A lot of people who live off the grid tend to raise animals to feed themselves as well as to make some profit. This is how a lot of homesteads and off grid homes become self-sufficient, and if you know what types of animals to raise you will see a nice profit at the end of the month. With that being said there are some livestock which are a lot easier to raise than others, although this mostly depends on the local environment and how much you are willing to invest in your livestock.
Most people when they are thinking of what farm animals can be raised to make a profit they will think of larger animals, as generally speaking the larger the animal is the more meat and milk it can produce. While for the most part, this is true but if you are new to raising livestock then you have to start small and expand from there. There are plenty of smaller farm animals which are easier to raise and a lot easier to sell.
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A lot of homesteaders fall into the trap of thinking that the more farm animals they raise the easier it will be to make a profit. The problem with this approach is that the more farm animals you have the more money you will have to invest in raising them. Another factor to take into consideration is the cost versus the profit ratio, cows for example are fairly expensive to buy, and if you are keeping a cow for its milk and just to make a profit it will take some time until you make your money back.
On the other hand chickens, for example, are fairly cheap and they tend to reproduce extremely fast, it is common for a chicken to lay 150-250 eggs per year. The profit margins with selling chicken eggs will be somewhat smaller but due to how often chicken lay their eggs you will make your money back in no time. If you want to raise goats or cows for a profit then check out my recent article Goats vs Cows Profit ( Top 13 Things to Consider ).
Raising chickens for a profit
One of the best farm animal to raise for a profit are chickens, they are extremely cheap to buy, and raising them is fairly easy. In addition to this chickens do not need a lot of space which will cut your costs down significantly. Other than buying the chickens you will have to invest in a chicken coop, although you can easily build one yourself. Generally speaking, hens lay around one egg per day, although they will not lay every day.
A hen lays around 250 eggs per year, which will make back the initial costs of the chicken in a matter of weeks. In addition to making a profit from selling chicken eggs, you can make extra profit for selling their meat as well. There are a couple of chicken breeds that are excellent for laying eggs such as the White Leghorn, Rhode Island Red, Golden Comet, Ameraucana, and the Barred Plymouth Rock. If you want to grow some crops to feed your family and to make some profit then check out my recent article Best crops for homesteading ( Top 16 ).
Profit from: Eggs, chicken meat, cockerel, and pullet.
Raising ducks for a profit
When it comes to making a profit ducks are fairly close to chickens although there are two main things the are different between the two of them. Ducks as chickens are extremely easy to raise, and there is a high demand for them. Ducks tend to be a little bit more expensive when you are buying them although duck eggs will make a significantly higher profit than chicken eggs doe, but this also depends on the duck breed as well.
Generally speaking, most ducks will lay between 60-300 eggs per year, there is a big difference between different breeds as some are raised only for their eggs while others mostly for their meat. Once your ducks start laying eggs you should sell some of them in order to recuperate your investment, once you do you can think of keeping them for their eggs or selling them for their meat. The best egg-laying ducks are Pekin, Campbell, Runner, Buff, Welsh Harlequin, Magpie, and the Ancona. If you are looking for a good off grid state then check out my recent article Off grid living in Michigan ( Great Lake State ).
Profit from: eggs, meat, fat, feathers.
Raising cows for a profit
A lot of homesteaders choose to raise one or two cows, as these produce more than enough milk for one family and people tend to sell their excess milk. Just keep in mind that in some states there are restrictions and regulations when it comes to selling raw milk. The problem with cows or cattle, in general, is that they need a fairly large initial investment, both in terms of buying the cow and in setting up space for them.
The big money in raising cows for a profit is in the cheese and not in their milk or meat. Most people who do not know how to make cheese will still make a profit by selling the meat although with some work they could make ten times more money by making cheese from the milk. Another good source of profit is selling their meat, although you will have to take into consideration the costs of processing the meat. The best cattle to raise for selling their milk are Holstein Friesian, Ayrshires, Brown Swiss, Guernseys, and the Jersey cattle.
Profit from: milk, cheese, meat, hide, and other dairy products.
Raising rabbits for a profit
Most people who live off the grid will sooner or later raise a couple of rabbits, they are extremely low maintenance, and their meat contains a lot of protein. In fact, rabbit meat contains so much protein and so little fat that you could end up with protein poisoning if you only eat rabbit meat for several days. On the other hand in a lot of areas rabbit meat is considered a delicacy, and with some know how you can make some amazing dishes with it.
