What farm animal would you suggest?


In the Brooder
12 Years
Nov 16, 2007
Hey. I've always wanted some sort of farm animal whether it be a chicken, pig, cow, horse, sheep, goat or alpaca.
I've decided I'm gonna try to convince my father to maybe let me get some sort of critter.

Our property is 5 acres, we have 2 empty acres. I am looking for an animal(s) that only need a shelter, not a barn. Also is alot of money, and would be affordable when I get my part time job.
I'm sure my parents wouldn't mine paying a bit. And my dad is great at building and stuff like that, as well as he knows alot about agriculture.
So what animal would you suggest? And what can you tell me about them?

Wow -- that's a hard question to answer.

First we need to know what you want it for? Just to look at or to get cuddly with? Do you want it to give you meat, milk or eggs or something back in the form of food?

How much time will you have to take care of it? Do you want to have hands on care (such as trimming hooves and deworming) or just an animal to pretty much feed?

Do you want to breed in the future?

What type of fencing do you have?

There is such a huge difference in the amount of care and usability of the animals that you listed ... can you think about why you want this animal and give us some ideas. That would help people respond with more knowledgeable answers.
Er, the obvious answer around here would be "chickens", of course <g>

But in fact I would say that that probably IS the best answer, chicken forum aside
They are cheap to obtain and cheap to keep; they are easy to take care of, aside from needing a bit more protection against predators than larger livestock do; they do Useful Things even if you do not get out an axe and eat them (i.e. they produce yummy eggs from happy non-battery hens); they will not trash large areas of land; and they are not a long-term commitment.

The only possible wrinkle with chickens would be that if you are in a cold-winter area (where are you?) you would need an actual coop for them to shelter in, but it could be a small shed-sized bldg up on blocks, it would certainly not have to be a Real Barn in any way. Some people spend lotsa money on their coop and run, but if you scavenge material using craigslist, freecycle, farm auctions, etcetera, you can do it pretty inexpensively yet well.

Or other poultry, although chickens are probably the best to start with.

Goats are real hard to fence in. Sheep and goats would need a barn type thing (not just an open shed) if you are in a cold snowy winter area. A cow would not do you a lot of good, might need a barn in cold snowy winter areas, is rather expensive, and is real likely to totally trash the land you keep it on. DO NOT get a horse unless you spend a year or so learning how to handle and take care of horses, realio trulio, plus setting things up safely for a horse would cost a whole bunch. A pig will TOTALLY TRASH wherever you keep it (concrete pen or pasture) and are hard to keep fenced in. Llamas and alpacas are Ex Pen Sive, and will need a good barn in cold winter areas.

So, all in all, even though this *is* backyard chickens, I would in fact suggest chickens

(Edited to add: I see from your other posts that you are in a REALLY cold winter area. In which case, chickens would be BY FAR the least expensive critter for you. If you are not convinced, btw, calculate the cost of fencing *alone* for all the non poultry animals you mention... fencing (effective fencing, that safely and reliably keeps animals IN and predators OUT) is really pretty expensive, and chickens you can keep in a smallish run.)

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We don't have any fencing... yet.

I guess something I could be hands on with... if that makes sense.
If I ever got a pig(s) they would probably be for meat eventually...
I don't think it would be for milk, because I don't know if I would have the time to put into that.
I might want to breed later on down the road, but not for a long time.
I guess what I really want to know is what animal would you suggest for a first timer. I've own(ed) dogs, cats, guinea pigs, fish, hamsters, never livestock.
Something that would be easy for a first timer. And I guess I want to know what animals you've owned, and enjoyed that were realitivly easy to maintain. They would probably be pets...

Hope that helps

EDIT: I just read the above. lol The thing about chickens is as much as I would love them they would be hard to keep warm because I live in Canada and where I am it gets to be -45. Which is COLD. Lol And it would be hard to keep them warm cause there so small, and if I only wanted a few like 3 they wouldn't really keep each other warm...
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Since you are on a chicken forum...you got to get chickens! Honestly, they are cheap, and will breed on their own, and are pretty easy to raise. I would get you a few laying birds, a rooster, and 3 or 4 hens. You can find plenty of info here to help you get started, and worse comes to worse, and you loose some, it is easy to get more as you learn. They can be almost pet like too, if you spend the time with them. Check out my site for some more information on keeping fowl HERE . Good luck, and welcome to the world of chickens! (hopefully)
BTW, no problem raising them in Canada, you'll just have to have a good coop, or dub them, and provide some decent shelter with wide roosts.
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So get more than 3
(Or, better yet, trench electric out to the coop so you can hang a lightbulb, doesn't have to be a heat lamp necessarily, to keep em warm on the coldest days.)

You will have the exact same problem if you get, like, two goats or two sheep. Only you'll be having the same problem with a larger expenditure of money on facilities. And you won't get eggs out of it

Chickens would probably be a good start.

I was thinking a couple silkies. Are they friendly?
The thing is, I don't think I could have a rooster because of crowing (It would drive my nieghbors bonkers
) What happens if I order and I get a roo?
I wouldn't, I would go with a breed that can handle cold weather better, something with standard feathers... If you can't have a rooster, and get one by accident, eat him when he starts crowing!
Yeah, get something cold-hardier than silkies.

Crowing-wise, you could:
give away anything that turned out to be a roo;
or eat it;
or buy grown pullets from someone (ones old enough to sex reliably);
or buy sexed pullet chicks if you are willing to order a larger number (try www.performancepoultry.com) or if you can get them via your feedstore which you probably can if you're not picky about breeds.

I saw in a farming mag. that the most profitable farm animal per acre is, the sheep!
Goats also do not take up a lot of room or need a barn. Mine have a 4'x8' shed that is only 5' tall. I only have 3 at the present but, plan to get 1 or 2 more. They are only on about 1/3 of an acre and I have about 3 more acres that I could fence if I wanted.

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