1

Sheep Care on Small Farms and Homesteads

sheep care on small farms and homesteads

Is sheep care part of your future? Can you raise sheep in a large backyard? In some cases the answer is yes. Sheep are adaptable and can be cared for in a paddock or small field if their needs are met. It may be a little more labor intensive and take a bit more effort and management to raise our sheep this way. Here on the farm we raise a little bit of everything. Well not really everything. But we do have quite a variety of animals. We have successfully raised goats for many years, a small herd of beef cattle and my sweet little herd of sheep.

Did you think that you have to have a large pasture of grassy grazing land in order to raise sheep? For many years, we did not have any grazing other than the grass surrounding the different areas of the farm. We successfully raised a small flock of sheep this way for six years. Here’s what we have learned about sheep care and how we do it.

Eventually we did add more fenced pasture area, and began working on our silvopastures in the woods. You can see more in the video towards the end of this post.

Have a Shelter

Sheep care

The shelter for sheep can be simple. They will do quite well with a three sides open shed, sometimes called a run in shed. Our small flock of four sheep actually have access to a stall in the barn but prefer to spend most of their time outside in the pen area.

Sheep Care Includes Appropriate Fenceing

When keeping sheep on a small homestead, make sure you have adequate fencing to keep the sheep from getting into the roads or the neighbor’s gardens. We are using board fencing, and livestock panels with T posts. From a durability standpoint, this permanent fencing has solved problems for us. The sheep can’t get their head trapped in the netting and walk off with the entire fence. You will need to assess your flock for potential of getting their heads stuck in the panels. Because the grass is always greener just on the other side of the fence, sheep will test the fence. We had a ewe in the past who would stick her head through, and although she could have backed up, and freed herself, she always was sure she was trapped. The message here is, keep a close eye on the flock with any new fencing style you incorporate.

Some people have success raising sheep using the netting type fences. When we first tried netting fences with our flock, they kept getting tangled up in the netting. I still think it can be a viable option, as many shepherds use this type of fence. The electric netting has to be properly grounded and have enough sun exposure to power the fence line. The advantage of movable netting fencing is being able to move the flock without having more fence installed. This might be the best option if you can set it up properly, and your wooly friends don’t get tangled in the netting.

Feeding

Raising care

Sheep are grazing animals. If you had a large pasture, they would eat grass all day long, stopping only to rest and allow the rumen to process the grass. This is called chewing the cud. Since our sheep spend a large part of their time in a pen, they are fed a grass hay. They react pretty much the same to the hay as they would to grass. They eat, then rest and ruminate. We do feed a small amount of grain to make sure they are getting enough nutrition and vitamins. By small amount I mean a small handful.

If a sheep begins looking thin and parasites and illness are ruled out, we separate that sheep out and feed extra alfalfa-timothy pellets with a small amount of grain.

Click Below to Buy My Book on Sheep Care

It is important to feed hay with grain so that the rumen does not become inflamed. When choosing hay for non-lactating sheep, choose a grass hay and not an alfalfa. Alfalfa has a high percentage of protein, and since it is not needed, can lead to urinary tract problems. It can be easy to want to over feed grain. Sheep will insist that they are still very hungry! Look at the condition of your sheep. If they are nicely filled out they are getting enough to eat. The majority of their diet should be grasses and hay. 

Cleaning the Sheep Pen

When we did not have pastures for rotational grazing, we had to frequently clean up after them in the pen. This has lessened as we can leave them out during the day, but some cleaning in the barn is always necessary. Old hay is raked up and removed along with feces and any wet moist spots. Replace the bedding in the stall or shed as needed to keep it clean and free of insects. Smelly, wet, dirty bedding is a breeding ground for insects, parasites, worms and disease. Dirty stalls and barns can lead to flystrike which you do not want to deal with.

