Start Small With Your Homestead

The last thing you want to do is to start off with a lot on your homestead. This isn’t going to do anything except overwhelm you and you will fail.

Set small manageable goals. Do you have a garden? If not, that’s a great place to start!

We started by going mostly off-grid. About 80% of our house is running on solar. Our fridge, air conditioners, and a few wall plugs are still connected to Alabama Power. We’re in Alabama where it’s hot and humid so we need air conditioners to survive indoors. Our goal is to be 100% off-grid in 2023 and adapt to life without AC by using box fans and other methods to keep the house comfortable. We use wood heat in the winter which we all love!

Maybe you don’t want to be off-grid, or you can’t for whatever reason. That’s fine. Choose another goal to start off.

Many people get started by buying a few chickens. Once you’re comfortable with them and they’re thriving, then you may decide to add another animal. We started with 36 Plymouth Barred Rock chickens because everything we read said to be prepared to lose a few. Twelve weeks later, they’re thriving! These are the happiest chickens I have ever seen and we haven’t lost any. You can read that story by clicking here.

Next, we got three rabbits who will provide meat in addition to the chickens. One just had her third litter, but her first for us which is exciting! Sadly, one didn’t make it, but that’s something you have to be prepared for when you have a homestead. Things happen and it sucks, but you have to keep going because your other animals still depend on you and you depend on them.

Our next goal is to raise our own turkeys. As with the chickens and the rabbits, we will keep breeding stock and use their young for meat. This allows us to have pets to dote on without getting attached to what we plan on eating. We are discussing Kune Kune pigs, but I’m not convinced I won’t get attached to all of them forcing me to give up bacon and sausage.

Other things you may want to get into on your homestead include soap making, canning (you have to do something when you harvest an abundance from your garden), crocheting/knitting, sewing, etc. The more skills you have, the more productive your homestead will be.

It may be helpful for you to have a binder or a file on your computer/tablet/phone to keep track of resources you find helpful along with any notes you want to keep. For instance, I keep records on our chickens so I know how old they are, how many hens versus roosters, and how many we have in total. I also keep track of which rabbit was bred to which to prevent inbreeding. Google Sheets works well for this and it’s free as long as you have enough storage.

Homesteading takes planning and research to be successful. You can get started right now, but you won’t be completely self-sufficient for months or even years. You have to be patient and stick with it to see success, like with a lot of things.

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