We have been doing this for a full year now and still do not have everything down just yet but its a work in progress and its a fun one!! so here is my list of top animals for a smaller homestead, we have 12 acres so this list would work for 12 acres and under.
Chickens for eggs and for meat: Chickens are good for about two years, so the first spring you get them it should be that fall you should start getting eggs, you have lots to choose from when it comes to chickens you have your Americana’s, your Rhode islands, your leghorns, the list goes on and on. if you have a rooster you can save some of your eggs and incubate them then you can have a turn over rate, if no rooster then you just eat the eggs wait for the next fall and butcher all your chickens, laying hens are a lot tougher then your broiler chickens, so you have two choices you can harvest the layers and use them for your soup stock or you can just keep them until they all retire . Now broilers you want to buy in the spring and then harvest that fall for the following spring because those are your meat birds and you do not want them to get very old at all. The older the bird the tougher. Chickens take up hardly any space and are really easy to care for. We just let our free range the whole farm and at night they tuck themselves in bed all we do is shut and lock the barn door!
Goats for milk and meat: Now I am really in love with this, this has changed my whole out look on the homestead! If you don’t have alot of space this is where your meat and dairy goats come into play(And my latest adventure) You want to go with the smaller goats, Nigerian dwarfs, pygmy, Fainting goats, and your boer goats. Nigerians dwarfs are a dairy goat a very small and stocky goat, they produce about 3 to 5 cups of milk and unlike the bigger diary goats there milk is sweeter and has a way higher butter fat, same with the pygmy, now with the higher butter fat you get fuller way faster and stay full longer so if you have a family of 4 and you all drink a giant glass of goats milk in the morning you will not be able to eat the rest of the day! Trust me!! so i like the little cups of goats milk its just right for our family. Now fainting goats are a meat goat and they taste wonderful, same with your boer goats, these animals need some space but not a lot as long as you have lots of things for them to chew on and climb on they wont escape (all the time) and are really easy to care for. And a blast to watch!
Pigs: While pigs probably aren’t a great first animal for your homestead, once you are comfortable around livestock, they can be a great addition. Not only will they happily devour all the scraps, along with excess milk and whey from your dairy animals, they will convert it into the most delicious pork you have ever tasted.
Pigs are, however, a little more difficult to control and a bit more intimidating than your typical livestock. With their combination of brains and brawn, they rival goats in terms of escaping from fences. Loading them into a trailer for processing is no easy feat either! However, if you have a keen sense of adventure and want delicious pork for your table, pigs are an awesome addition to your homestead.
Ducks: Ducks are one of my favorite homestead animals! I find them endlessly entertaining. Although mine love the pond, they can be perfectly happy with a baby pool to splash in, although you will need to be prepared to dump and refill it at least twice a day! Ducks do not typically make much noise, with muscovy ducks being the quietest. They lay big eggs that are nutritious and wonderful for baking. They can also be processed for meat, much like a chicken.
So their you have it that is my list for the perfect small homestead animals.