your farm. However, it is important to do more research on any animal that you’re interested in to ensure that you will be able to provide the proper care for it too.