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Raising livestock on the homestead

   If one's main objective is to keep cash outgo to an absolute 
   minimum I question whether raising any kind of livestock can be 
   justified.  The only kind of livestock one might justify is 
   something that could live solely by foraging off your land, 
   something for which you didn't have to buy any feed.  There are 
   some animals that you might be able to do this with (such as 
   goats, rabbits, geese and ducks) but I am not sure if you could 
   or not.  In general, it takes several pounds of grain to 
   produce one pound of meat for any kind of livestock you might 
   raise and that makes meat a very expensive luxury food as 
   compared to staple foods such as rice, beans and flour (i.e. 
   bread).  One might be better off just depending on hunting and 
   fishing for his meat.  When one considers how cheap dry milk is 
   I doubt that one could justify a cow unless he has a large 
   family and requires a lot of milk.  You have to shelter a cow 
   and provide winter feed for it which you would have to either 
   buy or grow.  If you are going to grow that feed yourself that 
   requires investment in farm machinery.  In most cases I suspect 
   you would come out far ahead by just buying the milk. 

   The way raising livestock might be justified is if you are 
   raising it to sell, as a business operation.  You invest in 
   whatever feed is required and expect to get your money back 
   when you sell.  You would then be going into the business of 
   farming.  That requires capital for farm equipment and I doubt 
   that many people make much money in farming unless they go into 
   it in a big way.

   Apr 1984

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