Free Grazing Time

When we are on the farm we give the sheep time to leave their pen and roam freely. They can browse and graze on grass and various forage. One of our large grassy fields is available now that we are no longer raising cattle. Over the years we have added additional grassy areas. Since there is a large open cattle shed in the field, the sheep can spend all day lounging around and grazing as they wish. We do still bring them back to the barn at night, although with some fencing improvements, they would be fine staying in the field at night, too.

Water

Make sure the sheep have access to fresh water in buckets or a low water trough at all times. Try to keep some water in a shady location so it can stay cooler during the hot weather.

sheep

 Sheep Care includes Worming

  Keeping the sheep in a smaller area can lead to an abundance of parasites. Instead of worming on a schedule, we have switched to worming when there is a problem. Good management of your flock includes observing and checking them individually on a regular basis. Look for paleness in gums and lower eyelids for indication of a parasite problem. Check into becoming educated on using the FAMACHA scale of parasite management.

Some shepherds will choose to worm on a routine basis as part of their sheep care plan. Since we have such a small flock, we prefer to worm when necessary and avoid increasing the resistance to some worming products. 

Grooming – an Important Part of Sheep Care

Sheep care

With sheep care for a small herd there are some jobs you will probably want to just do yourself, rather than hire someone. Trimming hooves, checking for teeth problems,  checking overall condition are some things to keep in mind. Starting at an early age, train your sheep to be comfortable being handled. Hold their feet even if no trimming is needed. Inspect for stones or any softness or problems in the hoof. Check eye lids or gums regularly for healthy pink color. 

Shearing Time is Part of Sheep Care

Most sheep being raised for wool will require a once a year shearing. In some cases, with a heavy fiber producer you may be able to shear twice. Even with a small flock, doing  the shearing yourself can be backbreaking. We did all of our own shearing of our fiber goats and sheep for many years. Then we hired a professional one year and I will never go back to doing it myself! Our sheep shearer does the job in much less time and yields better fleeces. I am glad to know that I can shear if I have to. It’s an important part of sheep care. But knowing a professional and getting on their schedule will make your life with sheep much more enjoyable. If you choose to do it yourself, consider attending a sheep shearing school to learn the tricks of the trade. 

sheep care

 You can check out our available yarns here. 

sheep care for small farms and homesteads

or on our Etsy shop

Update on Our Silvopasture in this Video

Why We Keep Sheep

We raise our fiber goats and sheep for the beautiful fleece. After shearing, I will pick through the fleece to remove any badly matted parts or debris. This is called “skirting”, and is a very important first step. I ship or drop the fleece off with a fiber processor to have it made into yarn. Some shepherds will want to do the entire process themselves, including skirting, picking, washing, combing, drafting and spinning. Someday I hope to learn more of the steps but for right now I am doing what I can. 

With a little more thought and adjusting the management style, it can be possible to learn sheep care and keep a small number of sheep on a small homestead. If you want to learn more about how we raise fiber animals for our yarn business, read this post. Let me know how you have raised sheep and learned to do sheep care on small farms and homesteads.

Sheep care

pin this info for later

Sheep care on small farms and homesteads



Raising Sheep Warms You Twice

Raising Sheep Warms You Twice
How keeping sheep brings more than the warmth of the wool

When we began raising sheep, I looked forward to the warmth they would provide. I did not consider the other ways that sheep would warm us. With quite a few years as a shepherd now behind me, I can see that the wool that sheep provide is but one way they heat our bodies.

The visions of sheep roaming the gentle slopes of a picturesque farm may be heart warming. However it does not portray the amount of heat producing labor that goes on behind the scenes, when raising sheep.

The Work

For example, feeding, and lugging hay during the winter when the pasture grasses are dormant. Or scrubbing water buckets, mucking out stalls, repairing fence, and other regular tasks.

