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How To Get Started Raising Animals On A Small Farm

Wanting to get started raising animals on your hobby farm? Think about this…

It can be tempting to what to buy all the animals for your hobby farm that pull on your heartstrings. But if you want to raise animals with intention and not have all of these animals literally eating away at your wallet. You need to plan a few things out first.

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Think About Your Goals For Your Hobby Farm

Think about the end goal that you want for your mini-farm. Do you want to only be selling livestock for income? Do you want to eventually sell other types of products like soaps and yarn? Do you want to have an online store where you sell those products?

Maybe you want to be known more for your friendly pet-type animals. I know of someone who has the goal of developing her milk cow heard to provide good milk cows for other homesteaders.

Or you want to raise only production animals where you are selling to them market.

Think about your lifestyle…

Also, think about your life goals. Maybe you need to have something that is sustainable with a day job, raising kids, or homeschooling. Before you get started with anything think about the life you want to live now. And the life you want to live 5 to 10 years down the road.

Anytime we want to leave to go on vacation it’s a challenge to find someone to come and house-sit. Rabbits might seem easy but when you have a few thousand dollars in animals it’s a little nerve-racking to trust them to someone else who you are not sure we’ll recognize when something goes wrong.

Plus, no one knows how to take care of your animals better than you. Cant I get an amen from all the obsessive animal mommas!

leah lynch feeding her rabbits on a hobby farm

We have a few different types of poultry as well and so finding someone who is willing to feed chickens and put up with turkeys being nosey and getting into their business can be a challenge.

So think about the type of life you want to live first before you start bringing on all types of animals. It’s going to be even more difficult if you have something like a dairy animal that needs to be milked or having someone take care of an animal that might be a little messy for some people.

What Would Be Easiest For You To Start?

Before you get started I want you to evaluate what you have now. What kind of supplies do you already have on your hobby farm? Whether you can borrow them or you have them lying around the barn. Make a list of all the supplies you have and get creative you, can use a coffee can for a feed scoop. It might seem trivial but saving $6 is money you can put towards something else.

Start-up Costs

Consider your start-up cost go through and write down everything you will need to raise the animal you want to raise. And don’t just think about day-to-day living in caring for the animal. Think about breeding and future babies on your hobby farm and what that is going to require.

Now, remember the list you made of supplies you already have? Go through that list and compare it to your startup list and see what you already have and what you have to buy.

If you want help with this grab my free worksheet to help you write out your list.

Your Knowledge Base

Think about your knowledge base. What do you already know how to take care of? And what animals are you going to have to completely learn from scratch? If you’re going to have to take the time to learn about them it’s going to be a much slower startup.

Also, consider that some animals are harder to raise than others. Goats actually have a good amount of complications to them they seem pretty easy but when it comes to warming and breeding they can be a bit finicky.

Once you get the hang of it, rabbits are not too hard to take care of but if you don’t know what you’re doing when it comes to raising litters you’re going to experience quite a few losses. Which can be devastating to a beginner.

What do you enjoy the most?

You don’t want to start work that you hate. So make sure you enjoy working with the species or breed you intend to start with.

Now don’t let what I just said scare you. If there’s something you really enjoy or you think you would enjoy raising and you have a lot to learn then, by all means, learn it!

There is so much joy in learning something new but if you’re hoping to make progress and your hobby farm quickly then starting with something you don’t know anything about is going to be difficult. You might have a bit of a bumpy road ahead…

If you are a fighter and willing to start out with a little bit of a learning curve then go for it but if you’re the type to give up when things get tough then definitely start with something you know.

Prioritize Your List

Make a list of the animals you want to start raising and put the ones that you want to start with at the top of the list. The animals that will need to wait at the bottom. This list is going to be your go by. When you’re tempted to buy any animal that is further down the list then it’s something you need to think about and re-evaluate your hobby Farm goals.

Start With One Or Two Animals

Like I said even if you know a little bit of about one of the animals you’re going to start with you might have a few hiccups in the road. If you are trying to learn and take care of five new species you’re going to find it’s a struggle and you might be in over your head and burnout.

But if you know any animals so well that it becomes second nature to you then you won’t have as hard of time starting your hobby farm.

Start with now more than species two one season and then wait until the following summer to add a new species or breed.

If you want a few tips for selling livestock and running your hobby farm well check this post out.

A hobby farm can be a great joy. But if you start to quickly and get in over your head raising all the animals that perk your interest at once you’re going to be in too deep.

It should be something you love and being an addition to your life not take over it. Start small and grow from there. If you’re willing to take it slow and learn hard you will see a successful hobby farm.

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