Homesteading Tips – Livestock
Homesteading and livestock go together like butter on bread. Livestock on the homestead farm can be a great source of income and/or meat for your family depending upon your views and interests. Livestock can be a great source of joy if they are enclosed in proper fencing and buildings.
In the above picture this is what happens when the goat and pig find their way out at the same time. We normally only let the chickens free range. Clearly, the fences were in need of repair. May as well take the photo moment!
Homesteading Tips: Be Practical
The small homesteader may want to keep smaller animals such as sheep or goats. Keeping in mind that I must sell what I do not eat, or eat what I cannot sell –keeps us humble.
Is there a market for my livestock? If there is no market — then how long am I prepared to feed it? Goats and sheep are cute and fun to raise but most people don’t eat them. So how many are you going to raise?
That is why it is good to think in terms of profitability. Feeding animals that I cannot sell or benefit from on the kitchen table is not practical. They become pets that require a lot of work for little in return.
Homesteading Tips: Find The Market
Before you invest large amounts of cash find out what sells locally. See if there is interest in buying what you will be raising. If cattle is the mainstay then you might have to raise cattle too. But here is the catch. Competition!
If everyone is doing cattle it will affect the prices.
Homesteading Tips: Specialize
There may be a lot of cattle ranchers around your area with Black Angus on the range. You might want to raise a different strain of cattle or try organically raised beef for specialized markets at fair prices. You do not however want to undercut the market because it will affect future prices for you and your neighbors.
You may not be able to sell your meat at the Super Market but you can offer butchered quarters, wholes, halves, and various cuts of meat to people who do not want to pay the higher super market prices. Once again, find out what your local rancher will sell for and match his price, but charge extra for butchering and wrapping.
Homesteading Tips: Take orders First
In the spring it is s good time to take orders for “free range, organically raised chickens”.
It is unlikely that you will get any money up front but you can take orders and thereby know how many chickens to order and sell accordingly.
You may also wish to do the same for cattle, hogs, goats or lamb.
Your chances of success will most likely be raising what people are accustomed to buying in the grocery store.