Owning and managing a farm is nowhere near as easy as a lot of people make it out to be. There are a lot of variables that you need to take into consideration before you get started with everything.
But by far one of the most important aspects that you need to look into is the farm animals that you will be investing into.
When choosing the best animals for your farm, you need to first ask yourself just how large are the animals you should have around. This is because, depending on your farm’s size, you may want to opt for smaller animals just so that they don’t get too crowded over there.
This is why for today’s article we decided to go over the top 20 best small farm animals that anyone can raise. So, let’s get started with the first pick of the day:
- 20. Orpington Ducks
- 19. Quails
- 18. Rabbits
- 17. Honey Bees
- 16. Fish
- 15. Herding Dogs
- 14. Guardian Dogs
- 13. Narragansett Turkeys
- 12. Orpington Chickens
- 11. Bourbon Red Turkeys
- 10. Welsummer Chickens
- 9. Large Black Pigs
- 8. Nigerian Dwarf Goats
- 7. Tamworth Pigs
- 6. Miniature Cheviot Sheep
- 5. Jacob Sheep
- 4. Babydoll Southdown Sheep
- 3. Miniature Cattle
- 2. Berkshire Pigs
- 1. Pygmy Goats
20. Orpington Ducks
This breed is believed to have been developed back in the early 1900s in an area known as Orpington from Kent, which is where it gets its name from too.
These ducks are especially friendly and easy-going, and what’s best about them is that they are dual-purpose birds that will yearn you a pretty large production of both eggs and meat.
They can produce as many as 150 to 220 eggs every year too and they can get as heavy as 6 to 7lbs or around 2 to 3kg each.
Quails in general are very adorable and easy to take care of, and not only that but their eggs alone make for a great addition to any diet out there thanks to how much protein they carry.
They also tend to hatch and mature in only around 8 weeks or so, which makes them perfect investments for short-term profits.
They are also very quiet and they won’t make that large of a dent in your wallet considering how cheap they are to get and how little you’ll need to invest in their feed.
Rabbits on the other hand are by far some of the cutest small animals you could adopt on your farm. As such, they are considered to be one of the best options for very small-scale farmers that are looking to expand their business in the following years.
Most rabbits can produce around 3 to 4 pounds or 1 to 2kg of meat each, and what’s best about it is that they can reach that size as early as 8 to 10 weeks in.
They also reproduce like crazy, so you won’t need to invest all that heavily in their numbers before you’ll have farm full of cute hopping buddies.
17. Honey Bees
Honey bees may be a bit scary to take care of first, and we do understand that they are not for everyone since they can never be truly tamed.
But, if you do love honey and you’d like the idea of making a profit out of taking care of them then we don’t see why you shouldn’t opt for a good old fashioned honey farm.
The honey is great and all, but what makes them an even better addition to your farm is the fact that they make for great pollinators at that too, so there’s pretty much no real downside to raising bees, except for the occasional sting of course.
Fish may not be your first choice when starting our your new small-scale farm, but trust us when we tell you that they’re definitely worth the investment.
That’s because they are very easy to take care of, they can grow to a fairly large size and what’s best about them is that they can also live amongst your other farmhouse animals with ease.
You can keep ducks right next to them for example and they can swim around in their pond every now and then to cool off which works in both of their favor.
Plus, there are quite a handful of different types of fish for you to go for, so choose the best one for you while taking into consideration your climate, your budget and of course, we can’t forget about your personal bias too.
15. Herding Dogs
Many people believe that the only reason as to why you should invest in a dog for your farm is security, as they think that that’s the only real reason to have a dog in the first place.
They are sadly mistaken however, as dogs can also serve a very important role on a small farm, they can use their herding instincts to keep all of your other livestock in line.
Border Collies are especially great when it comes to herding the animals, as they are very comfortable with being on field for many hours at a time and they’re very easy to train.
They also make for great companion dogs and as such if you ever want to add a new friend to the farmhouse that works solely for treats and pets, you can’t go wrong with a herding dog.
14. Guardian Dogs
While on the subject of dogs though, we can’t ignore the fact that guardian dogs are really worth every penny, because let’s be honest here, they are.
Livestock Guardian dogs, or LGDs for short, are by far the most important component to keeping your farm working.
