10 Profitable Farming Animals For Homestead

Homesteads are great for off-grid living; plus, they can help you retire if you play your cards right. This can be done by raising livestock; here’s how you can do it. 

The biggest reasons that most people build a homestead are almost always because they want to disconnect from the grid, live entirely off the land, or live away from the hustle and bustle of town and raise farm animals. 

This started to make me think, if we genuinely want to be off-grid, then perhaps our income should not rely on a job amid the same grid you’ve moved away from. To be truly self-sufficient, you may want to consider adding a few or more of the livestock I’ve added below and start raising farm animals so you can have your own food. 

This way, no matter what happens in the city, whether it’s layoffs, disasters, or other negatively impactful situations, the farm animals on your property can still provide income in some way for you. 

In addition to making you money, the livestock can feed you and, depending on the animal, do a little work around the homestead, such as pulling a plow. 

Some farm animals may take more work to raise than others, but net more profits, so you’ll need to determine how much time and effort you want to commit before choosing the farm animals. 

10 Most Profitable Farm Animals | Top 3 Ways

1: Chickens

Eggs

The first way to make money with chickens is by selling their eggs. It’s a super simple way, and it’s excellent for novices and experts and is one of the best starter farm animals. 

Chickens are commonly raised farm animals because they are multipurpose animals and profitable farm animals; perhaps the most important factor. 

You can sell chicken eggs by either placing them inside a mom-and-pop shop, a nearby auction, through friends, or a variety of other places. 

You can expect a couple of dollars per dozen, but this adds up if you have enough chickens, although it is unlikely to be the primary income. However, it’s still a very profitable animal.

Poultry 

This is probably going to land you more income, but it’ll require a little processing, and of course, much more safety precautions as they can carry salmonella. In addition, you may need a license to sell poultry, but whatever the case is, it’s possible. 

Many smaller stores will accept and sell the poultry for you. Many small-town people and even those residing in the city love supporting locally raised poultry farms- who does not like chicken meat? 

Breeding

I’ve sold chickens numerous times. It’s not all that difficult, and it’s incredibly easy to raise them, too. However, when it’s time to sell them, you’ll likely have the best luck at the local auctions. 

I’ve sold off over a hundred chickens at once, all of which hatched on my property originating from hens. This is undoubtedly the most lucrative income for chickens, and the simplest, without a doubt. You should take into account the cost of feed and other essentials too

2: Pigs

Raising Them For Meat

Pigs are great to have, and they’re undoubtedly one of the most sought-after meats in the world, particularly in America. Unfortunately, the best way to make money, which is no surprise, is by butchering them. 

You can sell them to small meat markets, butchering shops, or by making connections at auctions. Not to mention, they can provide food for your homestead, too, aside from also making you money. 

Many people like to cook pigs whole or simply want to have local pork instead of store-bought pork. It’s hard to get pork into stores, especially if you’re just a small farm.

Breeding The Pigs

This is one of the easier ways because other than taking care of them; you’ll just need to breed them. This will net you piglets, which sell like fire at auctions. 

The piglets aren’t superb for only selling, though. They can be raised and used to sell to butcher shops, farmers’ markets, etc. This means that if you keep your pig numbers up, it’s practically unlimited money, but it does take time.

Fertilizer

It should be no surprise that pigs create manure and a lot of it at that.  This can not only be sold at auctions, but it can also be used to fertilize any crops that you may have around your homestead or in your garden. 

Fertilizer is typically pretty easy to sell. Many buyers need it consistently, so after getting a few clients, that may be all you need.

3: Goats

Goat Meat

Many homesteads have goats, which are easy to raise animals that take a low amount of maintenance to keep. Goat meat is popular among many people, especially among those who visit auctions and smaller butcher shops. 

Many people will buy goats directly from you, be it Muslims who want their meat halal, local farmers, or can be sold at smaller stores if you have proper licensing.

Cheese

Goat cheese is growing in popularity at a rapid rate, likely due to its fat content. It’s also healthier than regular cow’s cheese, although neither is necessarily bad for you. 

The cheese can be sold in several places, such as gas stations, mom-and-pop shops, online, or at auctions. Keep in mind, making cheese is not as easy as it sounds. Cheese is not created by merely removing curd, so you’ll want to learn a bit about this if it seems intriguing.

Milk

This is a fantastic way to make money with goats, as it’s super easy and has a low learning curve. Goat milk is also trendy in the niche community that exists. 

If you plan on selling goat’s milk, you’ll need the right equipment to do so. However, as with cows, goat milk is as easy as 123 and will fly into people’s hands when they find out you have it.

