Tim and Natalie here!
We moved to Montana to leave behind the suburbanite life we knew in our previous lives and build sustainability and security on our 10+ acres in the woods.
When we started with a small herd of mini dairy goats, we focused on top quality registered lines and brought them in from all over the country. It became apparent in 2011/12 that the local market wouldn’t bare the price our lines demanded. We missed a key part of market research! Our new goal became “have a better plan next time!”
Goal #1 – Pay the Bills
Together, we agreed that our livestock would adhere to a specific business plan:
At minimum, each type of animal (breed/species) will payback the homestead for the initial/continued investment(s) and cover their own feed cost within 5 (five) years of starting here, OR be sold off for a more successful type.
Types that didn’t make the cut:
Tibetan yak, Hampshire hog, Icelandic sheep, Shetland sheep, multiple dairy goat breeds.
Types that have made the cut:
Kunekune pigs, Icelandic chickens, Muscovy ducks.
Types in trial:
Katahdin sheep, mini cattle, mixed flock layers.
Goal #2 – Raise Our Own Meat
Each year we keep back some of our animals for the purpose of growing out for meat. We like knowing that the animals we consume had happy, healthy lives. A big part of our lifestyle is teaching our children how food works, so they participate in the harvest process.
Goal #3 – Help Others
We want to share our harvest with those who present in need. Sharing successes and failures with other homesteaders is also a big part of how we work to help others. Natalie also teaches online courses all about homesteading and livestock guardian dogs.