What’s best about them is that most guardian dogs are gentle giants that are very loyal and friendly to the people that frequently visit the farm.
But at the same time, if push comes to shove and someone suspicious makes their way onto the farm or better yet, a predator somehow manages to spring up on your livestock, your gentle giants will take care of them.
We always recommend that you invest in several guardian dogs too, as only one will not be able to do much against a pack of starving coyotes.
As far as your best picks are concerned, we have got to give it to the Great Pyrenees, the Anatolian Shepherds and better yet, the Maremmas, as they are by far some of the best guardian dog breeds out there.
13. Narragansett Turkeys
Yet another great American breed for you to opt for, the Narragansett turkeys are known for being some of the most beautiful and proficient small animals you could go for on your farm.
This breed is known for its meat, with most of the adult turkeys getting to be anywhere between 14 and 23 pounds each, or 6 and 10 kg each.
But that’s not all that the Narragansett turkey breed is known for, as they are also proficient egg layers too.
Investing in such a good breed is a no brainer, as Narragansett turkeys are unanimously referred to as one of the quickest ways to make a profit as a farmer these days.
12. Orpington Chickens
This dual-purpose breed of chicken is another fan favorite option that you shouldn’t miss out on if you want the best of both worlds.
They were originally developed back in the late 1800s, and yet they are still at the top of the food chain even to this day which should be a really good indicator as to why they are so worth investing into.
Orpington chickens also grow very quickly, being capable of reaching a total weight of anywhere between 7 and 8 pounds each as early as 5 months in.
On top of that they are very proficient egg layers, and they make for a very good option for beginner farmers as they don’t need all that much help to yearn a pretty large profit.
11. Bourbon Red Turkeys
The Bourbon Red breed is a cross between the Buff, the White and the Bronze Holland Breeds. Its name comes from the Bourbon County, Ky, where it originates from.
It can easily by identified by its brown to dark-red plumage as well as thanks to its white flight and tail feathers which immediately stand out.
Bourbon Red turkeys are amazing foragers, being capable of making the most out of small pastures with ease.
They are also fairly large birds, being capable of reaching sizes of up to 14 to 23 pounds or 6 to 10kg each.
Their meat is especially delicious too, and the eggs they lay are known for being very fatty and protein-packed too.
10. Welsummer Chickens
Welsummer chickens are easily one of the best options for you if you have very limited space to store your farm animals in.
That’s because Welsummer chickens are very small, with most of them weighing in at less than 6 pounds or 3kg each.
They originate from Holland are they’re world renowned for just how docile and easy to train they are. This alongside the fact that they are so hardy to begin with makes them the perfect choice for most small-scale farmers.
9. Large Black Pigs
As you can probably tell by now from its name alone, this breed is known for its size and coloring, which makes it a very sought-after pig breed for meat.
On top of that, this breed is also known for having a set of lopped ears that flop forward, which in themselves makes them resemble the appearance of blinders.
They used to be extremely popular back in the early 1900s, but sadly because of how many other pig breeds made their way on the market, the public lost interest in raising them.
Most Large Black Pigs weigh in at around 650 to 750 pounds each, which is around 300 to 340kg for our European readers.
8. Nigerian Dwarf Goats
Nigerian Dwarf goats are known as being the smaller version of the typical dairy-goat breeds you’ll find on the American market.
They originate from West Africa though and they are exponentially smaller than most other breeds, standing at a whopping 17 to 20inches or 43 to 50cm each and weighing in at a total of about 75 pounds or around 35kg each.
It is known as an exceptionally gentle breed that has also been kept a lot of the times as a pet by the locals.
Most Nigerian Dwarf goats also make for great milking goats, being capable of producing a fairly large amount of milk despite being so small in the first place.
Their milk is also worth mentioning here as it does have a much higher percentage of butterfat than most other dairy-goat breeds.
7. Tamworth Pigs
The Tamworth pig breed is known for being one of the best foraging breed in the world right now, although they do tend to need a little more space to root and wallow in.
So, while they are not all that great of an option for super small-scale farms, they can still be used in small to medium sized farms if you can afford to take care of them.