4: Peacocks

Peahen Eggs

Most eggs derived from birds go for pennies on the dollar, but not peahen eggs. They typically go for $25-$100, sometimes even more, depending on the breed. 

Peahens usually lay in batches, but if you take away the eggs, she can lay for a few weeks at a time. 

A single peahen may not make you rich, but if you continue building your cache of hens, this can add up very quickly. The eggs are commonly sold promptly as they’re in very high demand. 

Breeding

The second best way is by breeding them, or incubating the eggs, hatching them, and selling them that way. Nevertheless, you can expect a peacock to net you up to $250 or more, and up to $750 for a pair, depending on the breed. 

Raising peacocks is not hard; plus, they’ll add a beautiful aesthetic to your homestead.

Their Feathers

This isn’t a big-money opportunity unless you have a hundred or more peacocks, which is doable, but selling their feathers is also a great way to make some money. 

I’m confident I’m not the only person who loves peacock feathers, which is probably why they’re so sought after.

Peacock feathers can range from $10 for the eye feathers or roughly $5 for the shorter ones. If you check your pens daily, which you should, after a while, you may have 20-30 feathers.

5: Rabbits

Rabbit Meat

This meat has not grown in popularity like most other meats, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a niche community full of people willing to trade their dollars for delicious white meat. 

Rabbits love breeding, and if you have enough of them and breed them regularly, this can net you a pretty penny many times over. 

Plus, Rabbit pelts can be harvested and sold for use in crafts, coats, and hats, making it one of the most profitable livestock. You can sell them to the local farmer’s markets, stores, or even find people who feed their dog’s raw meat, which means returning customers.

Rabbit Manure

I’ve had many rabbits and something that I learned very quickly when I first got into it because rabbits create a massive amount of manure very quickly. 

This means that with enough rabbits, you can make a pretty good amount of income just by selling the manure for fertilizer ranging from $25-$50 for a 40-pound bag. Rabbit manure is also pretty easy to gather; I know from experience.

Breeding Them

As mentioned before, rabbits will breed if you give them a chance. These are also great animals to get your kids into the lifestyle. 

I’ve seen just a few rabbits turn into a few dozen very quickly, which were almost always sold off at the local auction, most often to children getting their first pet. 

Nevertheless, they’re easy to raise and do not require much attention, making them one of the most simple yet best income-producing animals on this list.

6: Honey Bees

Honey

Honey Bees, while not an animal, are still very worthy of being added to this list. The most lucrative aspect is the honey they will provide. 

The honey can be sold in just about any mom-and-pop shop around, sold to friends and family, and even sold to larger stores. Local honey has its benefits; the biggest is that it is an anti-allergen. 

Bee-hives are easy to maintain after they are set up, and you’ll only need to harvest a few times a year, max. Lip balm is another excellent way to use beeswax, which is also another prevalent purchase.

Wax

Beeswax is also a fantastic way to make money, plus, it’s pretty easy, although it can get a little messy, as you’ll need to melt it, form it, etc. 

The first way is that beeswax can be used to make candles of any form, which are undoubtedly popular; I know this from experience, as I’ve had hundreds of hives. Lots of people buy it just to chew on, believe it or not. This is probably why the candies are so popular, as many of the sweets are chewy in texture.

Candy

A great thing that can be made from honey and wax is candy. The types of candy are endless, but you could do this by flavoring it and placing them in straws, making wax candy, and more. 

The process is different for each type of candy, but it’s commonly straightforward. Many stores, mostly gas stations located outside the city, limit love to place them at the register to sell. They can also be sold online and sometimes at bigger stores.

7: Sheep

Hair Sheep

These sheep, which are the smaller brother of wool sheep, are best raised for their meat, which has a rich flavor unique to sheep. They’re not difficult to raise and do not require much upkeep. 

Sheep are not as popular as some other animals listed here, but there is a niche market. They almost always sell quickly at auctions, and since there aren’t as many breeders of sheep out there, many butcher shops will take them in quickly.

Wool Sheep

If you want to get into selling sheep wool, then adding a few or more wool sheep to your homestead will be a start. 

Wool typically is not something that will make you a lot of money, but you should never count on one income source anyway. 

These types of sheep, along with hair sheep or other kinds of animals, will likely be rough to support you, but unless you have 100 sheep, do not expect the riches.

Breeding

No matter which type of sheep you go for, the one thing that you can count on to make your money is by breeding them. 

