Raising Livestock For Self-Sufficiency And Profit – 8 Tips To Get Started
Raising livestock is a great way to generate an income, and it is a hobby that you can enjoy with your children. Raising livestock for profit is also a very viable option. The following 9 tips will help you get started raising livestock in no time.
1) You will need a place to keep the animals. This could be a barn, chicken coop, lean to, etc. What you choose will depend largely on your budget and climate. Colder climates will require more protection from the elements. It should have good ventilation and lighting, and it needs to be able to accommodate your animals. If you are going to raise dairy cattle, you will need a separate milking area as well, whether that involves hand milking or machine milking will determine what type of space as well.
2) You will need a good quality fencing system. You can purchase a pre-made fence if you don’t want to do any construction yourself, depending on how many animals and how big you want your enclosure to be. Smaller animals require a smaller area, larger animals, such as cattle, will require much more space, and thus more cost and effort. Fencing can be quite expensive and require a bit of know how to setup properly. Here is a video with some really good tips on constructing fences and making sure it’s done right.
3) You will need some type of feeder to provide the animals with food. If you are raising chickens, you can use a large container to hold their feed. There are also many different types of hanging commercial feeders that you can use as well. Most are made of aluminum and are relatively inexpensive. Depending on how many birds you have, you may need 2 or even 3. Once filled, they usually last a week or two depending on how many you have and how many chickens they are feeding. If you are raising pigs, you will need to provide them with a trough. For larger animals you will likely require hay bales, some of which are quite large and require equipment to move around. If you don’t have a tractor, small square bales suffice, you just need to feed them more often.
Keep in mind that with animals such as chicken, pigs and goats, they are a great way to get rid of your kitchen scraps to help keep your feed costs down.
4) You will need some type animal identification tags. These are necessary so that your animals can be identified when they are sold at the market. You can purchase these tags from a farm supply store.
5) You will need to have at least a basic set of tools. Building and maintaining animal shelters, fencing, and anything else related to raising animals can require a significant amount of tools, the more the better. You can’t really ever have too many tools. Start with the basic hand tools and go from there as you need.
6) You will need a reliable source of water. You can purchase a water tank from a building supply store. You can also purchase self-waterers for chickens that can hold up to 14 gallons of water and don’t need to be filled up as often, depending how many birds you have. If you live in a cold climate that gets snow in winter, you can use this as a water source as well.
7) You will need a reliable way to dispose of your waste. You can purchase a manure spreader, or you can purchase a compost bin. A quad or small tractor coupled with a resin trailer can work quite well also, this is what I personally use.
8) You will need a reliable method of transportation to bring your animals to market once they are ready. You can purchase a truck with a trailer, or just a pickup truck, again, depending on what kind of animals you are transporting and how many. You could also borrow transportation from another local farmer or hobby farmer as well if the cost is not affordable for your own. Keep in mind, you won’t be needing this all the time, only once or twice a year depending on the animals you are raising.
Raising animals is a great way to provide a sense of self-sufficiency for your family, provide a good work ethic for children and adults alike, and even provide a source of income at the same time.