This post is full of homestead ideas to get your juices flowing. But more than that I want to give you a homestead plan that you can take action on.
Having a homesteading idea is great. But nothing will come to reality if you don’t act on it. Having a plan and clear intention will help you move forward in that dream.
There are some key points I wanted to talk to you about before I get you excited and start talking about raising homegrown food and raising farm animals.
Start Your Farm With Perspective
You need to have a good clear picture of how much time you have in your day to dedicate to your homesteading activity before you start pouring through homestead ideas.
You need to know what is ACTUALLY is taking up your time right now. It’s easy to get a mental picture that is skewed from reality.
You may be a stay-at-home wife with no kids (which makes your time no less important by the way) demanding your attention but dinner still has to be made or prepped, laundry is piling up, floors still need to be swept… You get the idea.
All of that takes time so you need to allow time for that in your homestead plans.
Create A Dream Homestead List
As you go through this post I want you to get out a piece of paper and write HOMESTEAD IDEAS DREAM LIST on the top of it.
These are simply ideas. Not have to’s. Not a “do this to be legit” task list.
Simply a place to store the ideas you have or would like to do someday.
If you have not ever plotted your typical week I want you to watch this video.
LINK UP DO YOU HAVE TIME FOR THAT VIDEO.
If you have lots of ideas I would also recommend keeping an idea notebook. This will help you not forget them but it also keeps you from taking action on something right away out of pure excitement rather than an informed decision.
To help organize your homestead ideas a bit you could have a page for homesteading animals, dream farm equipment, homestead business ideas or anything else you even think you might want to do someday.
Love this post? Pin it to your favorite pinterest board and read it later.
The Power Of One
The life of a backyard homesteader is a marathon not a race. You likely have 50 homestead ideas you want to try and that’s great. But trying to do too much is where homesteaders get themselves into trouble.
I want you to start off with one large project and one small project. If you know nothing about either of the things you want to do then start with one. You will be far better off in the long run learning about your new homestead project WELL instead of half why learning enough to get by.
Large Projects could be raising a new animal you’ve never had before. Or Build a barn or pen area to house your animals.
A smaller project is adding a new vegetable to your already existing garden.
If you don’t have a garden yet consider growing something in containers. Instead of digging up a large patch of land your first year.
Always find a way to dip your toes in the water before jumping into the deep end of the pool. K?
Homestead Ideas Based On How Much Time You Have
One reason why I encourage you to start with one or two things so you can see how long it really takes you. It could take longer than you thought or you could be surprised at how quickly you get things done.
Pro tip: If you have animals who want attention get all the feeding and chores done FIRST then go back and have a fun time. This leaves your mind free of guilt that there is work to be done and you won’t run behind schedule.
Timing yourself or getting a visual of how long it takes you BEFORE you end up with more than you have time for on your plate will be a game-changer.
If you have a garden that is too big for you to manage… just pull out what isn’t doing well and work on the rest. No big deal.
But if you have animals… you either butcher them to eat, sell them, or even take a loss. You can’t just up and forget about them. They still need to be cared for until you decide what to do.
Once you outline your week I want you to look at how many hours per week you have left to fit in a new homesteading project. Take that into consideration as you write down your homestead ideas.
Homestead Ideas If You Like To Grow Things
Grow Fruit Trees – Fruit is going to be a big money saver and also a great side income if you choose to do so. Not to mention fruit can be turned into a lot of food items if you have a lot of extras.
Make sure you know what you can grow in your area before ordering something that won’t do well.
Up north we have to grow stone fruit and apples. But you don’t need to have a large amount of land to grow fruit. A dwarf fruit tree can produce a very nice harvest. Just make sure you get a self polintating tree if you don’t plan to have more than one of the same type.
Have A Vegetable Garden – BE STRATEGIC. You only have so much time in the day right? So personally I would recommend you spend your time growing the things that save you money first.
Vegetables are something that can leave you with a poor return on your investment of time if you’re not careful.
- Make a list of your favorite things from the produce department or the farmers market and write out how much they would cost you to buy.
- Then make sure you are able to grow those things in your area.
- Choose your top three veggies and see how much you would need to grow to make the amount you will need.
Herbs – I LOVE fresh herbs on my food and there is nothing like freshly grown herbs or even herbs you have dehydrated and saved at home. They are far more flavorful. Some herbs need to be grown from clippings and others grow well from seeds. Make sure you do a quick googles search before you waste money trying to do something that is setting you up for failure anyway. Lavender and rosemary are REALLY hard to re-start.
