Sprouting fodder is something farmers have been done for generations. Fodder is defined as “food, especially dried hay or feed, for cattle and other livestock.” Sprouting fodder growing the fodder and allowing the livestock to eat it at a young stage. This feeding technique can offer a varied diet for livestock at a fraction of the price of traditional feeds. Although you can sprout a variety of grains, today I’m going to chat about sprouted barley because it’s a great all-around grain for livestock.
Imagine if your breakfast came right from your backyard homestead? With the help of some livestock, that dream could easily become a reality. I start every day milking the goats and, on my way back from the milking parlor, I swing by the coop for some fresh duck, chicken, and quail eggs. Throw in some homemade bread and bacon from a local farmer and I am able to serve my family a breakfast for champions.
Animals are an integral part of the homestead. Regardless of the size of your homestead, there are probably animals you can keep that will help you live more self-sufficiently. If you are just getting started or you have a smaller backyard homestead, quail, chickens, and rabbits are a great start. If you have some experience under your belt or you have more land to spread out on, goats and ducks are great options.
Narrow by Species
With or without a goat or cow, you can make your own butter from raw milk. While homemade butter made from store-bought raw milk may only save you about 7¢ a stick, butter made from raw milk that came from your own animals can save you, well, 100%.
Learn how to separate cow and goat’s milk, as well as four fun ways to make homemade butter. Did your butter not come out how you expected? Here’s so troubleshooting tips.
In all of our 4H and homesteading days, we have raised over 20 rabbits. Most were “dual duty” as pets and working animals, meaning for compost and fiber. Our French Angoras are the perfect example of a double duty animal. They have lots of long hair that is great for learning how to spin and knit or crochet with. This is the main reason we started our Angora herd, to be honest. My daughter loves to knit, crochet, and all things yarn related. Taking care of the fiber rabbits requires a bit more than just regular rabbits, however.
Our French Angoras are the perfect example of a double duty animal.
Rabbits are actually the perfect choice for a backyard farmer that would like to start producing their own fibers for either resale or crafts. Typical fiber farm animals include sheep, goats or alpacas – some of which can top out at 200 pounds or more – not always practical for someone farming on under an acre of land. Rabbits need minimal space and don’t require special farm vets, almost all suburban vets will have experience treating rabbits. In addition to less land and less feed, rabbits are wooly powerhouses!
When we first purchased goats, we lived on a small acreage and we chose Nigerian Dwarf goats. We wanted our kids to be able to be in the pen with the goats and not feel intimidated so we chose small a small breed. That also meant goats with no horns. When our goats had kids, we disbudded them. That was our stance until last summer, our first summer on our homestead in Missouri. We went from backyard goat owners to farmers overnight. We kept our little dairy herd that we had on our acreage, but also added a separate herd of meat goats.
Today I am so excited to have my friend Lesa Wilke of Better Hens & Gardens visiting to answer my many goat-raising questions. Ever since the decision to get Nigerian Dwarf goats for our homestead, she has put up with my numerous goat inquiries. When she published her book, Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101: Background & Basics, she offered to send me a copy. I read it from digital cover to cover. It answered many of my questions and taught me quite a few things I didn’t even know I didn’t know. I figured other people who are considering goats probably have similar questions as I did, so Lesa was kind enough to share her answers with us all.