As mentioned before, sheep get auctioned away fast, and many butchers, mom-and-pop shops, and even private buyers are massive about sheep meat; it’s a niche sport, after all. They’re not hard to raise, typically do not need much upkeep, and rarely have health problems.

8: Quail

Meat Production

Quails are fast-producing birds that can net your income in several types of different ways. The first being their meat. Quail is a prevalent type of meat and is found in many smaller stores. 

Since reproducing is relatively easy and quick, selling them as packaged meat is one of the best ways to make money with quail. Many stores will accept them as long as you are appropriately licensed, as this makes it legal and ensures the meat is handled and processed correctly.

Eggs

Many people love to eat quail eggs or use them in various dishes; plus, eggs can be used to hatch chicks if they’re fertile. 

I’ve bought many quail eggs online years ago and used them for these very reasons. I’ve also sold them, and believe me; the eggs go fast. You can sell these eggs at essentially any farm auction, online, or by making connections with other farmers or homesteaders.

Selling Chicks

Quails are very easy to sell, make for great income sources, provide eggs, meat, and more. All of this means they’re a famous bird. What selling chicks mean for you is that you get to cash out on this by selling the chicks if you or the mother hatches them. 

Chicks are famous because they’re especially great for novices and allow the buyer to grow them a certain way. Chicks can net you a pretty penny if you’re able to hatch enough.

9: Horses

Board Horses

Anyone who owns a horse knows that boarding can be very expensive, ranging from hundreds to even a thousand or more each month for a single horse. 

This is where you come in; if you currently have or plan to get a few horses and know that you’ll have a boarding area of your own, rent it out. If you offer competitive prices, you’re very likely to get a bit on the hook and reel in a few interested people. 

Half-Leasing

As mentioned before, boarding fees are very high in many cases, so perhaps consider half leasing your horse. This means a few things. 

Number one, you can request the border to provide a boarding discount, provided you allow them access to ride your horse. 

Similarly, which is where the money is made, find individuals to either lease your horse for 3-4 days per week, or you could rent out one of your horses, which would also net yourself income.

Use Your Skills

If you own a horse or more than just one, you should already have a few skills uniquely known by most horse owners. You could, perhaps, offer your horse skills to other horse owners, such as braiding, bathing, or training. 

Perhaps look at this from a freelancer’s point of view. You have a particular skill you’ve spent years building, and another person lacks time to do it. It’s a win for everyone.

10: Turkeys

Selling Their Eggs

Like chickens, turkeys have many of the same benefits; they just need a bit more room than chickens do. If you’re raising animals for profit, turkeys can be a good addition to your homestead. 

They’re straightforward to raise, and they are very cheap, considering all the benefits. You can likely expect up to two to three eggs laid per week, which will add up with twenty-five or turkeys or so. 

The eggs, which commonly sell for $3 per egg, are in very high demand and snatched up by various outlets like auctions, small community markets, and shops.

Selling Their Meat

Most of us are familiar with eating turkey around Thanksgiving, but this isn’t the only time turkey meat is bought. It is purchased at all times of the year, although there is a peak during thanksgiving. 

Many small meat shops and butchers love to get their hand on local turkeys, as, more often than not, their only other source is during the hunting season for turkeys.

Breeding Them

It shouldn’t be a surprise, but breeding turkeys is a great and easy way to make money with them from your homestead.

Bourbon Red turkeys typically sell for around $40 a piece, give or take. This is also another fantastic addition to build passive homestead income.

Turkeys of just about any breed sell very quickly, so the only problem you’ll have is having enough of them to sell. The limits of this are endless.

How many cows/goats do you need to make a living

Cattle Beef cattle are also some of the best farm animals to raise, thanks to their hardiness. Many people starting out in farming are looking for the most profitable small farm animal. There are a few different animals that can be considered when trying to find the most profitable small farm animal.

The first contender is cows. Cows can provide a lot of milk which can then be turned into cheese, butter or other dairy products to sell at market. They also eat grass, so they don’t require any expensive feed. 

However, cows do take up a lot of space and need plenty of grazing land in order to be productive. To make a living, you will need at least a dozen cows. The next contender is goats. Goats provide meat and milk, just like cows. 

However, they are able to survive on less food and occupy less space than cows. This is why they are often considered the most profitable small farm animal. To make a living, you will need around 40 goats.

Are goat farms profitable?

Grazing goats on your property can provide you with a number of benefits. Not only are they great for controlling weeds and brush, but goats also produce milk, meat, and fiber. They’re even known to clear land quickly so that you can start farming it sooner! 

