The first aspect of homesteading that we will take a look at is the livestock. Livestock can be a great way to create your own meat to enjoy all throughout the year and there are options no matter how much room you have to spare. If you are lucky enough to have an acreage, you may be able to include some bigger livestock such as cows. Others may be limited to their own backyard so they may choose to have something small and easy like chickens. No matter which one you choose to go with, you are making some great strides with homesteading!
Raising chickens can be a great experience. Most chickens do not need a ton of space to live as long as you allow them a little room to roam during the day and a safe place to call home at night. One male chicken to every ten to fifteen female chickens is enough to keep the fresh eggs coming and to help ensure that your flock continues to grow with the fertilized eggs. You can also choose to just have female chickens if you are just interested in the meat and the eggs without growing the flock.
Chickens are relatively easy to take care of as long as you keep the coop clean, prevent them from getting sick or starting fights, and provide them with healthy and delicious food. They are great for a lot of good fresh meat and you can expect some fresh eggs every day or two to help feed your family.
There are a number of ways that you are going to be able to enjoy chickens on your homestead. First, they work really well as pets for the family and can teach some responsibility to your children without taking up all that much space. If you have a backyard and can fence it in a little bit, the chickens are going to be just fine. You will need to give them some room to roam and make sure to clean out the coop and collect the eggs, but for the most part, the chickens will take care of the majority of the work.
You will also be able to use the chickens to get a steady stream of food. You can use their eggs each day to help out with your breakfast for a much lower cost than they are in the grocery store. You will also be able to butcher some of the chickens at the end of the year and freeze the meat to enjoy on your dinner table. If you would like to keep your costs down even more, you may consider hatching a few of the eggs and letting them grow up, rather than eating all the eggs, so you have a constant source of fresh meat and fresh eggs without having to pay for more chickens.
Another animal that you may want to consider when homesteading are goats. It is often best to get started with just one or two goats to see how this is going to work out for your needs. Sometimes goats can be a handful and it is better to find out that you are not fond of having them around when you only have two rather than finding this out with a whole herd in your backyard.
Goats can be a wonderful option to have in your backyard homestead. You will be able to drink the ultra healthy goat milk throughout the year and the meat is really healthy for your body and can fill you up for a long time. Before making the purchase of a goat, make sure that you have enough land to raise them, and pay special attention to the fences that you have in place. You will need to have some kind of fence, whether it is an electric fence or some traditional form of fence, to keep the goats in place. You can also consider a holding pen for those times you need to give the goats vaccination.
When purchasing a goat, make sure to go with a reputable seller who is able to provide you with the background of each goat that you purchase. Many new homesteaders are interested in going with a sale barn because of the prices, but you will have no idea the background of your goats and this can be dangerous for you and for the goat. You want to make sure that the goat does not have any diseases or need special care before bringing them home.
You may want to consider having at least one buck along with several does for the goats or have a means to get in touch with a buck at some time. This can help you to breed easier and you can keep on more goats for less cost down the road or sell them to make a little bit of profit.
Taking care of goats can be a little bit of a challenge. You need to make sure that they have plenty of room to roam and a lot of food to eat or they can get into trouble. Again, that fence can be a nice addition because it ensures that they are staying in place and not getting into the trash, garden, or other areas where you would rather they stay away. Make sure to do your research on the different kinds of goats to find the one that is right for you and to understand what raising goats entails.
Another option that you can choose if you have the room is to raise your own pigs. Pigs don’t take a ton of work to take care of and that tasty meat can make all the difference when winter arrives and you don’t need to go to the grocery store. If you live in town though, make sure to check with your local ordinances to see what the rules are for having pigs in the neighborhood.
Pigs can often thrive as grazing animals, though it is a good idea to add some variety to their diets including extra milk and whey and garden and food scraps as well. The pigs will use their own rooting instincts can help them to find even more of the food that they need to do well and you can put these animals to work with helping on the farm once you get used to them.
Most homesteaders will choose to have pigs around because of all the amazing meat that they can get. Think about the sausages, bacon, pork chops and more that you can get out of pigs without having to pay the high prices at the store and without having to worry about the inhumane ways that many big farms treat their livestock. Just a few pigs can be enough to fill up that deep freezer and get you set all winter.
Pigs can be valuable for more than just their meat, although this is an important aspect as well. Many farmers keep pigs around to help out with their gardening and other chores around the homestead. For example, the compost from the pigs can be really rich in nutrients and will make that garden grow like crazy. Bring the pigs out into the garden to help mix the compost into the dirt and you are going to have a better crop then ever before. Make sure to reward the pigs with some tasty corn as a treat.
And of course, raising cows is a great way to get a lot of meat and milk that you need to become self-sufficient. You just need to make sure that you have the space to make this happen. Unlike chickens and goats, you will not be able to fit the cows into your own backyard, so finding a larger area, or going with one of the other animals, may be the choice that you need. But if you have the room and the time, raising cows can be well worth the effort.
Cows can provide a number of benefits to your homestead. You can keep the cows happy on your farm and get milk from them every day, a luxury that can get really expensive at the local grocery store. You can allow the cows to roam around on the homestead and eat up some of the weeds and grass that would get out of hand otherwise to keep the homestead looking great. And at the end of the season, you can choose to butcher a few of the cows to use them as meat to make it through the winter. Think of how tasty it will be to have some of your own fresh milk and fresh meat available whenever you want.
As mentioned, your cows are going to need a little bit of space to live. If you would like to have the cows graze, you will need two acres or so for each cow. You can also raise them in a feedlot area if you’re short on space and then just provide them with concentrated feed and roughage to keep them big and strong. You can also choose to place the cows in half of the pasture and have it gated up and switch them over to the other half to give the grass a break and still allow the cows some room to wander around.
Make sure to be careful with the fencing that you are providing to your cows because some types may cause external harm to the cows. Providing them with enough water each day, somewhere between twelve and twenty gallons every day, can help them to stay hydrated and not get sick. These animals are going to take a bit more time to raise and take care of, but compared to the cost of beef and milk at the store, you are going to get an amazing deal and won’t have to rely on the grocery stores.
These are just a few of the types of animals that you may be considering adding to your homestead adventure. These animals can make life easier, providing you with eggs, milk, and meat to last all year long and keep you healthy for a fraction of the cost of purchasing at the store. Make sure to learn how much space each animal needs and whether you have the time available to give them everything that they need for the best results.