You will probably raise livestock – unless you are a vegetarian or vegan. Why? It’s food! Where else can you get some delicious bacon then from your own pig? Eggs with bright yellow yolks! Fresh honey! Milk from your goat or cow.
Some months back, we had our first dairy goat in milk. That night, I sat at dinner and watched my children drink that fresh, nourishing liquid and could not have been happier. I know what BB-8 (We’re a Star Wars house) ate, I know what she drank and now – I had complete confidence in the healthful food my boys were drinking. Parenting win!!!
Raising animals for food is no small matter of logistics. They need adequate space, the right healthful foods, strong and safe shelter, illness prevention and treatment. The list goes on and on. What you will raise highly depends on what you will eat and what your environment is or is not. Our area is very cold in the winter and fairly warm in the winter. There’s about 100 square feet of flat ground and everything else is either a rock or some degree of a hill. I recommend sitting down and making another grid again with your homestead team.
- What do you like to eat?
- What do you not like to eat?
- Will you butcher your own livestock?
- Do you know how to butcher and process livestock?
- What kind of land do you need?
- How much land do you need?
- Will your livestock perform double duty (i.e. goats love poison ivy and give milk)?
- Are there any medical concerns for your livestock?
- Where is the closest large animal vet?
- How and where will you house your animals?
- Where will you get their food?
- Will you pasture or confine or a combination?
That’s not even a full list! Each question is going to lead to more questions and more. Whatever you do – start reading now! Start asking questions from your great uncle that’s been farming since 1902. Search the internet – just make sure you do your due diligence on your sources. Join a few Facebook groups and start reading. Unfortunately, I don’t have a great uncle who’s been farming since 1902 but I do have a computer and a love of reading. I highly recommend investing on “Storey’s Guide to…..” nearly everything raised on a homestead series.
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs
- Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats
- The Marvelous Pigness of Pigs: Respecting and Caring for all God’s Creation
- Pastured Poultry for Profit$
- Butchering Poultry, Rabbit, Lamb, Goat and Pork
There’s also a new book that’s on my short list to acquire: The Independent Farmstead: Growing Soil, Biodiversity, and Nutrient-Dense Food with Grassfed Animals and Intensive Pasture Management
Facebook groups are also a wealth of knowledge that should be leveraged. Other folks have already made the same mistake you’re about to make. Speaking of mistakes – one new addition to this blog will be “Smart Bumps”. I’ll explain more about that later!
What other groups, dear reader, have you found helpful? Any books that are a must read?
Next Lessons Learned series post: Can you harvest natural resources?