All of this makes goat farming an attractive proposition for small-scale farmers. But what about the profitability? What is the most profitable small farm animal? Unfortunately, there’s no easy answer to this question. 

The profitability of any given animal depends on a variety of factors, including feed costs, climate conditions, and local market demand. 

However, some animals are more likely to be more profitable than others. They’re also generally easier to care for, making them better choices if you’re just starting out! With that said they can be profitable.

How do you make money off goats?

The amount of money you can make off goats depends on the size of your operation and the products you produce. But, generally speaking, small-scale goat farmers can expect to earn around $200 per doe (female goat) each year. 

This includes milk sales, meat sales, and sale of kid kids (young goats).In contrast, a cow can generate up to $500 annually per head. However, cows require more space and feed than goats, so they may not be practical for smaller farms. 

Hogs are another option for small-scale farmers. A well-managed hog operation can bring in over $700 per pig. But again, hogs require significant acreage and are not suitable for all farming operations.

What breed of cow is easiest to raise

There are many different breeds of cows, each with their own unique set of characteristics. Some breeds are easier to raise than others. Here is a list of the four most popular dairy cow breeds and their ease of care: Jersey cows are small and easy to keep. They are hardy and thrive in cold climates. Brown Swiss cows are large and require plenty of space. 

However, they are very sturdy animals that can withstand harsh weather conditions. Holstein cows are the most common breed of dairy cow in the United States and are a very profitable livestock. 

They are large animals that require a lot of food and water, but they produce a lot of milk. Guernsey cows are smaller than Holsteins, but they produce more milk per pound of food. Bison are easy to raise on a small farm with only one or two animals. 

They can be raised for meat and milk, but they require plenty of space because bulls weigh about half a ton each. Bison are also very unpredictable; you must train them from birth if you want them to behave in the pasture like other cattle breeds do.

On the upside, bison need less food than cows and their hides make excellent leather products such as boots, belts and jackets.

How many bales of hay do cows/goats need per day?

You will need to determine how much hay your cows or goats, such as dairy goats will eat in a day. Many farmers will give their cows or goats a certain number of bales of hay per day. This will depend on the size and type of animal, as well as the quality and type of hay. 

Generally, you can expect to need one bale of good quality hay for every four cows or eight goats. If you are feeding your animals poor-quality hay, they may eat up to two bales per day. 

If you have a lot of animals, you may need to increase this number. You will also need to provide fresh water and minerals for your cows or goats on a daily basis.

How many acres do you need for one cow?

This depends on the breed of cow. Some breeds, like Jersey cows and Guernsey cows, require more acreage than others. Holstein cows do well on as little as 50 acres. 

However, the more land you have for your cow, the better. If you are going to be grazing cows on pasture then 50 acres is not too much at all because they will eat grasses and weeds from around trees and shrubs that cover a lot of property. 

However, 100 acre pastures would suit Holstein-Friesian dairy cattle very well because their diet consists mostly of hay which can easily be grown on large farm properties like these where there’s room to grow extra feed crops (such as corn) for them.

What livestock can live together

Most small farmers choose to raise chickens, pigs, and cows because they are the most common and profitable animals. While these animals can all live together on a small farm, there are some important things to consider before making your decision. 

Chickens need at least four square feet of space each, while pigs require at least 24 square feet. Cows require the most space of all three animals, needing at least 80 square feet per head. 

If you have limited space on your farm, you will need to carefully consider how many of each animal you can accommodate. 

Another thing to consider is what type of housing each animal needs. Chickens do well in a coop with a run attached, while pigs need an enclosed shelter with bedding material. Cows need a sturdy barn with plenty of space inside and out.

Can goats and chickens share a barn

They can share a barn, but goats should have their own pen. Goats and chickens both need to be in pens or small enclosures with flooring to keep the animals from getting sick. 

Chickens can forage outside of the enclosure if they are free range birds that are allowed (or even required) to roam freely throughout your homestead. 

However, you may want to shut them up at night because predators such as foxes, raccoons, and coyotes will take advantage of this opportunity when no one is watching by hunting down these tasty critters.

What is the best animal to protect chickens?

If you are looking for the best animal to protect your chickens, you should consider a dog. Dogs make great guards and can be taught to protect your flock from predators. They will bark and sound an alarm if there is any danger, which will give you time to take action. 

A few other animals that can also work well to protect your chickens are llamas, donkeys, and pigs. Pigs are especially good at protecting chickens from snakes. If you already have a dog, you may not need another animal to protect your flock. 

But, if you are looking for an additional layer of protection, one of these other animals could be a good choice. Talk to your local farm store or agricultural extension office to find out more about the different types of animals that can be used as chicken guards.

