11+ Tips To Grow A Successful Backyard Farm That Raises Animals For Profit

You have a small backyard farm and are thinking you want to raise animals for profit.

You start googling livestock breeds then before you know it you are on Craigs List or searching Facebook groups to find the closest breeders. You want to take home everything. I mean if you think they are cute why wouldn’t your potential customers right?

Sceerrttttt…. Back the truck up…🚚

It is so tempting to want to get all the animals that looked so cute in the pictures but is a surefire way to end up in the red on your bank statement at the end of the month. Feed bills add up fast and the faces that once looked so cute that looked at you the right way stop looking as cute as they once did.

Ready to get into the top tips that you need to grow a successful backyard farm that raises animals for profit?

What You Need To Think About FIRST Before You Buy Your Animals

You need to be very choosy and take into consideration the land, facility, and supplies you have at your disposal before you bring animals home. this might seem like a very “duh” type of thing but I can not tell you how many people ignore this part.

To create a consistent income, you need to be strategic in every aspect of your business. Yes, I said business. Because if your goal is to make any amount of money on our backyard farm you have to think about it as a business.

Even if your number one goal is to supply your family with food that food is your “money” or the product you are making. Wouldn’t you rather pay less money to get the same amount of product from your farm?

French lop rabbit

If you are a complete beginner starting your hobby farm make sure to read this post.

What Is Your Backyard Farm Capacity

Whether it’s land, barn space, or housing capability you need to figure all that out first. One huge mistake is people decide they want farm animals and just go out and get them without any thought at all. Then they end up in over their head and have no focus whatsoever. 

If your goal is to produce meat from rabbits there are certain breeds that produce well and grow out quickly that would be a good choice.

But if your goal it raise rabbits for meat AND get them to pay for themselves the breed you would want to get would be very different.

Let’s start with land.

No matter what animal you pick to raise, they all require room to graze, shelter, and fencing. So, how much land you have determines what animals you can keep on your homestead. There might be some better choices to get more meat if you pause and think it through rather than just going with what everyone else does.

Often times the smaller animals will far out-produce the larger livestock because of how much faster they can reproduce.

Here is the recommended space needed per animal.

Laying Hens

  • 1 foot of roosting space per bird.
  • 8-10 square feet in an outside run.

Meat Birds (broilers)

They grow to butcher weight at about 9 weeks old. You want to be able to have about 3 square feet of space per bird by the time they reach this age. They are very messy and you would be cleaning the pen every single day to keep them from laying in their own waste. You can learn more about caring for broilers in this post here.


The average doe and litter cage should be about 30×42 inches of floor space. This will be sufficient for a litter of 6 or so until they are about 6-7 weeks old. Then if you plan to grow them out to eat them you can have 2 rabbiter per 30×30 inch cage and butcher them around 12 weeks old.

Quick Note

Rabbits will start fighting as early as 9 weeks old. and rabbi fights can be very bad. If you don’t want to see that happen I would separate them into their own pens if possible. But if you are not super concerned with their condition then keeping 2-3 jrs per cage will suffice until it’s time to harvest them.

Leah Lynch

For adult large-breed rabbits you could have about 30×30 inches of cage space per adult. Each should be in their own cage or you will again have fighting and even lose of litter.

Other Farm Livestock

The blog Family Growing Pains has some great info on the land it takes per animal. Source: familygrowingpains.com

  • Pigs: 12 to 14 sows per acre
  • Sheep: 1/2 an acre per animal
  • Goats: 1/2 an acre per animal
  • Dairy and Beef Cattle: 1-2 acres per animal

Keep in mind that this is if you want your animal to be fed off of grazing land. Personally I think you can get away with less if you are willing to provide hay.

Amount of Care Required

Hit the play button to watch the video

It’s easy to end up with hours of work and have no life other than feeding and caring for animals. Which is fine if that’s what you like to do with your time. But that also leaves you with a very busy life. 

This will also make it very difficult to go on vacations and find someone who is willing to care for your animals.

Do you have the time to raise animals? Chickens require a daily investment of time, but not as much as other livestock. So be thoughtful about the type of animals you get.

