This page contains information on why and how to raise animals while living off the grid, also you will find useful tips on how to satisfy most of your food needs without having to rely on the city for meat and poultry. Raising animals off the grid is very essential if you want to declare your independence and be fully or mostly self suffecient. Having a couple of goats and a couple of sheep, 2 dozens of chicken and a pen of geese will satisfy the needs of a small family all year round in terms of meat, milk and eggs consumption.
If you go the extra mile and decide to raise animals, you will greatly reduce your dependence on the outside world (stores, supermarkets ...), because animals can provide you with the following:
Goats are the best choice when living off the grid, because they're low maintenance, they can basically take care of themselves. Goats can survive on bushes, trees, desert scrub and aromatic herbs when sheep and cattle would starve to death. Goat milk casein and milk fat are more easily digested cow milk. Goat milk is valued for the elderly, sick, babies, children with cow milk allergies, patients with ulcers.
Goats have a lot to offer, and they don't ask much in return. They can clear invasive weeds, offer fresh goat milk, and they can be a fun pet. They can also be used for meat if necessary. Goats can be quite a bit of work too, but many city dwellers are finding that raising urban goats is quite rewarding.
There are six types of dairy goats that are recognized by the American Dairy Goat Association. They are Nubians, LaManchas, Alpines, Oberhaslis, Togenburgs, and Saanens. More people drink Goat's Milk than cow's milk. The Anglo-Nubian breed is considered as the best producers of quality goat milk, so if you want more milk, all you got to do is raise an Anglo-Nubian goat.
Before getting a cow, think hard about it. A cow is the biggest tie in the farm, you will have to milk her twice a day, to feed the cow you need to grow fodder, to use up the manure from the cow you will have to dig or plough more land ... unless you’re dedicated to spend more time in the farm, think loud and often before getting a cow. On the other hand, a cow will save you more money in the farm than anything else, milk, butter and cheese go up and up in price, you can also sell or trade calves if you want for something else you might need more in the farm.
Sheep are a very good thing to keep, for the self-supporter. Sheep live and fatten on grass. Don't even make demands on your hay unless the ground is covered with snow (and even then they won't eat hay unless they have previously learnt to); they are thus cheap to keep. A good number would be 4 ewes and a ram (or ask a neighboring farmer if you could borrow his ram for a few days).
Choose the breed that is native to the country you live in. Very good pasture may carry three ewes with their lambs per acre, less good two ewes and their lambs. You might average one and a half lambs per ewe. But they will do far better if you rotate them around the farm: put them on, say, a quarter of your grass acreage and keep them there until they have nibbled the grass right down, then move them on to the next quarter. In this way let them follow the cows—sheep will graze very advantageously after cows have had all they can get: cows will starve after sheep.
To raise chicken the humane and healthy way is to give them enough space to scrap, to perch, to flap their wings and take dust baths (which is not possible and even cruel in a wire cage). If you want to have eggs all year then a couple of dozen of hens will do. Give each hen a handful of grain every evening and a handful or two of high protein food in the morning, and any scraps you can spare, and they will do the rest. They will eat a lot of grass and a lot of earwigs. They will hatch you out a clutch of pretty little chicks. Keep them out of your garden or they will play hell with it.
Always keep a cock among your hens, hens like having it off as much as we do. Let your chicken run right out into the fields and woods. They will be getting so much free food. Why go in for incubators and brooders when hens will do all that work for nothing for you? Hens will be able to give you eggs from grain and household scraps alone, but not many. If hens are really to produce eggs they must have some protein.
Raising geese is very easy and require very low maintenance if any. A pen of geese, say three geese and a gander will run happily about the fields, and live on grass with just a handful of grain thrown to them every night to lure them home to shut them in from the foxes, otherwise they don’t need any grain.
But you must protect them from rats and foxes. Rats will pull goose eggs, or young geese, right out from under the feathers of the goose mother. A fox will go miles to get a sitting goose. When geese begin to lay, say in February or March, if you are lucky enough to have a broody hens then, you will have to splash eggs with water every day, because a hen doesn’t know this part of goose mother’s duties.
More information: We hope this page was helpful and provided you with some information about raising animals off the grid, you can also check our other page Growing Plants. Or for more information check out our main page for more survival scenarios here Survival Guide, knowledge is light, and knowledge can enhance your life. good luck!