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20 Types of Farm Animals

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If you’re tired of living in big cities and the urban life has started to wear you down, chances are, the thought of moving to suburban areas or small towns has crossed your mind more than once.

Or maybe you’ve had enough with the corporate, 9-5 lifestyle and wonder if you’ve saved enough money to buy your own farm and have a small farming business? To be honest, that’s not an unrealistic goal.

You can have a smaller operation where you raise crops and farm animals as your family’s organic food source. Or you can do both on a larger scale for selling to food producers if you have large capital and venture into agribusiness.

Speaking of farm animals, there are many types of animals that you can raise on your land. Each animal has unique qualities and specialties that make them worth raising.

These may include heavy farming work, dairy supply, eggs, and meat production, or even for keeping as breeding stock and pets. Having said that, let’s jump right into all of them and discover which animal fits your needs.

1. Chickens

Free range chickens outdoors in early morning light on an organic farm.

If you ask for opinions from any experienced farmer, chances are, they will suggest raising chickens as a starter.

Chickens are one of the most popular and easiest poultries that can be raised and bred anywhere. You can start with just one chicken or a few to experiment with some breeds you prefer.

You can raise popular chicken breeds: Orpington, New Hampshire Red, Brahma, Leghorn, Cochin, Old English Game, Wyandotte, and many more.

Most of these chickens will need a simple coop for shelter, a feeder, a water container, and ample space to roam and graze for insects or worms.

Bear in mind that not all breeds can be raised for the same purpose.

Some chicken breeds are suitable for meat production, while others are prolific layers that can produce many eggs per month.

Some farmers also raise smaller breeds as pets and show birds.

2. Ducks

Family of indo ducks on farm nature

Similar to chickens, ducks are one of the most common poultries that can be raised both for their eggs and meat.

If you’re looking for meat ducks, go with bigger breeds that could yield a large amount of meat, such as Muscovy, Jumbo Pekin, Aylesbury, Black, and Blue Swedish.

But if you want the best of both, a dual-purpose breed is what you should aim for, such as Saxony, Cayuga, Buff Orpington, Silver Appleyard, Magpie, and others.

To successfully raise ducks on the farm, your ducks should have all their basic needs met to grow and prosper.

These include housing or shelter, feeder, water container, ample space for them to roam, and fences or wire mesh grills to protect these birds from predators.

Some duck breeds also love to swim and spend part of their days on the water. This is where they waterproof their feathers for the purpose of buoyancy, especially when they swim across the water’s surface. A small kiddie pool or artificial pond should come in handy.

3. Geese

Geeze grazing in green summer grassland in countryside farmland

Although raising geese isn’t as popular as raising chickens or ducks, these birds can also provide meat and eggs. In fact, they can live up to 20 years, which is much longer than other common poultry.

Geese breeds vary in size, and some of the most popular include Toulouse, American Buff, African, Roman Tufted, White Chinese, Embden, Pilgrim, and many more.

Like chickens and ducks, geese also need a livable coop, a complete feeding and watering system, healthy and clean feed, and ample space to roam and graze.

Another interesting fact about geese is that they can be quite territorial and protective of their private space. Sometimes, they can be aggressive with strangers and other animals around them. But you can use this to your advantage and let them roam freely to guard your farm.

4. Emus

Emus on a farm walking around inside wire fence

Emus are much bigger and are one of the exotic birds you can raise on your farm. Breeding, raising, and handling these large birds require a lot of effort and attention. It is different from poultry farming.

Emus can reach up to 6 feet tall and weigh as much as 150 pounds. For that reason, they won’t fit in a small bird coop and will need a simple roofed shelter or shed with walls.

Emus eat a lot and require healthy feed that is rich in nutrients, especially protein. They will also need small stones that help digest and grind everything they consume in their stomach.

On your farm, emus will spend most of their time outdoors and roam within the safe space they are given. Maintaining and keeping their environment clean is essential to worm and parasite infestations. Though they cannot fly, it would help if you use higher fences to prevent these birds from jumping out and escaping.

