The best animals for your small farm
Updated: Sep 22, 2022
So you want to have livestock, but you don't have a lot of acreage. Not to worry. There are many options out there for you. Here is a brief list.
Wonderful eggs and meat animals. On average they are about 10 lbs so they are too heavy to fly which makes them ideal to free range. They are fast growers and at around 6-9 weeks are big enough to eat. They are fair layers and will lay an average of 140 eggs per year.
The quail is a small pretty bird. They get to be an average of 3.5 ounces. They lay small speckled eggs and are primarily table birds but you might also sell the fertilized eggs to hatch. You can have a fair amount of quail since they are so small. On one extension site I saw the recommendation of 500 quail to make a good profit.
Small and a great option for small spaces. There are many options to choose when deciding a breed. They give birth to multiple offspring and grow fast. Raising rabbits for meat is most common, but some rabbits are also raised for fiber.
This is a pretty standard animal to put on this list. You can raise them for meat or eggs or both. They are very easy to care for just remember to protect them from predators. Raising chickens for meat or eggs can also provide some extra income for your small farm without a lot of overhead.
There are many types of goats to chose from but if you don't have a lot of space you might want to consider Nigerian dwarf goats. They are small in stature, have a sweet disposition and are easy to milk. Just like all the others this is another breed that you will need to protect from predators.
There are many options for breeds of pigs. One breed in particular is Berkshire pigs. They are both small and versatile.
You can have multiple hives with the added bonus of having the help around the farm.
Cows for Small Farms
Depending on your land miniature cows might be a good option. If you have about 2 acres or more. Miniatures need at least 2 acres to utilize rotate grazing. Since these cows are smaller, about half the size, they consume about 1/2 the amount of resources of a standard sized cow. You can use them for breeding, meat, or milk.
Ducks and Other Poultry
There are a variety of other types of poultry and breeds of birds that might be a good fit for your farm - from ducks to geese to turkeys to pheasants and even peacocks. Each poultry type has different forage and environmental needs, so do your research first to make sure you can provide them with a happy home.
Animals by acreage:
Horses: One to two acres per horse.
Beef cattle: One to two acres per animal.
Dairy cattle: One to two acres per cow.
Goat: Half an acre per animal.
Sheep: Half an acre per animal.
Pigs: 12 to 14 sows per acre.
Chickens: Minimal space.