This post was most recently updated on March 9th, 2020
If you are buying a homestead, or already have some land and you want to make some profit, raising animals is one of the best options. There are some animal that have more potential to make money than others. So are the best five farm animals to raise to make a profit on your farm, homestead or smallholding.
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You do need to look in to the zoning regulations in your specific area, as the rules to vary from place to place about the types and numbers of specific animals that you can raise. Some areas allow you to process small animals at home before commercial sale, others require animals to be processed in official slaughterhouses, which will cut in to your profit.
The 5 Best Farm Animals to Raise to Make a Profit
As with anything, I cannot guarantee that you do make a profit if you raise these animals, anything can go wrong – illness, death and a lack of food or market are the most common issues that happen when you raise animals to make money.
There are a few ways that you can make money raising chickens.
Selling eggs is the obvious option. We sell our pasture raised eggs for $6/doz and this covers their feed costs plus the costs of the feed for our rabbits and goats.
This depends on your local market though – find out how much eggs are in your neighbourhood. There is a balance with chickens when you are raising them for a profit – you need enough hens to make it worth while, I would suggest at least 20, and you need to be prepared to retire them and get young fresh hens every 2 years or so to keep egg production at the peak.
There is good profit to be made in hatching and selling heritage breed chicks in some areas. All you need for this is a source of fertile eggs and a reliable egg incubator. If you are selling them older than a day old, you will also need a chick brooder.
If you have a lot of space, you can set up a commercial, pasture raised meat bird production. I suggest that you look in to the work of Joel Salatin on YouTube, he has a fantastic, profitable method for raising pasture raised chickens. For this method to work, you need to use the commercial hybrid meat birds that are ready for slaughter at 8-12 weeks.
If you have a lot of space on your farm, then beef is a great choice. Pasture raised beef is one of the best meats, and requires very little input other than time and good pasture management.
You need to start with good beef stock, steers (castrated boys) grow bigger and faster than heifers (girls). Make sure that you select a proper beef breed – dairy cows end up with about half as much meat on them than beef breeds do.
You will need strong fences, a hot wire helps! And some cattle yards to be able to safely contain the cattle and load them onto the truck. You will also need a bail in case a beast needs to be contained and examined.
Beef are usually bought either as 1 week old calves that will need milk fed, or as weaners. Obviously you pay more for the weaned calves, but the ones you have to milk feed drink a lot of milk, several times a day.
Beef cattle is then usually raised for about 2 years before processing.
You do need to be not afraid of big animals, especially if you are raising boy cattle. Never keep a bull on your property unless you are a very experienced cattle farmer. They are dangerous and unpredictable.
3 Dairy Goats
There is a growing demand for all things goat. This includes goats milk, goats cheese and goats milk soap.
Dairy goats are easier to handle than dairy cows, and they are more tolerant of steep properties, or scrubby food.
Dairy goats will need a milking stand, some grain to keep them occupied while you milk and either a bunch of strong hands to milk them all, or some milking machines.
You will also need containers to put the milk in, a way to sterilise those containers and somewhere to quickly chill the milk. Then it is a matter of marketing your milk. It will need to be transported chilled, or ideally, picked up from the gate by the consumer.
To make this a profitable venture, you will probably need at least 15 goats milking. Most goats will give you around 2 quarts of milk per day each.
Keeping bees is becoming very trendy with the’ save the bees’ movement. Beekeeping can be profitable, if you do it right. There are some diseases that are now running rampant and killing off millions of hives a year.
To keep bees, you need to be trained in identifying these diseases, and knowing how to treat them.
Organic, local honey can reach very good prices per kilo, and beeswax also has a market.
To make a honey production profitable, you will need a huge amount of flowers to feed the bees year round, and you will need to own and manage hundreds of hives.
Quail are a small bird that tend to breed readily, they take up very little room, lay well and are in demand at nice restaurants for both meat and eggs.
You can keep quail in aviaries or modified chicken coops. A meat program would require you to breed and raise your own babies.
The 5 Best Farm Animals to Raise to Make a Profit
Pigs, chickens, quail, beef and bees are the 5 best farm animals to raise to make a profit on your farm or homestead.