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Raising animals in your backyard for personal consumption (2) - Animals for the small homestead
IF one of your goals is to be self-sufficient in food production then this article is for you. Raising your own small animals can provide households with any of these- milk, eggs, manure, wool, feathers, shells for decoration, and most importantly meat - depending on the animals you are raising. Raising your own animals also gives you peace of mind -- you know that your animals were raised humanely and treated with care. The following examples of small animals that you can raise for your meat consumption :
Chickens are an obvious choice for a small homestead because they don't require much space and will provide your family with eggs and fresh meat. They are not difficult to care for, and young chicks or 6 weeks old chicks are not very expensive. It takes between 8 – 12 weeks to raise broilers, and the egg -laying birds can be purchased at 5months and can actively lay eggs for one year. Once a hen's egg production has declined, she can be a great addition to the stew pot.
Chicken feathers are also useful; once cleaned and dried. We have also discovered how domestic bird feathers can be turned to fashion feathers. Others worth considering are: guinea-fowls, turkey, ducks, and geese which are also great sources of eggs, meat, and feathers. Although they cost more than chicken, their meat is richer.
Goats are among the most practical and versatile animals you can raise. They also have the advantage of being small and easy to handle. They eat almost anything eatable. Goat meat is very delicious and tastes differently from cow meat. The meat of goat can be used to prepare pepper soup apart from boiling it. To raise goats, you just need a shed where they sleep or stay when it is raining. They can be allowed to move round in or outside the compound to look for food. Your goats should be kept away from your vegetable garden.
Most people don't think of fish when they consider raising animals on their homestead, but catfish are a perfect choice for limited space. Fingerling catfish are very inexpensive and grow rapidly. If you have a pond, you can stock it with catfish and a few tilapia. It's not necessary to feed catfish in a pond unless you stock a large number or you want them to grow rapidly. If you're in a hurry or want a large supply of fish, you will need to feed them daily. If you don't want to use commercial feed, you can toss in a few scoops of earthworms each day.
Don't have a pond? You can still raise catfish in a plastic tank or barrel -like container. They will eat insects that land on the water's surface, but you will need to provide most of the food yourself. Once or twice-daily feedings should be sufficient. A family can start with 50 catfish fingerlings using a 200-litre capacity container.
Snails are the easiest animal to raise. To raise snails for family consumption, all you need are snails and cage. You supply them with leftover food in the house and some vegetables and fruits from your garden. Your snails will grow well if prevent them from being exposed to sun and too much of water. Snails don’t smell and are quiet animals. They can also be raised indoor without becoming a nuisance.
Rabbits can be raised in hutches or cages in your backyard, and true to their reputation, reproduce frequently. Rabbit meat is found to be low in cholesterol.
The nutritional values of these animals will be discussed next week. Till then, keep farming and stay blessed.Share