10 Most Profitable Farming Animals For Your 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.

Most Profitable Farming Animals for Homestead

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.

This way, no matter what happens in the city, whether it’s layoffs, disasters, or other negatively impactful situations, the livestock 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 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 animals. 


10 Most Profitable Farming 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.

You can sell them 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.

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.

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.

Lots of small-town people and even those residing in the city love supporting locally raised poultry farms. 

Breeding

I’ve sold chickens numerous times. It’s not all that difficult, and it’s incredibly easy to raise them, too.

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. 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.

You can sell them to the local farmer’s markets, stores, or even finding people who fed 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 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 e 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 know 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 the same benefits; they just need a bit more room than chickens do.

They’re straightforward to raise, and they 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 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 apiece, 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.


Frequently Asked Questions 

What’s The 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.


Verdict

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.

If you have any other livestock suggestions great for passive income on homesteads, let us know in the comments below. 



Written by Bryan 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 Bryan's articles.