Money Troubles? Best Farm Animals to Raise to Make a Profit

best farm animals to raise to make a profitAfter five years on an urban homestead, our only profits of our homesteading venture came from a couple dozen eggs a week, sold to family and friends. We weren't doing it to retire early, of course. It just sort of happened that way. We had extra and those closest to us insisted on paying. It did, however, plant a seed of possibility for us, and plans are added for when we moved into the new homestead out in the country. We kept on reading, with a focus on the best farm animals to raise to make a profit. Now, it's important to understand that we aren't looking to make a fortune, but rather add another little income stream to our lives.

As with all things related to a homesteading life, the best farm animals to raise to make a profit are the ones you know the best. If the balance of grain cost, space, market value and care are fully ingrained in your daily practices, then chances are that animal will be your most profitable. On the flip side, if you don't have enough information but jump in anyways, chances are that experiment will be your biggest loss. In raising live animals, knowledge and education are key.

Best Farm Animals to Raise to Make a Profit

best farm animals to raise to make a profit
For us, we learned that in our situation and homestead profile the best farm animal to raise to make a profit was chickens. Our birds work on an annual cycle, with a steady egg-laying flock producing nearly year-round, with an insertion of roughly 30-40 meat birds joining them for a few months at the end of summer. The cost of raising with feed factored in for the meat birds gives around a $2/pound profit. Not a lot of cash, but it does pay for the upkeep and processing with a date night thrown in for good measure. Our next step is going to be bees for honey, Carniolan to be specific, and those are due around the end of April or the beginning of May. In fact, the hives are being constructed this weekend.

Easy Animals to Breed for Profit

easy animals to breed for profitWhen choosing easy animals to breed for profit, look at not only the animals you know, but the specific balance of husbandry needs and the space you have. Goats, for example, require a separate birthing pen. Rabbits breed excessively, but paying attention to the genetics and ensuring your does are breeding with the right buck to maximize your return on weight and viability. For chickens, choose a breed that works for your situation. For us, we are running mostly New Hampshire Reds that work well for both eggs and meat. Our rooster Bruce may be young, but we've seen evidence in his behavior that he will be a solid breeder.

Other easy animals to raise for profit include heritage breeds of pigs, though the space requirements and maintenance are a little more advanced than goats or chickens. They have a longer growth cycle and of course eat much more, meaning the cost of raising them is relatively higher. Organic pork sells more than organic chicken per pound, so if the animals are managed effectively, the money will be there in the end.

Easiest Farm Animals to Raise

easiest farm animals to raise
From our experience, the easiest farm animals to raise are chickens. Once the coop went in with the predator controls in place, the chickens made the run their own and only require feeding, water and a daily check for eggs. They do their thing and are quite happy about it. Come Spring, they'll be free ranging more with a little supervision to start, but things won't change that much.

Though we've started feeling more confident in our beekeeping knowledge, weekly checks and parasite control top the list of reasons why bees aren't considered some of the easiest farm animals to raise in our book. That, plus queen viability, equipment and honey extraction bring a little more complexity to the plate.

Small Meat Animals

small meat animalsFor small meat animals aside from chickens, you can't go wrong with rabbits. Hutches are simple to maintain and breeding patterns of rabbits (31 days gestation) means a birth to harvest time frame of about ten to twelve weeks. Does can raise about seven kits for your purposes so thinning might be necessary. Not an easy thing to do as a compassionate human, but required if you are raising for a profit.

Certain goat breeds join small meat animals as a homestead protein and profit solution, though a large herd of at least 25-30 is suggested in order to breed your own and keep a genetic diversity on your farm. Again, as with all livestock on your property that you wish to be successful as both a food source and income stream, knowledge is critical to their health and wellbeing.

Small Livestock Farm

small livestock farm
Now, should out focus shift from a self-sustainability model to a more commercial enterprise, we would need to adjust the homestead planning as well. A small livestock farm would have a different set of infrastructure needs beyond what we already have, with additional chicken runs, pig stys, goat barns, rabbit hutches, etc. We've learned that the best farm animals to raise to make a profit for us are the low-key variety, coupled with an ongoing education into their care and wellbeing. For now, it's chickens and in the Spring, Carniolan bees.

We love sharing our experiences as new off grid homesteaders, and would also love to hear from you about your views on the best farm animals to raise to make a profit. Please add to the discussion by using the comments section below!