5. Quails

Herd of quails in a cage on a farm

If you think smaller poultry, such as chickens or ducks, are too common, you can go for quails. Quails are great sources of meat and eggs.

They are much smaller and can lay eggs from 2 months old. However, due to their size, you will have to raise a large flock to yield a significant amount of meat.

Unlike other poultries, quails don’t require ample living space. They also don’t make annoying noises like chickens and can’t run or fly high enough to escape if they sense danger. So, keeping their coop safe and free from predators is advisable.

Raising quails would be a good start for people who can’t take significant financial risks or don’t have enough starting capital. They are much cheaper to purchase and easy to handle.

6. Turkeys

Turkey on a farm

Aside from the festive seasons, turkeys are another great source of meat that can be consumed on a daily basis.

You can raise many types of turkeys for profit, and personal consumption, including the Royal Palm, Beltsville Small White, Blue Slate, Broad-breasted white, White Holland, Narragansett, and many more.

Because their body size is much bigger than chickens and ducks, you can serve your whole family with just one turkey at a time.

However, if you’re looking to venture into turkey meat production, you will need to set up a complete environment for this bird.

Like other poultry, turkeys need a large enough coop or shelter, brooding station, feeder, water container, and fences to avoid predator attacks. Feed them with high-protein pellets or feed and provide sizeable space for these birds to rest.

7. Ostriches

Big ostriches at farm field behind a wooden fence

Ostriches are considered exotic birds. But this doesn’t mean that you can’t raise them on your farm. Being the largest birds in the world, mature ostriches can reach up to 9 feet tall and weigh as heavy as 350 pounds. Due to this reason, you can’t keep these birds in a coop or small shed.

Instead, you need to have ample space for them to roam and graze freely, in terms of acreage. Then, build a pen and consider fencing the perimeter with sturdy materials. Although ostriches will spend most of their time outside, they will need a shelter or roofed structure, especially during the cold and rainy seasons.

There are also two options when starting an ostrich farm. You can either purchase mature, live ostriches, or buy unhatched eggs and brood them on your own.

The former option is more suitable for people with large capital that don’t have the time or energy to care for the eggs.

8. Rabbits

cute rabbit is eating from the wooden bowl at the pet farm

Rabbits could make great family pets or raised for their meats. These small mammals can be kept in small cages or a complete housing system such as barns and confined shelters.

You should provide their basic needs, such as feed and pellets, clean water, nesting boxes, and a hygienic environment.

Depending on your preference, there are many breeds that you can choose including California, Netherland Dwarf, Harlequin, Holland Lop, Blanc de Hotot, Flemish Giant, Dutch rabbits, and so on.

The bigger their body size, the heavier the amount of meat that they will produce. However, bigger breeds take longer to mature compared to smaller ones.

9. Guinea pigs

guinea pigs in farm

As adorable as they could be, did you know that guinea pigs can also be raised for meat? If you intend to keep them as pets, you might not need to have a large group of these rodents on your farm.

But if you want to profit from them, you should set up a manageable system to handle these small animals.

Depending on the number of guinea pigs you’re about to keep, you can build simple housing, hutches, or a pen system.

Similar to rabbits, they are herbivores that feed on grass hay, leafy vegetables, and common feeds that can be purchased at your local pet stores.

Some of the famous guinea pig breeds are the American, Abyssinian, Peruvian, Texel, Skinny, Rex, American Satin, Sheba, and many more.

10. Cats

Tabby Car on a farm field during sunny day

Cats are definitely one of the most versatile animals that can be raised anywhere. Having them on your farm would add colors to your surrounding and animal collection.

Most farm or barn cats are equipped to live outdoors or in a simple shelter. You can purchase kittens or bring home any cats from the animal shelter nearby.

One thing to note is that kittens are easier to bond with and handle than full-grown felines. They also don’t eat as much as adult cats.

