If you have the time, money, and space in your garden, then there are so many benefits to keeping your very own small farm animals as either pets or as livestock.
Pigs tend to have a very bad reputation for being very dirty animals, but you shouldn’t pay that much attention to ‘the stories’, because they are actually extremely intelligent creatures, each with their own personalities, and contrary to what people say – very clean. If you only plan on keeping a couple of pigs, then a shed that can be closed and locked properly will be fine. You must just make sure that no drafts can get it, and that it is warm and dry otherwise your pigs will be miserable and most likely fall ill. Pigs like the Vietnamese pot-bellied pigs are in fact so affectionate that some people now keep them as pets – litter trained and all!
To have goats in your garden will bring you a great deal of fun, but not only that – they are very useful too because they will keep your grass short. As well as being bundles of joy that will hop, skip, and jump around, you can also milk them, and a goat’s milk can be turned into a delicious cheese. You will need some sort of shed or steel barn because goats are very delicate creatures so need to be enclosed in something at night time, or if the weather is cold or rainy. They will eat pretty much anything and everything in sight, so make sure you keep them well out of the way of your prized plants.
If you plan on getting ducks, they will obviously need some sort of access to water. This could be a pond, stream, or even just a large container that you manually fill up with water, but this should be deep enough for them to be able to dunk their head under the water. Ducks are happy little creatures that lay delicious (and rather large) eggs that are perfect for your breakfast. While they won’t bother your flowers, you should keep them away from young vegetables because they will claim them as theirs. Having said that, they are very helpful in the Autumn because they will gobble up any pests like slugs and snails that can cause harm to your own plants. You should make a section for them if you don’t want your whole lawn to be churned up though.
If you’re all about shopping free-range in terms of your eggs, then you can’t get any better than the eggs laid in your backyard. You won’t want to have your chickens out on your lawn though as they will absolutely destroy it. So invest in a run for them to reside in instead.
They will need to eat grass and green leafy plants like spinach and lettuce, as well as grit, which is essential for their digestive system. The grit is also what is used for creating a shell on the eggs, so without that, it just wouldn’t work.