Easiest and most profitable animal to start with?

momto8kiddos(z7 VA)May 8, 2004

What is the best animal to get first? We are considering rabbits, chickens or pigs. We've never had any experience with any of these. Ease of care, least time required and best return on money invested are all important. But best return on money invested is the most important factor.

We would be caring for these animals ourselves and building housing for them ourselves. We want to be able to move whatever animal we get to help us prepare or enrich our garden.

Momto8kiddos

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Dicken(z6 s/wMI)

not an easy question to answer due to the numbers of variables to be considered.

you have to have some knowledge of what you need to do, to do the things you want to do. start by reading everything you can get your hands on regarding chickens, rabbits and pigs... .. everything!

get in touch with you ag. extension agent for any info/help he/she may be able to offer.

learn where your markets are, and how to access them. for instanace i would hazard a guess that rabbits might not be a choice selection, as their consumption in this country does not seem to be all that popular. but if there is a market for rabbit in your area, know where it's at, and how to get there with a competitively priced product.

figure on having enough money to survive; if not failing (although that has been known to happen to folks), then your being able to carry on without selling your children until you realize a profit from your endeavors.

realistically rate the work-value your help. folks who keep walking off the job aren't much good to you, nor are whiners or them you have to stand over.

personnaly i'd give a thought to meat birds.... chickens you raise as fryers, broilers and roasting hens instead of for their eggs.

-d.

    Bookmark   May 12, 2004 at 1:41PM
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momto8kiddos(z7 VA)

Thanks for the feedback!

Yes, I've been reading like mad. But there's nothing like the voice of experience. You guys are the experts on that! Thanks for the idea about calling the ag. ext. agent. I will definitely do that.

At first our goal is to just be able to grow most of our food ourselves. We've all tried rabbit meat before and liked it. I've heard that rabbits are easy to raise and slaughter. So that's why it's on my list. But is the meat produced as cheap as that of pigs or chicken?

Here's my idea which we'll have to move into gradually. Start with chickens, rabbits and/or pigs to enrich our soil with moveable pens (i.e., chicken tractor). Then start putting in the major garden beds wherever the animals were the year before. That way, the animals do most of the garden prep for us. :-)

I'd like to start with all three but think that's probably a little bit too ambitious for us at this time. The animal that will have the largest decrease in our food budget but at the same time be easy for a beginner is what I'm looking for. Am I dreaming?

    Bookmark   May 12, 2004 at 6:22PM
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davidbooth65

I think pigs are the way to go especially if you don't have to buy too much of their feed. The taste of home grown pork is without equal. Beware though, if you leave them in one paddock the entire time they will compact the soil severely. I was planning on growing squash there this year but I think I'm going to have to cover crop it. The soil structure is just destroyed. Good luck.

David

    Bookmark   May 13, 2004 at 8:37PM
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farmfreedom

Chickens are the most economical it takes 3 pounds of chicken feed to grow 1 pound of chicken (live weight). chickens can be hard to pluck . Rabbits are easy to skin but it takes 5 pounds of rabbit food to make 1 pound of live weight rabbit. Rabbits are quieter. For help with poultry check out www.the-coop.org rabbit manure makes a very good fertilizer.

    Bookmark   May 20, 2004 at 4:37PM
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gypsylady

I like chickens myself. Theres no better feeling of self sufficiency than getting that first homegrown egg. As for pigs they are ok if you only have a few. I get free food from the local food pantries. they thro a lot of stuff out. but any more than 3 pigs to feed and I end up spending way more than if I was to just purchase the meat. altho the taste of your meat will be so much better than store boughten, just wait till you taste it. What I do is raise 3 at a time. One is someones that I will care for in trade for feed. One is mine and the other is to trade for beef. you only raise em from spring to fall, 6 months. then butcher. dont wait to far into hunting season because the butcher will keep all your fat and some of the meat to make deer venison. Whatever you do, dont think you will make money raising brood mothers. because no one wants baby pigs anytime of the year but spring. As for using them for garden helpers. that works excellent. the pigs do till the garden better than the tiller and the chickens pretty much eliminate garden pests and I never had a problem with the chickens eating anything from my garden except pests. if you want more info email me. dont trust them old homesteading books there is a lot of false info in them. good luck
maria

    Bookmark   June 1, 2004 at 9:43AM
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