chickens for self-reliance

What Animals Should I Keep On A Small Homestead?

In Small Acreage Homesteading by M.D. Creekmore

The chicks are growing up fast and should start laying in a couple more months… Yea!

Have you always dreamed about starting your morning with farm fresh eggs and fresh milk from your own cow or goat? Even on a small homestead, you can make that a reality.

And you will be happy you did. Raising animals will not only provide a source of food and milk for your family, it will provide you with a sense of independence as well as life experiences you can pass down to your children.

Before you begin, we will help you with the questions you need to ask and the planning that goes into bringing farm animals to your homestead.

1. Can you have farm animals on your property?

For obvious reasons, this is the first question you need to go over. Earlier in the series, we talked about purchasing your homestead. And one of the questions to look into was whether you can have farm animals, or anything beyond cats and dogs, outside. But maybe you are inheriting land or want to turn your current property into a homestead.

Many cities and HOAs will have covenants against any type of farm animals on your property. Make sure you aren’t on the wrong side of the law.

2. What do you have space for?

The size of your property will limit what you can have on your homestead. While you will likely see or hear differences on how much space each animal needs, just take this in to consideration.

As you plan what you want, make sure your property can handle it.

3. What animals do you want?

After you have figured out what you have space for, consider what animals you want on your homestead. And for what purpose.

For a smaller homestead, chickens are probably the most common or popular animal, to begin with. They will provide eggs and meat. Ducks will do the same, while rabbits will provide meat.

As you expand your homestead, animals like goats and sheep will be a great addition. Not only do goats provide milk and cheese, they will also clear land for you. And sheep will provide wool as a bonus.

Cows will provide a source of milk or meat. But they will also require more space and more feed. And then there are pigs. They are more work than traditional livestock, but they are both helpful for your homestead and provide great meat.

A wildcard is bees. They are great to have around your garden and, of course, you get free honey. Just make sure you know what you are doing as bees are pretty dangerous. You can learn more about beekeeping here. (affiliate link)

4. How big should I start?

It’s easier to start with smaller animals, like chickens and ducks, before moving up to cows or goats.

We understand the urge to start as big as you can but recommend taking your time. You will likely face your biggest obstacles in the first couple years. It will just be easier to correct that with a smaller flock or herd and then build up with time.

5. How can I involve young kids?

There is just something about young children and animals. For most children, their connection to animals will be picture books or an occasional trip to the zoo. But not on the homestead.

Kids can help by collecting eggs, filling up livestock waterers, feeding the animals, cleaning the chicken coop and milking the family cow. And the bigger kids can help with processing meat. Along the way, they will learn where food comes from and the values of hard work and responsibility.

By preparing, and taking your time early on, the animals on your homestead will provide a great source of food, milk, and pleasure for you and your family for years to come.

If you want even more in-depth prepping then please check out my best selling 176-page book “How To Survive The End Of The World As We Know It – Gear, Skills, and Related Know-How. It’s available in paperback and well as Amazon Kindle.