Currently, I am reading about how raising livestock will change my life. It started with list of all these things that could go wrong and how much care the animals will and could potentially need. My immediate thoughts were something as follows: “I’m a mom. I care for things. I have a crazy schedule (aka no schedule). I’ve seen my own body grown placenta sitting in front of me as I bled profusely all over the table after giving birth. I have zero issue (currently) needing to do what I have to and I’m extremely excited about it!”
How hard is it though to raise livestock? We currently don’t have any animals but I remember the commitment just house pets needed when I lived at home. Each had their own distinct personality, needs, et cetera. Reading about these animals makes me know we need to start small. By small I originally thought miniature would do best for us. Raising miniature livestock from what I have read is a growing trade. They generally cost less, need less (compared to one larger animal) and in some cases you can own several that matches the purchase and raising price of one larger animal. They also supposedly tend to pay themselves off and/or produce more income than larger animals (if you’re selling anything from the animals). This is from reading about small scale farming however. When I actually own animals I will of course let you all know how true this is! From one local homesteader I was told that miniature isn’t the way to go where we live but that beastly goats and such might also be too much. So there’s that. Books VS Local Opinion and Experience. Both have already proven extremely helpful. I highly suggest employing both lines of education long before buying animals.
Starting small doesn’t necessarily mean miniature but it is important to new homesteaders to think SMALL at first. Many (this included us) want to dive in and own a bunch of animals. If you have never worked with a lot of livestock at once it is probably not the best idea. You don’t just go out and buy 10 cats. So why would you buy 10 goats that need more room, care and depending on what you got them for whether it be milking, shearing for fiber, meat, etc?
Our goal is to start small. We want milk goats and good egg laying chickens for sure. Now that I am learning to spin yarn I want animals for fiber as well at some point. An angora rabbit may be a good start before moving on to a sheep or other animals though despite their size they need a lot of grooming. A les needful type of Angora rabbit with a better undercoat might be best.
Dreaming of a certain future is one thing. Having to be realistic and knowing starting small would be better is another. These are just thoughts I wanted to share for those looking into obtaining livestock for the first time! If you can work with animals prior to owning some is a great way to get a feel for things. That is definitely something we plan to do and luckily we live in a place where that is possible to do!