animals

On the homestead, animals can serve all sorts of different purposes. Whether they’re providing your family with eggs, milk, or meat, chickens, cows, ducks, goats, and pigs are more than just livestock, they’re part of the family! Whether you’re keeping them as lifelong pets or selling their meat as a small family business, we have all the resources you need to keep your livestock healthy and happy.

If you’re new to raising animals, check out our articles on Raising Pigs, Raising Goats, and Raising Baby Chicks.

If you’ve been raising animals for awhile and are looking to make a side business out of it, check out our articles on How to Make Goat Cheese and Breeding Berkshire Pigs.

Recent Animals Posts

  • Egg Substitutes For When The Chickens Have Stopped Laying

    As happens on many homesteads, our chickens have stopped laying with the shorter winter days. We decided to let them follow their natural rhythms with the seasons and haven’t put a light in their coop to keep the eggs coming. We figure, if they naturally take a break for the season, we’ll let them follow […] More

  • bear at yellowstone

    Tips For Bear Awareness

    If you live alone, as I do, in a cabin deep in the woods, it is more than a bit frightening to hear noises in the night. Last year, on a cold and foggy morning in late November, I awoke to a loud thump on the porch. Startled, I stumbled from my bed, grabbed the pepper […] More

  • cows in pasture

    5 Questions To Ask Yourself Before You Become A Homesteader

    Are you tired of traffic jams and the fast pace of city living? Do you long to escape the rush and retreat to the quiet of rural living? If so, you are not alone. Each year, more and more people chose to leave the cultural amenities and conveniences of urban life to embrace a simple, […] More

  • Chicken Hatcheries

    When you want to start a flock of chickens or grow your existing flock, you have a number of options for how to go about purchasing chicks. Check out our article on where to buy chicks. One of the most cost-effective methods is to buy live chicks directly from a hatchery. So fluffy! ? Watch […] More

  • three chickens looking towards camera

    Homesteader Tips For Dealing With Parasites

    How healthy is your homestead? When evaluating the health of your homestead, it is important to look at the whole picture. The condition of the soil, the health of the plants on your property, the water quality, as well as the immunity level and overall health of people, pets and livestock. If a problem is […] More

  • chickens drinking water

    Lessons From Facing Death On The Homestead

    As a small girl in my suburban neighborhood, dealing with death was something unusual. So when my pet fish died, tears were shed and a solemn, toilet-side funeral was held, complete with speeches! Any time I found a dead baby bird in the spring, my long-suffering father would kindly wrap it in tissues and bury […] More

  • chicken tractor

    Chicken Tractor Plans

    When it comes to housing your flock of chickens, there are many options, but one of the most flexible is the chicken tractor. A chicken tractor is a portable coop that has many of the benefits of a stationary coop as well as a number of added benefits. Building the best structure for you and […] More

  • chicken coops

    Chicken Coop Plans

    A well-built chicken coop is a worthwhile investment. Options range from simple and affordable to elaborate. With so many options available, and a world of creative possibilities to build yourself, it can seem daunting to decide what you want in a coop. Types Of Chicken Coops   Here are a few chicken coop design options: […] More

  • Bats Benefit The Environment—And Your Homestead

    Worldwide, bats receive an undeserved bad rep. If asked, most people worldwide will say they don’t like bats. Bats smell bad, they’re creepy, dangerous, and are typically portrayed as scary in numerous horror films. The majority of folks questioned would likely tell you that bats are “flying rats” that carry disease. Simply put, they are […] More

  • chicken standing on coop fence

    How To Clip Chicken Wings

    Clipping the flight wings on your backyard flock is a harmless and helpful domestic trick that is easy to learn. Clipping a chicken’s wings doesn’t hurt them and can be done at any age. Clipping a chicken’s wings is usually unnecessary until your chickens become adventuresome enough to try to escape their enclosure. Wing feathers […] More

  • Chicken Feed

    Mixing your own feed ration, rather than buying prepared feed, is one of the best ways to save money if you raise chickens (or any animal). You can also be certain about the quality and origin of what your animals are eating. However, to make sure your birds stay healthy, you have to mix the […] More

  • chicken in their chicken run

    Chicken Runs

    Despite the misleading title and the plot of a 2000 movie, a chicken run is intended to let chickens out as well as keep them in. A run is an outdoor enclosure that chickens or other animals can get into on their own. Usually, it’s attached to their coop. It allows them to get exercise and […] More

  • cat in a box

    Homemade Pet Food

    One day, I realized that the pre-packaged food I was giving my pets wasn’t healthy for them. I took the time to consider what they would be eating in the wild, and it definitely wasn’t highly-concentrated food pellets. Sure, grains are good for them, but it just didn’t seem to be enough. The switch to […] More

  • Chicken Diseases

    When you are raising animals, it is always stressful and frightening when they get sick. Here are some common ailments that can strike backyard chickens, and tips for prevention and care. Not all chicken deaths are caused by disease. Check out our article on chicken lifespans to find out more about how long a chicken […] More

