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When we begin to plan our homestead, we start looking for livestock. I remember when we started buying animals. It started with rabbits and eventually progressed to chickens and a goat.
You may be wondering, what is the best livestock for a homestead?
Well, it really just depends. We all have our own versions of wants, tastes, and needs to pursue in our homesteads. For my family, we value farm-fresh eggs. It is also something we are able to do easily. For your family, it may be alpacas or goats!
Here we will discuss what is best for many different types of homesteads!
Is it worth it to have chickens?
Chickens can be a wonderful addition to any homestead or backyard farm!! They can be used for a variety of purposes and are a cost-effective way of raising your own food.
Not only do they produce eggs and meat, but they can be used to build compost to fertilize your garden beds.
Chickens eat just about everything and can turn the simplest of scraps into eggs and rich compost for your garden beds. There aren’t many things chickens can’t or won’t eat.
Regardless, commercial feed is relatively inexpensive for them if scraps are lacking at your homestead.
How do you raise pigs for Homestead?
Pigs are like chickens where they can be fed a diet mostly of scraps. Many people like to use them to help till up land, to plant their gardens.
Their manure also makes wonderful compost for your garden. A downfall of them; however, is their size. They can get pretty big and as a result, can be dangerous.
Pigs also require more space than something like chickens would require.
Pigs can be a wonderful source of meat for your family. If you cannot butcher at home,
you may need to see if there is a slaughterhouse near you that will butcher your pig. With the right infrastructure in place, pigs are a good option for homesteads!
Is it hard to raise goats?
Goats have the reputation of eating everything or being lawnmowers. That is far from the truth. However, they are escape artists. This makes them slightly difficult to keep.
A benefit of goats is their ability to eat brush. This makes them fantastic to use in denser portions of your homestead.
Goats can give you milk, meat, and fiber if you get the right breeds. Angoras are beloved for their fiber and ability to milk.
Goats can be slightly more at risk for things like parasites and predation. This can be remedied with proper care and maintenance. Dewormers like Safeguard work well but you should consult a veterinarian. Goat manure can also be composted for use inside your garden!
Overall, goats are wonderful to use on the farm for clearing, their products, and overall comedic relief.
Are sheep good for a homestead?
Unlike goats, sheep do eat grass, which makes them wonderful lawnmowers. Like goats; however, these animals are at a higher risk of predators. Coyotes love making sheep and lambs their meals, but luckily a livestock guardian will help remedy any predation that may occur.
Sheep can convert grass into meat, milk, and wool, which makes them a very efficient animal for the homestead.
Wool can be a little more tricky to manage. Having a shearer locally makes this a much easier feat to manage than if there were none!
Sheep milk can make wonderful cheeses and be used just like a cow or goat milk.
Is raising meat rabbits worth it?
Rabbit meat has grown in popularity on homesteads everywhere within the last ten years. This is because they can be raised just about anywhere.
Rabbit manure makes great fertilizer due to its ability to be used right away because it does not burn plants. Another benefit of rabbits is their quiet nature.
Rabbits can also be grown for their fiber. Angoras are loved for their wool and can fetch a good cost on markets.
Rabbit pelts can also be sold once tanned to help earn an income on the homestead.
These animals are arguably the most controversial but best animals for homesteads. Many of us view them as pets and that can cause some of those who do not understand to become upset.
Overall, animals on the homestead can provide enough protein for your family for the year. Whether it is eggs or meat, livestock can provide a lot of food. With the right infrastructure, you may want to consider adding a species or two to your home!
Books I recommend!
- The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh … Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees
- Raising Goats: A Beginner’s Guide to a Healthy Herd, Milk Production and Quality Home Grown Meat
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits, 5th Edition: Breeds, Care, Housing