7 Animals to Add to your Homestead

Are you thinking about starting a homestead? Maybe you have been living off-grid for some time and are considering adding livestock to your property. In this article, we will discuss different animals that you should consider adding to your homestead. 

We will also cover what factors should be considered when choosing which animal to add to your land. 

If you are interested in adding this additional source of income to your land, it is essential that you choose the best breeds for your situation and needs. 

This post aims to educate readers on the different types of animals that may work well with their farming endeavors and how they can go about deciding which one(s) would be appropriate for them and their family’s needs.

7 Animals to Add to your Homestead

1: Pigs

Pigs are one of the most suitable livestock animals for homesteading. Pigs are excellent foragers and can help clear land of unwanted vegetation by foraging for food. 

Another advantage of raising pigs is that they can be kept in close quarters, making them an excellent choice for those who have limited space. 

On the other hand, Pigs require a lot of food and water, so you must make sure that you have the resources to provide for them before bringing them onto your property. Pigs have a high reproductive rate and necessitate a large amount of food and water for their survival.

2: Goats

Another good option for homesteaders is goats. Goats are hardy animals that can thrive in a variety of climates. 

They are browsers, meaning they are capable of eating a wide range of plant life. Goats are also excellent at clearing brush and unwanted vegetation, making them another good choice for land management on the farm. 

Like pigs, goats have high reproductive rates, so they will quickly become self-sustaining once you get them onto your property. 

There are a variety of goat breeds to choose from, so you can find one that best suits your needs. Some popular breeds include the Nubian, LaMancha, and Oberhasli.

3: Cows

Cows are among the most popular livestock choices because they can provide milk and meat while assisting farmers with farming activities such as plowing and field maintenance. 

Generally speaking, cows are very adaptable animals in warm and cooler climates. In comparison to the other livestock types on this list, they consume a large amount of food per day while remaining relatively low-maintenance. 

However, cows have several disadvantages, the most significant of which is that they require a large amount of grazing land, so you must ensure that you have enough space before adding them to your farm.

4: Horses

Horses are another animal that can be useful to homesteaders in various ways. The versatility of horses allows them to perform a wide range of tasks on the farm, including pulling carts or wagons, plowing fields, and providing transportation. 

However, keep in mind that horses require a large amount of space to roam freely, so you should only consider bringing them onto your property if your property has plenty of space for them to do so comfortably.

5: Sheep

Sheep are another excellent option for those looking to add livestock to their homesteading operation. Sheep are browsers, meaning they eat a variety of plants. 

They also have a high reproductive rate and can be used to clear brush from land. However, when adding sheep, remember that they can be susceptible to predators, so you need to ensure adequate fencing to protect them. 

Plus, sheep can be used to clear and fertilize your garden space before planting. This can reduce the amount of work you have to do when it comes time for planting.

6: Turkey

A fantastic bird that can be raised on a small homestead is the turkey. Turkeys are omnivorous, meaning they eat both plants and animals. 

They are also relatively easy to care for and have a high reproductive rate. In addition, turkeys can be used for meat or eggs, making them a versatile option for those looking to add livestock to their property.

Turkey can also be used as a source of fertilizer; their droppings make an excellent addition to compost piles. 

Many people choose to raise turkeys for these reasons and their flavorful meat. Plus, they are known for being very friendly animals, making them great to have around the homestead.

7: Honey Bees

While not exactly livestock, honeybees are certainly worth investing in. They can even be used as pollinators in your garden or field crops. 

The average hive produces about 60 pounds of surplus honey every year, which means that each hive produces at least $100 worth of products annually by selling it commercially (if you sell directly).

If we expand a few hives into multiple acres with, say, ten hives, then now we’re talking about some serious money!

What Livestock can do for you on your homestead

Livestock can provide you with a good return on your investment if you select the right ones. For example, many people think the only way to make money with livestock is by selling their milk, eggs, or meat, but this is not always true. 

In some cases, you might just want a few chickens for yourself and your family so that you can have fresh organic free-range eggs all year long without paying top dollar at the grocery store. 

Some livestock is very useful even if they aren’t producing anything because they allow us to convert waste into something we can use, which saves us on costs and creates new sources of revenue from previously wasted resources. 

Livestock can play a vital role in whether it’s providing food like meat, dairy, and produce or helping reduce home heating bills through composting toilets, animal manure heaters for your water supply, or even methane digesters for renewable energy homesteading. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What animals should a newbie to homesteading get?

The best three animals for a newbie to homesteading are chickens, rabbits, and goats. Chickens lay eggs daily, provide fertilizer for the garden with their droppings, and can be butchered when needed. Rabbits give birth every 30 days, which yields meat in six months or less if they breed them more often. Finally, goats provide delicious milk while providing lawn care services to your land!

What if I want to raise dairy cows?

Dairy cows are a great source of milk, cheese, and other products for your farm! However, they also require more food than other livestock, so be sure you have enough pasture space or grain ready before adding them to your homestead. In addition, you’ll need an area that is both fenced in and has water accessible at all times because they don’t get around well on their own due to being large animals. 

What kind of fencing do I need?

The type of fencing needed depends on the animal you’re keeping. For example, chickens and rabbits can be kept in a simple fence made from chicken wire, while cattle require sturdy post-and-rail fences or electric fencing. Ensure the fence is at least four feet tall to keep out predators. You can also use electric fencing for your small animals; this will not harm the animal, but it may hurt you if you touch both sides of the wire simultaneously.

Takeaway

Now that you know some homesteading livestock basics, it’s time to decide what kind of livestock you want to raise. Many different types of animals can be raised on a small farm or homestead, so choosing the right ones for your situation is essential. 

If you decide to raise animals, make sure that your local zoning laws allow it. Moreover, you should understand that raising livestock comes with caring for them.



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.