The Best Five Birds to Grow on Your Homestead

The Best Five Birds to Grow on Your Homestead

For a homestead to be sustainable, poultry birds are necessary. It is really the most affordable way to supply protein for the kitchen table during both prosperous and difficult circumstances.

A chicken is significantly less expensive to buy and raise than a cow or even a goat, even though they cannot produce the same amount of meat. Although we have a 56-acre survival homesteading retreat and can give them with plenty of pasture and hay fields, I still adore rearing cattle. Not every prepper has this kind of luck, or they just don't willing to maintain such a big property.
No matter how many acres a homestead has, almost all meat and egg birds are a wonderful fit. The success of the project and the amount and quality of meat you expect to harvest can be greatly impacted by selecting the breed or breeds of birds that best fit your survival strategy and style of homestead.

Here are the top five birds to grow on your farm, without further ado.
1. Roosters

This is the most prevalent variety of poultry bird found in American farms and homesteads. Any kind of chicken will produce eggs and meat, but some varieties are more adapted to particular tasks and climates than others.

Additionally, there are "quiet breeds" of hens that are known to produce less noise, which makes them ideal for low-acre homesteads in suburban or small town settings when neighbors live near by.

Roosters frequently worry novice keepers. All roosters crow, and not just at dawn, but small homesteads and caregivers who are unprepared to handle an angry rooster are less likely to have trouble with a male from a breed that is praised for being either quiet or submissive.
Top Quiet Breeds of Chickens:

The Best Breeds of Chicken for Confined Space Habitats: Rhode Island Red Barred Rock Plymouth Bantam
Reds of Rhode Island
The Rhode Island Red breed of chickens is referred to as dual-purpose since they are equally adept at producing eggs as well as meat. Large brown eggs are beautifully laid by reds, but they make terrible companions.
If you plan to maintain Reds, you might also want to keep some Bantam (or Banty) chickens. They are excellent mothers of chickens and will gladly accept eggs that other hens have forgotten to watch over.

Top Free-Range Chickens
Ohio White Leghorn Buckeye
A legacy breed of chicken are buckeyes. The Buckeye takes longer to mature than its commercially produced counterparts, who are frequently cross-bred, like any heritage livestock breeds. Heritage breeds have managed to hold onto their inherent instincts and resilience against illness.
Buckeyes are a peaceful and obedient breed that also happens to lay lovely large brown eggs. On average, roosters are extremely peaceful. My Buckeye roosters are hand fed by my toddler grandkids.

Like Buckeye hens, White Leghorn hens can forage for most of their food needs almost year-round and lay medium to large brown eggs. They also do well in a free-range lifestyle.

Leghorn roosters are anything but peaceful and submissive. With the exception of small children he was accustomed to, my White Leghorn rooster hated everyone else and would viciously fight anyone who approached the barn. Nevertheless, he liked me and would fly up and perch on my shoulder.

Price-wise, chickens usually cost between $3 and $7 per bird, depending on the breed. A group of 12 birds can be fed for at least two weeks with a 50-pound bag containing $10 to $15.

2. Ducks
Duck eggs are excellent for baking since they are larger and significantly richer than chicken eggs. Always cut the amount of duck egg used by at least one-third when using it in a recipe that doesn't include a precise ratio.
Top Homesteading Breeds of Ducks for Pekin

Runner Khaki Campbell, an Indian
The most popular breed of duck kept for meat and eggs on American homesteads is the Pekin. Chefs at restaurants also seem to be big fans of this kind of duck. Standard and jumbo Pekin ducks are available for purchase, but neither can soar more than several feet in the air or for more than a few feet at a time.

Pekin ducks are not good sitters, and most banty hens cannot accommodate their enormous eggs. Purchasing an incubator will likely cost you between $85 and $125 if you want to keep your colony of Pekin ducks growing.
Though they are marginally smaller than Pekin eggs, Indian Runner eggs are nonetheless larger than duck eggs.
Although it is necessary for ducks to have access to water in their habitat, backyard and small-acre homesteaders should still think about include ducks in their survival plan. A tiny colony of ducks, no more than six, can find enough room in a plastic baby pool to use regularly.

Compared to hens, ducks consume significantly more water and create a lot more mess with their droppings. Unless the flock is allowed to go free for a portion of the day, cleaning the coop or hut and run when ducks are housed should be done once a week rather than every other week.

I have no issues at all keeping my rooster, ducks, and hens in the same habitat—not even with a stubborn White Leghorn rooster. However, as soon as chicks hatch, I always place the flocks in the same brooder together.

Ducklings can range in price from $4 to $8 each, depending on the breed and maturity. The majority of duck and chicken breeds can share feed, but since ducks consume more than chickens do, don't expect that 50-pound bag to go as far when feeding them together.

