5 Animals for Farm/Acreage Living
Our Newest Additions
Animals for Small Acres
When asked which animals I would have if I lived on a farm, I had to share my thoughts.
First of all, my family and I live on an acreage and I wouldn't have it any other way. I grew up on a farm and have always loved the open spaces and the fact there are no nosey neighbors looking into my windows. The best part of it all is the variety of animals a person can raise.
My choice of animals is in the order we got ours when we moved here 4 1/2 years ago. The first was a couple of cats, as the rodent population had exploded while the acreage was vacant. I love cats and was happy to have them again, even though they are unable to live inside the house with us due to spouse's allergies.
Within a week of living here, we went to the SPCA and adopted a puppy. He is a German Shepherd Cross and quickly claimed us and our home as his own. He wasn't keen on any animal coming into the yard if he could help it. He did miss a bear walking past our house, as he was on the opposite side having a nap in the sun. When he did get wind of it he chased it away. I also watched him kill a skunk late one night - then he wondered why no one wanted to pet him for several weeks. We also own a Blue Heeler, who joined our family the summer of 2009.
As my daughter was a member of 4H, we raised project animals (steers) and pen mates for two winters. They were interesting to have around, and were fairly easy to look after. They were happy as long as they were fed, watered and had somewhere to escape the cold wind, rain and snow. The hardest parts were halter breaking the project steers and dropping the pen mate off at the slaughter house. I do have to say, having home raised beef is a definite bonus and less costly than buying meat at the grocery store.
When the first year of 4H was over and the project steer was sold, two horses joined our family. They are beautiful animals and are also easy to take care of. Their diet consists mainly of hay and occasionally oats during the winter months, and in the summer they are able to enjoy the fresh green grass.
Our newest addition to our acreage (animals I wanted from the moment we moved here) is a small herd of alpacas. They are the cutest and easiest of livestock to raise. They do not eat very much (I'm sure our German Shepherd eats more than they do in a day) and do not require a lot of space. It is possible to raise 5 - 7 on an acre of land. They are also easier on the landscape than cows or horses, and their manure makes a great fertilizer which may be added directly to the garden. The best part about our little herd is it grew by one this winter (February 2012). We had a surprise cria (baby)!
One more type I would like but have not invested in yet are chickens. It would be great to have fresh eggs and home raised chickens in the freezer. Free range chickens are much tastier than store bought, and the eggs are much more flavorful as well. I am hoping we can build a chicken coop this spring so we can enjoy the benefits of them. One added benefit of chickens is they are great pest control in the garden.
Depending on your amount of acres available will determine the number of any of the above animals you can raise. You also must remember they need to be cared for, which means going out and doing chores whether it is 90 above or 40 below. Having animals is a pleasure, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
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