The once a year shearing provides quite a physical workout for the shearer anyway. But even the wool collector and person clearing the shearing deck gets plenty warm. Raising sheep is hands on, physical work.

raising sheep

The Dream

I was pulled to raising sheep for yarn. The entire process called me. Raising the sheep, shepherding, and being part of the process of turning the yearly harvest of wool fleece, into yarn. And finally, using that yarn to create clothing we can use.

The romantic picture of warming myself by the fire, drinking coffee, and working on a wool project was my dream. And that dream came true.

raising sheep

The Reality

And then there is reality. Staring you in the face on the days you can’t figure out what is wrong. The reality of losing an animal you raised from a lamb, the reality that not all illnesses are caught in time to cure. And then your tears warm you.

Eventually your heart heals enough to get back to work. Because there are other sheep that still need your caring hands. Other sheep that still need hay, and fresh water, and a list of other less frequent needs. Grief and disappointment can only take up a tiny percentage of your day. Move forward. Learn from the past.

The Fleece

Once the yearly shearing has been done, the work of cleaning and sorting and processing that fiber begins. Raising sheep is what you do to receive this bounty! At some point you begin to experiment with natural dyes for wool. The colors are nature’s rainbow.

raising sheep

Spinning the wool roving yourself or sending the wool to a fiber mill transforms the wool into yarn. Seeing the yarn starts the warm tears flowing down your face.

The yarn that is a year in the making. The yarn from raising sheep on your own property. This is when the fruit of your overheated summer days and the cold frigid evenings making sure the sheep have access to the dry barn and hay and thawed water all comes together.

raising sheep

Raising Sheep Brings Connection

Raising sheep connects you to basic human needs. There’s a circle that connects it all together. The need for warmth. The need for contributing to something greater than yourself, the need to provide, the need to see a connection. And then to use the product to create warmth for yourself or a loved one. It repeats in a natural step by step process, over and over. It is comforting.

How to Participate in the Circle

Raising sheep is not for everyone. Even with a small flock of two, raising sheep takes time. It takes strength, and energy, something you may not always have to share. But it doesn’t stop there.

The buyer and creator that choose wool also participate in this cycle of warmth. You become part of the traditions handed down from generations before. Sharing patterns, teaching knitting, weaving, crochet, and tapestry builds the requirement for wool.

Choosing wool encourages future shepherds. Using wool continues the cycle, because the sheep are making a renewable resource. Raising sheep warms you while you raise them and again when you use the beautiful fleece.

raising sheep sheep on green field with trees

Our Story

My own journey raising sheep led to creating a yarn product we sell from the farm. You can learn more about our Free Range Yarn and see what’s for sale in our Etsy shop.

Our newest product (available here) is Natural Dyeing Kits, complete with yarn, dye, and natural products that enable you to try natural dyeing without a costly investment. More of my dye recipes are available on the website, and in my book, Raising Sheep and Other Fiber Animals. Where will your journey with raising sheep or using wool take you?




Adding Animals to the Homestead

adding animals to the homesteadSomewhere along your homesteading journey, you will probably get the itch to start adding animals to the homestead. Or, the opportunity will present itself in an offer you can’t refuse. Perhaps someone is giving away a flock of “free” chickens, or you fall in love with a baby goat and decide this is the right time for adding animals to the homestead.

What Is the Right Time for Adding Animals to the Homestead?

Adding Animals to the homestead

Whether it’s a well planned adventure, or a series of events, you should have an idea beforehand of what each type of care the animal will require. We have raised and kept many kinds of pets and livestock at Timber Creek Farm. Our first animals were horses and ponies, followed by goats, a donkey, chickens, rabbits, ducks, sheep, turkeys, cows and pigs. There is much to be said for practical, hands on learning. I will be honest, and tell you that I have not always followed the advice I am giving out now. As they say, hindsight is 20/20!

Read and Ask Questions Before Adding Animals to the Homestead

Ask lots of questions and be prepared for on the job learning! But, that said, try to be as prepared as possible, BEFORE adding animals to the homestead!

