If you are considering starting a new hobby in your small homestead, consider raising some livestock. The choice of animals will depend on your personal preferences, the size of the farm, and the area’s climatic conditions. There are several livestock breeds that are ideally suited for small spaces. If you are unsure about the animals to raise, we have a few great suggestions for the best livestock for small farms:
Chickens are a great introduction to a small farm or outdoor space. They are easy to handle, are hardy, and setting them up is relatively affordable. A small flock of chickens can quickly produce enough eggs to meet a small family’s requirements. However, chickens have a lot of predators, and you must keep them secure and safe to prevent losses. Additionally, they generate lots of waste that can be used as manure for organic farming.
Ducks are considered easy to raise. They only require a small housing unit and water from a pond or kiddie pool. Ducks will forage in your garden without scratching the ground like chickens or wrecking your plants. They are also more intelligent and flourish on routine, making it challenging to develop new habits. Once grown, ducks can provide meat and eggs for your family or for sale.
Rabbits need a small barn with pens, feeders, and a dirt floor. These small animals can be kept in a small homestead and will pay off with meat, fur, and fertilizer for organic gardens. Rabbits are also very easy animals to handle but need routine care and their unique needs met. A fuzzy bunny is definitely a welcome addition to any family with a small space.
Honey bees are valuable livestock as they are easy to keep on any farm, small or large. They can be domesticated for crop pollination and honey production. Locally produced beeswax and honey are crucial products for most consumers, especially those with pollen allergies. Starting your beekeeping hobby may cost a significant amount initially, and bees need timely attention and care. However, they do not need much hands-on care after being established and will pay off in the long run.
Goats are resilient and adaptable animals that browse the stands of shrubs and small trees and will clear the land for you. They quickly adapt to poor pastures and produce enough milk daily for a small family. You can sell the milk, make cheese for sale, or feed to other animals on your small farm. However, goats need strong fencing because they can easily escape. If you want smaller breeds for your small space, you can choose breeds such as the Nigerian dwarf goat, mini alpine goat, or Pygmy goat.
Once you decide which animals to keep in your small homestead, ensure everything is ready before bringing them in. Take time to prepare housing for your livestock to secure them from predators and the elements. Plan which livestock can be housed together and for extra room for more livestock in the future. Find and contact a seasoned veterinarian within your community, so your livestock can get immediate medical attention and vaccinations when necessary. Making preparations before bringing new animals home will help ensure the transition goes smoothly for both your livestock and your family.