However, they require a lot of attention and care, especially when they get sick. If you’re keen on choosing your breed, avoid exotic and high-maintenance cats. Don’t forget to neuter and vaccinate these animals to avoid any health issues down the road.

Although cats are considered independent animals, they might not behave the same when trying to adapt to a new environment. Always ensure they’re being fed with protein-rich feed and keep their water fresh and clean.

11. Dogs

Little boy playing guitar to the dog shepherd on the farm

Aside from being a human’s loyal companion, dogs can be raised on the farm to protect your property or assist farmers in doing heavy work. If you’re raising sheep, goats, or cows, that’s another reason to have this animal around.

Unfortunately, not every breed is equipped to do the dirty work and be outside most of the time. To keep and train dogs on the farm, you must keep all the small, fancy, and expensive breeds out of your list.

Instead, choose a medium to large-sized breed that is energetic and protective enough to control and guard your livestock, such as English Shepherd, Anatolian Shepherd, Border Collies, Great Pyrenees, and many more.

It might take a lot of time and energy to train these canines. But once they know what to do and can act on command, you can be sure they will be the biggest help you could ever have!

12. Cattle

Herd of cattles on the farm field

Cattle are one of the most common and profitable animals that you can raise on your farm.

These animals are usually raised for their meat and dairy production. However, raising a large herd of cattle can be pretty expensive. Depending on the breed, size, and weight, one single cow could be priced between $2,200 and $5,300.

If you’re considering raising cattle for their meat, you should go for large and heavy breeds such as Red Angus, Holstein, Limousin, Black Angus, Hereford, Simmental, and Texas Longhorn.

But if you want to keep them for their milk, you can raise great milk producers such as Brown Swiss, Ayshire, Milking Shorthorn, Red and Brown Holstein, and Guernsey.

13. Goats

big herd of goats on the farm

Goats are another type of livestock that can be raised for meat and milk. There are many breeds of meat goats, including Pygmy, Kalahari Red, Damascus, Savannah, Kiko, Tennesse Fainting, Boer, Anglo-Nubian, and many more.

Some breeds are better at milk production, including Sable, Nubian, Oberhasli, Toggenburg, Nigerian Dwarf, Saanen, and LaMancha.

It is better to buy at least two or three goats from the same breed when purchasing goats. This is because some breeds don’t mingle well with other breeds.

Other basic needs that you should provide are shelter, food such as hay, grasses, legume, grain feed, mineral blocks, and clean water. It would help if you also got a certified veterinarian to do medical check-ups on your goats and have them vaccinated.

14. Pigs

pigs on the farm

Pigs are raised primarily for their meat. You can either breed and raise them for your consumption or have a large-scale swine farming business that could yield up to $400 per pig.

However, this also depends on the breed and the pigs’ weight. If you have a small farm, consider raising heritage breeds that are easier to handle.

You can choose to have many types of pig breeds on your farm, including Large Black pigs, Hampshire, Tamworth, American Yorkshire, Berkshire, Gloucester Old Spot, Duroc, and many more.

Aside from the costs of building their shelter and waste management, you should also be prepared to fork out an extra amount of money for their food.

Pigs eat a lot and depending on their age and the herd size; they might need a different amount of food per day.

15. Horses

horses on the farm

Having horses on your farm can benefit you in many ways. They can be raised as companion animals, family pets, and draft horses. However, not all breeds are equipped to carry heavy loads and endure strenuous activities.

If you want animals working on your farm, always go for athletic, muscular, and strong draught breeds such as Irish Draught, Clydesdale, Friesian, Dutch Draft, Belgian, Percheron, Fjord, Shire, and Suffolk Punch.

Unlike cattle, horses are excellent jumpers and runners. High fences around their fields are essential.

Depending on the number of horses you have, you will have to build a sizeable shelter with a spacious paddock that won’t make your horses feel anxious and overcrowded.

Last but not least, keep the pasture clean and fresh, and do manure management twice a week to maintain the condition of their living environment.

