Living on a working homestead is rewarding in itself. However, producing an income from that hard work is a whole other level of awesome! One of the questions that I get asked frequently is, “How could one make money on the Homestead?” “What can you produce and sell for profit?” The answer, almost all of it my friend. The thing is, the goods that you are producing to keep your family fed and healthy are the same things everyone else is buying to feed their family. The majority of the people I know would rather buy goods from a local source, rather than from a big boxed store. There’s something humbling about supporting your local community and the families that dwell around it.
1.) Sell Eggs
Lets face it, commercially grown chicken is about as nasty and cruel as it gets. Because of that, locally raised, grown eggs and meat birds are a high dollar item. Raising chickens for eggs is incredibly rewarding. Not only are these amazing creatures an excellent source of fertilizer and bug control but backyard chickens eggs typical sell for $3.50- $5.00 per dozen. Don’t even get me started on selling Emu eggs. $$
2.) Meat Birds
Raising meat birds is a short and sweet, yet fowl smelling, en-devour. With modern hybrid breeds, like the Jumbo Cornish Cross, meat chickens are ready for butcher in under 2 months. While I personally prefer to raise heritage breed chickens for meat, such as the Buckeye, the sale price per pound is the same but the cost to raise them is greater. Meat birds sell for $3.00 lb up to $5.99 a pound.
3.) Sell Milk and 4.) Dairy Products.
Keeping a family milk cow or a small head of goats isn’t for everyone. That’s where you come in. Milking twice a day in the heat and cold is hard work. But your efforts will be rewarded with more then enough milk for your own family and those looking for delicious raw milk. There are legalities in selling raw milk and strict government regulations a herdsman must follow. Here in Idaho, we are able to keep up to three cows in lactation at a time in order to quality for a “small herdsman” dairy license. Any farm with over three cows in lactation at a time will be classified as a commercial dairy. While I personally am not ready to jump into the commercial world, my three ladies keep our fridge with more then enough milk and plenty for me to sell and pay for my cows.
Once a month the State of Idaho comes out and test my milk for sale. Likewise, if I have any butter, yogurt or cheese for sale, they will test that as well and send a sample to the state department of agriculture for analysis. This process sounds complicated, however it allows me to sell my raw products legally for $8.00 gallon from the farm, or in a store. If going through the hassles of state and licenses is not your thing, developing a Herd Share is right up your alley, you can keep 7 cows in lactation (varies by state) and the customer must pick up the milk at your farm. Customers “purchase” part of your herd for a monthly fee and in return they get a set amount of raw milk. Herd shares prices vary, however $20.00 per month for is typical for 4 gallons. If neither sound like a good fit, most state allow milk sales for “animal consumption only.”
Grass-fed beef is expensive. But oh so worth it. Raising steers for meat is an excellent way to make use of those spring time bull calves. If your dairy cows throw heifers you can breed them and sell them for twice as much as a calf. If your cows throw bulls, steer them and raise them up with the rest of the herd untill butcher. Grass-fed beef takes a bit longer, as does raising dairy steers for the freezer. Keep this in mind when your calculating dates. Don’t expect them to finish quickly like a Angus steer and don’t be tempted to feed them grain. Your patients will be rewarded for raising them on grass, with a top dollar price tag. Expect to receive $3.50-6.00 per pound.
6.) Bull service
Keeping a bull to bred your cows is an easy way to acquire calves. If you have several cows that need to be bred, having a bull around will insure that their heat cycle is not missed. Unlike expensive AI (artificial insemination) you don’t need to constantly be checking cows for signs of heat. And if your like me, the use of artificial hormones is out of the question. Cows can have silent heat, which is just that, silent, making it difficult for the herdsman to verify if its time to be bred. Living out in the country with very few AI tech’s willing travel and be there RIGHT NOW is a difficult task. However, your bull won’t miss out on this opportunity to breed a cow, I promise. Once your homestead cows are bred for the season, rent out the bull to other local farms that are looking for a good, proven bull. Typically this service runs $100.00 – $200.00 per month. Not bad considering someone else is feeding and housing your bull for you. I typically keep my bull until around two years of age. There’s something about that age when bulls start to act up, after two, I butcher him and sell his meat for top dollar.
Meat rabbits are at high demand right now but like most most backyard specialties, the demand is higher then the suppliers. Rabbit meat is very high in digestible protein and low in calories, making it highly praised in the medical community and recommended for people with cardiac disease. When raising rabbits, there is profits in numbers, which is easy to do, after all, your raising rabbits. Keeping a large supply of does is a necessity for continual production. Thankfully, rarely do you need more then one buck, who needs to stay housed separately. Rabbits can have 4-12 kits per litter and because rabbits are induced ovulators, a rabbit can be re-bred within minutes after giving birth. The Californian Breed is a great dual purpose (meat and fur) rabbit and make excellent mothers. Rabbit meat sells for a whopping $8.00 per pound.
Rabbit pelts are also a good sell. While some people are looking for pelts to learn how to tan, others are looking for them for crafts and fine goods, such as hats and coats. While your not going to make into Forbes selling pelts, you can still expect to get about $10.00 a piece.
