Got some seeds with a story? Dallas Public Library would love to hear your story and share some of your seeds! I'm proud to share my story and seeds with the Seed Library in Dallas. Not only the seeds, but also the story behind the seeds will continue to live on. The seeds I shared have been passed down for at least 150 years. Click the link below to read the whole story.
If you live in an urban area and are interested in raising your own meat or animal products. there are more options than what you might think. Before investing in the animals, housing and other supplies, be sure to check with your city ordinances! Doing so could save you a lot of trouble and money down the road. If you are wanting to be a breeder, you will also need to check regulations before raising and selling. The intent here is to provide information on small animals suitable for raising in backyards. Our focus will be on meat and other animal products. WARNING: Keep your distance and don't become too attached!
Chickens are becoming a popular backyard farm animal. One of my favorites. Eggs are an obvious product. Eggs can also be hatched producing more hens or roosters for the dinner table.
As hens age, they will slow or stop laying. At this point you will need to decide if you want to then eat the hen or keep feeding her as a pet. Rehoming is also an option.
Another awesome product from chickens is all that poop! When aged, it's great for your gardens.
Ducks & Geese
One's first thought would be to raise ducks and geese for their meat. Another product would be their eggs. Duck and goose eggs are great for eating. Some people prefer to use duck eggs over chicken eggs for baking. Another use of the eggs would be to blow out the insides and decorate the shells.
So they say rabbits are fast breeders. Given all the rabbits in my yard, I believe that.
However, I was not as lucky with breeding above ground caged rabbits. I believe the results would be different in a larger, on-ground rabbit pin.
There is a need to reiterate my earlier warning here.... Due to cuteness, don't get attached if you are wanting meat! Otherwise, you will find yourself
raising rabbits to produce lots of beneficial fertilizer. Again, let it age to prevent burning the plants in your garden.
There are so many products one can get from a beehive other than just honey! The bee colony and all the hive products will require study and patience. One can't just buy a hive, put it in the backyard and wait until time to harvest the honey. Beekeeping requires a lot of hands on observations and work to protect the bees and keep them healthy.
Turkeys are mainly used for meat. Can you eat their eggs? If you are not focused on raising meat birds, yes, go ahead and enjoy eating the eggs. If you are wanting meat the eggs are too valuable to eat as a turkey only lays one or two eggs a week. If you choose to eat the eggs, you might want to blow out the insides and keep the shell to sell or decorate.
Before starting with goats, know they are herd animals and do not like living without one or two other goats around. I had to give away my last solo goat as she was always jumping the fence looking for a companion.
In addition to meat, some raise goats for the milk and cheese making.
A good backyard goat breed would be the Pygmy goat as it is small. I hated breeding Pygmy goats as mine had lots of problems birthing naturally due to their small size. That problem could be avoided by not keeping a billy goat. As a backyard urban farmer, one should not keep a billy goat due to their strong odor and destructive behavior. Definitely check the city ordinances on billy goats. If you only want meat, buy a young goat from a farmer or auction to raise.
My favorite breeds are the larger Boer and Spanish goats! Not the best choice for a small yard though. Remember, don't get attached.
Now for a couple animals I have never been around or raised... Quail and cattle. I will share what I do know.
Quail are much smaller than chickens. Meat production would be greatly reduced. However, if your city ordinances do not allow for chickens in the backyard, quail would be a great alternative. Their eggs are considered a delicacy. There eggs are about the size of a quarter or slightly larger. Despite the small size, these eggs are great boiled, deviled, or pickled, making a great finger food or appetizer. Some countries serve them raw.
The beautiful speckled shells are great for use in decorations.
Aren't these faces cute? Above is a Scottish Highland cow. To the right is a Dexter cow. These, as well as other miniature breeds, do not get large. Miniature cows are good for both meat and dairy production.
Exercise caution before breeding! Due to their small size I would be concerned about breeding and the ability to give birth naturally. To avoid the stress and expenses associated with problem deliveries, do you research first.
I hope the information above has been helpful and inspired you to raise a few backyard animals. But watch out, before you know it you will be moving to the country in search of larger pasture!
Have you requested your FREE Backyard FARMacy Guide yet? If not, this would be a great time to do so with the crazy ups and downs of winter. One day it's sunny and warm. The next day it's cold, windy and dreary. There are foods that help lift your mood during the overcast times of winter. You can see a list of them in the brochure.
An added bonus is that most of these foods are on the winter superfood list. Makes sense, right? You can find a list of these superfoods in a quick list format on the back cover of the brochure. Very handy for taking to the grocery store or farmers market. I use my list all the time to help me plan dinner and my shopping list. You will also find recipes for cooking these foods.
There is also an article giving insight on deciding if you should spend the extra money on organic foods or not.
What a bitterly cold start to our week here in Texas! We had to light a fire in the fireplace to chase away the winter chill last night. Today, the sun managed to come out. It was a beautiful site to see all the ice on the trees glistening in the sunlight. I almost missed it!
When I left the house for the short walk out to my office this morning, I narrowly escaped slipping on ice. A couple of hours later, while heading out to the post office, the sun was beginning to show it's face. You could see the drip-drops falling to the ground as the ice began to melt. It was so beautiful. One of those sights missed all to often.
It amazes me how bone-chilling cold and depressing winter can be when the sun hides behind the clouds and overcast sky. Then just as soon as the sun peeks out, all is bright and cheerful again, as instantly as flipping on a light switch in the house.
Walking out to feed the chickens, I had another reminder winter would soon be over. The daffodils have began popping up out of the ground. Yes, spring is on the way. But for now we will continue to bundle up in our winter clothes. Cheers and stay warm everyone!
This is a beautiful morning to sit on the patio and enjoy the sunshine and warm 55 degrees. After taking only a short break, I head back inside before going out to my office, thinking it was time to go to work for the day. I chuckled to myself. I was already working. I had just fed the chickens, and my time on the patio was spent doing a little research on a farm topic. What a beautiful life! Love it on days like today when work feels more like a hobby or enjoyable pastime. As I was walking in the house I look down in my coffee cup. To my surprise I see a bee. In case you're wondering, I scoop out the bee before she drowns and kept on drinking my coffee because we now bees are very sterile creatures. Looks like I have successfully found another way to procrastinate before heading out to work on our taxes! I need to feed the bees. After all, this is the time a year in which many hives are lost due to starvation. So I mix up some syrup, grabbed a bag of natural pollen, and head to the bee feeder. THEN I'll go start on the taxes. That is if I don't get distracted with something else again. (Like writing this post.) Happy Gardening and God Bless!