Homesteading is a great way of life, it’s simple living at it’s finest, and by simple living I don’t mean easy living, quite the opposite actually as it is a ton of work, as in all day everyday and you need at least a basic skill set for doing things yourself and getting things done in a timely manner. As with anything you will learn as you go too, I highly doubt that any homesteader could or would say they already knew everything when they started. This goes for preppers, survivalist and bushcrafters as well.
On the homestead you will eventually want to start getting some livestock for your meat as well at trading or bartering for other goods or services, even if you have or live in an area where hunting and fishing is abundant. Yes like back in the days of old. Many folks paid their doctor for his services with a chicken or a goat or another critter, some even brought them cooked meals and pies, some doctors no doubt were even invited out to the farm for Sunday dinner. The point back then and should still be is, people helping people survive and get through life and not just when times are tough. Often a wandering cowboy would go out and hunt a deer then take it to the doctor or other person(s) that may have helped them out in some way or another or simply as an act of kindness. Now no one in their right mind would turn down a tasty venison steak. Yeah I know venison is not eveyone’s first choice for dinner but it sure beats the heack out of gnawing on shoe leather!
For a small to medium homestead you may be thinking cows, chickens, ducks, pigs, rabbits, goats and bees to have on your homestead. Which are all good choices however you need to know or learn how to keep each different critter in order to have a great healthy meat source, and of course with chickens and ducks you will get eggs ta boot. To add some variety to your diet, you should think about raising fish as part of your homesteading and survival plan.
One of the things we all need to learn is that sometimes what feels good to us (humans) is not necessarily the most responsible choice to make for the livestock or our land. Land is expensive so we should all try to use it wisely.
Chickens are almost a given on any homestead, they are fairly easy to deal with, don’t need a lot of room and they double not only as a meat source but eggs as well. You’ll need to have a chicken coop housing, feed and water along with letting them out to forage during the day.
Cleanliness in their coop must be a priority in order to keep healthy chickens. Chickens will eat almost anything. You can feed them compost, weeds, leftovers from the garden, or store bought feed. Where chickens roost in such tight quarters and have weak respiratory systems, if one falls ill usually they all will. You must also be aware of using proper bedding in order to deter lice and mites.
Getting Started With Chickens – The Ultimate Guide
10 Things About Raising Chickens You Won’t Read In Books
How Much Space Do Chickens Need?
Backyard Chicken Eggonomics
Ducks are pretty much the same as chickens on any given homestead, some are quite tasty and the eggs are generally bigger and every bit as tasty as chicken eggs. you’ll need to provide housing, feed and water for them just like your chickens. some ducks can and will get along with chickens but not all, You’ll need to study up on what kind of ducks might fit your needs before you buy or trade for any.
12 Things You Need To Know Before Getting Your First Ducks
Rabbits generally don’t take up much room depending on how many you have, they are tasty treats and excellent for sale, trade and barter. Rabbits also tend to multiply quickly so you’ll have to keep pace with them to ensure nice healthy rabbits, last I checked rabbit food wasn’t to expensive as of yet. You do need to protect and house them just like your chickens and ducks.
Catfish are a good choice as they can thrive in small spaces and grow rapidly. You can stock them in a pond, if you are lucky enough to have one. You can also raise them in medium to large tanks as well as part of your aquaponics system.
Backyard Fish Farming
Tilapia is a good tasting fish and you can not only raise them in a pond but you can actually raise them as part of your aquaponics growing system in your greenhouse.
Easy Steps To Raising Tilapia
Goats are similar to the needs of cows plus they will mow that grass right down to the bare dirt if your not careful.
Poor ground may support 2-4 goats per acre while better pasture may be able to support 6-8 goats per acre. If you are adding goats to cattle, you can add 1-2 goats per head of cattle. Goats will eat the weeds cattle dislike, thus improving the grazing for the cattle. Goats are also escape artists. The only true way to keep them fenced in is to keep them happy, They are social animals so it is important to have more than one. If you keep them well fed and give them a buddy, they should stay happy and want to stay right where they are.
Cows or cattle tend to need a lot of space, so it’s fair to say that a cow is not right for everyone. typically five acres per cow to prevent overgrazing and over worming, so if you have a 10 acre spot of land then you could have two cows, and you will have to supplement feed them with grain and hay as well. This also means that not every breed of cow is the same, and it also depends on if they are full grown cow’s or a couple of calf’s. Then comes the four seasons, yes we all have four seasons which also means your pasture is not always going to be producing as much for grazing. Obviously this is a very short version of having a cow or cattle on the homestead, I would recommend you do a lot more home work so you can be sure having a cow or cattle is a good move for you or not.
Pigs are masters at ground destruction. Pigs have a bad reputation for smell and messiness. In reality, pigs are clean animals. If you have the land available to allow them to free range then your feeding expense will be a lot lower. When pigs have babies their litters can often consist of as many as 11 piglets. They are obviously a great meat source, but you must raise the babies for a year to get an adequate amount of meat from them. They require a pin with strong fencing. They are very strong animals and can escape if they put their mind to it.