If you are thinking about bringing some animals to your homestead, either for food, protection, or income, there are a lot of options to consider. One thing to remember is that you don’t have to have hundreds of acres to have homestead animals, you can just as easily care for them with a few. Here are six animals you should consider.
This is obviously a popular backyard homestead animal, for many reasons. One, they produce eggs, which a high protein diet staple. You can have chickens in small backyards, they just need a few square feet of grassy space each, and a good place to nest. Another reason people keep chickens is to raise them for meat. Chickens are also very loyal pets, and many people enjoy having them for that benefit alone.
Goats are good homestead animals because they can provide you with milk. They also are generally love their owners and are good companion pets. They will also help keep your grass trimmed down because they love to feed on fresh grass.
Like chickens, ducks generally have a good disposition and are pretty low maintenance. They can provide you with both meat and eggs. Also, like chickens, if you let the free range, you need to watch out for predator animals to help keep them safe. Ducks aren’t very noisy, and are fairly loyal pets. They will often follow their owners around on the property.
Rabbits are good starter homestead animals for kids. They are cute and cuddly, and can be easily picked up and handled by people of all ages. You can provide a secure pen to free range them at ground level, but you also need to consider putting them in a locked hutch that is up off the ground to keep them safe. Rabbit care is easy – trimming their nails regularly and feeding/watering daily, and lots of playtime is about all they need. They can also eat bits of fruits and veggies, too as treats.
If you decide to bring sheep to your homestead, you are getting a threefold benefit. They can give you milk, meat, and you can use their wool for all kinds of thing. Sheep do need a little room to roam, and can be a little jittery. They aren’t really “playing” animals once they reach adulthood, but the lambs are generally playful and friendly.
The quail bird can often be overlooked as a homestead animal, but it is definitely one to think about. They can be raised for meat, or provide you with eggs for eating. Because they are smaller birds, you won’t get as many large eggs, and the meat provided will be less, but they still are a good food source.
Take note that whatever animals you decide to get, they will need daily care, whether that is food, water, cleaning their pens, or general interaction with them. Animals will be an asset to your homestead, but don’t come without work! What animals are you raising on your homestead this year?