After almost three years of living this homesteading lifestyle, I have learned a valuable lesson;  start small, and dream big.

I have a very bad habit of aquiring animals that I think suit our purposes, before I have their buildings/stalls/fencing/enclosures finished.  I am now in the position of having to sell half of our stock, because I do not have the pastures available to them to forage.  That means that every bit of what they eat has to be purchased, which just isn't practical.  In addition, there does not seem to be much of a market in our area for sheep, which makes it nearly impossible to recoup any money spent feeding them through the year.

The main lessons?  Know your market, know your own strengths and weaknesses, and concentrate your efforts on one or two species.  I am grateful for this experience, and know now that I am simply not the kind of person who can keep a menagerie and still break even, let alone make a profit.  I know some who do, and I applaud them.  But for us, scaling back and rethinking our business plan is our plan of action.  And I will no longer bring any animal to the farm without having the space available for them.

Learning this lifestyle is certainly an ongoing project.  But it is absolutely one that is full of lessons worth learning.

 


Comments

southrengirl
04/23/2013 11:21pm

I know where you are coming from. I bought two hogs one male and one female. I was so excited. I thought I would have some little piglets to sell.That would cover the cost that I had invested in them. I thought when my hogs got bigger I could have them butchered. Well I feel in love with them They became my pets so their was no way I would ever eat them. I am the same way with my chickens. Anyway my hogs never breed. Someone suggested that the might have been brother and sister. Who knew? After spending about 1,000.00 dollars on feed and building a fence for them,(in a years time) I sold them real cheep! I am a farmer wantabe.

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Tina
04/24/2013 8:52am

Yes, it is especially difficult for us, because my husband refuses to butcher and/or eat any livestock that we can't sell. There has been interest in everything we are selling, except the adult sheep. I don't know what we will do if no one wants them. We might be reduced to giving them away, and taking the loss.

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Boonie Adjacent
04/24/2013 6:16am

"Learning this lifestyle is certainly an ongoing project. But it is absolutely one that is full of lessons worth learning."

Well said.

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Carol Wheeler
04/28/2013 12:01pm

I so wish you were closer to me ... I'm looking for a local source for pasture-fed lamb. I do understand and appreciate the lessons you are sharing.

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