3. Turkeys
We have plenty of wild turkeys roaming about our survival homesteading hideaway, so I don't keep any. However, I do have farm friends that homestead and homestead turkeys, or their kids are 4-H members.
Turkeys yield more meat than either chicken or duck, but they need more room to grow and cannot be maintained in the same run or fed the same feed.

Although turkeys are not thought to be as intelligent or submissive as ducks or chickens, their meat is wonderful. When they reach butcher weight, domesticated turkeys often weigh between 20 and 30 pounds, which is significantly more than the four to eight pounds that most kinds of chicken and duck will weigh.
Top Breeds of Turkeys for Meat
White, broad-breasted
Palm Royale
White Holland: more comfortable smaller habitat
Bourbon Red: more appealing smaller habitat
Normal Bronze: historic breed from Beltsville Heritage breed of little white dogs
A poult, or baby turkey, can set you back between $5 and $9 per unit. Although I have never heard of it being done, it may be feasible to keep the feed bill down by allowing turkeys to roam freely.

I hesitate to state that free-ranging turkeys is not possible because I free-range goats and have a buddy who free-ranges bunnies. A flock of four to six turkeys should have enough food for up to two weeks with a 50-pound bag of feed.
4. Guineas Although they are not typically raised for meat or eggs, guineas can nevertheless be a useful resource on a homestead. Guineas make a great low-tech security system. They will make a loud noise to warn you of any potential danger in your barnyard.

Since guinea pigs may produce sounds that are almost unbearable when they perceive or encounter danger, small-scale homesteads with nearby neighbors should avoid keeping them. Guineas are usually allowed to go free until sunset so they can investigate the area surrounding the coop.

Without any issues, I've run guinea pigs alongside my hens and ducks in the same coop. They rush to be accommodated with the flock for 99 out of 100 nights. Guineas that decline to enter the coop are probably either guarding a nest nearby or feeling threatened, which is why they would rather perch on top of the coop.

It is imperative that guinea pigs have been raised alongside the flock you wish them to guard before releasing them. This will teach them that the area is their home and that they should defend it, preventing them from running away and taking up residence in the woods.
It can be challenging to locate guineas in farming supply stores like as Tractor Supply and Rural King. A batch of guineas that either store gets in during their chick sales disappear quickly. Guineas are available several times a year from hatcheries with online storefronts that offer local shipping.
Because they grow much more slowly than chicks, guinea keet infants are extremely delicate and shouldn't be housed in the same brooder. Although guinea kes require extra protein in their diet if they are not permitted to free roam, they may eat the same feed as most breeds of chickens. Depending on how uncommon the breed is, guinea kes typically cost $4 to $7 per.

Color is used to categorize guineas rather than breed.

Most Common And Easily Available Types of Guineas
French Pearl
Pale Violet Pearl Grays
Lavender African White
5. Ducks
This breed of chicken is not appropriate for backyards, suburbs, or even extremely tiny homesteads with a few acres. Compared to ducks, they need a bigger, deeper body of water for their habitat, and they honk very loudly.

Although I'm sure there are peaceful geese out there, I haven't come across any of their kind. For novice poultry bird keepers, particularly those who have never successfully navigated an angry rooster, geese are actually not the best option.
It hurts a lot to be "bitten" and flogged by a goose. When a goose attacks, it is surprising how much damage it can cause with its beak by chewing down on any exposed flesh it can reach.
If their wings are not regularly cut, geese will take a huge offense to this and will fly away. Should you choose to retain geese, you should budget for six-foot-tall chain link fencing that is topped with bird netting to keep the birds out.

Depending on the breed, goslings, or newborn geese, can cost anywhere from $10 to $25 on average.

Top Breeds of Meat Geese Embden French Toulouse Brown African Pilgrim Classic Roman
You should consider how much meat and eggs each kind of poultry bird will probably produce and compare that amount to your family's individual needs when choosing which kind of birds to maintain.

Comparing the Laying of Eggs
Poultry Bird Annual Egg ProductionButchering Weight
180–280 chickensthree to five pounds
Ducks: 180–300between seven and eleven pounds
Birds of Guinea 100–175Two pounds
Turkey: 75–100between 14 and 33 pounds
Geese 50–7018 to 25
Whatever kind of poultry birds you choose to raise, invest time in learning all you can about the husbandry techniques required to maintain their health, ability to reproduce, and ability to lay eggs.
Acquire knowledge of first aid techniques and natural cures to become your flock's go-to veterinarian, saving money and offering a vital medical service that is unlikely to be available in the event of a long-term crisis.

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