Be strategic about what you grow where. If an herb is a annual then it should be in a container garden. I don’t take up space for these in my flower beds or gardens.
Grow Coffee Plants – Now keep in mind you need to roast the beans you grow. They won’t make “coffee” like you are thinking right off the plant. This is defiantly a fun project and if done right you could save a lot of money.
Coffee plants grow in zones 9-11 outdoors. Frost will kill the plant so you need to be able to cover it or bring the plant indoors.
- The Garden Beast has a great post on how to grow Coffea Arabica.
- A post from In The Kitchen How to roast coffee beans.
Homesteading Ideas If You Like To Raise Animals
I am going to give you some unique homestead ideas you know all the basics. I want you to think outside the box and find homestead ideas that will save you money or the things that are worth it because the food tastes better.
You only have so much time in the day so choose wisely what you invest your time in.
Chickens – The eggs defiantly taste better than store-bought but I want you to be careful with how many you get. Get just enough to get the eggs you need for your family plus maybe 3 extra and let it be.
Unless you have ready buyers for eggs at $5 a dozen and you are feeding your chickens all the scraps you can find they will drain you dry.
20 chickens will likely go through a 50lb bag of feed a week. Which will end up being about $70 a month. That is quite the bill if you ask me.
Start a Ground Worm Farm – I have thought about doing this so many times. This would be a great addition to a farm that has animal manure waste on the regular. Waste from chickens, rabbits, goats, and cattle is great for keeping worms happy. You can also throw your kitchen scraps into the mix if you don’t feed that to your chickens.
If you have earthworms on your farm instead of composting worms they will be able to self-sustain. They are also great for small farms, urban or rural.
Not everyone has a tone of space to do a compost pile. This is a great way to maximize what you have. They will also work much faster than waiting on homemade compost to decompose.
Here is a great video on how to make your own warm farm.
Ducks – Ducks are awesome because they grow quickly, they are great to eat, you can eat the eggs (which are great for moist baking.) and they are very hardy critters.
I loved having ducks because they were also great bug control.
Become a Backyard Beekeeper – I’m not going to lie I could never do this. Something that I have very little control over and has a stinger on its butt. No thank you.
Aaaaanyway…. The business owner in me loves them because they have so much potential for high income and they don’t take up a lot of space.
You could sell beeswax, candles, herbal salves, offer swarm removal (and keep the bees), plus a ton more.
Not to mention the amount the honey would cost you alone to buy for your family.
Homesteading Skills To Learn
There are lots of homestead skills to learn but make sure you choose them one at a time. Don’t push yourself to do them all.
Knowing how to do 10 of these things does not make you any more legit or worthy than someone who can do 3.
Seed Saving – I started doing this with pumpkins I buy from stores that I love. I love to decorate with pumpkins but they are out rediculess to buy.
Grow Vegetables From Seeds – I would only do this if you are an experienced gardener. But it will save you a lot of money in garden start-ups each year.
Herbal Medicine – For both you and your animals. This has saved me so much on vet bills to learn how to treat our animals myself. Herbs and essential oils do wonders.
Here is a post on the 10 best herbs to grow for beginners. It’s a good place to start so you don’t end up in over your head.
Learn to Make Bread – This is defiantly a far better tasting thing than buying bread from the store. BUT don’t feel guilty if you rely on a bread machine for most of the bread. Again you only have so much time in the day.
Make Traditional Hand Cranked Ice Cream – This is a perfect example of something that will cost you more to make than to buy. While it (according to my husband) tastes better than store-bought you are not saving any money.
Make Jerky – We love to make this from deer meat.
Learn to Dehydrate Fruit, Vegetables, and Herbs – I love to save my fresh herbs at the end of the season this way.
Homesteading DIY Projects That Are Worth It
Everyone loves a fun project but you need to make sure that the homestead projects you decide to do are WORTH the time and money investment.
Some are going to be saving you money but others are defiantly for your sanity.
I think this is defiantly worth the investment because it will save you a lot of fo time AND physical labor.
You can make one yourself but they also aren’t too bad price-wise either.\
Dual Chamber Tumbling Composter (Black) – Check This one out on Amazon.
Trash Cans For Portable Storage
Storage is something that can be hard to come by especially if you need supplies down by animals that are not close to a barn or the house.
Before I had my patio storage trunk down by the rabbits I had two trashcans down by the rabbits with hooks glued to the sides and organizers in the bottom.
