Raising your own livestock and other farm animals is another way to create self sufficiency. You can just raise the animals you need to butcher and sustain yourself and your family, or you can raise what you need and more to earn a profit.
Deciding what types of farm animals you want to have can take a bit of time. You may want to assess what you and your family currently eat. Most families enjoy eggs and eating chicken. Having chickens is pretty easy.
Do you have some land? Or just a back yard? You can still raise some animals to fill your freezer and provide you with food if you have a house in town. Consider keeping a few hens that will provide eggs and possible to butcher. Or consider raising meat rabbits. A couple meat rabbit does and 1 buck can provide your family with approximately 120 lb of meat each year (give or take).
If you do have some land you may consider any of the following: cows for meat and milk, pigs, sheep, goats for both meat and milk, or any types of fowl.
Self sufficiency takes some work but you will know where your food is coming from, as well as how it was raised and you have control over what those animals are eating. There is a lot of satisfaction in raising your own food and not having to rely on going to the store to buy everything you need.
I love sheep! I love everything about them. Some of my momma sheep are so friendly they demand your attention and want to be petted like a dog.
My sheep are very well cared for and provide my family with lambs every season. Some of those lambs are sold for breeding stock and some for meat, and they also provide us with extremely healthy meat. I do not raise them on GMO foods. They eat grass hay, and some of that grass hay is cut right here on my chemical free farm. They are bulked up on cracked peas which are not a GMO food. They drink well water so no pesticide residue there!
Each year lambing season is both exciting as well as pure chaos but I love every minute of it!
Adding sheep to a farm in my opinion is a good choice. Most of my sheep have twins every season with a few having tripets. Their gestation period is just 5 months. You can get 3 lamb crops in 2 years if done properly and that can supply a lot of meat.
Some sheep are what is called “hair” sheep. They do not have wool like traditional sheep and therefore do not need to be sheared. Having wool sheep can provide both meat as well as fiber to either sell or utilize yourself to make items for your family.
Goats can be raised for both meat as well as milk. There are several breeds of dairy goats. My favorite breed of dairy goat is the Nubian. Nubians are pretty friendly but they do tend to talk a lot (loud). Nubian milk is rich in butter fat and to me and my family tastes very creamy and more like regular fat milk only better. I have also had saanen dairy goats but their milk has less butter fat content and is more like skim cow milk from the store.
There are many things you can do with goat milk. You can make goat cheese, (I’ve made chev and it is wonderful), yogurt, goat milk soap or lotions, or just enjoy drinking it.
My dairy goats also provide milk to feed to any bummer lambs or baby goats that aren’t able to be raised on their mom.
Meat goats are also something good to have on a small farm. I have some meat goats. The breed I have is the Boer. Boer goats tend to be more fleshy than a dairy goat, and grow quicker. They can be butchered and there will be a good amount of meat on them more so than a dairy goat.
Another thing that works is if you have a dairy goat doe that you breed to a Boer or meat goat buck. The mom can be provide milk for your family and her offspring can be utilized for meat.
Goats are a good homestead/farm animal to have and we enjoy our goats tremendously!
Meat rabbits are one of the best sources of providing quick meat on a farm and can also be raised in town. Two does and one buck can produce approximately 120 lb of meat in one season! They are easy to raise and the meat is very healthy and if one didn’t know better, they would swear they were eating chicken.
I have 2 bucks and 4 does and they have multiplied many many times! You need strong housing that is not mainly made of wood. Rabbits tend to chew wood up. To cut down costs of raising rabbits I feed them half hay, and half non-GMO organic rabbit pellets. In the spring and summer I cut weeds and grass from the yard to suppliment their feed and they love it!
Rabbits are pretty easy to butcher and I do my own. Rabbit meat can be used in all ways chicken would be used. My family likes rabbit. One of my favorite ways to prepare rabbit is to put the whole rabbit in a brine of liquid smoke, sea salt and water. Soak it for 24 hours and then cook it in a pressure cooker. Mmmmmm! Smoked rabbit can be eated by itself or chopped up and made into sandwich spread.
Consider raising rabbits for quick healthy meat!
Chickens are an enjoyable addition to a farm and in some cities you can keep hens in town. They provide hours of entertainment, provide eggs, and also meat. There are many breeds of egg laying chickens, and some are bred for both egg production as well as providing meat. There is also the meat breed called the cornish cross, as well as some others.
I personally like the mutipurpose chickens that can be used for their eggs as well as for meat. I love the Light Bramas, and the Plymouth Barred rock.
My chickens free range during the day and at night they are fed grains and are locked up in the hen house.
I have several hens that hatch out their own eggs and sometimes we are surprised to go out to find a hen with a newly hatched flock of baby chicks.
Chickens are also a good addition to a farm.
I have to admit that I really don’t get excited about pig smells. No matter how far away they are from the house. I have raised pigs with a friend of mine on her place but not on mine…..yet.
I have an area that is currently grass pasture. I want to plant a garden there but years ago it was plowed up to plant a garden. The pasture grass roots were so deep, it didn’t take long for them to over take the plants.
Everyone here told me to use round up. I don’t do poisons so that was out. My next thought was pigs! Pigs naturally till up soil and anything else that is in their pen, and provide their poop as natural fertilizer. So that is my plan!
Get a pen built with a temporary structure, get some grown pigs to hopefully put in the pen for maybe 6 weeks before planting time and after they do their job they will provide us with meat. And then I get to plant my large garden without round up! Win win!!!!! Whooo hoooo!
Isn’t it amazing the way things can work and what can be done with animals and a little creativity?!?
You may not need pigs to till up a garden space and just want to raise your own for meat. Fresh homegrown pig is very tastey and a great way to fill your freezer with your own meat.