Did you know that the United States is home to about 2.1 million farms? That each farm produces enough food for 165 people every year?
That's right. And without these farms, almost a million people would have no jobs.
That's how crucial farming is to the U.S. economy, and also the reason the rest of us enjoy abundant, safe, and healthy food.
So, if you've ever dreamed of raising your very own farm animals, there's no other better time than now to do so. Even if you don't raise them for profit, you can raise them in say, your Texas farm home to become more sustainable. These animals will provide you a steady supply of food source, so you and your loved ones will never get hungry!
Ready to start your homestead on the right foot? If so, then here's a list of the easiest animals to raise even for beginners!
Experts say that Americans will consume over 220 pounds of meat and poultry per person this year. Almost half of that -- or 93.7 pounds -- will be chicken alone.
That should tell you how these fowls are some of the most profitable farm animals out there. Their meat isn’t the only money-maker though - actually, their eggs may be an even bigger seller for your farm. After all, the average American eats about 279 eggs each year.
Chickens are easy to raise and don't need a lot of roaming space, so they're perfect for a one to five acre farm home. Plus, you can get up to five eggs from each hen a week, so raising half a dozen female chickens may be enough for your family. The downside is that predators love them as much as we do, so be sure to secure your farm with a fencing system.
Beef cattle are also some of the best farm animals to raise, thanks to their hardiness. They may be big, but they're quite low-maintenance. Raising even a few heads can already stock up your freezer with quality steaks and choice roasts.
Plus, if you raise cows, you'll also get to enjoy fresh milk or even sell it!
Because of their size, however, you need more space, such as a 10-acre or larger farm home. That would be enough space for the barn and grazing areas in case you decide to start a beef cattle business.
Goat meat consumption in the U.S. is on the rise, with imports having reached a $94.7 million value in 2014. That's a $92.8 million jump from the $1.9 million value back in 1990!
Furthermore, Australia reported that the U.S. was its biggest goat meat customer in 2017. That year, Australian goat meat product exports reached a whopping $218 million value.
Those should be enough statistics for you to consider raising goats in your own farm. Besides, goats are hardy, need less space, and can even help you clear out patches of land. Also, even if you don’t eat goat meat, you can sell it and keep their milk instead, which has more calcium than cow milk.
45 million turkeys -- that's how many of the birds Americans ate in Thanksgiving Day of 2017. Make no mistake though; it's not only a staple of this holiday, as Americans eat turkey throughout the year. In fact, the average Jane or Joe eats a little less than 20 pounds of turkey each year.
If you’re raising animals for profit, turkeys can be a good addition to your homestead. They’re not as easy to raise as chickens, especially when they’re still young. It'll be easier to look after them once they reach adulthood though.
Contrary to popular belief, pigs are actually clean animals. They do like dipping and rolling in mud, but that's because it's how they keep cool. Give them a cool, covered living area, and they'll be as clean as they can get.
Pigs eat almost anything that you feed them, including corn, compost, fodder, and even bread. They're not choosy when it comes to their food, which makes it easy to raise them. Organic feeds for swine, made from fresh and sustainable ingredients, are also available.
Organic feed is more expensive than traditional feed, but they're healthier and cleaner. Plus, organic food-fed hogs sell for higher prices. In fact, the U.S. organic market made $52.5 billion in total sales in 2018.
Rabbits are no-fuss eaters, making them some of the best small farm animals to raise. Unlike turkeys, they need little attention, yet provide a huge amount of meat. In fact, with a herd of eight does and one buck, you can already get up to 690 pounds of fryers a year!
In 2017, folks in the U.S. consumed a staggering 596 million pounds of honey. Experts estimate half of that was for manufactured foods. The rest was for the consumption of actual honey.
Either way, honey bees are some of the small farm animals that you should consider raising as a new farmer. First, even if you won't sell their honey, this means you'll have a constant supply for your family. Second, because these insects are independent, actually preferring that you leave them alone.
In short, it's not that difficult to be a beekeeper! You'd still need to visit their hive from time to time, such as when you need to split the hive for crowding. Other than that, these smart creatures will feed themselves for the most part of the year.
Sheep are perfect for small farms and homesteads and are easier to work with than pigs and cattle. They're also not fussy with their food - they'll be happy to eat grasses and weeds growing in poor soil. They're also docile, gentle, and trainable, so you can even keep and raise them as pets.
As a new or soon-to-be farmer, it’s best you stick with these low-maintenance farm animals. This way, you’ll have a higher chance of making your farm a success. They’re also great farming practice partners, so once you get the hang of it, you can start raising more animals.
Don’t have a farm home yet but would like to invest in one? If so, then please feel free to check our rural property listing! Don’t hesitate to send us a message too if you have any questions about our listings.