So I already have about 9,000 homesteading books BUT I want to hear from YOU
We just got the house of our (almost not quite) dreams. We are just renting (long term) a 4 bedroom old pretty farmy-type house and it has a decent sized barn (can fit two horses or a few small animals) and we are allowed to keep what we like! We already have two large dogs, some cats, lizards (they don't count) and we've had chickens but we are tossing around ideas on what to start our homestead with (mini homestead really..)
I will have chickens again, but they will not be in the barn obviously.
I was thinking about a pig but DH doesn't think he could raise it and slaughter it and ultimately that would be my goal. Potbellies are cute but I mean should I bother if we aren't going to eat him? And perhaps some pygmy goats? And ducks for DD who's always wanted them...
I just want to hear from those who started off small, and with what creatures and why.
I'm very much just in the daydreaming stage of things as it is, but personally I would want a dexter cow (or two...cows do best when they have company, or so I've been told).
The reason is very simply that in my family we use a lot of dairy products. Anything from 2-5 litres of milk daily, half a litre of yoghurt, quite a lot of butter for sandwiches, baking and cooking and then all the other dairy products not even mentioned. So, having a cow or two would be an economically sound investment from that perspective.
Making your own dairy products means you know just from where and how they are made, and what's in them. Which really is something to consider today. So it is a healthy choice, too. Just like having your own chickens.
Of course, there is the matter of a cow needing a calf a year to produce milk...here you can raise them and have them sent away to be slaughter to the local butcher house for a certain sum if you can't stomach slaughtering them yourself. You can also sell them to other farmsteaders since dexters are a popular breed because of their tiny size.
Personally, I think in being a responsible pet owner you should know how to kill your animal quickly if need be. Accidents do happen. A chicken is easy (if mentally hard) but a goat or a cow...consider that before purchasing any animal. That you may need to mercifully kill your animal one day, following an accident, and then you will want to know how. I know it is a terrible thing to think about, but it is very much a reality.
Plus...most farm animals are partly kept for their meat to be worthwhile. Unless you have a very good economy, I would not get an animal you are not willing to slaughter. Period. Because animals eat and food for them costs. Especially if you can't produce it yourself. They also need the veterinary from time to time etc.
Meat rabbits and a couple of goats or small cow.
Meat rabbits don't have the same temperament as pet rabbits. Easier to butcher than chickens. More tender than anything I've ever had. Californians are awesome rabbits. Easy to clean up after. Easy to take care of if you decide you don't like them for whatever reason.
Goats (esp. a nice dairy breed) for fun and milk! We have Nubians and LOVE them.
No experience w/small cow but sounds fun.
Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids : dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)