What is a farm without animals?
The issue of choice becomes apparent when you realise exactly how many different breeds there are to choose from with all farmyard creatures. How do you know which one you want?
Chickens.. Ideally, we wanted a good table bird, but also a good layer… and if they got broody (without us having to incubate eggs), even better. We also had to consider the growth-rates of different breeds. Obviously to have a great broody layer would be fantastic, but would the off-spring grow fast enough for it to be viable?
The same goes for the ducks; there are so many to choose from!
As for the pigs, we stuck to the vietnamese pot-bellies because of their small stature – we may be a hungry family, but a good little pot-belly was more than enough to provide 3 meals for us all.
It is safe to say that we decided to choose the “trial and error” method, placing different breeds in different pens and seeing which we benefitted from the most.
In the case of the chickens: we still have the bantam crew (how could we not? they are like pets to us now), but we also have Sussex, Barnevelders, and Austrian chickens.
For us, the Sussex are proving to be the best all-rounders, yet the Austrians are happier brooders.
As for the ducks, we have two groups: Muscovy and Aylesbury. We had it from many sources that the Aylesbury duck was the best table bird and fantastic layers, but that seems to be a false allegation (at least when it comes to ours). The Muscovies on the other hand are fantastic layers, brooders and table birds. I don’t know about you, but I think I know who we are sticking with.
With the Goats, we chose an Andaluzan breed. They are smaller in stature and Molly, our eldest female, has recently had a kid, so she gives us roughly a litre a day in milk. Just enough for the whole family.
We’ve also acquired a couple of Red Murcian female goats; they are still too young for breeding yet, and are smaller in stature compared to Molly. It will be interesting to see the difference in milk we receive from them.
Meme, on the other hand….. We bought her as our first young goat from the local goat herder, but it didn’t take long to realise she was different. She was a sheep… quite obvious now when we look back, as she has wool and goats have fur. Now that was a learning curve. But we have kept her because she is such a fantastic animal – plus we have found uses for her wool, which is an added bonus.
As time went on, we have added a pair of Geese, Guineafowl, Black Turkeys and Rabbits to our little menagerie on the farm.
For more information of the specific breeds we have, how to care for them, what houses we have made for them and more, follow the drop-down list from the “Our Animals” link in the main menu.