5 factors to determine profits

Profit is defined in many ways. If you own much land, the most profitable animals are likely different from someone that has less than 1 acre. In the same vein, you have little time and energy to take care of animals and it will make no economic return for the animals.

1: Cost of Feed/Space needed to grow feeds

Another consideration would be the cost of developing your food. Growing your animal food is an easy and cost effective option. The cost of the feed is also reflected in the calculation. It is possible that in the case of pigs, a farmer can feed them 99% of his crop. 

The erratic goat and the sheep were able to survive under poor pasture conditions without finding any substance. Cows need good pastures. 

Pigs may be fed too much food or milk but need additional nutrition. Chickens can survive on foraging, but you’re going to want to add supplemental food, too. Check local costs before choosing an animal that will be a profitable business.

2: Cost of the animal

Tell me the price of purchasing a farm animal? Farm animals are sometimes quite costly, and purebred heifer cows often have more than the equivalent to chickens, which can cost about two to a dollar per chick. 

When breeding a dog, this will reduce their initial cost, so they don’t need another animal! The costs associated with a farm’s activities may be hidden, but they’ve never been included. House, clothing, fence and livestock products are all important to a household. 

This can be reduced by buying used or building a home. Farm animal illnesses often occur and require vaccination and medication.

3: How much work is it to raise a farm animal?

Animals occasionally require more energy. Milk cows are often milked or washed twice daily. Agricultural animals are fed and watered every day, and the shelter is cleaned regularly (sometimes more often). 

You can use self-watering equipment that provides plenty of pasture to make it less time-consuming. Unless you do this yourself, you will lose everything you have for labor costs. 

Lastly, you should consider how much time your animal will take before it is a viable investment for you. The eggs in chicken eggs can last between six and eight months.

4: Land availability

Let’s start off with the main factor when choosing the animals for your farm. Land is expensive and most people don’t have the money needed to expand our farms. What are the requirements to farm a few famous farm pets? Remember the majority are people and need a companion. 

It is not possible to have large farms in which cows or pigeons are able to breed; they’ll also make less money in your household. You also should consider how much land the animal uses. Goats are able to eat in rugged areas. Cows will need good pastures.

5: Possible revenue sources

Considering the versatility of animals can be useful. A good cow does give baby goats a good chance of selling and butchering as well. 

Chickens can be raised and turned into stews during their egging years (the eggs are not able to mature fast enough that they are profitable meat options). Investing in multiple revenue streams will help you select the right animals for your business.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Does Legality Look Like?

For most animals, you do not need a license to raise them. However, once you get into selling them, mainly when you sell the meat, you can run into a few required licenses. 

These can be ones such as food and safety licenses, to name a couple. 

This would be best to contact the local city hall nearby. I know that each city and state can have very different laws and regulations, so it’s best to ask locally.

How Big Of An Area Do I Need?

This depends on which animal and how many, but generally, you do not need 25 acres of pasture to raise a couple of cows. 

For chickens, a small coop is plenty for five or ten of them. Goats need a bit more room, but nothing major. Similarly, with turkeys, not much space is required. Just make sure they should both have roosting areas. 

Cows, horses, and sheep will need much more room, but this depends on how many you have. The average homestead should have enough room for most people’s goals.

Is Farming Experience A Must?

Yes, anyone can start a livestock farm on their homestead. I do think that it’s imperative not to do this alone, significantly if you’re raising cows, bees, horses, or sheep. 

These have a bit more of a learning curve than others. You should also consider the animals’ health, as you may not do what’s best for them unknowingly. 

This is why you should occasionally have someone who is experienced with that animal visit to check up on how they’re doing; otherwise, no experience is needed but welcomed.

Takeaway

Homesteads are the ultimate off-grid home, which is often the only source of food, water, and in some cases, income. The goal of this article was to share a few ideas on what kind of livestock could make you money on your homestead. 

A critical mention is that you cannot expect chickens, cows, or goats by themselves to provide all the income you need. It’s essential to have multiple income sources, as having only one of the animals on this list will not serve you as well as seven or so. 

Doing this will make it, so you have continuous passive income instead of spotty income. It may be a slow start, and that’s okay; take your time and enjoy it. So, what is the most profitable farm animal at a medium scale? I’d say it has to be the chicken. 



bryan rucker
Written by Brian Rucker

Brian Rucker has spent his entire life participating in essentially all things homestead. He grew up on a homestead and helped his parents do the day-to-day. Read more of Brian's articles.