1. Build suitable fencing and secure housing. 

This can be a hard point if you are not sure what the animal needs. Different animals and poultry require different housing and fencing. Chickens will be safely housed in a secure coop with appropriate ventilation and interior accessories such as nest boxes and roosts. Pigs don’t require an enclosed building necessarily. An open shed will serve as adequate shelter but the fencing for pigs most likely will need a line or two of electric to persuade the pigs to stay put. Know what each species needs in order to be raised successfully.

2. Be aware of predators in your area and learn how to keep your animals safe.

If all of this is new to you, ask other neighbors or the Extension Service agent in your area for information about possible predators, in your area. Use the appropriate fencing to keep predators out of the animal’s area. Using the wrong wire fencing can lead to tragedy. You can read more about the different fencing for chickens in this post.

3. Make sure you have a way to get plenty of water to the animals, even in subfreezing temperatures. 

There aren’t many things that happen around the farm that I don’t enjoy. Except for carrying water to the animals when the hoses are frozen and the water tanks are solid blocks of ice. We need about 15 gallons of water in the morning and evening to keep everyone hydrated. That’s just the animals who don’t have floating tank deicers in their water. Water is a big concern during extreme weather. In the event of possible power outage from a big storm, we stock up by filling all the tanks before the storm hits. Yes, think about water. These electric heated water bowls can help with water staying thawed during the day. I recommend uplugging them at night and refilling in the morning. Chickens don’t need water available while they are sleeping.

4. Having all things in place before the animals arrival, will  add to your enjoyment of raising livestock.

I preach this. It’s my mantra. Unfortunately, I don’t often take my own advice. Yes, I too succumb to bringing home animals without making the proper plan ahead of time. Fortunately, we have lots of available options for temporary housing when my heart gets ahead of my better judgement. But it all goes smoother if you plan ahead. Believe me, you will still have plenty of reasons to make adjustments once you get to know the new arrivals.

  DSC_2091 Adding animals to your homestead timber creek farm

DSC_3278 Timber Creek Farm Add Animals to you farm

What is the best animal to start with?

I can’t tell you which animal type is the best one to purchase first, when adding animals to the homestead. This depends on your ability to care for them and your particular passions. If you love fiber crafts and yarn then you may want to raise your own sheep or fiber animals. If the thought of caring for a large sheep scares you, perhaps an angora rabbit would be a good choice. Large families or those with specific dietary needs, may consider raising meat animals might help the food budget.

Urban homesteaders may have limitations set by the town government, on what can be kept within the city limits. I put the information that you can use  to make a decision into a table format. The dollar estimates are based on an average cost in the mid Atlantic region at the time of writing. Your local feed store or veterinarian prices may vary but this will give you a starting place for your planning. 

How Much Time is Involved in Animal Care?

All livestock require everyday care. We feed all of our animals twice a day. I am sure there are folks who feed once a day but feeding twice a day gives you twice the opportunity to head off a potential problem. Sometimes, twenty four hours can make a difference in the health of your animal, and catching an illness early can often save the animals life. Each week, more intensive labor chores are completed, such as moving hay bales to the barn, cleaning stalls and pens, and filling up water troughs. Basically, the larger the animal, the larger the cleanup effort!

Refer to the following sections for my estimates on the physical strength, costs and care required for various species.

