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Best farm animals for beginners

When you’re starting out, the best farm animals for beginners are often the smallest ones. There’s no problem with wanting to start out with easy farm animals. Starting small is also a good way to choose the best homestead animals when beginning. Especially when you know as little as I did!

I read so many books about livestock, homesteading and what to start with. As a seasoned homesteader, I want to tell you some information I wish I would’ve had.

Top 3 best farm animals for beginners who want to raise livestock.

I didn’t grow up around any farm animals, so chickens were super intimidating. I knew I wanted to raise goats and dairy cows. But, as a small farmer starting out, I wasn’t ready.

Goat milk was appealing but these three types of livestock were the best farm animals to raise on my hobby farm.

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best farm animals for beginners

#1 Chickens

Raising chickens is inexpensive to do and one of the easiest farm animals to have on a small farm. Because of this, they’re also one of the best hobby farm animals to raise.

They’re multipurpose, providing eggs, meat and fertilizer making them great for beginners. There are still ways to decrease expenses when raising chickens. You can save money on feed by fermenting it and sprouting fodder. Additionally, you can also feed them scraps, weeds, etc.

Chickens are some of the best small farm animals to have. And you do not need to be afraid of them! I say that because I was. When we started homesteading, we inherited a flock of grown hens and I was terrified.

A family friend came down to help with a few home improvement projects (and teach me how to use a screwdriver…). That friend showed me a few things about chickens, which helped.

The best advice is to be confident with your animals as a beginner. You’re the boss, and if you act like it, they’ll know it. It hurts a little to be pecked by a chicken but not too bad. Wear some long sleeves and you’ll be fine!

I have dreams of having honey bees one day and I plan to raise them near our chickens. So eventually I’ll be choosing which hurts worse – a bee sting or a henpeck.

#2: Ducks

Ducks weren’t an animal we thought of raising when we bought our homestead. We inherited them and it turns out that they’re one of the best farm animals to raise if you’re a beginner!

Also great hobby farm animals, ducks rarely get sick and they’re so easy going. If you give them a plot of land to graze on, they won’t need too much pellet feed. They’re great foragers, making them some of the best livestock for beginners.

Ducks, like chickens, give you eggs and meat. You can also sell duck eggs for more than chicken eggs for many reasons. Duck eggs are BIG, Y’all!

We raise Welsh Harlequins and they are beautiful, naturally flightless and calm birds. The eggs are the very best to bake with.

Welsh Harlequins are a smaller breed of duck, so if you’re looking for more meat you could choose a Pekin. If you want to know more about raising ducks, read this post “A Quick Start Guide to Raising Ducks” by The Free Range Life.

#3: Rabbits

Rabbits were the first farm animal that we chose to raise as beginners. Well, I guess my husband chose to raise them. In the beginning, I didn’t want anything to do with raising rabbits for meat because they were pets as a child. My husband started working full-time.

I took on the role of full-time-homesteader and find-out-how-to-do-all-this(er). With that role came the caretaker of the rabbits. Needless to say, I’ve ended up loving our rabbits and with the help of this book, I got pretty good at it!

Rabbits are some of the best beginner farm animals and great small farm animals. They’re also the best introduction to raising mammals for beginners. With a gestation period of about a month, cull date as early as 8 weeks depending on the breed. They provide a quick and hearty meat provision.

The most difficult part of raising rabbits is determining their gender, but you’ll get the hang of it.

Don’t let this discourage you, though!

Rabbits are a fun animal to raise for meat as a beginner. If you’d like to know more, you can read more about raising rabbits.

Want to keep track of your harvest with my free homesteading PDFs and join the flock?

Best farm animals for beginners: Summary

When you’re looking for the easiest farm animals to raise, start small. Look at easy farm animals to take care of and begin there.

Along with chickens, ducks, and rabbits, the pig is another delightful homestead addition.

Pigs are sure to bring a curious, affectionate demeanor to the farm. It probably depends who you talk to as far as being considered the easiest livestock to raise.

Although they aren’t small farm animals, they sure are fun!

This article by Insteading.com will teach you about housing, feed requirements, and care for how to raise pigs. What are you raising on your homestead? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!

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best farm animals for beginners

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12 Comments

  1. We started with Quail. Love their eggs! And they start laying after 6 weeks.
    We also started with them because they seemed the easiest to butcher. We needed a slow start to the whole raising animals for meat thing.

    1. I’ve been reading more and more about quail lately and having folks ask me about them! I might have to add them to this list. I completely understand the desire to start much slower when raising animals for meat. It’s never an easy thing to do and can be the most difficult decision to make. I’m personally so proud of you and excited for you! If I can ever answer any questions or give you a nice pep talk, don’t hesitate to reach out via email or comments! Thanks for sharing with me and good luck to you, Carlee!

  2. Having a farm is really challenging. That’s why it would help to know the best farm animals, especially for beginners!

  3. Do you cull your own rabbits or is there an outfit that butchers for you? Just curious how you handle this part of the homesteading đŸ™‚

    1. Hi Emma! My husband and I butcher the rabbits together. I imagine one day I might “outsource” and find someone to butcher for me. For now, I want to do it myself to fully understand the process and make sure the meat is being culled the most human way!

  4. We started with chickens, hens specifically. They changed our lives to a complete 180. The benefits of having them are more than fresh eggs every day. Our 6-year old son learns where food really comes from and appreciates food much more. We also learned new skills we’d never thought of before.

    My great grandma who was a single mom. She raised cows, pigs, chickens, ducks, and quails along with her 8 children. I learned a great deal from her homesteading. Glad I found your blog and am looking forward to reading more đŸ™‚

    1. That sounds so wonderful. I can’t wait to raise kids with this lifestyle. Thank you for stopping by and I hope you come back!

  5. I grew up on a farm where we raised beef cattle, pigs, chickens and ducks. But the first animal I ‘owned’ was my pony, Lady. I’m not sure I would recommend equines as first animals to try!

    Saw you on the hop!

    1. That sounds so great, Lisa! I grew up attending summer camp at a horse ranch and it was lovely. I definitely wouldn’t have been confident with my own horse as a first animal, though! Thanks for stopping and hopping with us!

  6. Good advice! We’re hoping to start with chickens this spring, but we live in a really, really cold climate (subarctic Canada) and we’re off the grid too, so still learning about how to care for chickens in these conditions. Found you through the Simple Homestead blog hop.

    1. I wish I could shed more light on raising chickens in a colder climate. I live in Florida and it rarely even freezes here! (knock on wood!). I do know it’s possible and I wish you the best of luck. Thanks for swinging by and I’d love to answer any questions you might ever have, Sarita!