Raised Garden Beds
These are something that is great if you have bad joints as I do. You can sit on a wheeled garden chair or even a utility cart to do your backyard garden chores instead of scrunching up your hips by bending over.
Here are some great options on amazon.
- 48x24x30in Raised Garden Bed, Elevated Wood Planter Box Stand for Backyard, Patio, Balcony w/Bed Liner, 200lb Capacity
- Greenes Fence Original Pine Raised Garden Bed, 2′ x 4′ x 10.5″
Why You Should Have A Homestead Income Source
Homesteading costs money. Depending on what you do it could cost a lot of it.
Homesteading is often jumped into as a hobby that people wish was a way of life. And it can be. You need to go into it with intentionality and not a whimsical or rushed approach.
Not everything on your farm has to be an income stream. BUT everything on your farm should have a purpose.
But if you could create enough income to cover most of the expenses of your homestead, how would that make you feel?
Free of stress I would imagine. And your farm would be far more enjoyable.
Don’t try to make everything pay for itself because some things are simply not going to be worth the effort.
Find one thing that could make the bulk of the income you need to cover the costs.
To Start Making Money Here Are Three Keys You Must Have
Know Your Numbers – This is key to business success. Period the end.
You need to track your expenses and know how much you need to make.
You need to track your social media engagement and reach to know what people like to see.
It sounds boring but it gives you so much freedom and confidence in your business making decisions. Having a way to look at your numbers will help you know if you are on the right track with your homesteading content to later make sales.
Start Slow And Stay Focused- Learn the breed or plants you love most and stay focused. Trying to raise too many different things because you “just can’t make up your mind” is what will get you into trouble.
Attend local shows and just watch. Talk to breeders or people who grow what you want to grow. They will tell you the good and the not-so-great parts of what they raise.
For animals, starting with a trio (one male and two females) is going to be a great place to start to get your feet wet and make sure you are ready to take care of your new herd rain or shine.
For gardening start with a container of what you want to grow.
Start With What You’ve Got – When it comes to supplies start with what you’ve got. You don’t need to have the prettiest barns, pens, or top-of-the-line equipment.
Start small and upgrade as you have the CASH. Don’t go into debt for anything for the farm. This is supposed to be fun while making extra cash. Don’t put the stress of dept into it.
Homestead Ideas To Make Money
Remember what I said. Try to make one product profitable before you do any more. Max out your capacity if you can. Better yet try to have multiple income streams from ONE niche (the thing you raise or grow) when you are ready.
No one can keep up with doing 10 different homestead projects on their own.
Different Income Streams From Livestock
**When it comes to anything involving other people using your animals be careful to set up rules of what is to be done with the animals and how it all works. People are ot kind with anything that isn’t their own.**
- Breeding Services – If the animal is small (rabbits, or chickens) be careful with letting too many people bring their animals to use your sire’s. This could come to bite you in the butt if someone brings diseases along with them.
- Rent Out Your Goats for Land Management – While this is a great way to feed your animals on someone else’s property and get paid to do it. Make sure you inspect the area and make it clear no one is to handle the animals.
- Raise Extra Meat & Sell It “on the hoof” – This is a great income source if you are already raising something for yourself. Do a few extra to make money or cover the cost.
- Sell Tame Livestock or Bottle Babies: This would be great if you could time it so the babies were ready early in the year right when 4H projects are being purchased.
- Halter Trained Milk Cows – This is a great way to grow your herd and sell heifers once they have had their first calf (at around 2 years old) milk them for 6 months or so and sell them.
- Stocked Fields For Hunting – If you raise pheasant or quail to release out on your property for people to hunt you could charge for people to hunt on your land.
- Stocked Fishing Pond – If you have a pond you could stock it and charge people so much for a day of fishing with a max catch of say 6 fish. Then if they want to keep more they have to pay a certain amount per fish.
Earn Income From Poultry
- Market Premium Duck Eggs
- Hatch Chicks to Sell
- Sell Started Pullets, Ready to Lay
- Raise Pheasant or Quail – These are very popular for amongst the hunters.
- Heritage Breeds Of Turkeys – These are in high demand and hard to find.
- Raise Ducks for Restaurants
Make Money Raising Sheep
- Raise Lambs for Market
- Sell Wool for Fiber
- Sell Pelts & Skins for Home Decor
Raise Rabbits Make Money
- Sell pelts
- Rabbit wool
- Wool that is already spun.
- Show rabbit breeding stock.
- Rabbits for pets and garden manure makers.
- Sell the rabbit manure itself.
