We have what I like to call a mini farm, although it’s probably really more of a glorified backyard. When we bought our place, we had some goals in mind:
- To be as self-sufficient as we can be. I like having more control over what we are eating and knowing that if we were in a tough spot we’d still have food available.
- To raise kids that can learn responsibility from raising animals and taking care of barn chores.
- To have the freedom to let my kids roam and learn from nature.
Here are some of the animals we’ve managed to accumulate so far.
While I was very big into 4-H as a child, I primarily raised beef. At this stage of our lives, beef is just too expensive and time consuming. Although we don’t have a lot of acreage, what we do have is perfect for raising a small herd of goats. So when our oldest joined 4-H, we had the opportunity to learn more about Boer goats, and we decided to start raising them. Boer goats are a meat goat breed.
Right now we have two Boer does which are at the breeder. We are hoping to have baby goats in January or February. This will give us the opportunity to both grow our herd and give our third boy, Joe, a chance to show a smaller sized goat when he joins 4-H next year. Not to mention how neat it will be to have babies born right here at home!
We also have a whether goat named Mike. His main job is to eat back the weeds on our property. Goats love sticker bushes and poison ivy, which makes him perfect for that job!
We have part time lambs. Cobb shows them for 4-H, which means that we buy them in April and sell them in July. Lambs are a lot of work. They are not as smart as goats, they are expensive to feed, and they make a lot more mess than goats do. This Mama can handle them for about those four months of the year, but not full time!
That said, we do enjoy eating lamb. Since lambs are smaller it can be a more affordable option for putting meat in the freezer.
I have had chickens in the past, and I am hoping to start a new flock this fall. I feel like getting chicks in the late summer/early fall will be better than the spring flocks I’ve had before, because it takes them 20 weeks of growing before they lay eggs. And then many of them stop laying when it gets very cold outside. So why not combine those two non-laying periods if I can?
We have pet bunnies that Aaron and Cobb bought with their own money at the county fair. We will also be getting meat rabbits in the near future.
Our pet mutt Boomer has been a great watch dog for us. And now, with a growing number of animals, we decided that we need some protection from all of the coyotes and other predators in our area. So we have a livestock guardian puppy, Boone. He has the best little disposition! We think he’s going to be awesome to have around.
So that’s an introduction to our mini farm…even though some days it feels more like a zoo! I’d love to know what animals you raise or would like to learn more about.