16. Camels

A camel on a farm

Raising camels on your farm is similar to raising horses. These ruminants feed on herbaceous materials and spend most of their time in the sun.

Although they are much larger than other domesticated farm animals, camels rarely experience dehydration and are considered drought-tolerant and adaptable.

However, they will need a large shelter and enough space to roam and graze for food. If you purchase adult camels, they might need some training until they can adapt to their new environment.

Compared to cows and goats, camels can produce milk and meat in massive amounts. It is estimated that a single camel can produce up to 20 liters of milk per day. They can also live much longer, even up to 50 years.

17. Honeybees

Male beekeeper in white suit holding a frame with honeycombs on a bee farm

Starting a bee farm might not look as fashionable as raising poultry, mammals, and livestock. But beekeeping can be quite a profitable endeavor, especially when you can produce various products such as royal jelly, beeswax, and homemade honey.

To ensure bees stay on your farm, you should have flowering plants that produce pollen and nectar.

There are a few types of beehives that you could build or purchase to start your beekeeping activity, including skep beehives, top bar beehives, Langstroth beehives, and Warre beehives.

Make sure you protect yourself by wearing protective gear and clothes when handling bees. Also, the hives should be placed in an area that receives enough sun and shade. Please don’t put them under a roofed structure, inside a barn, or near your house.

18. Lac Insects

Lac insects or bugs are the leading producers of shellac, widely used in varnishes and coating products. These bugs are known as Laccifer lacca and are native to Thailand and India.

Although these bugs aren’t necessarily abundant in the United States, you can still breed and raise them on your farm.

But first, you must plant a specific tree known as a lac trees or Kusum (Schleichera oleosa). The bugs will latch and suck on the tree sap for about six months before producing a resin-like compound that can be processed into shellac. Other host trees, such as Ber, can also attract lac bugs.

Animals such as squirrels and rodents are predators of lac bugs. Hence, you should constantly monitor the presence of these two animals on the host trees.

19. Fish

Tilapia fish in a net against fish farm in the Mekong River

To start breeding fish on your farm, you must first build or at least have a small pond. If you have an unoccupied or abandoned swimming pool, you can also breed fish in it.

But if you think that keeping your fish in a pond requires a lot of maintenance, you can breed them in an aquarium and transfer them to a larger ecosystem when they are fully mature.

Many types of fish can be grown indoors and outdoors, including guppies, pond sturgeons, goldfish, koi carps, red shiners, Siamese algae eaters, pumpkinseed fish, java moss, and many more. But for beginners, it is better to start with smaller breeders and keep them in an aquarium.

When your fish have bred and increased in number, you can start selling them for money at your local fish store. But if you’re thinking of making serious money, you can start by breeding tilapias.

Tilapias are omnivorous fish that can live in a low-maintenance environment. They are easy to handle and possess the ability to thrive in many types of aquatic ecosystems.

20. Shrimp

Raw fresh pacific white shrimp on hand at aquaculture farm site

Shrimp farming is also considered one of the lucrative businesses that you can start on your own. There are two types of shrimp that you can breed, which are freshwater and saltwater shrimp.

Depending on your location, space available, and resources that you can afford to spend, you can either grow them in small tanks or ponds.

Shrimp live in a slightly alkaline environment. The water should also be clean and free from chemicals or pollutants. Shrimp feed on algae, plankton, larvae, and other small organisms within their ecosystem.

However, those organisms rarely exist when you have just started to breed and raise them in a new environment. So, you should provide them with protein-rich pellets until the diversity of their living ecosystem begins to expand.

Final Thoughts

Starting your own farm can be quite a fruitful endeavor if you really know the way. But what’s more important is your will and resourcefulness to make it happen.

You don’t have to start with large animals such as horses or cows. Choose chickens or ducks that are easy to handle and don’t require a lot of attention.

Once you are familiar with everything and have gathered enough information, you can move on to bigger animals and scale your farm profitably.