Chickens, cows and goats are strong choices for producing food and generating income. They’re hearty and can be self-sufficient if you’ve got enough land. We’re also able to create sustainable solutions where each type of animal assists in building up the farm. Cow and goat poop can be turned into fly larva factories, giving chickens an abundant source of free fat grubs, which leads to healthier chickens and more eggs and controls the fly population. Cows eat banana tree cuttings, maize stubs and other crop remnants, while goats keep the hedges and lawn trimmed so we can more easily see if a marauder gets into the yard. We currently have 2 cows, 93 chickens and no goats at the homestead.
We’ve got five specific animal husbandry projects right now:
- Cow Insemination – Cows don’t start producing milk until they’ve calved. Having a second cow producing milk will double the income from milk sales. Our last insemination attempt was unsuccessful. $105 will pay to have the vet come and give it another go.
- Expand the chicken grazing area. Due to the location of the chicken shed and the shaded sitting area in the front yard, the only direction we could go to expand the existing area would create a very narrow path for the farm truck to drive through to the back door. Instead, we’re opting to securely fence the entire homestead and turn the entire yard into free-range pasture. This makes it possible to wean the chickens off their feed and increase the egg-laying operation in a way that we can more readily break even and start turning a profit. More eggs = more revenue and more home-grown food. $855
- Purchase 100 new egg-laying ready grown chickens. We’ll do this over time, implementing rotating chicken purchases based off the egg sales, so the chicken operation will be self-sustaining and profitable. $1200
- Milking crush for cows. A milking shed or “crush” is a structure where cows can comfortably be milked, for safety and increased production. This way, a single person can milk the cow with both hands, or with a portable milking machine. This reduces the possibility of accidental spillage or contamination, thereby reducing food scarcity and lack of income. The use of a portable milking machine will also increase sanitation and milk production. ($300 for shed, $104 for milking machine).