There are many factors to consider when choosing the right livestock for your homestead or small farm. Depending on where you live, growing large amounts of food and raising animals can be challenging, especially in an urban or suburban setting. Though homesteading is becoming a growing trend, the rising cost of land and property taxes makes it impossible for many homesteaders to buy a piece of property large enough to contain all the animals they want to raise and crops they want to grow.
Nonetheless, returning to a simpler way of life on a small plot of land doesn’t mean you can’t have livestock to provide your family with fresh milk, eggs, meat, and wool. Even the smallest plots of land can support a few carefully chosen animals with dual- or triple-purpose. Here are five amazing breeds we recommend for the smaller farms or homesteads.
American Guinea Hogs
Given their smaller size and docile temperament, American Guinea Hogs are the perfect breed to start your pig raising adventure. Next to providing your family with meat, American Guinea Hogs do an excellent job of tilling up your garden and keeping rodents and pest at bay. Additionally, American Guinea Hogs will also provide your family with large amounts of lard.
American Miniature Brecknock Sheep
Imported from the United Kingdom, these little sheep are a great addition to any homestead. Derived from the Cheviot lineage, Miniature Brecknock sheep are an excellent source of meat and wool. Though they are small in stature, they are well-known for their easy lambing and sturdiness, with rams weighing up to 100 pounds. According to Off The Grid News, Brecknock sheep have gained popularity due to their liveliness and great personality.
If you have limited space, raising cattle can be a daunting task. Dexter cattle, however, are one the best multi-purpose livestock to keep on a small farm. Though they are one of the smallest cattle breeds in the world, they can be farmed for both dairy and superior cuts of grass-fed beef. This versatile cattle breed, brought in from Ireland, thrives in harsh climates with poor feed. Furthermore, many farmers also train them as oxen to pull wagons and equipment.
Chickens are a great addition to any small farm or homestead. The fluffy-feathered, five-toed Faverolle chickens imported from France are an excellent dual-purpose choice. Next to producing hundreds of eggs each year, Faverolle chickens also have a nice-sized carcass. Furthermore, they are a docile, easy to handle breed your kids will love to play with. Though they come in different sizes (regular and bantam size) and colors, the Salmon Faverolle is the most popular breed.
Well-known for their high butterfat milk, Nubian or Anglo-Nubian goats also produce great meat due to their larger stature and weight. Though this long, floppy-eared breed with a large Roman nose originates from the warmer Middle-Eastern climate, Nubians fare well in most parts of the world.
Before you get too excited and buy a number of animals or start building pens, coops, or sties, we recommend doing some research and check local restrictions and laws regarding the breeds and number of animals that may be kept.