While gardening is often the first step that you can take when it comes to mini farming because it is really easy to do, another option for those who have the room and ambition is to bring in some livestock. There are many different animals that can do well with this limited space and will still give you all of the great meat, milk, and eggs that you need to stay healthy and happy with your mini farm.
There are a few things that you will need to take care of when it comes to picking out your livestock. First, you have to remember that you are dealing with limited space. You will not be able to bring in cows, horses, and other big animals and you will also have to be careful about the size of your flock when dealing with this smaller farm size. But there are alternatives such as goats to get milk and any of the animals below to get the great meat that you would like.
Before you go out and purchase the different animals that strike your fancy, you will need to make sure that you make a good plan for the area. Figure out where you would like to place your shed, your garden, and where the animals are going to be allowed to go. You may have to add in a few new fences to keep all of the livestock in one place and to ensure that they are not getting into your garden and ruining your hard work. With a good plan, you will be able to see how much room is actually available and can ensure that you will fit as many animals into the area as possible without crowding anything.
There are several different types of animals that you can consider bringing on board for your mini farm. The choice you make will depend on what you are trying to get out of the animals. You may be interested in just getting meat while others are looking to get eggs, milk, or a combination of the three. Here we will look at some of the best options that you can use when creating your mini farm including chickens, pigs, goats, and rabbits.
One of the first animals that people will go after when they get started with mini farming is chickens. Chickens are so easy to take care of and can provide you with some of the best fresh eggs and fresh meat possible that it is no wonder that you will add these into your mini farm. You can even allow a few of the chickens to fertilize and get more without having to pay to keep them coming without having to pay for anything else.
Chickens are pretty easy to take care of even in your backyard. They don’t take up a lot of room and won’t make a lot of noise that will annoy the neighbors. You will need to make sure that they have a coop available. This provides them with a safe place to sleep at night and stay away from predators as well as to lay their eggs. As long as you provide them with some high quality food every day and allow them to roam around during the day, there is very little that you will need to do to get all the great eggs and meat that you need.
You can also choose how many chickens you would like to have around your home. Some choose to have one rooster and ten to fifteen chickens around. This is plenty to get fertilized eggs and to keep some more chickens growing over the years. Others decide to not deal with the rooster and will have a small flock of hens. Hens are able to lay their own eggs without the rooster so if you’re just interested in the meat and eggs, this can be one of the best ways.
Chickens are a great way to help your family bond and can provide a ton of meat and eggs for a very little amount of work. These are good animals to have around if you have younger children because they are really easy to take care of and like the attention from other people. Learn how to take care of your particular type of chicken and you will find that it is easier than ever to get your own meat and eggs every day.
Goats can be a great substitute for cows on a mini farm. They may not be able to produce the same amount of meat and the same quality of milk, but they do well in both arenas on their own and can fit into the smaller space that your mini farm is going to require. Goats are really intelligent backyard creatures to have and they really like to be around other people, making them good companions if you have some kids around who would like to help out.
If you pick out a good doe, you should be able to expect a gallon or so of milk each day for the three to four pounds of grain along with a few pounds of hay. If you have a few goats in your farm, you should be able to produce enough milk to make the whole family happy. Goats milk is going to be similar to what you find with cows’ milk with the added benefit if fewer allergens. If there is someone in your family who doesn’t do well with cows’ milk, you may be surprised at how well they will do with goats’ milk.
You can choose from a wide variety of goats to add to your farm but make sure to check out the ones that are also good for meat. The chevon meat is some of the best that you and your family to enjoy. The hides from these animals are also amazing to make your own jackets, vests, and rugs among other garments.
While the goat can be a great way to make some of your own household items and can be pretty easy to take care of, there are some drawbacks. First, if you would like to get some milk from the goats, you are going to have to milk them two times each day, every day, for a period of ten months until the lactation period is done. This can be really hard for some people based on their other obligations and the goat may not be the best choice for them. You will also need to keep the goats penned in to one area to ensure they aren’t running around and getting out since they like to roam. Since the goats like to make a lot of noise, they usually aren’t going to work well for a mini farm that is in town.
Pigs can provide some wonderful meat for your family to enjoy and they often like to eat your leftovers so feeding them can be easy. In fact, your pigs are going to enjoy having surplus eggs, roots, grains, garden greens and your kitchen scraps in order to grow into some delicious meat that you are sure to enjoy. They are even better than dogs at cleaning up all that mess that you don’t feel like taking care of when it comes to food waste.
Pigs are not going to need very much room and it is pretty easy to raise a couple within a pen that is just 16 square feet as long as you start them in this area from an early age. If you are purchasing for your mini farm, you should consider purchasing the weanlings during the spring and then raising them throughout the summer to reach their market weight. With this method, you will not have to worry about the issues that come with newborn piglets and you can avoid the huge size and issues of those that reach over 400 pounds.