Care Needs of Different Homestead Livestock

 Physical Strength NeededAverage CostsTime requirementConcerns or notes
Chickens and Ducks
(laying hens for eggs)
Other than being able to clean the coop regularly, carry water to the coop and hold a chicken if it should need medical attention, strength needed is average. Raising poultry is suitable for those learning to homestead.In a coop and enclosed pen situation, estimate 50 lb bag of layer ration for 12 - 15 mature hens. Costs will vary but an estimate of $12- $16 dollars a week is an average. If you are able to free range, the feed cost will go down. Minimum of twice a day care needed to freshen the water, remove old feed and distribute fresh feed. Cleaning weekly as needed. Less cleaning is needed in the winter months as the accumulated bedding will help warm and insulate the chicken coop. Free Range can mean a free dinner for the foxes and racoons. Having a sturdy coop that can be tightly shut will protect your hens from predators.
RabbitsNot a significant requirement. Similar to poultry.1 rabbit estimate of 5lbs of feed per week. Will vary with the cold weather. Rabbit will eat more during cold weather. Approximately $3- $8 dollars a week plus fresh food supplements such as leafy greens, carrots, bananas, applesTwice per day check and refresh water and food. During below freezing temperatures, water may need to be refreshed more often.Nail clipping needed and general body condition checks needed. Hutch must be secure and predator proof.
Goats - for milk, fiber or meat, field buddy for a horseYou may need to lift a goat onto a stand for examination or to give meds, shear fiber, or general care. Strength can be a factor although there are ways to work smarter and not harder. Goats prefer browse to pasture grass so the hay can be of lower quality, weedier except for lactating dams and last stage of pregnancy. Commercial goat chow cost average $13 - $18 for a 50 lb bag. We feed half a cup per goat/twice a day, with free choice hay and browse. Approximately 1 hay flake per goat per day (hay bales separate into portions called flakes)Basic care for a herd of goats will take about 30 minutes, two times per day. Check fences, observe the goats, feed, and water.
Weekly, clean up the stall area and remove soiled hay. Replace bedding. General stall cleaning and maintenance.
Goats require yearly vaccinations. You can learn to do this on your own, except for the rabies vaccine which in many states has to be administered by a veterinarian. Hoof trimming needs to be done two to four times a year. Breeding animals may require more care,
Pigs More cleaning will need to be done so more strength will be required. The pigs can be pushy and aggressive for food. Pigs are very resourceful and can use many different food types to convert to muscle mass. Kitchen scraps, garden waste, hay and commercial feed can all be used to produce a healthy animal. Pig feed average cost is $17. Whole corn is another alternative and can be a cheaper choice. Fencing for the pig area or pig pastures will be a time consuming factor before bringing home the piglets. I believe the use of electric fencing is a must with pigs. We use both post and board fencing with dual electric lines inside the fence line. I do not recommend raising pigs as a first homestead animal choice. I recommend developing some homestead instincts and animal knowledge before venturing into raising pigs
Cows - beefyes physical strength is required. varies. Pasture with strong fencing is a must. Finishing the beef cow on grain will run about $11 and $14 dollars a bag.daily care may not amount to much depending on your property but in the big picture, raising beef cattle can be very time consumingI do not recommend starting a homestead with beef cattle.

I hope this gives you a good start on gathering information before adding animals to the homestead. Remember, homesteading is a journey, not a race. Having a field full of livestock, but not enjoying caring for them, is not worth the effort or expense. Add what your family needs and can care for slowly. Enjoy the journey!

We raise animals on our farm for our homestead use. We are not commercial poultry or beef producers. The information I am conveying here is from this point of view. I welcome your  constructive comments below. Please share with us, your encouraging tips and advice for new homesteaders.

 

pig in mudDSC_3745-001 add animals to the farm Timber Creek Farm

adding animals to the homestead

 For more in this series please visit –

So You Want to be a Homesteader Part 1

 The Bookshelf- So You Want to be a Homesteader – Part 2

 

This post was shared on The Homestead Barn Hop

Simple Saturday Hop,

From the Farm Blog Hop,

Backyard Farming Connection Hop, 

Mountain Woman Journal Hop




Raising Miniature Goats, Cows, Chickens and Sheep

raising miniature goatsRaising miniature goats, chickens and livestock is possible on a small homestead. The more people who are moving towards a simpler way of life, living more self sustainably, are still interested in having a family milk provider. When you are raising a smaller family on a smaller homestead, you don’t need a full size milk producer. 

