Best Livestock for Homesteading

Homesteading is a lifestyle growing in popularity over the past few years. It’s not just for people who want to live off the grid but also those who wish to supplement their income with products they produce themselves. 

For those wanting to start their homesteading journey, the first step is deciding which livestock or animals they want. 

So, if you’re considering homesteading, you must know what animals best suit your needs. If you’re already homesteading, then this list of the best livestock for homesteading will help you get started. 

You can sell eggs, milk, and meat to generate a little extra income. This blog post will discuss different livestock options on choosing what animal suits your property and needs!

Best Livestock for Homesteading

Easiest to care for

One of the most common types of livestock for homesteading is chickens. They are easy to care for and lay eggs that can be turned into many delicious dishes or sold at a local grocery store. In addition, chickens will eat just about anything, even leftover food from your dinner plate. 

Not only do they provide you with fresh meat and eggs, but their manure can also be used as fertilizer in your garden! 

Ducks are also easy to care for and can help produce healthy vegetables because of all the natural fertilizers they leave behind after being fed scraps from the dinner table. 

Where to buy livestock

When it comes to livestock, there are many options available to homesteaders. Farmers’ markets are a great place to buy livestock because you can get information firsthand from the sellers about the health and care of their animals and ask if they have had any illnesses in recent months or years. 

It is also possible that breeders will sell at farmers’ markets, which means you may be able to find rare breeds this way too! 

One downside of buying farm animals at farmer’s markets is that sometimes there isn’t much selection, particularly with prevalent types like chickens or pigs.

Least expensive

The cheaper the animal, the less work you will do on your homesteading project. Goats and chickens are two of the cheapest animals to keep, while cows and pigs can be more expensive. 

From this, it can be implied that chickens and goats are two of the best livestock for homesteading projects. Not only are they cheap, but they also provide eggs and milk, which can help reduce your grocery bill. Additionally, both animals are relatively easy to care for. 

If you’re looking for an animal with less maintenance, consider getting a rabbit. Rabbits are low-cost, easy to take care of and provide high-quality meat. 

Functions for each

Function for the best homesteading livestock for each homesteading project. Cows are the best livestock for homesteaders because of their ability to produce milk daily. Homesteaders can drink this fresh, raw milk or make butter and cheese from it onsite. 

Pigs are another excellent choice for a homesteader’s first large livestock animal as they provide meat, lard, manure fertilizer, and more. 

Chickens will supply eggs daily without needing to repurchase shell or carton eggs! They also lay an egg almost every day, which is enough for some families’ needs without keeping too many chickens at once. 

Most profitable Livestock

Cows

Cows are probably the most profitable livestock on a homestead. They produce milk, and they can be used for meat as well. Many homesteaders use their cows for beef. 

It’s important that the cow is raised with care since it takes about six months to grow a cow large enough for slaughtering. A good breed of cattle for homesteading is Angus. 

They are docile, and they produce milk with high butterfat content. Another important aspect of cattle is that they can adapt well even in cold climates.

Sheep

If you are looking for a versatile livestock animal and can provide you with meat, wool, and milk, then sheep are a great option. 

They are hardy animals that can adapt to various climates and terrain, making them ideal for homesteading. In addition, sheep can be grazers or browsers, so you can choose whether to pasture them or have them eat hay and other feed. 

The wool from one sheep can yield up to two pounds, and the milk from one ewe (female sheep) gives about eight gallons of milk per year.

Goats

Goats have been used for milk and meat production for many years. They are low maintenance means that they are easy to keep; however, their high reproductive rate can result in overgrazing if not closely monitored. 

Furthermore, goats frequently require a companion to be less likely to stray from their home. Therefore, you will need a minimum of two dairy goats per family member if you decide to keep dairy goats as part of your livestock.

Pigs

Pigs are another excellent option for homesteaders. They are easy to care for and can be a great source of meat.

Pigs can also help clear land by rooting up invasive plants. Pigs are omnivores and will eat just about anything so that they can be fed kitchen scraps or leftovers from the garden. 

They also need a lot of space, so make sure you have plenty of room on your property before bringing home some pigs! One downside to pigs is that they can be pretty messy.

Chickens

Chickens are an excellent option for homesteaders because they are relatively low-maintenance and provide eggs and meat. Chickens can also be used to fertilize the garden, which will help produce healthy plants. 

When choosing chickens for your homestead, it is essential to pick breeds that are suited for your climate, and that will lay eggs year-round. Popular chicken breeds include Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orpingtons, and Plymouth Rocks. 

Ducks

Ducks are unique in that they simultaneously produce eggs, meat, and pest control! They are not as productive as chickens when it comes to egg-laying, but they make up for it in other ways. 

Ducks don’t require much space – you could keep them in a small pond on your homesteading property – and they are excellent predators of slugs, snails, and insects, making them beautiful allies in the fight against pests infestations.

Bees

Even though bees are not technically considered livestock, they are an essential part of any homesteading setup because they provide honey and wax! 

If you have limited space on your property, a hive can be established in as little as ten square feet, making it an excellent option. In addition, honey is a highly versatile product that can be consumed, stored, or sold depending on the situation in which it is encountered.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the difference between lamb and sheep meat?

Sheep meat is older than lamb. It’s more similar to mutton or goat. The taste may be stronger, too. Lamb typically has less fat content, so it tends to have a lighter flavor, making it seem somewhat bland if not marinated before cooking. However, both are delicious. Also, sheep have a higher fat content than lambs. While sheep are often used for wool production, lambs are raised for meat. 

Which animal has more fat, beef or lamb?

Generally, lamb has a little bit more fat than beef does. However, some cuts of beef have more fat than some cuts of lamb. It just depends on what you are looking for in terms of flavor and how much fat you want your meat to have. If you are looking for a leaner option, go with beef over lamb. However, lamb is a good choice if you don’t mind a little extra fat in your meat.

Does a homestead need fences to keep predators out?

Chickens are small, flighty animals that can easily be scared off or killed by predators if they have an escape route. For this reason, most chicken farmers build fences around their property to keep predators out. However, Wolfs will prey on chickens if they can, and foxes are often skilled enough to sneak in, even with fences.

Takeaway

Now that you know a bit of the different types of livestock you can keep on your homestead, you may be wondering which one is the best for you. 

Every kind of animal has its benefits and drawbacks, so it’s essential to choose the right one for your situation. Always take your time, money, and overall goals when deciding. 

Make sure to do your research before jumping in with both feet so you can avoid any problems down the road.



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.