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  • Writer's pictureFarmbrite

The best animals for your small farm

Updated: May 22


Chickens free range grazing

So you want to have livestock, but you don't have a lot of acreage. No worries. There are lots of types of farm animals that work for a small acreage. In this post we'll cover a few farm animals that you might want to consider if you're pressed for space.

Our Recommendations for Animals for Small Farm.


Pekin duck

Ducks are great for a small farm. They are well tempered, produce wonderful eggs and they can also be raised as meat animals. On average Pekin ducks 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. All ducks need a clean source of water to stay healthy and happy so be sure that you provide them with a reliable clean source.


Learn more about getting started with and raising Pekin ducks.

Quail

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. Quail are also known to be fairly hardy birds so they don't tend to get sick often. As a speciality bird you might be able to find a local chef to sell direct too and make a nice profit.

Rabbits

Small and a great option for small spaces. There are many options to choose from when deciding on a breed. Rabbits give birth to multiple offspring (up to 15 in 4-6 weeks) and grow fast, so be sure to plan ahead to provide enough room. Raising rabbits for meat is most common, but some rabbits are also raised for fiber.

Chickens

This is a pretty standard animal to put on this list. Chickens are easy to find at your local feed store or by hatching chickens yourself. You can raise chickens for meat or eggs or both. Selling chicken eggs can be relatively easy and profitable. 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.


Check out these chicken breeds for colorful egg production.

Goats

There are many breeds 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. Goats are typically easy going, friendly and curious animals. They are excellent foragers, produce high quality milk that can be used for milk, cheese and soaps. Breeding goats can also be be a profitable side business for your farm.

Pigs

There are many options for breeds of pigs. One breed in particular is Berkshire pigs. They are both small and versatile. Pigs can be a great addition to your small farm. Not only are they relatively easy to keep they can be a helpful ally in tilling fields.


Learn more about raising pigs for meat.

Keeping Bees

Bees are an excellent addition to any farm. You can have multiple hives in a small space, they require little maintenance, provide honey which is often in high demand at farmer's markets and bees are an outstanding helper with pollinating around the farm.


Miniature Cows for Small Farms

There are a ton of different breeds of cows that can be a good addition to your farm, if you have the space. Depending on your land, miniature cows might be a good option, assuming that you have 2 acres or more. Miniature cows need at least 2 acres to utilize rotational grazing. Since these cows are smaller, about half the size, they consume about 1/2 the amount of resources of a standard sized cow. Cows are versatile and can used for breeding, meat, or milk.


Learn about buying cattle for your small farm.

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.


How many Farm Animals per acre?

Curious about how many animals you can keep per acre. The number can vary depending on different factors, like your climate, terrain, property zoning, etc. Be here's some ballpark numbers of animals per acre.

  • Horses: One to two acres per horse

  • Beef cattle: One to two acres per beef cow

  • Dairy cattle: One to two acres per cow

  • Goat: 6-8 goats per acre

  • Sheep: 6-10 sheep per acre if grazing

  • Pigs: 12-14 sows per acre

  • Chickens: Up to 500 birds per acre if grazing them in a chicken tractor

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