What makes miniature livestock a good choice?

Small breed livestock need less pastured, fenced land, less grain. In addition, these miniature members of farm yards produce less waste. In many cases, raising miniature goats and other livestock of smaller stature makes a lot of sense for the modern homesteader.Today, many families want to return to the agrarian roots, but don’t have the money to buy a large ranch and raise full size cattle, goats, pigs or other livestock. A smaller homestead, of a few acres, allows these families the room to grow vegetables, and also keep some livestock for the family’s needs.

Are Nigerian Dwarf Goats the best choice?

 Choosing to raise miniature goats or cows and other livestock allows the family to fit more production into the family homestead. Lesa Wilke, author of Nigerian Goats 101: Background & Basics (2015) and creator of the popular Better Hens and Gardens blog (www.betterhensandgardens.com) states 

“Nigerian Dwarf goats are becoming quite popular because they’re small, cute, low maintenance, and very productive for their size. They don’t require pastures, are easy to handle and house, and can provide milk, meat, brush control, and fertilizer. They are the size of a medium to large dog, so they’re an easy homestead addition — regardless of whether the homestead is large, small, rural, suburban, or urban. For us, it was the small size, brush control, and incredible tasting milk that caused us to choose them for our farm. ”  – Lesa Wilke

raising miniature goats

Points in favor of Miniature goats and livestock 

 Most breeds of miniatures have decent dispositions,along with the smaller size. These qualities allow them almost pet status in the family. Along with the smaller size comes less feed intake and less manure waste. The feed conversion for most miniature livestock is very good. 

When making the decision about raising miniature goats…

Miniature livestock are still larger than many family dogs. If you don’t have the strength and fortitude to handle a large dog, you may not be able to handle raising miniature goats and other miniature livestock. Be realistic about your personal strength and abilities before acquiring any size livestock. Because the miniature goats, cows and sheep usually have sweet, docile dispositions they may not bite but kicks can be dangerous!

What care is required?

The same items of care needs to be performed on miniature livestock as it does on the full size versions. Hoof trimming, worming, milking, shearing, health checkups all need to be done. Check to see if there is a livestock veterinarian in your area. While some forms of care could  be performed by any licensed veterinarian, these animals are still livestock with the specialized needs of livestock. Finding an urban veterinarian willing to come out to your farm and trod through mud to help an ailing cow, miniature or not, is unlikely.

Fencing, Housing, Equipment 

Unless you want to go collect your livestock from the neighbor’s garden, make sure you have the correct fencing for the animals you choose to raise on your farm. Even though the animals are shorter, pygmy goats for example, are very good at jumping over fences. Raising miniature goats, cows, or pigs means you still must supply the animals with the correct fencing, housing and equipment. A milk stand will forever change your life and keep your back from hurting, too. Consider placement of the run in shed or mini barn. The best setting for the shed or barn is with the closed back side of the shed facing the wind.

What are the benefits to raising miniature goats and other livestock?

Nigerian Dwarf, Pygmy, and Dwarf Nubians goats are a few of the breeds of miniature goats. Lesa Wilke, in her book, Nigerian Goats 101:Background and Basics,  has a chart showing the different breeds of goats and the milk yield. Nubian goats produce more than other commonly raised breeds but the Nigerian Dwarf is a solid performer in milk production. At a fraction of the size of a full grown Nubian doe, the feed savings and space requirements are much less.

Which breeds have miniature counterparts?

