Updated: Jul 31, 2020
A new year has begun and I am hoping to write some awesome posts for 2020 for all the already (and wannabe) homesteaders out there, as a New Years Resolution. We have been homesteading for about 4 years now and we upgraded to our current farm house about a year ago. We have owned about 10 different types of farm animals at this point and I wanted to share my top three ( and bottom three) when starting a homestead. Some animals may seem simple enough to own right away, but then a big surprise- they really aren't all that easy after all.
Number Three . Geese
I have fallen in love with geese. a) Super easy to feed; love grass or basically any feed they can get their beaks in. They gain weight very easily so be careful not to overfeed as they can get fatty liver disease.
b)Easy to imprint on as a youngin', they are very social and will become friendly with early handling and regular attention.
c)Their eggs are large and delicious-great for cooking and baking.
I love using them for cakes!
d)One thing to remember about geese is they are noisy!
We always know when something is up; like a predator or
person walking around the property.
Number Two: Rabbits
Great for kids. a) A versatile animal for meat, fur or breeding for pets. Yes you can get textile breeds that you collect hair rather than the whole hide.
b) Only require a small amount of space and are easy to house, feed and clean. You could even start in your
c) They are outdoor hardy, just make sure the outdoor
space is secure and protected from the wind.
Number One: Chickens
Didn't see that one coming.
a) Chickens provide eggs, meat and baby chicks which can be sold. They are an easy animal to make money back.
b) They need limited space and hens can be kept in residential type areas- just be sure to check the bylaws.
c) Make great scrap disposal if you want to reduce your food waste, be sure to research foods that are not good for chickens (ie: nightshade veggies).
d) The variety of chickens never ends, there are specialty breeds, docile breeds, large, small, black and blue. Even different egg colours, A chicken for everyone to love.
The Not so Good.
Number Three . Goats
Yep, you heard me.
a) Goats need to have the proper enclosure. They can jump, climb, chew and like to destroy.
b)Goats like to eat, everything!
c)There are breeds that are a little more docile, but do your research.
d)They need an ample amount of space to graze or constant hay to keep them satisfied.
Number Two: Emu
They like to take things slow. a) Emu take lots of patience. 3 years before laying, 50 days to hatch and 18 months before meat production. Similar to owning cattle with less gestation time and less meat production.
b) Emu need space. Without space for activity they cannot digest their food properly. At least an acre for per pair, which will need tall fencing.
c) If not handled regularly, Emu can get aggressive and they are very strong. Expect bumps and bruises while handling Emu.
Number One: Horses
Yes my favourite animal. b) They need space, an acre per horse is preferred. Stall life is hard on horses and it makes them harder to manage without regular exercise. Leading to bad habits like cribbing and weaving.
c) They are high maintenance: farrier, vet, dental, and grooming.
d) They require experience or regular lessons to maintain.
Not doing so, may lead to safety issues (for yourself and the horse(s)).
e) They typically do not giving back anything to the homestead,
unless you plan to have lessons, therapy or a petting zoo.
Good luck making your money back on them.