When you’re starting out, the best farm animals for beginners are often the smallest ones. Starting with the smallest livestock is also a good way to choose the best homestead animals when beginning. Especially when you know as little as I did!
As a slightly seasoned homesteader, I want to tell you some information I wish I would’ve had about the types of livestock you should start with.
Top 3 best farm animals for beginners who want to raise livestock.
I knew so little about chickens that I was scared of them. I’m not joking! I didn’t grow up around any farm animals what-so-ever, so those little raptors were super intimidating. These three types of livestock are the best farm animals to raise when you’re first starting out.
#1 Best Farm Animal for Beginners: Chickens
Raising chickens is inexpensive and an easy animal to raise on a small farm. They’re a multipurpose animal, providing eggs, meat and fertilizer making them the best animal for beginners. There are still ways to decrease expenses such as feed by fermenting it and sprouting fodder. Additionally, you can also feed them scraps, weeds, etc.
I’m here to tell you that you do not need to be afraid of your chickens! When we started homesteading, we inherited a flock of grown hens. 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 I can give you on the farm 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!
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! 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 because they’re great foragers.
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.
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!
Rabbits are pretty easy farm animals to raise. 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 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.
What’s were your best, first farm animals?
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.
To learn more about raising pigs, including housing, feed requirements, and care, check out this article on how to raise pigs. What are you raising on your homestead? I’d love to hear about it in the comments!
Related to the best farm animals for beginners:
- When’s the right time for a new livestock addition?
- 6 Reasons to downsize your homestead
- Raising meat chickens for beginners