They used to be known as one of the best “bacon breeds” in the world thanks to their slow growth and lean meat, but over the next couple of years they more so became a universal option for farmers out there.
Most Tamworth pigs can weigh in at around 500 to 600lbs or 225 to 270kg each, so by the time you’re done raising them you’ll definitely make your money back and then some.
The sows are also known for being an excellent investment thanks to how large their litters can be, and they also make for some amazing mothers that are great at raising and taking care of their piglets.
6. Miniature Cheviot Sheep
Being a smaller version of the classic American Cheviot sheep breed, the Minis are known for measuring up to just around 23 inches or 60cm each, with most mature ewes getting as heavy as 45 to 85 pounds each or 20 to 40kg in total.
Rams on the other hand can easily get as heavy as 100 pounds or 45kg each, making them a great investment if you want a smaller yet still very hefty farm animal to invest into.
The Miniature Cheviot sheep breed is also known as one of the hardiest breeds in the UK right now, being capable of surviving most if not all of its climates with ease.
They are usually raised for their fleece though, so if you want to get your hands on high-quality white, black, tan or even painted fleece, you can’t go wrong with the Miniature Cheviot sheep breed.
5. Jacob Sheep
The Jacob Sheep breed originally made its way on the English market back in the 1600s, before they were inevitably imported to North America around three centuries later.
There they almost immediately made a name for themselves as being one of the hardiest and most sought-after sheep breeds your money could get you.
But what exactly makes them so great to begin with? Well, most ewes weigh in at around 80 to 120 pounds each, or 35 to 55kg in total.
Most rams on the other hand weigh as much as 180 pounds each, which is around 80kg in total, which right off the bat makes this a very proficient meat breed to opt for.
Their overall docility makes this breed one of the best options you could go for as a novice farmer, and if you are primarily looking for fiber, you’ll be more than happy with it too.
4. Babydoll Southdown Sheep
Also commonly referred to as the “Impish creature” by many, the Babydoll Southdown sheep breed is known for its adorable appearance and calm and friendly demeanor.
These hornless sheep originate from England around the 1800s and they are known for being some of the best mothers out there.
This is because most ewes can easily produce large litters, and not only that but they are also fairly large sized creatures that will more than earn their keep when their time comes.
Because of how friendly and cute they are, Babydoll Southdown sheep are also commonly used as pets by a lot of people too.
3. Miniature Cattle
While a full herd of miniature Holsteins may not be the best option for you to go for if you have a large-sized farm, they make for the perfect addition to any small farm out there.
What’s best about mini cows is that there are so many different breeds for you to go for from this lineup, including miniature Dexters, Jerseys, Herefords and even Lowlines for that matter.
Most of them will weigh in at less than 1,000 pounds or 450kg each and they’ll give you more milk than you can carry despite their fairly small size. Most adult bulls will also be as tall as 38 to 44 inches too, or 96 to 111cm for our European readers.
2. Berkshire Pigs
Berkshire pigs are believed to originate from England around the 1800s, although it is hard to actually pinpoint when they were officially developed, as the American Berkshire Association was barely formed around 1875.
Regardless, this was actually the first swine registry and breeding group to have been created in the whole wide world, which in itself makes this a very important breed to keep notes on.
But even if you don’t care about the history lesson, you should be happy to hear that most Berkshire pigs can get as heavy as 600 pounds or 270kg each, and they tend to mature fairly quickly too, making them a great option for farmers that want a quick profit living on their farm.
1. Pygmy Goats
The Pygmy goat breed needs no introduction, as it is by far one of the most famous goat breeds in the world.
What makes them special is their size though, as they only really get as tall as 16 to 23 inches or 40 to 60cm each.
They are very friendly and easy to train and on top of that they are very proficient breeders, with their first breeding usually taking place between 12 and 18 months and them being capable of bearing one to four babies every year or so.
Your farm may be small in scale, but that doesn’t mean that you should limit yourself to only one breed of chickens or cows.
Make sure to experiment with your livestock, adding more and more breeds to the mix while also keeping in mind the overall small size of your farm.
Before long your profits might be going through the roof and you will start to invest in larger and larger pastures to keep your livestock happy, and as long as you opt for these breeds right here, your odds of making it in the industry have pretty much tripled overnight.