The Best Animals for a Small Farm

Raising animals for meat, milk, eggs, or simply for companionship cannot only provide a sense of fulfillment but also contribute to a healthier diet. However, with so many options to choose from, it can be challenging to determine the best farm animals. For those who love the idea of living off the land and desire a more sustainable lifestyle, hobby farming is becoming an increasingly popular activity. Especially when you can have the best animals for a small farm!

In this article, we’ll explore the best animals for a small farm. We’ll discuss what their purpose could be, why they would make a great addition, as well as share first hand experience.

Whether you’re looking to provide for your family, create a more self-sufficient lifestyle or just enjoy the company of these animals, there’s something on this list for everyone. So, let’s dive into the world of hobby farming and find the perfect animal for your hobby farm.


close-up photography of flock of chicken

Chickens are the gateway animal to hobby farming! They are an easy animal to start with as they don’t require much other than a shelter, feed, and water. Chickens are great for providing eggs, meat, and also provide a good source of fertilizer. The added bonus is that they can be quite entertaining to watch while free ranging.

Three benefits of raising chickens are:

  • They provide a sustainable source of chicken eggs, meat, and fertilizer.

  • Chickens can be great companions as they are social animals with distinct personalities.

  • Raising chickens is relatively inexpensive and easy to maintain.

Three potential drawbacks:

  • be aware of potential predators

  • maintain good hygiene practices to prevent disease

  • close neighbors could be a concern due to noise

First hand experience

  • Chickens are a great beginner animal to raise for eggs and meat

  • They require little maintenance

  • Roosters are better raised from chicks so they do not become aggressive

  • Hens tend to hide clutches of eggs and show up with babies after a few weeks if they free range!

Raising chickens is a fantastic hobby farm animal as they are low maintenance and provide a variety of benefits, including a fresh supply of eggs, meat, and fertilizer. When properly cared for, chickens can also help reduce pests, such as ticks and bugs, around your property. Additionally, their social nature and amusing personalities can create an enjoyable and lovely addition to any small farm.


Ducks make excellent farm animals, as they provide duck eggs and meat, fertilize the soil, and help reduce pests. They are also quite cute to see waddling around! They do have quite the personalities so make sure to tame them when they are young so they do not become aggressive.

Three benefits of raising ducks are:

  • They provide eggs, duck meat and fertilizer.

  • low maintenance and easy to care for

  • love to forage but won’t scratch up landscape

Three potential draw backs:

  • Ducks can be messy and may require additional water for bathing.

  • They are noisy, especially during mating season.

  • Predators such as hawks, foxes, and dogs could pose a threat to your flock.

First hand Experience

  • They are adorable when little but grow very fast

  • They tend to be messy but once they have a large outdoor space they stay active

  • They need duck friends so having more than one is important.

Raising ducks on a hobby farm can provide a great source of eggs, meat, and fertilizer, while also being low maintenance and easy to care for, with the added benefit of their love of foraging without damaging the landscape; however, hobby farmers need to be mindful of their tendency to be messy, noisy during mating season, and potential predators such as hawks, foxes, and dogs.


Three benefits of raising dogs

  • Dogs provide unconditional love and companionship.

  • They can help lower stress levels and anxiety, as well as improve physical health through exercise.

  • With proper training, dogs can act as a deterrent for intruders or protect family members from harm in dangerous situations.

Three potential drawbacks:

  • Dogs require a lot of attention and care, including regular vet visits, exercise, grooming needs and mental stimulation.

  • Dogs can be destructive when not properly trained or exercised, leading to damaged property or furniture.

  • Owning a dog is expensive with the cost of food, medical bills and other necessary supplies such as leashes, toys and beds adding up quickly over time.

First hand experience

  • Family dogs are the most amazing companions

  • They will need to be trained on how to behave around the livestock animals

  • You’ll have the best helper and “supervisor” that doesn’t nag you all day long.

Although dogs require a lot of time, energy and money to properly care for, they are an incredibly rewarding hobby farm animal. With the right training, exercise and love, you’ll be rewarded with unconditional loyalty and friendship that will last a lifetime. If you have the resources to provide your pup with all their needs as well as plenty of attention and affection, then consider adding a furry friend to your homestead today!


Rabbits are actually quite intelligent. They show emotions and can be used for different purposes depending on the breed. There are the traditional rabbits used for rabbit meat production, others are used for show, and some are even used as a fiber animal!

Three benefits of raising rabbits

  • Rabbits are low-maintenance pets that require minimal feeding and grooming needs.
  • Rabbits are a great source of meat, fiber and companionship depending on the breed.
  • They can be trained to use litter boxes, making them easier to house indoors or outdoors with less mess!

Three potential drawbacks:

  • Rabbits are prone to chewing and can cause damage to furniture, curtains and other household items if not properly supervised.
  • They are intelligent and really love having large spaces.
  • Rabbits are naturally skittish if not handled regularly.

First hand Experience

  • Rabbits are generally low maintenance and require very little space

  • They poop A LOT but it makes great fertilizer for gardens.

  • I raise English Angora Rabbits for their fiber production. They are high maintence but make wonderful pets! I think they are the best farm animals!!

Overall, rabbits can be a great addition to your hobby farm if you are willing and able to provide them with the proper care they need. With their low-maintenance needs and friendly personalities, raising rabbits is sure to bring plenty of joy and companionship into your homestead. Whether you’re looking for an indoor or outdoor pet that requires minimal upkeep yet provides lots of love and entertainment, consider adding some bunnies to your family today!


Goats are one of the most popular animals on hobby farms because they can provide a steady source of milk, cheese, and meat. Plus, Nigerian dwarf goats are quite small in size so are perfect if you do not have a very large space.

Three benefits of raising goats:

  • Goats are hardy animals to raise that require minimal care and maintenance.

  • They provide a steady source of milk, cheese and meat.

  • Goats can be used to help clear away brush and vegetation on your farm, helping to keep the area neat and tidy.

Three potential drawbacks:

  • Goats can be quite destructive, so providing a secure enclosure will help minimize their potential damage to your property.

  • They are known for their vocalizations, so if you live in a quiet neighbourhood this may not be ideal.

  • Goats require more space than other farm animals listed above so having pasture space for them is important

First hand experience

  • Goats are fun but are destructive. Make sure to have adequate fencing and containment set up or they WILL get out and destroy things

  • Nigerian dwarf goats are small but if you are raising goats for a milk just remember they also have small little teats that take awhile to milk!

  • Goat milk is an acquired taste – its not the same as a dairy cow.


Other small farm animals to raise could be sheep, pigs, or miniature cattle breeds depending on the size and scope of your space. Raising pigs is a quick turn around on meat production as well as different breeds for sheep meat. Raising livestock has been a very interesting process from learning all the ins and outs of animal care to the emotional aspect of processing the meat.

There are many other farm animals to add to your collection but my advice is to start small and perfect your chores and system before adding in others. Go out and raise livestock on your small farm! It’s hard work but you won’t regret it!

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