Got extra rabbit poop? Perfect, sell it! Rabbit poop is one of the best manures for the organic garden. Backyard gardeners love this nitrogen and phosphorous rich fertilizer and are willing to pay good money for it. You can sell manure in its whole form, as is, or make a highly potent manure tea. One doe and her kits can produce up to 1 ton of manure per year. *$5.00 per pound or $20.00 per gallon of tea
Small farms are excellent for raising sheep. Ewes typically throw one to three lambs per year, helping to increase your profits. Sheeps biggest expense is their food. Finding a reliable local farmer or feed dealer is the key to maintaining profits and raising sheep. While market price will very depending on breed, raw sheep wool typically sells for about $10.00 per pound.
I love lamb. Beautiful fuzzy delicious lamb. Raising lambs for meat is also niche market, why? Because they’re too darn cute. Lambs are fun to raise and carry a excellent feed to meat ratio. Lambs are butchered at 9-12 months. Tip: Depending on the breed, calculate and plan on selling your lambs for market in the spring. Quality lambs are in high demand and often lamb prices are at a high during this time. Grass finished lamb, $300.00.
This little piggy went to the market… Pigs are fun, intelligent animals that thrive on table scrapes and garden waste. While these animals can be housed in a a small pen, the will thrive in pasture with lush grass and brush to root around in. Pigs typically take around 6 months to raise, making pork a excellent source of income for the homesteader who doesn’t want a year round chore. There’s definitely money to be made in raising pigs at $2.75-$3.50 per pound.
While everyone knows that pigs are excellent at rooting around, very few calculate the price of this free garden service. If you put pigs in the garden after harvest, the pigs will no-doubt clean up the fallen fruits and vegetables, mean while, helping you fertilize and cultivate, for free. While this service may not put cash in your wallet, you’re also not putting hours on a tractor, paying for a chiropractor or cracking down for the price of a rototiller. Savings..Priceless
There’s an incredible market for raw goat milk. With its smaller fat globules and lower levels of lactose, goat milk is found to be easier to digest. People with dairy allergies and digestives issues will go far and wide for some good tasting fresh goat milk. Goat milks distinct taste has earned its prized roll in delicacy shops and bistros and for a pretty penny. Selling for *$4.00 a quart.
Homemade goats milk soap is a hard to find commodity. Much like the milk itself, goat milk soap is praised for its anti-allergen and organic effects. Making soap takes education and patience but well worth with. A simple bar of goats milk soap can run around *$6.00 a bar. Etsy.com is excellent place to start selling your natural homemade soap.
Goat meat. I can honestly say that I have never ate goat meat. Some people love it. Some people, not so much. However, whether it’s your pallet favorite or not, selling goats for meat at market will bank *$150-$200 per Goat
18.) Weed control * Rent a Goat
Everybody knows goats love to eat things, especially weeds. Homeowners and businesses alike love this eco-friendly way of weeding their yard with a moving landscape. Some major advantages of renting goats are the elimination of chemicals, no heavy machinery cost and renting goats is a lot more cost effective then hiring men and machine to clean and clear. If you’re thinking about keeping a herd of goats, consider renting them out for some extra cash. Clients typically pay a herd moving fee and up to* $250.00 day for a herd of a dozen. Please note, price depend on land, distance and terrain.
Keeping bees is a simple way to earn extra homestead income. Bees don’t require much space, time or fancy equipment to make their beautiful, rich, raw honey. Raw honey is praised for its anti-allergen properties. People with strong seasonal allergies can consume 1 tablespoon of raw honey per day for relief. Others who want a natural alternative to sugar, use honey in their everyday cooking. Raw local honey has gained popularity in the recent years and sale prices have reflected that. $45.00 per gallon
The world needs more honey bees. Local farmers around can rent bee hives for their fields and gardens. Increased pollination has yielded higher volume crops, vegetables and fruit. Trading pollination of crop, for honey. While most backyard farmers keep beehives for their own garden and orchard pollination, renting is always an option. Rental fee. $25.00 per hive per month
21.) Honey Comb
I love honey comb. I love it specifically at my favorite restaurant paired with a delicate Gorgonzola or Cambozola cheese. However, more and more homesteaders are beginning to see the value in honey comb and have started to offer it at local farmers market. Selling for $20.00 per pound.
Yes, bees are considered livestock.
22.) Tax Breaks
The IRS offers numerous amounts of tax breaks for farmers and ranchers. Raising livestock is a good option if you’re looking for some much needed breaks on your taxes. Animal, like cattle, come with inherited cost, e.g. feed, tractors, veterinary visits and supplies, fencing ect. All these things are deductible. The IRS also allows you to deduct start up cost for your farm, the maximum varies yearly ranging around $10,000.
**Please note these prices may vary by location.** Remember to be confident in your pricing! Set your prices comparable yet, strive for a higher market. I’ve had people try and buy my raw cows milk for $2.00 a gallon. Saying that it should be cheaper because I lack the commercial overhead. Actually, its anything but. They’re paying for quality products from a family farm. Our animals are well loved and well treated and worth every penny. Don’t sell yourself short.
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Sources and Resources
Raising Pigs for FREE– My Healthy Greeen Family
Homesteading Books I recommend
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