If you work a separate job, you really need to take into consideration how much time you truly have to devote to livestock. The more that you have, the more time it takes to feed, water, and care for them each and every day. There is a lesson in the Productive And Profitable Backyard Farmers Club that goes over this very thing.

chicks in a tub

Keep It Tidy On Your Hobby Farm

Making your property look nice does not mean that you have to spend a lot of money. Your barns and sheds do not have to be professionally designed and manicured. It is not necessary to have the newest equipment.

When people come to pick up an animal or come to learn about the animals you have. The buyer just wants to see a clean, well-kept living area for the animals.

Pro tip: walk the path that your visitors will walk from the time they park to the time they pick up their animals and leave. Look around for trash that might be laying around that is easy to miss.

Keeping the property clean and presentable will go a long way to making a good impression on buyers. If they are impressed when they come to visit they are more likely to recommend you to others. Simply keeping the trash picked up and animal waste under control will be one of the best things you can do to make a good first impression.

Know About The animal you raise

So may of your customers will feel like they don’t know anything when they buy their first few animals.

As a breeder, you will be asked ssssoooo many questions and that’s ok. Do your best to answer them but….Whatever you do, DO NOT make something up.

If they hear something down the road that contradicts what you said and you didn’t have a good reason for the advice you gave they are going to figure out you had no idea. Here is the caveat. You might have a good reason for the things you do and it very well might be controversial to the norm. THAT is ok too. But be open to saying that it’s not a common thought process. If you have a reason to back up why you do something then most times your customers will see your logic.

But if you just throw out something that you thought sounded good, unless that person is of great character and doesn’t name-drop. You will do great harm to your reputation.

Just say you don’t know but will find the answer for them. I have had rabbits for over 20 years and I still don’t know a thing about litter training a rabbit. It is not something I do so I can’t speak to that topic. So I tell people that when they ask.

If they find out that what you said was not one-hundred percent on point. You have immediately lost their trust. He or she certainly will not recommend you to someone else.

I cannot express how important this is to get the word out about what you are trying to do! Word of mouth will get you a sale far quicker than any other form of advertising or posting on social media. But you have to start somewhere and protect the lifeblood of your business.


Be Honest In Your Dealings – Tell someone when what you have available is not right for them

The statement “honesty is the best policy” is true even in the animal world. Being willing to tell someone if the breed does not sound right for them will impress that person more than you will ever know.

If an animal just does not sound like a good fit for their family tell them so. A family who is looking to buy a pet for their small child or someone who is a bit more timed should not purchase a large high-strung breed. Whether that is a cat, dog, rabbit, goat, or horse it does not matter.

The safety of the buyer should always come first. If the people insist that they want the animal, go ahead with the sale. You will walk away with a clear mind because you told them what they were getting into.

Now if you think they will cause harm to the animal I would have on your website, sales posts, and anywhere else that you reserve the right to decline a sale. And do so when the situation just doesn’t feel right.

chickens eating

Set Honest Pricing

If an animal is not worth the price you normally sell your animal for, lower the price. Every breeder will have a few babies that come from their best stock that just are not quite what they should be.

But also don’t sell yourself short. If your animal is not even to the age of leaving its mother and someone is asking for a discount. Don’t accept. You can make that call you know… It’s hard to say no especially when that person has a bold personality.

Some people will ask for a discount and that is what they do all the time no matter what. It is no reflection on you or them.

Always be respectful of someone’s budget. Ask someone what the price range is they would like to stay within and only show them the ones that fit what they are looking for. Don’t force them to buy something they really can’t afford. The buyer will respect you for that.

To Raise Animals For Profit You Have To Be Responsive

If someone has contacted you about buying an animal, respond back as quickly as you can. I know many breeders who have lost business because the word has gotten around that they don’t respond to emails for months or they never return phone calls.

Now I don’t mean you have to get back to them right that minute if it is 9 pm at night and you are heading to bed. BUT the faster you return a message the more likely you are to get the sale.

You might not be able to get to it right away but when you have ten free minutes send a quick email, social DM, or text message depending on your communication method.

Now I also have “office hours” listed on the rabbitry page of my website and on the blog social accounts where ever possible.

This helps people understand that I might not answer back on a weekend or after a certain hour at night. We all have lives family that is our first priority so don’t let your business take over.

