If you’re trying to become more self-sufficient on your homestead there are many ways to do so. Growing food, canning and preserving, and collecting rainwater are all means of gaining self-sufficiency. In this post, you will learn how you can start gaining self-sufficiency with animals on your homestead.
If you aren’t quite sure of exactly what self-sufficiency is you can read any of the following posts. Just make sure to return here when you are done.
- Achieving Self-Sufficiency on the Homestead: An Important Beginners Guide
- 7 Practical Ways to Create a Sustainable & Self-Sufficient Home
- Tips for Self-sufficient Homesteading
- Self-Sufficient Living: What Does It Mean?
Gaining Self-Sufficiency With Animals
Almost, if not all homestead animals provide some form of benefit to help us achieve more self-sufficiency. The most common benefit is food. But there are many other ways that animals can help us with gaining self-sufficiency. Let’s look at each animal and break them down by the benefits of each.
Raising rabbits is a great example of how to start gaining self-sufficiency with animals on your homestead. They have so many benefits for you. The manure they produce is some of the best for your gardens and is readily available constantly. Who doesn’t want free fertilizer right?
If you breed your rabbits you will allow your family to have a great source of protein as rabbit meat is filled with it. When you butcher your meat rabbits you can save the fur for yourself or if the fur is a desired fur you can sell it and make some income too. Angora rabbits are such examples of fur in demand.
And speaking of gaining self-sufficiency with animals, what better way to provide your own income than to sell rabbits as a side business. Whether for meat or fur or pets, rabbits sell. You can even sell them to places like Rural King and some pet stores too.
Chickens, Turkeys, Quail, and Others
Another great way of gaining self-sufficiency with animals is by raising, poultry and other birds. There are so many options here. For example, you can choose chickens, quails, and turkey which are more common. Or you can go for the uncommon poultry breeds such as ducks. But, you must know that special breeds need a special diet and upkeep. For example, you would need to feed top-shelf duck food and maintain an ultra-hygienic coop for ducks, if you decide to keep one.”
By having these “birds” you can collect eggs for your family or for selling. If you hatch the eggs in an incubator or in the coop under laying hens, you can also sell the chicks locally or to farm and pet stores. You can supply your own meat for yourself and again sell it to others for extra income.
Other ways of gaining self-sufficiency with animals such as poultry is to sell feathers for crafts and collecting the manure for fertilizing your garden.
Cows are one of the most original and oldest ways of gaining self-sufficiency with animals. They can provide enough meat for a whole year for a small family. They also provide dairy products like milk and cheese.
Cow manure makes an excellent fertilizer for our gardens. And up until they are butchered, cows can also be used as a working animal. Brahman is used to pulling plows still in some places. Talk about a multipurpose animal.
Cow hides are often tanned and turned to leather for making various products and even the horns of some breeds are used for making handles for knives. Of course, lastly, cows can be used to make an income from since we can sell all of the aforementioned ways in which they are used.
We don’t eat horse meat these days so they won’t feed your family. But that does not mean that horses don’t provide a few ways of gaining self-sufficiency with animals. On my homestead, they are grass control. I never have to mow any areas where we have horses.
My Shetland horses are being trained to pull a cart for pony rides which will be another source of income for us. Many people utilize their horses to pull a plow. And of course, like all animals, their manure comes in handy for fertilizer.
Sheep and Goats
Even though sheep and goats have their differences, the benefits of how they can help you in gaining self-sufficiency with animals is quite alike. Both sheep and goats provide milk for dairy and both animals provide meat. Goat milk is often used in making soaps and beauty products.
Both animals have breeds that allow you to use their hair or wool as fiber. This fiber can be used yourself or sold to others as a form of additional income. In some states, the milk from goats can be sold, but usually has to be labeled “not for human consumption”.
Which Animals Are Right For Yor Homestead?
Although many of the ways to start gaining self-sufficiency with animals stay the same among the most common animals we see on homesteads, many variables exist. The amount of meat each animal provides our families, how much milk each one produces and their source of being additional income are such variables. One thing is consistent though. Once you decide which animals are right for you and how you will utilize each animal, you will be well on your way to gaining self-sufficiency with animals too.