In different areas of the country, some farm animals can actually be kept in the city. Additionally, you may have zoning rights on your property for a “hobby farm,” which is not really a farm, even though you have several animals that would ordinarily be thought of as farm animals. If this idea entices you to consider raising some farm animals on your own little hobby farm in your backyard, there are several animals that are allowed. Keep reading to find out which are the easiest to care for.
Whether you choose to raise chickens from chicks or you buy fully grown chickens from a chicken farm, you can get a few chickens to start and add more later. Most people start with about three or four since this is fairly manageable for most backyards. Chicken farming can be a full- or part-time hobby depending on how much free time you can devote to your chickens.
Chicken houses can house hundreds of chickens, although you might not go that far with this hobby unless you want to raise a lot of chickens all at once. Some chicken houses can house hundreds of chickens in addition to being mobile. These mobile chicken houses can help you to reposition your chickens anywhere on your property if and when the chickens have no dirt patches or grass left to scratch. The more chickens you add to your chicken farm, the more room you will need in the chicken house.
Another easy animal to raise and care for on your hobby farm is a rabbit. Of course, if you want to raise more rabbits, the best way to start is with one male and one female rabbit. Rabbits, unlike most animals, can be inbred, but you should not do that unless you are very experienced where breeding rabbits is concerned. If your first pair of rabbits has a litter of babies, be sure to separate the males from the females until you have another male and female that are not related to the original set of rabbits you own.
Most people choose to raise rabbits on the farm for three reasons: food, 4H projects for the fair, and as pets. People who raise rabbits for food will raise a lot of rabbits. People who raise them for pets will only raise a few pens with rabbits. Outdoor pens can house two to four rabbits at a time, and hutches inside the pens allow you to keep rabbits outside all year.
Goats can provide meat, wool, and milk to drink or use to make goat cheese. One or two nanny goats is all you really need, but to get nanny goats, you have to have your nannies bred to produce kids before you can get the milk. Special goats bred for wool are popular because their very long wool coats make nice yarn. Angora and cashmere goats are the best goats for wool fibers.
Contrary to popular belief, pigs are not dirty animals. The nature of their biological systems is such that if they do not roll in the mud, they will die of heat exhaustion. Pigs cannot sweat, which is why they rely on the mud to keep them cool. Pigs can also get a sunburn, so the mud protects their skin. The benefits of keeping pigs on a hobby farm include having a lot of fresh pork at slaughter time, selling the pigs for cash (and the bigger the pig, the better the payday), and the fact that pigs will eat almost anything in slop, thereby reducing waste on your farm.
Sheep, like goats, are raised for both meat and wool. If you know how to shear, clean, spin, and weave or knit sheep’s wool, you will never be without clothing or blankets on your hobby farm. Sheep meat, or mutton, is an acquired taste, so most people prefer to eat lamb. The lamb meat is tender and tasty, and one lamb can feed a family of four for up to a week. Sheep are also a natural source of lanolin, a waxy secretion produced by sheep in their skin that doubles as a moisturizer and main ingredient in salves, balms, candles, and other products.
Ducks are not only funny, but they are also great for decreasing swarms of bugs in the spring and summer months. If you raise any other animals on your farm, chances are that you will have a ton of flies and other irritating insects you cannot seem to get rid of. Ducks are natural exterminators as well as being very tasty dishes.
Farm cats are also known as outdoor cats. They are essentially feral, but that is how you should want them to be. Really, having a couple of cats requires zero commitment to breeding and raising beyond possibly giving the cats some shots to prevent distemper and rabies. The cats in return will keep all of the mice and rats off of your property.
Miniature donkeys are cute and generally very friendly pets. They are also immensely strong, despite their tiny size. They are able to pull carts and small wagons or carriages around your hobby farm or around town, if your city or village allows it. They can eat a lot of grass and grass-like brush in a single day, clearing your land naturally. Additionally, certain breeds of miniature donkeys are slowly going extinct, which makes it imperative for raising and breeding them.
Honeybees are a great insect to have on your hobby farm. They, of course, provide honey, and if you have a garden, they can be very helpful with pollination. Keep in mind that raising honeybees is a tough job and you’ll need specialized equipment to do so. That being said, it is a rewarding process.
Regardless of which animals you choose to raise on your hobby farm, make sure you have researched sufficiently and know how to care for them. Even barn cats need health checkups, and you should be financially prepared for that. A lot of hobby farmers supplement their income by turning their hobby farms into petting zoos where admission pays for animal feed and vet care. These are all things to consider as you move forward with plans to raise animals on your property.
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