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Urban Farm Magazine

Pig, Chicken and Cow Livestock Animals
livestock breed information


The mere mention of hobby farming brings to mind barns full of horses and pastures dense with chickens and cattle. While the idea of raising livestock on your farm sounds ideal, it will require a lot of know-how, and here you’ll find the information needed to get started.

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Husbandry

Husbandry

Raising livestock can be one of the most rewarding things you will ever do on your hobby farm, but we won’t deny it’s a difficult endeavor to pursue. Whether you’re starting out with a few backyard chickens or keeping a menagerie of cows, pigs, sheep and goats, equip yourself with the knowledge needed to keep your animals healthy and productive. In this section, you’ll find articles related to livestock nutrition, diseases, housing, behavior and other forms of care. Read more »

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Alpacas and Llamas

Alpacas/Llamas

As members of the camelid family, alpacas and llamas are endearing livestock to keep on your hobby farm. With their long necks and luxurious fur, these interesting animals serve a multitude of farm purposes, from guarding livestock, producing fleece and serving as pack animals. Also consider taking them to shows or training them as therapy animals. Read more »

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Cattle

Cattle

A quintessential farm livestock species, the cow appeals to hobby farmers with both its allure and utility. Traditional cattle breeds, like Angus, Brown Swiss or Holstein, have provided America with beef and dairy products for generations. Rare breeds, like the small-statured Dexter and the ancient Pineywoods, add interest to the farm landscape in addition to being excellent providers of meat, dairy and even pelts, and each comes with a fascinating ancestry. Read more »

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Equine

As tried-and-true farm workers, equine livestock are synonymous with the hobby-farm way of life. Horses, donkeys and mules, whether used for riding, show or work purposes, can add a touch of history and beauty to your farm menagerie.

Donkeys

Donkeys

Choose a Miniature donkey for its companionship or opt for the American Mammoth Jackstock donkey to handle more labor-intensive farm work. No matter which breed of donkey you choose, this livestock species will add interest and value to your equine barn. Read more »
Horses

Horses

When selecting a horse, decide on its purpose. If you're after a riding horse, consider a Tennessee Walking horse, but if want draft horses, consider a Belgian horse. You can also use horses to maintain productive pastures through grazing and manure as guardian animals, or as companions for yourself or other farm animals. Read more »
Mules

Mules

A mule is a cross between a donkey and a horse (usually a male donkey to a mare). Developed for farm use as a packing, riding and driving animal, they’re dependable and can be trained to do almost anything a horse might do, from draft work to trail riding. Read more »
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Goats

Goats

Hobby farmers love keeping these intelligent and mischievous ruminants. Goats, ranging in size from dwarf breeds to larger meat breeds, provide farms and smaller homesteading operations with meat and dairy products without a lot of the overhead like with keeping cattle. As livestock, goats are pickier eaters than how they’re usually stereotyped, but they’re generally fun to keep. Try raising rare breeds, like San Clemente goats or Spanish goats, or find another breed that works for your farm. Read more »

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Pigs

Pigs

Out of all the livestock available for the hobby farm, pigs tend to get a bad rap. The stereotype of pigs being dirty, disease-prone animals just aren’t true. In fact, when raised in a stress-free environment, they can be one of the cleanest and easiest livestock to raise. Keeping pigs can also help you redirect kitchen scraps from the landfill with their hefty appetites. Read more »

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Poultry

Whether you’re new to hobby farming or looking to grow your agriculture operation, poultry are must-have livestock that offer a lot to your farm and are fairly easy to keep, too.

Chicken

Chickens

Chickens work hard for your farm. Depending on the breed, they can bring you delicious meats, tasty eggs or both. Even kept simply as pets, they add bucolic charm to you farm like no other livestock species can. Many chicken keepers start their flocks with popular breeds, like Plymouth Rocks, while others use their land to protect threatened heritage breeds, like Buckeyes or Dominiques. Read more »
Duck

Ducks

Much like chickens, ducks can be raised for meat or eggs, but you can also use them around the farm to eat unwanted bugs. Whether you choose the exotic-looking Muscovy duck or the pristine Pekin duck, you’ll find this species is fun to have around and will add endless enjoyment to your farm. Read more »
Geese

Geese

This poultry species is easy to keep and will earn its keep on your hobby farm. Geese not only offer tangible farm products, like meat, eggs and down feathers, they serve your farm in a multitude of ways. Keep them on pasture to trim back weeds with their hungry appetites or to announce farm predators with their loud honks. Choose from Africans, Embdens or other goose breeds. Read more »
Turkey

Turkeys

Think beyond Thanksgiving when considering adding turkeys to your hobby farm. This poultry species, from the striking Slate turkey to the prolific Narragansett turkey, originates in North America and can offer your farm a heritage touch. Read more »
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Sheep

Sheep

If you’re fanatic about fiber, sheep are the livestock species for your hobby farm. While sheep produce millions of pounds of wool for American spinners, don’t overlook their meat and dairy abilities. If their woolly coat is too difficult to manage, you can opt for a hair-sheep breed that is more resistant to problems, like foot rot and parasites, and doesn’t require regular shearing. Learn more about the variety of sheep available to your hobby farm. Read more »

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Information on over 200 horse breeds