Types of Animals Covered

In The Complete Beginner’s Guide To Raising Small Animals, we will cover all
of the animals you might be interested in raising on a farm, from keeping a few
rabbits or chickens to taking on some cattle to raise for their meat or milk. It is
possible to keep some of these animals in your backyard as long as your local
zoning and laws allow you to do so. However, some of the animals will be too
large and require too much pasture to live in a suburban setting. It is best to
consider how much room animals require and the other things they need before
you start your venture.

We will cover in detail rabbits, chickens, ducks and geese, pigs, goats, sheep,
and cattle. Some of these animals have multiple uses such as producing milk,
meat, and fiber. All of them can be eaten for meat, and their meat can be sold for
profit, although there is a bigger demand for some kinds of meat than others. For
instance, there may not be a big demand if you intend to sell geese for their meat
because goose is not commonly served in the U.S. However, you may be able to
find a niche market for your geese.

Some of these animals produce eggs. Chicken eggs can be sold to bring in
additional income, but there might not be much demand for duck and especially
geese eggs because of their large size. These eggs have a different flavor from
chicken eggs and few recipes that call for them. Again, these are things to
consider before you purchase your animals.
Several animals also produce milk: goats, sheep, and cows. We will discuss
milking your animals and selling their milk. Selling raw milk is a hot button
issue in many areas, and we will go into this issue. You also can make other
dairy products from the milk, such as cheese, yogurt, ice cream, and even soap

from goat’s milk.
Goats and sheep can provide fiber, especially if you choose breeds that produce
desirable fibers for wool. You will need to learn to shear your animals and find
outlets to sell the material.
We will cover these topics in this book to help you select your animals wisely
and know what to do with them after you bring them home.

A Few Things to Expect When Starting

When you are first starting out, you can expect to make some mistakes.
Everyone does. You may get too many animals or wish you had bought more.
You may not like the breed you start with. You may hate your housing. Your
animals may laugh at your fences. There likely will be a few things you will
wish to change or improve after you start, and that is perfectly normal. It is part
of farming to make changes from season to season or year to year. The important
thing is for you to learn and grow from everything you do with your animals.
You may consider something a mistake but what you are really gaining is
valuable farming experience. There is no farmer anywhere who has not made
mistakes. That is how we learn and how experience is gained.

Warnings About Raising Small Animals

If this is your first encounter with farm animals, you might be in for some
surprises. Animals are not usually the way they are portrayed in films. You may
not even get a good idea about them from books or other sources. There is no
substitute for real, hands-on work with animals. Whether you think animals are
cute, or you see them as a way to supplement your income, they are real, living,
breathing creatures, just like people. This is not to say they are the same as
humans — they are not — but each one is different. They have likes and
dislikes. They do interesting things. There is usually a reason why an animal
does something. In order to understand why animals do things, you need to
consider things from the animal’s point of view.

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