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The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals: Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming, Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat, Gather Fresh ... Rabbits, Goats, Sheep, Pigs, Cattle, & Bees Paperback – March 23, 2011

4.7 out of 5 stars 121 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

The Best Breakfast You'll Ever Eat, Courtesy of Your Backyard Animals:
  1. Gather fresh eggs for fluffy omelets.
  2. Stuff homemade sausages with meat.
  3. Fill your omelet with tangy, creamy cheese.
  4. Stir sweet honey into tea or coffee.
  5. Fry a steak or bacon as a savory side.
  6. Top off your meal with a cold glass of milk.
Breakfast isn't the only meal you'll enjoy from your backyard farm...
Imagine the satisfaction of feeding your family wholesome eggs, milk, meat, and honey produced by animals raised organically and humanely in your backyard. On as little land as one-tenth of an acre, you can raise healthy, productive barnyard animals and take a big step toward food independence.

Learn how to:
  • Raise chickens in brooder boxes
  • Determine the freshness of eggs hidden in the backyard
  • Roast a duck or goose to perfection
  • Make goat-milk yogurt
  • Interpret everyday sheep behavior
  • Harvest honey
  • Raise your own Thanksgiving turkey
  • Manage your beef cattle to produce the best-tasting meat
Includes Full-Color at-a-Glance Breed Guide

The animal-raising companion to The Backyard Homestead.

About the Author

Gail Damerow, author of The Chicken Health Handbook, 2nd Edition, has written extensively on raising chickens and other livestock, growing fruits and vegetables, and related rural know-how in more than a dozen country skills how-to books, including the best-selling Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens, The Chicken Encyclopedia, and Hatching and Brooding Your Own Chicks. Damerow is a regular contributor to Backyard Poultry and Countryside magazines. She lives in Tennessee with her husband, where they operate a family farm with poultry and dairy goats, a sizable garden, and a small orchard. 


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: Storey Publishing, LLC; 1 edition (March 23, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1603429697
  • ISBN-13: 978-1603429696
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 1 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (121 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #15,196 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I am a big supporter of buying local, and while I do not live in an area where I can own most of these animals (except bees, currently), I found this resource to be comprehensive for someone either researching or getting started in small-scale farm animal raising.

Gail Damerow puts together a well-researched book on various farm animals that could be owned by people looking to find raise animals for food, but who do not necessarily have the space for a full farm. Each chapter takes a different animal and discusses what you may want to look for in breeds, housing, feed and basic health care for them. For instance, in the chapter on chickens there is a section on different breeds, how to collect eggs and check if they are good for eating, feeding, watering and housing your chickens, handling chickens in the coop and transporting them, and general health concerns. Additional chapters on other poultry such as turkeys and ducks follow.

Poultry isn't the only meat souce in this book. It includes from the smaller "keep a couple in your garage" rabbits to pigs to cows. Sections on the various cuts from the animals are listed, but no need to worry about the details of butchering. Those are recommended to be left to actual processors or other books. The chapters on milk providers, goats and cows, give general descriptions on breeding and milking the animals.

Beyond the individual animal chapters, I like the extras that are included. Similar to its predecessor, The Backyard Homestead, there are illustrations in the front showing how much you can actually support on one-tenth, one-fourth, or one-half an acre of land.
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Good read for the experienced or inexperienced alike. Long chapters about each aspect the book covers. Well written and easy to understand. Some information more suited to the hobbiest then someone looking to turn a profit or save money in certain types of agriculture. Some of the breed proprietation seems to be leaned towards heritage or non-common types. Not a great book for those who grew up roughing it on the farm. A good informative read to the city dweller. Reviewed by The Goat Farmer, not Little Miss his wife.
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Format: Paperback
The Backyard Homestead is probably the best book available for those who'd like to become more self-sufficient when it comes to food. As you can see from my review of the book (here), most of that volume is dedicated to growing vegetables; there is far less information on raising livestock. However, the same publisher recently released The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals; this is unquestionably the best book on the market for those in the suburbs or country who like the idea of raising animals for eggs, milk, and meat, but aren't sure where to start.

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals consists of one chapter each covering the topic of chickens, turkeys, ducks and geese, rabbits, bees, goats, sheep, pigs, and cows. Each chapter lays out the basics of how to raise the animal, including housing and feeding requirements, and how to keep the critters healthy. There are also tips on choosing an appropriate breed, keeping predators at bay, and general ideas on whether or not you're likely to save money raising your own.

The editor, Gail Damerow, also offers a visual on how much room is needed to raise certain animals through three drawings at the front of the book. Each offers an idea of how a homestead could proceed, showing how properties (each with a typical house and a veggie garden) could be laid out. For example, on the smallest property (1/10th of an acre), bees, rabbits, and chickens are shown. On the largest property (1/2 an acre), bees, rabbits, pigs, waterfowl, poultry, and 1 cow or 2 steers and either 2 goats or 2 lambs, are suggested.
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Format: Paperback
I bought this book with a giftcard and probably would have never bought it had I not - but I'm surprising pleased. It has a nice thourogh overview over several popular backyard animals. The chick care is good although it refers you to Gail's other book on raising chicks for more in-depth stuff (like incubating eggs at home.) I loved the section on goats and learned some new things that I didn't know before - even after owning one, going through kidding with her and now milking her for 4 months, which I think is impresive. There is also a full color pull out poster type chart in the middle of the book which I think is a nice touch - it helps to see and read sometimes. I am very glad I have this book and have learned alot from it. I have had it stacked with my encyclopedia of country living by Carla Emery which says a lot - however, I won't compare those books, it is a good book to add to your library.
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The content within this book is excellent, however, as a future math teacher I was appalled to see that every unit conversion between square feet and square meters is incorrect throughout the entire book! For example: "allow 10 sq ft (3 sq m) per animal". Three square meters is roughly 32 square feet, not 10. It is a bit scary to see that this was not caught by editors, but, I suppose it isn't such a big deal unless you live somewhere where the metric system is the norm, in which case you will be allocating three times as much space as you actually need for your farm :D
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