When running a business, it’s easy to jump in and run as hard as you can but at the end of the year if you don’t have goals in place, you never know if you got to where you wanted to go. Owning a business is hard, running a farm is hard. Put the two together and we want to make sure we have a clear idea for our homestead so we are working hard towards that goal. With the burst of cold weather February brought, we have had the chance to sit down and dive into where we are going.
2020 was the year of seeing what fit into our homestead. The original plan was to get goats and our laying chickens. When the pandemic hit and life slowed down, we decided to jump into broiler chickens and pigs as well. We had talked about getting them but didn’t know if we had the time. I’m so glad we made the leap as we quickly realized we were able manage more than I thought we could. We learned a lot from 2020 and only utilized approximately 3 acres of the homestead which brings us to our 2021 goal, expansion.
We have found that if you are going to raise something, expanding the numbers of that something doesn’t create any more work. For example, if I’m going out and moving, feeding and watering 25 broilers, we might as well do 50 or even a 100 at a time. We feel this is even a bigger deal when it comes to raising hogs. When we raised two hogs we barely covered costs but if we raised say 10-15, we would begin to see profits.
With all that in mind we are looking into finding more feeder pigs which we sell as either a half or whole hog. We want to double down on our broiler chicken production as we enjoyed the taste of farm chicken. Adding more laying hens which would increase production of our delicious eggs, laid by our hens who freely range. The garden is expanding and possibly adding a hoop house which would greatly expand our growing season.
Not only are we wanting to expand on things we had experience with from last year but we want to add more as well. Currently looking into different breeds for cows and sheep. We have been doing extensive research on a cattle breed called Dexters. They are on the smaller side but with only 50 acres we feel they would be a great fit. Sheep seem pretty similar to goats and can often times be kept together. After receiving several inquiries about a grain free chicken due to severe allergies with grain, we are up for the challenge and plan on giving this a try during peak garden season. We’ve also placed orders for Large Black breeder pigs. We loved the breed last year and are wanting to farrow our own pigs this year. We are excited for 2021 and what expanding will look like on our homestead!