To take care of the pigs, you just need to make sure that you are keeping them well fed and watered, something that you are going to need to do twice each day. Clean out the manure as often as you need. Some people will just do it when the compost pile is getting a bit low but you can set up your own schedule to make sure it all works out properly.
Most pigs are not going to be able to jump over a fence that you put up, but they may try to find holes available in the bottom of the fence so make sure everything is in its proper places. Have the fence be sturdy and check it often for any holes or weak spots where the pigs may try to get out.
Pigs can be a little bit dirty and cause a little bit of noise, especially if they happen to get out of their pens. You may want to consider just keeping it down to one or two pigs around your home to start with or wait until you have a little more space in order to invite these animals into the mini farm. Overall, they are pretty easy to take care of as long as you provide them with enough food and the amount of meat you can get out of them is amazing.
Rabbits are another great choice that you can make when it comes to getting started on your mini farm. Rabbits are fairly quiet animals so you won’t have to worry about them being noisy or disturbing the neighbors and they are pretty clean and easy to take care of compared to some of the other animals that you may come across. They are also really prolific so you will be able to get more rabbits from the original bunch without having to pay for any more along the way.
You will be able to keep your rabbits out in the open or even in an all-wire hutch. If the rabbits are kept in a hutch, you will need to make sure that you are cleaning out from the cage on a regular basis to prevent a bad smell and to keep the rabbits healthy. They don’t really take that much energy to take care of; just a little bit of food, some grooming, and taking care of their living environment if you keep them in cages. For this little amount of work, you will not be disappointed in the amount of food that you can get out of rabbits.
Keep in mind that if you do go with rabbits that they need to have a safe place to stay at night. Rabbits are really easy for prey to go after and if you leave the rabbits out without protection, your whole flock will be gone in no time at all.
Sheep can be a great option as long as you have a little bit of space out in the country for the mini farming. They may be too loud to keep inside of town and some city ordinances may not be too fond of keeping these sheep around. But if you have a small little piece of land out in the country a little bit, perhaps a small amount of grass for one or two sheep to graze, you will find that these can be the perfect addition to your work.
Sheep are pretty easy to take care of. You can raise them completely on good grassland, when it is in season, without having to add in any supplemental grains, making them one of the most economical creatures that you can take care of. Once the adult ewe is ready to harvest, you will get a good 100 pounds of meat as well as 8 pounds of wool from every one. This means that just having a small herd of four or five could be enough to keep your family fed for the winter. And if you go with some of the European varieties of sheep you can even get some milk out of your sheep flock.
The caretaking for sheep can be minimal as well. You will need to take care to shorn them each year, and this does pose some problems if you want to produce a good fleece for spinning and it does take some time and skill to learn. The equipment can be expensive to do this. If you want to have sheep on your mini farm, it may be best to hire a professional shearer to do the work for you. This can save you a lot of time and can keep costs down since you won’t have to purchase all the supplies for yourself.
For those sheep who are lambing, you will need to spend some extra time with them. This helps to keep the ewes healthy during the pregnancies and can ensure that the ewes are going to be assisted during labor and do a good job of watching after their lambs properly after birth. You will also have to spend some special time watching the sheep as they are very timid and many predators like to go after them as easy prey.
As nice as it would be to have some cows running around your farm, both for the delicious and fresh milk and for the great tasting meat, it is unlikely that you will have the room that is necessary to keep a heard of cows on your small little farm. While you may have up to ¼ of an acre to be a mini farm, most cows are going to need a lot more room and for each cow that you want to add to the herd, you are going to need a bit more room.
So when it comes to mini farming, you are going to have to leave the idea of cows behind because there is simply not the room to make it happen. You won’t have the room to allow the cows to roam around, you won’t have the room to store them, it will be difficult to keep enough food and grass around to make the cows happy, and the amount of manure that the cows will bring about can quickly overpower your small area.
You will also need to be careful with other big animals. While some of the bigger animals, such as cows, horses, and larger herds of the smaller animals, may fit well on a regular farm, you need to remember that you are a bit more limited on space and need to go with some of the smaller varieties. With a little bit of adjusting and hard work, you will be able to get all the products that you need in the smaller space.
Luckily, there are other options that you can choose when it comes to getting the products that you might miss from the cows. You can raise chicken, sheep, pigs and more to get some of that great fresh meat that you want. It may not be the same as fresh beef, but they are much easier to fit into a small area and can work great for providing food for the family. In addition, goats are perfect for providing your family with some fresh milk if that’s what you’re looking for and with some of the miniature varieties, you may be able to fit a whole herd into your mini farm.