Our views may differ slightly from others in regards to animal husbandry and animal raising and we do not mean that as a slight of any sort or to start any feuds, it is merely our take on things. We try to offer our animals as natural and comfortable a setting as possible, we treat each animal with respect and compassion, even up to it's last moments alive. For us, they are more than just meat or eggs or milk, they are living creatures that we have taken responsibility for their well being. Our way is not better or right, it is simply how we choose to run our homestead. I guess coming from a large corporation has helped me develop that viewpoint, which I hadn't thought of until just now. For years I was just a cog or employee number and my well being didn't mean squat to the company so long as I kept producing for them, I didn't like being treated that way and I won't treat other living things that way.
Lions, Tigers & Bears- not quite...
Yes, sheep, goats, cows, pigs and horses all have diminutive counterparts. Check out Miniature Livestock: Think Small and Storey's Guide to Raising Miniature Livestock We recommend reading as much as you can before making a decision. Storey's Guides are some of the best we've found that are readily available.
Do you want a heritage breed, which will take longer to grow but won't have the health problems that some of the Broiler or Cornish Cross Breeds have? Do you want a Rare? Endangered? Critical Breed? All of which are no longer as popular as they once were and on the edge of extinction? Do you want to raise chickens for eggs? Meat? Both? If you are looking for egg production, you want a "Production" hybrid, for meat it's Broilers or Cornish Crosses. For dual purpose you are looking at one of the Heritage Breeds, like our Plymouth Barred Rocks pictured in their brooder box.
Here are some good resources for choosing your chickens:
Raising Chickens in the City from Mother Earth Living
Best Chicken Breeds for Backyard Flocks, Choosing the Right Chicken Breeds, Enjoy Heritage Chickens and a really cool app that will help you select the right breed for you- The Pickin Chicken App: Which Chicken Breeds Are Right For You? All of which can be found on Mother Earth News's website.Farmstead Chicken Breeds and Perfect Chickens from Grit.
Ducks & Geese:
The Homestead Guide to Domesticated Ducks,Natural Pest Control for Gardens with Ducks!,
Raising Ducks: Choosing Breeds, Feed, Housing and More all from Mother Earth News.
Heritage Poultry: Goose and Duck Breeds for Your Farm and Heritage Breeds: Keeping Ducks and Geese from Grit.
Heritage Turkey Breeds for the Rural American from Grit. This story from One Green Planet helps underscore our passion for Heritage Breeds, Thanksgiving: A Time for Gratitude, Celebration, Peace and Reflection?
While we have not used or researched all the hatcheries on that list, we have used and highly recommend Ideal Poultry in Texas. The customer service was top notch!! The chicks were well packed, we didn't lose one of them and our order arrived in about 24 hours. We have not used Mt. Healthy Hatchery in Ohio, but given that all of the reported 2014 cases of Salmonella were attributed to them by the CDC, we would suggest caution if ordering from them.
Grit offers us this article, Raising Rabbits for Profit.
State Rabbit Breeders Index
Raising Sheep: The Basics, Selecting and Raising Sheep for Wool and SHEEP BREEDS.
Heritage Meat Sheep Breeds from Grit.
U.S. Sheep Breeders Online Directory
Goats and Miniature Goats:
Raising Goats: Strategies for Success and How to Raise Healthy Goats from Mother Earth News.
Goat Breeders Directory - All Breeds
Cattle and Miniature Cattle:
Beef Cattle Breeders Directory | American Cattlemen
Pigs and Miniature Pigs:
All About Pigs and Pig Lingo published in Grit.
Breeders Directory Page - The Pig Site
Horses and Miniature Horses:
The Benefits and Drawbacks of Farming With Horses from Mother Earth News.
Horse Breed Associations
Livestock Feeding: Grazing, Foraging and Feeds:
Mother Earth News provides us with the article DIY Sprouted Fodder for Livestock, walks us through growing your own fodder which is a project we will be undertaking in the very near future.
A Guide to Seasonal Considerations:
We want to thank you for checking out our blog and spending some of your time with us!!