Each one of us has a different way of keeping a self-sufficient homestead. Others may follow this particular plan, and there are some that follow their own way of handling a homestead. What I mean is that there are people who hate cows, and there are some that are afraid of them for example. Some people like goats, and there are others that try really hard just to keep them out of their yard. And most of all, there are families that really treat their farm animals as pets, and others where they just slaughter the hell out of it just to create that perfect family dinner.
There are a lot of factors when it comes to maintaining a self-sufficient homestead. Let’s talk more about them down below.
- Raising a cow for your homestead can have its pros and cons. If you have cows, you can have your own supply of milk not just for the whole family, but also for your other farm animals as well. Cow manure can also enrich your soil and make it healthy, perfect for your gardening needs so no need to buy special soil enhancers at stores.
- Another tip on managing your homestead is to maintain grass grazing. Cows are the ones responsible for grazing grass on your field. Grazing can make your grass grow better and produces more if it is allowed to let it grow for as long as it can. However, if you feel that some grass patches are suffering from overgrazing, you might want to keep your cow away from such.
- If gardening is your concern, you can divide the plot into four parts. Where each part of the plot will have to follow a strict crop rotation. A crop rotation goes something like this:
- Plot 1: For potatoes
- Plot 2: For Legumes
- Plot 3: Brassicas
- Plot 4: Root veggies
- Grass (again)
- This kind of crop rotation can bring plenty of benefits to your land. A quarter of your arable land will be a newly-plowed up field. During this time, the soil will become fertile thanks to the stored-up fertility of the grass, clover, and herbs that have been plowed-in to rot in the summer. Because your cow will be in-wintered, on bought-in hay, and treading and dunging on bought-in straw, you will have an enormous quantity of marvelous muck and cow manure to put on your arable land. Crop residues that you can’t consume can be used to feed other farm animals such as pigs and poultry.
Even More Tips for You!
- Cows: Cows dont need to stay outdoors
for an entire year. During winter, it’s better to keep your cow indoors for the
rest of the season. Cows should only be out during normal seasons to get their
much-needed exercise. Winter is the time of the year where cows should only be
kept inside to let them produce healthy manure for your soil. When it’s summer,
this is the time where you can let your cow get its freedom as long as your
pasture is not overgrazed.
- Pigs: They should be kept inside of the
house for at least a short part of the year. The best thing you can do is to
store them in a movable house or you could just build a permanent pigpen instead.
If you let your pigs out in the field, they would mostly spend their time
plowing up your grassland, and may ruin your cultivated land after you harvest
your crops. When it comes to food, feed them with wheat, corn, and barley. Pair
this with milk from your cow plus a share from your garden produce and you have
yourself some healthy pigs.
- Poultry: When it comes to poultry, you
can keep them in a permanent house in your garden. It’s also advisable to
invest in a mobile coop so they could move over the grassy plains. This is
important for soil fertility since they spend most of their time scratching and
dunging into soil and grass. When feeding poultry, feed them with grain or some
protein supplements. Even sunflowers and buckwheat also works best as feeds
- Goats: Goats are maintained the same way
as cows. The only difference is that they don’t produce much milk and they
could not build up land fertility just like what cows do. Goats don’t also make
that much off a manure too so if I were you, opt for cows instead. But after
all, it depends on your preference so why not keep both of them.
- Crops: Tend crops just the way you are used to. If you want to use your crops to feed your farm animals, then plant them in a separate area. That said, you have one area of crops for your family, and the other one for your animals. And also, no need to create a compost pile since your animals is your compost pile in the first place.