Great Summer Read!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Suburban homesteads come in many shapes and sizes, taking their own path to self-sufficiency, but, in my mind, a true homestead needs livestock to be complete. Whether two footed or four; feathered or furred or wooled, animals are what turn a backyard garden into a full fledged farm. Without them all you have is a garden, which is nice, but a homestead is a little more scrappy. It’s loud and it’s dusty and sometimes messy when it’s full of feathers and cloven hooves, paws and fur.

I found a new book for my homestead library recently – The Backyard Homestead’s Guide to Raising Farm Animals.

It’s the livestock companion to the original Backyard Homestead, and it’s a fine introduction to jumping on the livestock bandwagon. At first it may seem a little elementary for the more seasoned livestock person, but it’s perfect for those who have dreams of turning their landscaped suburban lot into a thriving mini-farm, or those who have never held a chick or readied a hutch for kits.

It’s a friendly read, full of easy to understand information about the basics of starting a flock of chickens, ducks, turkey’s or geese; a hutch or two of rabbits; or a herd of goats, sheep or pigs. It even has information about raising cattle on a small suburban homestead. It will give you a good idea of what you’re getting yourself into, along with wonderful plot maps on how to lay out your farm if you’re just getting started.

The illustrations and sidebar instructions are great and each species is broken into its own chapter, so you can read only those parts that interest you. Want goats, but not pigs. Fine. Can’t have bees, but can have chickens. No problem, just read the chapters you want.

Even with my years of livestock experience I’m still able to glean useful information from new sources. It’s becoming a new favorite around here. Grab one for yourself.

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