There are miniature versions of the Nubian breed available, too, although the Nigerian Dwarf breed is more easily found. The Nigerian Dwarf is an actual breed,originating in Africa for dairy needs. Crossing a Nigerian Dwarf with a full size Nubian or other dairy breed of goat, leads to a smaller version of the breed. They appear to be smaller Nubians. The milk production of the miniaturized breeds is from 65 % to 75% of the full size goat. Other smaller goat breeds include the Pygmy, Kinders, and the Pygora. Pygora’s are a registered cross between a pygmy and an angora. Pygoras are generally raised for their soft fiber and sheared like sheep or alpacas. When seeking a breed for raising miniature goats, checking with your local breeders for their feedback is a good place to start.

raising miniature goats

Miniature Cattle, Highlands, Dexters and Lowlines

Raising miniature cattle for both meat and milk can be accomplished on small homesteads. It is important to keep in mind that the same challenges that pertain to full size cattle will still be in play, but on a lessor scale. Cattle are mostly grazing animals. Your full size cattle will need grazing area or to be fed good quality hay until market size is reached. Miniature breeds of cattle are often browsers as much as grazers. This means they will  be happy to do some land clearing for you, eating weeds, and brush as well as the grass. The amount of feed needed will be less with the miniatures and the Highlands will thrive on low quality brush, due to their heritage as mountain cattle.

Highland Cattle 

The Highland breed is gaining in popularity. The breed is versatile and hardy. The feed conversion is reportedly very good. In addition,  you can’t argue with the cute factor of the miniature Highland breed! Be prepared if you are squeamish about raising your own meat source. These miniature cows have a very high cuteness factor.

raising miniature goats

Dexter Breed

Dexter Cattle, Lowlines, miniature Jersey and Miniature Zebu  are other popular breeds of miniature cattle, recognized by the International Miniature Cattle Breeder Society and Registry. The Dexter breed is an ancient breed from the mountains in Ireland. Dexters were not developed from miniaturizing a standard breed. 

Lowlines

Lowlines are short, smaller versions of the standard Black Angus. You will appreciate the characteristics of great meat quality and yield is still available in the smaller, shorter version of the Black Angus breed too.

Just as when raising miniature goats, raising a small herd of miniature cattle can be a dual purpose venture in both food production and land clearing. Also, keep in mind that goats, sheep, and cattle are herd animals and will not do as well when you only keep one. You will need to keep two or more of the species you choose to raise.

Are there miniatures in pigs, sheep and poultry?

Pigs, Sheep, Ducks and Chickens all have miniature versions of breeds. Some breeds of pigs are smaller than the standard market hogs we commonly see on farms. KuneKune pigs are becoming more popular. A note of caution is in order. All pigs grow to be sizable animals. Even the smaller breeds will grow rather large and you need to take this into consideration before attempting to raise “smaller” breeds of pigs. Miniature pigs also include the small pot belly breeds, although those are not commonly raised for meat but are kept as pets.

What are Babydoll Sheep

Babydolls sheep are actually a small Southdown sheep. These minis are much smaller than the full sized sheep breeds. They are good foragers and grazers and not very needy in terms of extra care. The standard run in shed and a good low fence, plenty of available water and a vet familiar with sheep, should get you off to a good start with this smaller breed of sheep.

raising miniature goats

Ike, our mini southdown, chats with the piglets about the rules of the grassy field.

Call Ducks and Bantam Chickens 

When you see the Call Ducks, a breed of miniature duck, you might want a whole flock. While they can be rather pricey to get started with, Bantam chickens are usually more of a bargain. Bantam chickens are much smaller than a standard size chicken. Coop space, and feed and water consumption is less than the standard chickens also. As with other minis, production is somewhat based on size. Three Bantam eggs equals one large egg from a standard breed of chicken. The bantams are prone to broodiness, and make very good Mother Hens. Bantam chickens are a good choice for children starting to raise chickens on the homestead. When you choose bantam chickens you often get very docile chickens, although the roosters can get a little feisty.

raising miniature goats

Give Raising Miniature Goats, Sheep, Pigs and Chickens a try.

If you are planning on raising miniature goats, or any other miniature breed of livestock, prepare your land as you would for any livestock. You can get by with less land and less costs associated with feed. The end result will be a more self-sufficient homestead for your family. Have you considered raising miniature farm animals?

 

raising miniature goats