Backyard Poultry

Five Reasons You Need (More) Backyard Animals

Starting a Flock : Hobby Farming

Patrick Biggs, Ph.D.

Nutritionist, Companion Animal Technical Solutions

Are you considering adding more animals to your hobby farm? From chickens to goats, cattle to horses, there’s no shortage of animals you could bring home. Here are five reasons to expand your hobby farm.

1. Farm fresh food

If you started your backyard farm with chickens or ducks for the benefit of eggs, you’re not alone. Just-from-the-coop eggs have an undeniable freshness and are a great source of protein. Goats or cows are excellent animals for a farm fresh milk source. If you get ambitious, you can also make your own cheese to add to your harvest basket. Many animals can also provide fresh meat sources for your family and those in your community.

2. Self-sustainable living

Gardening can be an easy way to start living a more self-sustainable lifestyle. Once you’ve mastered plants and vegetables, you might be ready to move toward producing more of your own food using backyard animals. In addition to a supply of fresh eggs, milk and meat, living from the land can be a way to get back to the basics, connect with your food and add one less item to your grocery list.
Not only are you helping reduce your carbon footprint by raising your own backyard farm animals, but composting manure and other waste can create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Chickens are also great for natural pest and weed control. Just make sure to fence your garden for areas where your valuable plants may be considered a tasty treat for your chickens.

3. Family farm activities and bonding 

Raising backyard animals presents many great learning opportunities for kids and adults alike. It’s a chance to teach the next generation where their food comes from, the importance of caring for animals and a way to bring everyone together through shared responsibility.
Let your kids take things a step further and have them learn to show farm animals at the county fair. Showing animals can provide a sense of ownership and responsibility to children of all ages while becoming a fun family activity. 
Whether it’s cleaning out the stalls, collecting eggs, feeding time for everyone on the farm or simply giving a little love to each animal, sharing this time quickly brings the family together. Everyone sees their hard work paying off and it provides an investment in self-sustainable living.    

4. Emotional support 

Backyard animals are more than just a way to live a self-sustainable lifestyle. They can also become our pets and beloved animals. Adding to your backyard farm might mean you’ll find yourself watching chicken TV, enjoying the views of your cattle out on pasture or taking your horses for a trail ride to clear your head. Our animals provide emotional support on those hard days, or a way to relax after a long day at work. There’s nothing a horse nuzzle, chicken lounging on our lap, goat hug or hand lick from a calf can’t fix.

5. Beyond the backyard 

Caring for and raising animals extends beyond your own backyard. It’s an opportunity to connect with and build strong relationships within your community. You can share your farm fresh eggs, milk and meat with neighbors, make a harvest basket for your family or trade gardening tips with other backyard farmers. You can even give farm tours and share your experience with others who are considering dipping their toes into the fun (and hard work) of raising and caring for backyard animals.
Whether you’re a seasoned homesteader, or just getting started with adding more animals to your backyard, there are numerous benefits for both you and your family. We’re here to support your journey to enjoying the many rewards raising animals has to offer.  
Are you ready to start or expand your hobby farm? Find the right nutrition and get feed coupons for each animal with our Feed Greatness® Challenge.