Thinking of buying livestock for your Hobby Homestead?

When we bought our land in 2006, we purchased it with the thought that we wanted our children to grow up out in the fresh country air and be able to roam the land and get lost in their imaginations.  We also wanted some chickens and maybe some larger animals so that they could have the experience of taking care of something other than themselves.

Now, my husband and I did not grow up on a farm and were never really around animals so I had sort of a romanticized vision of what it would be like- and I was wrong.  So wrong.

So today, I am going to share with our experience so that you won’t make the same mistakes we did.

I’ll start with the cons and end with the pros, because I don’t want to discourage you, but I do want to be real here.

  1. It is expensive.  The feed, shots from the vet, fencing, the animals themselves and housing are not cheap.
  2. I underestimated how often wild animals would kill our chickens. * Let me warn you, this next part is disturbing so if you are soft-hearted or have kids in the room, you might want to stop the video now. 

3. Raccoons, snakes, and coyotes are not friends to the chicken.  A coyote killed our beautiful rooster- leaving his gorgeous, iridescent green tail feathers all over our pasture.  A raccoon reached into the chicken coop and tried to pull one of my chickens through the wire but managed only to pull its head through and it jerked the chickens head clean off.  That was a terrible sight to see and perhaps the worst of all, we had some sweet teenage chickens who we all adored.   I went to gather eggs one day and noticed that one of my chicks was dead.  It was odd because the head of the chicken was slimy but the rest of the body was fine and there was no visible trauma.  This went on for a week, where each morning when I gathered eggs, I found another dead chicken with a slimy head.    It was a mystery what was killing my chickens, until one day, I opened the coop and found a big old king snake in there attempting to swallow another chicken.   The snake was persistent, that’s for sure.  What was happening was he would grab the chickens and try to eat them head first because that was the smallest part of them.  When he could not swallow the whole chicken, he regurgitated it back out and that is why their heads were slimy.

4. You can’t just leave when you want to.  Those animals need food, water and, care daily and you can’t just take spontaneous road trips.  You have to either hire someone or ask a neighbor for help.

5. I know it is just the beautiful cycle of life, but it can be really sad when they die because you get attached to them and love them.

Okay, now that I have probably talked you out of ever getting farm animals for your property.  Let me redeem myself and tell you about the pros of having them.

  1. They are a great teacher of responsibility.  That animal is dependant on you, and you must get out there, rain or shine, sleet or snow and feed them.  It is humbling to go outside in the dead of winter and break ice off the top of their water trough and give them hay.
  2. They give you a better appreciation for our ancestors who weren’t taking care of animals because they thought it would be fun; they did it for their very survival.
  3. They are not dumb animals.  They are gentle, sweet creatures, and your heart grows bigger because you do love them.
  4. They make you remember and appreciate that there is indeed a divine creator. 
  5. They give you the best eggs you’ve ever tasted!
  6. It’s fun to have your city friends over and watch them interact with them.
  7. If you raise sheep, it is so rewarding to shear them and make things out of their wool!

And that’s it.

If you are thinking of moving to the country and buying livestock, my intention isn’t to scare you away from it,  I just want you to be more aware than I was.

If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Thank you so much for stopping by!

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