  • chickens pecking about the yard

    Free Ranging: The Pros & Cons

    When I brought my first animals home to the farm there was no question in my mind as to whether they would live the life of free range animals. I wanted my animals to be just as free as I was, free to explore, roam, hunt for food, and live their own life while coexisting […] More

  • Bald Eagle Attacks Chicken

    Reddit user mvar posted this near death experience for one of his chickens. The lesson, as always, is to have surveillance video covering your entire homestead so you don’t miss amazing stuff like this. Our chicken expert says that visiting pet dogs are one the biggest dangers to her flock, but in this case it […] More

  • chickens pecking about the yard

    How To Humanely Kill A Chicken

    People learn to kill chickens for many reasons. As interest in local and ethical food increases, many meat-eaters have challenged themselves to raise and slaughter their own meat. People who keep backyard chickens for eggs often kill older chickens when they have passed their prime laying age. Even people who keep chickens as pets may […] More

  • Scott Woods-Fehr / Flickr (Creative Commons)

    How Long Do Chickens Live?

    When you pick up half a dozen fluffy, charming little chicks from the feed store and bring them home, it can be hard to remember—or to explain to your kids—that backyard chickens, like all creatures, eventually age and die. But how long do chickens live anyway, and why do they die? Here are some basics […] More

  • a goat poses for the cameral

    How To Rent Out Your Goats

    Thinking about renting out your goats? You should understand both the good and the baaaahd of this possible revenue source. My husband and I ran a goat rental business from our farm, The Mushroom Hut @ Fox Farms. Our goat herd was the only part of the farm that wasn’t in the black. Our goat herd was […] More

  • Lambing: Shed or Pasture—Which Is Best?

    Months of work goes into the planning of the arrival of lambs. You must be as prepared as possible to ensure success. I have been raising lambs for over 20 years. I have shed-lambed in January and February in South Dakota and Indiana and also pasture-lambed in Indiana in April. Profit margins are slim in […] More

  • berkshire piglets resting

    How To Breed Berkshire Pigs

    Berkshire pigs are a heritage breed valued for the flavor of their meat. We raise Berkies to sell as breeding pigs. We had thrown the idea around for years of raising pigs. We first talked about raising them for meat production but didn’t know if we would be able to complete the process start to finish. […] More

  • Harriet

    Keeping Chickens In Winter

    If you have chickens clucking around your backyard in the summer, you must know a thing or two about them. However, those long winter months are a different story. Some people don’t know exactly what it takes to keep their chickens happy in cold weather. Here are a few tips on how to care for your […] More

  • goats looking at camera, on is pregnant

    My Goat Is Pregnant, Now What?

    I was so excited. It was a complete surprise. That little goat wasn’t supposed to be pregnant. The fat round goat over there was supposed to be. Not this tiny girl! (The round goat turned out not to be pregnant.) This was my first goat pregnancy and can I just say I was all grins. […] More

  • oats for making fodder

    Growing Fodder

    Most people feed their animals commercial feed. But I’m not like most people. I know that our diets play a huge role in determining our health and wellness. The same is true for animals. So instead of commercial feed, my livestock eats fodder. In farming, grains that are allowed to sprout are called fodder. Fodder is similar […] More

  • a sheep peers into your soul

    6 Reasons To Raise Sheep

    My parents raised sheep for several years when I was a kid. They were my favorite of the animals we experimented raising on our hobby farm. Watching the sheep give birth was absolutely amazing and the baby lambs made the most adorable pets! My siblings, friends, and myself also got a lot of entertainment attempting […] More

  • white leghorn hens

    Best Chicken Breeds For City Living

    By the time neighbors acknowledge that you grow the most vigorous tomatoes and bake the tastiest bread around, you’ve probably thought more than once that raising chickens might be for you. Having done your homework, you know that more cities throughout the U.S. are permitting as many as four or six chickens in a backyard […] More

  • goat cheese made without rennet

    How To Make Goat Cheese

    At our goat dairy, we run summer workshops on making cheese. We like these cheeses because they don’t require rennet or even aging. In this article we’ll go through everything from getting the milk to setting up your operation so you can sell the cheese you make. We have pure Saanen goats, Nubian goats and […] More

  • cows at an organic farm eat

    How To Buy Meat Direct From A Farm

    So you eat meat, and you want to get it from a farm you know and trust. Don’t we all! If you are considering buying meat direct from a local farmer for the first time, you may have some questions and uncertainties. When I was growing up, my parents bought meat from Safeway and other […] More

  • goats in a pasture

    Raising Goats

    Goats are sweet, social, mischievous and stubborn. They are a favorite of urban homesteaders who want fresh milk but can’t keep a cow. Homesteaders favor milking goats as a food source because of their milk’s mild flavor and moderate output. Even people (like me) who don’t like “goat” flavor in milk and cheese are startled […] More