What to consider when buying animals for your homestead/farm

Updated: Jan 30, 2020

If money is no object, then spend it on good breeding stock. Buy the best breeding stock you can afford from a breeder you trust. This is going to seem strange, but the most important member of your herd and the most expensive should be the male. This is where you absolutely must have good genetics. The male will be 84% of your genetics in your herd after three years.

One of the reasons we bought our bull was because of genetics. He came from Reverence Farms. We know the owners and we know their processes. They think like we think. The land is super important and animals must be raised humanely. We are not nearly as far along as they are and have much less acreage, but they understood what we needed. We needed a bull that came from a line that was gentle and was an A2A2 jersey. Even though he came from a gentle line, you never turn your back on a bull, especially a jersey dairy bull.

We are working on our sheep. (Our ram, John Wayne, is the one on the far right with the impressive beard). We know that we want a really healthy animal from a healthy herd that is scrapie free. We want a long back strap and nice, wide back side. We also want a ram that does not butt. We have grandchildren and must compromise on appearance for safety. Still, the grandchildren know that you trust nothing with testicles. Stay away from the ram and always keep an eye on the ram and your exit.

We did not have a lot of money and really could not start the way we wanted to. We needed a cow to feed the pigs and the chickens. Our first dairy cow was a worn out nurse cow from a herd but gave LOTS of milk. She could live on grass and was truly the mother of the herd.

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