- Raise meat rabbits for people wanting to get started raising meat rabbits themselves.
Sell Your Skills As A Service
- Shear Alpacas & Sheep
- Horse Boarding
- Pet Training
- Horse Riding Lessons
- Farm Sitting – Great side hustle for teens.
- Board Pets
- Start a Petting Zoo
- Rototill Gardens
- Stump Removal Services
- Woodlot Clean Up
- Snow Removal
- Leaf Removal
- Tree Pruning & Trimming Services
- Apple Cider Pressing
- Deer Processing
- Floral Arranging For Events – You will earn big bucks for weddings.
- Rent Out Equipment
- Make & Sell Hay
- Rent Out Your Stock Trailer
- Put Your Skills to Work Offer Building Services
- Offer Handyman Services
- Build Fences
- Build Chicken Coops
- Saw Mill
- Reclaim Old Barns
- Build Tiny Houses
- Custom Furniture Making
- Repurpose Antique Furniture (Furniture Flipping)
- Become a Leathersmith
- Become a Blacksmith
Tourism Income Ideas
For these ideas, you better be ready to deal with people.
People that have no idea about anything country. They will do stupid things around your animals. People who think they know but they really don’t.
You just have to put on your poker face for the day and let it go.
Here are some income ideas if you think you could handle it.
- A corn maze – With grilled corn, a corn box for kids to play in, cornbread for people to eat.
- Pumpkin Patch – You pick or pre-picked, All things pumpkin baked goods.
- Start a U-Pick Orchard or Garden
- Start a Bed & Breakfast
- Offer Your Farm as a Wedding & Event Venue
Use Your Homestead Skills Sell Crafts
Etsy is the best place to sell handmade products if you take good pictures and use keywords well.
- Canning Jars made into farmhouse style decor.
- Homemade Soap
- Wax melts
- Barnwood Home Decor
- Naturally Dye Fiber
- Handmade Quilts
- Crochet or knitted items. – Be careful what you choose to make here. If you cant buy it at a retail shop don’t expect someone to buy it just because its homemade.
- Weave Baskets
- Handmade Pottery
What Your Homestead Plan Should Include
One small thing because you love it. – Its ok to do something on your farm simply because you love it. BUT make sure it is not a huge money suck that puts you into a whole.
One income stream. – Find one thing that could help you pay for a lot of the expences maybe even become a side hustle for you that is easy to manage.
One skill you are learning. – Find one skill to learn that will make your life easier or better on the farm.
As time goes on and you see that you have time for more. Then you can pull one of your homestead ideas from your notebook and add on to what you are doing.
Starter Homestead Ideas If You Have 10-15 Hours A Week
I wanted to build out a few homestead ideas that play on the main areas of homesteading. Raising 1-2 animals, growing crops, and a few homesteading skills.
Keep in mind that 10-15hrs is what you need to give to maintain these things. NOT the time it takes to get started.
This also means that you are spending about an hour and a half to a little over two hours every weekday to take care of these aspects of your farm.
Homestead Idea 1 – If You Have A Small Space (A quarter acre or less.)
You do not need to have a tone of space to dip your toes into the homesteading world. Do what you can with what you’ve got.
Chickens are very easy once they are up and going. You only need one hen per person in your house to have more than enough eggs.
3 hens will give you about a dozen every 4 days. Not bad right?
Daily Chore List: Total about 20 minutes per day.
- Gather the eggs
- Feed and water them.
- Close them up at night.
Clean the coop out every 4-6 months and lay a fresh layer of being. – 60 minutes.
Rabbits are also not as hard but you have to feed each animal individually. Rabbits can also end up with some issues you may need to tend to. They also need to be groomed and nails trimmed unlike chickens.
Rabbit Chore List: 15 – 25 minutes if you have 3-5 rabbits
- Feed and watering: 5 minutes per animal
- Monthly Grooming: 8-20 minutes (depending on if the rabbit is molting and the type of fur. Angoras need weekly if not daily combing.)
- Monthly Nail Trimming: 5-8 minutes (depending on how cooperative they are.)
Square Foot Garden
Chores: Total Chore-Time 28 – 60 minutes
- Watering: 10 -15 minutes
- Gathering Produce: 8 – 15 minutes
- Weeding: 10 – 30 minutes
This book is also a huge asset to getting more out of your growing season.
Dehydrating: 1hr or so a week
This is seasonal but it is the quickest food preservation skill you can learn.
You have to clean the produce then layer it on a dehydrator for 12-24hrs or even a few days depending on what you are doing and how wet it was when you placed it on the dehydrator.
