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Guest Post: Barnyard Livestock

Reported by, the online wholesale food marketplace-

Not everyone has room in their yard for a cow or a pig. This doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t raise your own livestock at home.

More and more people are investing in smaller livestock, which they can raise themselves in order to ensure that the food on their table came from an ethically-raised animal. Raising your meat at home can help combat the hidden harms of large-scale meat production. Poultry is a popular choice, especially chickens, which are also kept for their eggs. Rabbits are making a comeback as a meat animal. Miniature goats are increasingly common – like chickens, they are dual-purpose, and can be raised for meat or milk.

Keeping livestock of any size involves real work, and should not be taken lightly. You should also be mindful of the fact that any animal raised for meat must eventually be slaughtered. However, if you’re ready to tackle the challenges, raising livestock can be very rewarding.

The first step is to research local laws. Many livestock species are social and thrive in groups, so make sure zoning and local ordinances allow for more than one or two animals. You should also talk to your neighbors and find out if they have concerns.

After you’ve established that you can raise livestock on your property, you should learn all you can about the species you’ve decided to keep. Most importantly, find out what to feed them and how to spot signs that they are sick.

Next, you need to prepare your property. This can mean removing hazards, mending fences, planting grasses for grazing, and building shelters. Poultry and rabbits need to be protected from both the elements and from predators. Pre-made shelters are available at feed stores and online, and there are tons of websites with plans and instructions for building your own.

Lastly, you’ll need to purchase the animals themselves. In many areas there are hobby-farm clubs that can point you to a quality supplier. Discussion forums are your friend as well; an active forum will have advice on every nuance of livestock keeping, and can also be a great place to share the ups and downs of your experience.

Whether you are raising these creatures for eggs, milk, or meat, the goal is always to give them the healthiest, happiest life you can and to provide them with a quick, painless, respectful death when the time comes.

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