I can do that now because I have a very large group of people who want my rabbits. But that takes time to build so maybe you are ok with DMing people on the weekends. And I do that as well sometimes. BUT I have the hours shown so they don’t come to expect a message right away. This keeps expectations clear.

Present Yourself Well If You Want To Raise Animals For Profit

If you want to raise animals for profit and not just for kicks and giggles you need to present yourself in a good light. Not just your property.

This might sound a little over the top but the way you present yourself is going to dictate the willingness of people to pay more for what you have. Like it or not people judge a book by its cover. I can not tell you how many people come to rabbit shows looking terrible. I know its cold and you got up early but you are representing yourself and your business for goodness sake.

Instead of meeting people smelling like a manure pile and looking like you just rolled out of bed. Be showered, have on clean clothes, and at least look groomed. It doesn’t mean you have to have on your Sunday best. Just a clean pair of jeans and a T-shirt will do. 

Your attitude will go a long way as well. If you don’t show interest in the person and at least be willing to answer their questions you won’t appear friendly. That makes a HUGE, HUGE, DID I SAY HUGE difference. 

The Number Isn’t Everything

If I don’t drive anything else home let this point be it.

Having a large number of followers, livestock, or even the highest-price show trailer doesn’t mean you have a profitable backyard farm business.

I have met several breeders who have a lot of nice animals but they struggle to keep up. They are not able to share on social or build awareness so they lose sales. I make multiple four figures a year from the rabbitry alone and I have 12 adult rabbits or less at any given time.

Now don’t get me wrong, having a large number of animals isn’t bad if you can keep up. But don’t get so far in over your head that you resent what you are doing.

My point is not to discount the breeders with smaller numbers and don’t feel like you have to increase your numbers to prove your value.

stacks of feed bags

Get Creative When Buying Supplies For Your Hobby Farm

There is no need for the most expensive equipment or update something because a bigger and better version came out. There are many different ways to get the job done without paying a high price.

If you are just starting out and you need a laptop for your business, you can type just as fast on the laptop that cost $400 vs the one that costs $1300

Keeping up with the newest thing will burn through your profits quicker than you know.

For Equipment check-in other departments. Just because an item was not in the right section for your animal does not mean you cannot find something that might work in another department. For large breed dogs look in the horse department for combs and brushes. Most of the time they are much less than dog grooming supplies and the larger brushes will help you get the job done much faster.

For large rabbits look for dog water bowls that are inexpensive and have some flex to them. In cold weather, the frozen water bowls will pop the ice out like an ice cube tray.

I am loving to use these bowls. They stand up to the abuse of rabbits throwing them around the cage. and are often times too heavy when filled with water.

Bonus Tip For Selling Animals – Above and Beyond For Your Customer

Create a customer experience that makes them so surprised and awed that they come back to you again and again. They will tell their friends and acquaintances and they will be more likely to come back and buy from you again.

One fun way that I always get raised eyebrows is having an automated waiting list and a calendar so they can schedule their visit so we don’t have to go back and forth trying to set a time that works for them.

And the best part about it is the tool is free!

  • Around Christmas time send Christmas cards to all of the buyers from the past year. Anything you can do to encourage people to recommend you to others will go a long way.
  • Have thank-you cards prewritten if you don’t have time to write them as the buyers come. You can also put 2 or 3 business cards in the thank you card. This makes it easy for them to recommend you to others as well as making it seem like you care and are not looking to get rid of them after you have their money.
  • Just be open and talk with them. If you don’t rush them they will not feel pressured and have buyer’s remorse down the road.
  • Have a printed guide of the most common question you get that you can have ready for them at pickup.

Starting a backyard farm and raising animals (like chickens or other small animals) for profit takes time just like any business. Keep at it and pay attention to what works for your farm and what doesn’t make the changes you need to and keep going.

But above all. GROW SLOW as your demand builds then add more to your farm.

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  1. The automated schedule and business cards in your thank you note are things I never thought about…great ideas! Saw your post on the Simple Homestead Hop today. 🙂

  2. Yes, I LOVE having the pick-up schedule! It takes away the crazy back and forth. Buyers seem to love it too. Plus they are able to reschedule without having to get a hold of me when life happens.

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