There has been a self sufficient movement over the last couple of years. More people are wanting to become self sustaining. They want to be able to grow their own food, raise livestock, and be less reliant on others. Personally, I am ecstatic. But how big of a property do you need? 100 acres? 50? At least 20, right? Nope. I’m going to show you how we homestead on 5 acres.
Technically, we have just over 8 acres. But 2 acres of that is a pond, and another 1.5-2 acres is a giant hill that we can’t do a lot with. So, we have 5 usable acres. We have 30ish chickens, 17 ish ducks, and 10 goats that all need a place to live. There is also the garden that needs to go somewhere. Not to mention all the small projects that need land, like the orchard, clothesline, and *fingers crossed* the pool. Or the larger projects like the shop and granny pods? So how do we make it work without hundreds of acres?
What Are Your Goals?
Do you want to be totally self sufficient? Is this a hobby? Are you supplementing your income? Why do you want to homestead? When you can answer those questions you can start crafting your goals. Our goals are: Have the homestead be self sustaining and self funding. Mortgage paid off in less than 15 years. Animals provide food and/ or income. Land produces 75% or more food and 100% of firewood.
Having clear goals allows you to focus on your plan.
In another post about homesteading, I talked about what homesteading means and starting a homestead. You really need to figure out what it means for you and how you want to make this property work for you.
I have also made a new homesteader checklist that you can find in our members only area. In it you can find some basics of how to get started with your homestead.
Sign up below to receive access to multiple freebies. Look for an email with the password and instructions to access our members only area.
Before you even decide on a property, or if you already have a property, you need to plan what you want to do with it. Do you want goats? What about chickens? Are you going to try and squeeze a cow or pigs in? What does your property look like? Is it hilly or flat? Do you have access to plenty of water? Are you going to garden for fun or for purpose? These are just some of the questions that you need to answer before you get into the guts of building up your homestead.
If you want goats, do you already have a pasture for them? Is the fencing goat proof? How long would it take you to put up good fencing and install a good pasture? Do you already have a barn? Is there a predator problem? Do you want to milk them? Breed them? If you can answer these questions you can start to plan.
As a beginning homesteader, you are going to want chickens. At least every beginner that I have met does. Really think about how any eggs you eat. Jared usually eats 3 eggs a day but no one else really does. When we make breakfast for dinner, we normally go through about a dozen eggs. But what about expansion. Do you want to sell eggs? Do you want to sell chicks? Are you going to be a victim of chicken math? Are you going to raise meat birds?
What about raising larger livestock, do you want pigs or cows? With enough pasture land, you can have a cow on an acre. You could have several pigs as well. The key is knowing your space and maximizing it.
Get To Work On The Plan
Most people only need a 800 sq ft (or 200 sq ft per person) garden to feed their family of 4 for a year. That’s not really a ton of space when you are talking about having 5 acres. Since we can a ton and give it to family, we decided to triple that. Plus, tomato math is a thing. We also knew that we were going to put in an orchard and decided that strategically planting trees throughout the property would benefit us more than having trees in rows. This would help with shade and keep pests from demolishing the entire crop.
We decided that we wanted to up our egg production for sales as well as reducing our need for chicken at the store. Then we bought more chickens and all of them are dual purpose birds, meaning that they are both egg layers and meat birds. We are also looking into selling any extra chicks.
Then we bought ducks…. Initially, I bought 10 meat ducks and 10 egg ducks. After our losses, I’m pretty sure I now have a total of 17 pet ducks. I’m not sure if I can butcher these guys. The way I see it though, I have 10 production meat ducks and those guys can lay and hatch our meat ducks…. At least that’s what I’m telling myself.
Our goats are for milking and breeding. Goats are a long term investment. If we can keep them alive and healthy, and all our does produce milk and good kids, we are looking at making about $9,000-11,000/ year. Not counting vet, feed, fencing, etc. That’s also not counting cheese, butter, soap or lotion sales.
Stick To Your Plan
We went off plan by getting the goats. They are no where near returning their investment. But they are so damn cute that we let it slide. Unfortunately, we had to put pigs on the back burner because of it. Same with meat rabbits. Homesteading on 5 acres or less is totally doable, but I will say it again and again. Set your goals, prioritize them, and get your plan in motion.
I would love to hear how you are homesteading or planning to homestead your property.
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