The best part about raising rabbits for a profit is that the initial investment is fairly small, in addition to this if you have a small garden you will have no problem feeding them. The best rabbits to raise for their meat are Californian Rabbits, New Zealand Whites, Rex Rabbits, Silver Foxes, Belgian Hare, and Flemish Giants. Just keep in mind that the cost of some of these rabbit breeds will be different from one area to another, so pick one which is fairly cheap to buy.
Profit from: meat, pelts, manure, selling them as pets.
Raising pigs for a profit
All across the country, there is a big demand for pigs, these tend to grow fairly fast and they do have a lot of meat and fat on them. The initial costs of raising pigs will be somewhat higher than with other farm animals especially as pigs tend to eat a lot of food. If you want to raise pigs for a profit you will definitely need a pigsty and ist size will be determined by how many pigs you have. Another option would be to let the pigs free roam, in this way they will build bigger muscles than in a pigsty.
Although the meat of pigs which are free-roaming all day long tends to be of higher quality and more profitable to sell you really have to think what this will mean for your homestead. If you have a garden then you shouldn’t let the pigs free roam as they will simply eat all your crops in a matter of hours. The best pigs to raise for a profit are Berkshire pig, Tamworth Pig, Chester White Pig, Large Black Pig, and the Hampshire Pig.
Profit from: meat, piglets, and manure.
Raising goats for a profit
Goats are one of those farm animals which are extremely versatile when it comes to making a profit with them. Not only you can sell their meat and milk but you can also rent them as they are excellent at clearing areas with a lot of bushes and weeds. Goats milk in high demand and it is considerably more expensive than cow milk, although goats tend to produce a lot less milk than cows due.
Generally speaking, a goat can produce around 5-13 pounds of milk per day, although this depends on the goat breed as well. The big money is in making cheese and other dairy products especially if you can get a deal with a restaurant. The best goats to raise for their milk are Saanen goats, Nigerian Dwarf goats, Alpine goats, and LaMancha goats.
Profit from: meat, milk, dairy products, and by renting them to clear land.
Keeping honey bees for a profit
Honey bees have been raised for a profit for a very long time, and if you know what you are doing you can make a nice profit. The best part about raising honey bees is that they are low maintenance, although you will have to keep an eye out for them during the wintertime. The problem with raising honey bees is the location in which you are doing it, if you are doing it close to large agricultural fields which are often sprayed with pesticides then your whole colony might be wiped out.
In addition to this if you raise them in a remote area then odds are that the local bears will make you a visit. Honey bees are not that beginner-friendly as they tend to be fairly sensitive to chemicals and diseases. On the other hand, when it comes to costs and profit you have minimum costs and the profits can be massive. Honey and products made with honey are in big demand and the price of honey is going up every year.
Generally speaking, a healthy beehive can make anything between 50-110 pounds of honey per year. The best bees for honey are the Golden Italian bee, Carniolan bee, Caucasian bee, and The Mason Bee.
Profit from: honey, selling queens, and products made of honey.
Raising sheep for a profit
When most people think of sheep they usually think of a flock of sheep, although you can definitely keep just a couple of sheep and still make some profit. The profit margins are not that high as with some of the other farm animals in this list but if you know what you are doing you can make some serious amount of profit. In addition to selling their meat and milk, you can also sell their wool and the price of wool will mostly depend on the local demand.
Generally speaking, a sheep can produce between 2-30 pounds of wool every year, although there are major differences between different breeds. Sheep that do not produce a lot of wool are usually raised for their meat. There are three different types of sheep, dual-purpose which you can raise both for their meat and wool, meat only, and dairy sheep.
Profit from: milk, meat, wool, and lambs.
Raising turkeys for a profit
Turkey meat is starting to become extremely popular, the main reason for this is that they are considered a healthier alternative to chicken meat. Turkeys do not respond as well to hormones with which most chickens are injected in order to grow as fast as possible. There is also a major difference between turkey and chicken meat, and for you, as a farmer, this means higher profits in the long run.
The initial investment for raising turkeys is higher than for chickens, the good news is that turkey meat is a lot more expensive and turkeys tend to have a lot of meat on them. In addition to selling their meat, you can also sell their eggs. The best turkey breeds for profit are Broad Breasted White, Blue Slate, Black Spanish, White Holland, Bourbon Red, and Narragansett.
Profit from: Eggs and meat.
As you can see there are a couple of farm animals which you could raise for a profit, at the end of the day you should choose a farm animal which suits your needs. If you are new to raising farm animals then you should start with smaller farm animals like chickens and ducks, once you have a grasp on how to make them profitable you can expand.