Pro Tip: Don’t try to dihydrate something on a high humidity day. You are fighting a losing battle.
Your Income Source
If you have a very small space to work with you likely are living closer to a city or are even in town yourself. Don’t feel bad about this because that means you are going to have a much easier time selling your product because fewer people are doing it.
Everyone and their brother has chickens where I live so it’s really hard to sell eggs around here.
Your Farm Income Streams:
- Sell extra garden produce on a cute street stand you put at the end of your driveway.
- Sell dehydrated products. (Make sure to test out your skills before selling the product)
- 2 Rabbits Per litter – If you choose good quality animals you could plan to sell two rabbits per litter you raise at $25 a piece (minimum) and cover a lot of their expenses.
If you want to learn the ins and outs of running a profitable rabbitry check out my profitable rabbitry playbook.
- Eggs – 3 chickens can produce a dozen eggs every four days depending on how many chickens you have (don’t overdo it) you could also sell eggs.
Here are a few selling points that will help you charge more for eggs.
- Organic feed.
- Cage-free. – This only means they are not kept in individual cages off the ground and never let out. Even chickens that are kept in a coop that has a closed-in run count as cage-free.
- Farm-raised – You are a mini farm but a farm nonetheless.
Homestead Idea 2 – If You Have More Room
This collection of ideas is for people who have more room to raise animals. Just be intentional with what you choose to do and make sure you take action on everything you bring on to your homestead.
Don’t level it up to “I’ll get to it some day”.
Raising backyard chickens is very easy once they are up and going. Once you get the chicken coop set you and some predator precautions are taken care of you are good to go.
Daily Chore List: Total about 20 minutes per day.
- Gather the eggs
- Feed and water them.
- Close them up at night.
If you get good at raising meat birds you can have a batch raised and ready to butcher in 9-10 weeks. But they need regular attention, they are messy, and you need to watch the weather and temperatures because this will affect how quickly they grow.
Daily Chore List:
Feeding and watering – 15-20 minutes
(the older the birds get the longer it will take because they will poop on the feeders)
Cleaning the pen: 5 – 30 minutes
(the same thing, the older they get the more mess they create.)
Second temp check midday: 5-10 minutes
(The day to night time temperatures can fluctuate so much that if not checked can cause your birds to overheat and die or not want to eat)
Evening Temp Check: 5 – 10 minutes
Now I want to preface this. Unless you plan to eat the meat, use the milk, or raise quality animals to sell.
DO NOT GET GOATS.
They are addicting but they are also a money suck. They are one of the better animals for earning an income because they have lots of income streams.
BUT you need to be careful how you do it. Getting mixed breeds off of craigslist and only getting $100 a kid won’t come close to covering your expenses. They also require a lot more effort and attention.
Daily Goat Chores: 20 minutes
- Feeding and watering
- Checking for escapable paths
- Weekly Maintenance: 1-3hrs
- Monthly Maintenance 5-10hrs
Mid Size Vegetable Garden
Always choose the things you love to eat or the things that will save you money instead of buying them. Things like butternut squash are outrageous in the store but not so hard to raise.
Ideas Of Profitable Things To Grow
- Dwarf Fruit Trees
- Fresh herbs
- Fruit – $3-5 Dollars a pound.
- Root Plants (not carrots) or sweet potatoes
- Tomatoes – About $2 a pound.
Daily Chores: Total Chore-Time 60 minutes
- Watering: 15 minutes
- Gathering Produce: 15 minutes
- Weeding: 30 minutes
Extra Skills To Save Money Or sell
- Having a compost pile.
- Making Cheese
- Cream Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Or Herbed Soft cheese
Income Streams For Your Small Farm
- Raising purebred goat kids for homestead or 4H goats – $250 – $400
- Selling fresh goat’s milk – $4.50 a gallon
- Making cheese from goats milk – $9 – $14 per pound
- Fresh Free Range Chicken Eggs – $2.50 – $5 A Dozen
- Keep one breed of chicken and hatch out purebred chickens. You can sell older pullets (chickens under one year) for $25 a head.
No matter what you decide to grow on your farm make sure you enjoy what you are growing and you can SEE the value in what you are doing.
“Knowing where my food comes from” is not good enough. That won’t last you when the times get tough and you wonder if your crops are even going to make it through the hot summer or half of your chickens got eaten in the night.
If you are intentional with your homestead projects from the apartment homesteader to the backyard farmer you can see success. You just need to have a plan, patience, and persistence.