FREE $50 Bonus
Spread the Joy
RSS
Follow by Email
Facebook
Facebook
Google+
Google+
http://redbarnblueskies.com/category/livestock/
Pinterest
Pinterest
LinkedIn
INSTAGRAM
Handmade Soap - Kids Soap, Glycerine Soap with Essential Oils
Follow Us


Follow

Archive for the ‘Livestock’ Category

postheadericon Small Livestock for Small Spaces

Urban and small space homesteaders are learning they don’t have to limit themselves to plants in their endeavors to be self-sufficient. With the rising popularity of small livestock who are thriftier and multi-purposed, it is becoming more common to find chickens or even goats in backyards as well as barnyards.

 

Finding the right small livestock for small spaces doesn’t have to be hard. Match your needs and goals with the right animals and everyone wins.

Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Small Livestock

If you’re considering adding animals to your homesteading project or you just want some smaller livestock to work with, here are some suggestions that may suit your needs.

Chickens

Chickens are the obvious first choice when it comes to livestock that can be kept in a smaller area. They’re the most popular and the easiest animal to get started with. And as we’ve discussed before, they are the gateway livestock for new farmers.

 

Before you even go look at the chicks at the feed store, determine what you want them for. Are you after daily eggs and a chicken in the pot for every Sunday dinner? Then you’ll want a breed like the Plymouth Barred Rock. They’re multi-purpose birds bred for heavy egg production combined with a tasty, meaty carcass.

Plymouth Barred Rock Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces

If you’re wanting to fill your freezer fast with great tasting chicken, raise a bunch of Cornish cross meat chickens. They’re bred to bulk up fast and provide a meaty 4-pound broiler carcass in only 7-8 weeks.

 

If you’re wanting a fluffy piece of yard art that wanders around your garden for comic relief, you might look at some of the exotic breeds such as a Cochin or Polish hen. Figuring out why you want chickens can help you choose the right breed or breeds for you.

 

Although the breeds are all different, the basic care is the same. They need food, water, shelter, and a place to lay their eggs. While the food and water stay the same, you can be as simple or elaborate as you like with the shelter and nest box areas. As long as the chickens have a safe, dry, draft-free area to roost at night, they’ll be content.

Goat Trio at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

 

Goats

Goats are available in many breeds and come in full sizes and miniatures. Which breed or size you choose should depend on many factors. These include but aren’t limited to:

 

     ~ Available space – As with everything else, smaller animals require less space (and feed). If you are very limited in the area you can allot to goats, you may consider some of the minis. Several of the breeds are heavy milk producers in spite of their petite size.

     ~ Purpose – Goats have been used for multiple purposes over the centuries. Milk, meat, fiber, and hide are the physical resources they provide. The different breeds have been designed to excel in one or more of these aspects. Goats are also tasked with pulling carts, carrying packs, and being used for weed abatement and control. They are a multi-purpose creature that can definitely pay their own way.

     ~ Containment – Goats are notorious escape artists. Until you are prepared with a securely fenced area to house them, you might want to reconsider goats – large or small. They will get out and wander the neighborhood, leaving destruction in their path. Your neighbors won’t appreciate your goats eating their rosebushes and patio chairs.

     ~ Time – With their extremely high intelligence level, goats need attention and stimulation. They love company and get bored easily. Plan on spending quality time with your goats. It is well worth it as they are very affectionate and entertaining animals.

Quail at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Quail

Aside from their beauty and compact size, quail are another type of poultry that can be a delight to have. They are industrious little birds that lay eggs on a regular, daily basis – more routinely than chickens. Of course, their eggs are on the small size, but they make up for that in quantity. Pickled quail eggs are a true delight that everyone should try at least once.

 

Quail are easy to care for and have very basic needs. Compared to chickens which need 3-4 square feet each, quail only require one. They can be kept in hutches up off the ground, similar to those of rabbits. They can also be kept in pens or coops, but not in with the chickens. Chickens carry diseases that can be deadly to quail. As long as they are in pens that are separated by at least several feet, they will be fine.

