4 of the Best Animals to Start out with when you are a new Homesteader


When you are just starting out on your homestead it’s easy to want to jump in with both feet and get a whole whack load of animals.  However, it can be wiser to start out slower.  Today I’m going to talk about why, and what animals are great to start out with on your homestead.

homestead animals for the beginner


When you start homesteading you dream of looking out of your window and seeing animals.  The more the better.  But when you are new to homesteading there’s quite a learning curve and if you get to many animals at once you can easily feel overwhelmed and throw the towel in.

By going slow and adding animals a little at a time you can learn about what each animal requires for care without feeling like you’ve bitten off more than you can chew.

It also gives you time to figure out what animals you want on your homestead and what you prefer not to have.  And you know what?  I think that’s okay and part of the homesteading journey.  It’s easy to look on Instagram or Facebook and see these homesteaders who seem to be rocking it with their massive pinterest perfect gardens and fields of homestead animals.

But you know what?  Every homesteader is different and what works for them won’t necessarily work for you and your family.  And that’s okay.  Homesteading has many different layers and it really is living a life of self-sufficiency.  You can work towards some self-sufficiency no matter where you live and you don’t have to do it all.

For us we’ve discovered we enjoy the shorter term projects in the way of animals, meaning we prefer raising animals for meat only part of the year.  We have had the laying hens for 3 years, but aside from that we’ve had no year round animals here.

We did goats last summer for milk and discovered it wasn’t a good fit for our family. At first I felt like a failure, like I HAD to love every animal experience at our homestead to be a true homesteader, but then I realized that I was really glad we had tried the goats – that it hadn’t been a mistake and that it was a learning experience for us.

This year we raised a pig, lambs, and chickens for meat.  It was definitely a better fit for our family.

But, I’m still not tied to any one plan for our homestead and I’m totally okay with changing it year by year.  We are already talking about maybe doing a bit of travelling next summer to see the mountains, and we know if we choose to do that it means we really have to limit what we are doing animal-wise for that time.

I truly believe for everything there is a season.  And again, that looks different for everyone.

But- back to the real reason of this post – what animals are the best animals to start out with when you are new to homesteading.




Chickens are like, the ultimate beginner animal on a homestead.  When we moved into country property here in August 3 years ago we got our first batch of chicks a month later.  We didn’t even have the coop completely ready!  But there’s something about a bunch of chicks brooding in your house that makes you to finish a project pretty quickly.

Chickens are very easy to care for and so the learning curve is pretty small.  We didn’t get a rooster for the first time around and that made it even easier.  If you want to know more about raising chickens check out these posts here and here.



Ducks are another animal that are pretty easy to care for.  The major difference between ducks and chickens is that you need to make sure you have a water source for ducks.  However, you don’t need a pond to keep them happy.  You can use a kiddie pool.   they can lay eggs for you or you can raise them for meat.



Rabbits are a good one to have if you are in town and want to homestead but can’t get bigger animals.  They don’t require a lot of space and often rabbits fall under the category of pets and so it doesn’t matter where you live, there’s a good chance you can raise them.  Some people raise rabbits for meat and others breed them and sell the babies.



Now, as I said above, goats weren’t a great choice for our family, but I know many other people who are very happy with their goats.  Honestly, that’s why we tried goats.  We knew so many people who had them we figured it would be good for us.

Goats require a little more than the other animals listed here, but are a good “bigger” animal to start out with.  The biggest thing you need to worry about is quality fencing.  Goats are notorious for getting out of their fences if it isn’t good enough so you’ll want to make sure you don’t skimp out on this part.


After you’ve had your “beginner” animals for a little while you will probably become a little more eager to bring some new ones to your homestead.

Other animals to consider for your next addition to your home may be sheep or pigs.  Pigs require good fencing, whether you use electric or something else but aside from that I found raising a pig fairly easy.  They are actually quite fascinating to watch too as they are super smart animals and seem to like people.

Sheep are another one you want decent fencing for, but they aren’t that much different from raising goats.  Sheep tend to run from humans instead of to humans whereas goats tend to enjoy human company.  However, our sheep were bottle fed so they are pretty happy to see us enter the pen – mostly because they want us to feed them.


Of course, you may be ready for something bigger and looking to add cows and horses to your homestead.  While we’ve never had those animals on our homestead, mostly due to cost and because we only have 2 acres here, many other people with the space and finances to branch out to these bigger animals are extremely happy with their presence on their homestead.

Before you bring home your cow or horse though, I would suggest you do as much research as possible and have your fencing and shelter for them in place.  I’ve read many stories about how people didn’t have a place to put them before they brought them home and it caused a lot of stress and headaches.  So start preparing BEFORE you add them to your homestead family.

Is there any animals you’ve wanted to try out on your homestead but have been too nervous to make the jump? This list definitely isn’t exhaustive as many people add other animals like alpacas, llamas, miniature ponies, and so much more.  I even came across a homesteader on Youtube who recently added camels to their homestead!  What animal will you add to your homestead next?


4 thoughts on “4 of the Best Animals to Start out with when you are a new Homesteader”

  1. We started with meat birds during our first spring homesteading, progressed to egg layers later that summer, this last year we added a rooster now that our layers are 18 months and next spring we hope to add meat goats and have our first set of chick’s. I would love to eventually have a cow but we only have 5 acres and my husband isn’t ready, took him forever to warm up to the idea of goats

  2. I have laying hens for about a year now. Am expecting a batch of Indian rubber ducks this month and just completed a beekeeping course this month. I will receive my nuc in May and will start my own hive! So exciting.

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