 

 

One thing that most beginning quail keepers aren’t ready for is how violent quail can be toward each other. The males can over breed and scalp the females if there isn’t a large enough girl to boy ratio or a large enough space to provide escape routes. The males become quite aggressive and can kill or seriously wound the other birds if not monitored and allowed room to roam. Provide lots of hiding places, overturned flower pots are ideal.

 

Because the quail are so fertile and prolific, they are an economical and even profitable source of meat and eggs. Selling quail eggs and meat to fancy restaurants is something to consider if you are looking into raising them on a larger scale.

Rabbit at Red Barn Blue Skies Small Animals for Small Spaces redbarnblueskies.com

Rabbits

Rabbits have always been a popular choice for those with limited space, in the city or the country. They can be kept in hutches, pens, and even in your backyard running around on the lawn. It is easy to keep their pens clean. Their droppings (pellets) are great for fertilizing your garden as they’re not “hot” like chicken manure. Their diet is simple with a heavy emphasis on greens. Which rabbits you decide to raise will depend on what your goal is – breeding, fur, or meat.

 

Most rabbit breeds are known for having large litters so they tend to be a good investment that multiplies quickly. You must keep a close eye on the mothers/does, especially if it is their first litter, as rabbits can be cannibalistic and eat their young. Keeping them as stress-free as possible will help deter this, but it can be an issue with some breeds or individual rabbits.

 

Because rabbits are a great project for beginners, they are a top choice for 4-H and FFA members just getting started. They are an easy to handle type of small livestock and non-threatening for young children. They’re an easy animal to get into financially as there are not a lot of large expenses initially and the returns can be considerable in a short amount of time.

 

So do you have small livestock? What kind of animals do you prefer?

Stock up for the New Year at Tractor Supply! Apparel, Feed, Fencing, and more. Shop Now!

postheadericon Horses of Course

Today’s topic: Horses of course.

 

Many of you have asked how Wedgie (aka the Wedge, Phantom, and butthead) has been doing.  Well, he turned 4 months old on September 22nd and he’s quite the big boy.  Dad is talking about weaning him early as he doesn’t nurse near as much as he pigs out on his mama’s grain and hay.

 

As usual, I had a hard time getting photos of him.  He either wanted to run and play with me or he wouldn’t get his head out of the feeder.  So I only have the two pictures today, but I’ll get some more in the next week or so just to show you what a little pill he is.

 

In other horse news, Mr. MoonCat has a new horse.  His buddy Whiskey just wasn’t cutting it when it comes to working cattle.  Whiskey would much rather cruise along the trails and go for long scenic rides than participate in the cow events.  So he’ll be going to a new home with someone who enjoys just trail riding.  He’s been a great first horse for the hubby while he’s been learning about riding and life in general with the equine bunch.

Whiskey

 

This is the only photo I managed to snap this morning. We were in a hurry, so hopefully, I’ll get some updated shots later in the week with Mr. MoonCat doing his thing. “Swifty” is the name my Dad bestowed upon the new guy.  In case you’re wondering, it’s actually an oxymoron. The horse is a bit on the lazy side.

But as usual, if the naming is left to Pops, he’ll name him according to where he came from.  The previous owner was named Swift so there ya have it.  (I warned hubby…)

 

Swifty

 

I know he looks similar to Whiskey in coloring, but Swifty is actually a registered Paint Horse whereas Whiskey is a Quarter Horse.  Swifty is a real sweetie, very gentle and able to teach Mr. MoonCat a whole lot more than Whiskey could.  The hubby is excited because this new horse LIKES to work cattle!

 

So that’s the happenings for now.  In closing I’ll leave you with a shot of Adolph (Dad’s dog that he got from his neighbor, yup – named Adolph) sharing his doggy bag from breakfast with the chickens.

 

Yummm..biscuits and gravy