How to Start a Modern Homestead



by Mark Bingaman

Whether you’re looking to do something different with land you already own or are interested in purchasing property for a change in lifestyle, a “modern homestead” may strike a chord with those who’ve always wanted to raise animals and/or their own produce.

Maybe you’ve driven by a home, noticed a few grazing goats and thought “You know, I should raise some chickens or goats in my backyard also. And a big organic garden?; yes, I want one of those too!” Such has often been part of many a city dweller’s “escape-to-the-good-life” plan.

A modern homestead typically is NOT a “for-profit” venture, but rather a cool way to raise a few animals for your personal needs (milk, cheese, butter, eggs, wool, etc.).  Many modern homesteaders couple that with things like organic gardens, and keep things truly organic by using the animal droppings as fertilizer and perhaps some of the produce as feed for the animals.

While a modern homesteader may plan to develop their project in a rural setting, part of the appeal to the whole process is the fact folks in the suburbs and even more urban areas can engage in raising animals and growing gardens too. But don’t forget that you’ll need to pay close attention to the legality of raising animals in your neck of the woods and also, potentially, in the size of your produce production. This may even be the case in a more rural setting. We’ll discuss legalities further in just a moment.

Regardless of ordinances, modern homesteaders should make it a point to be considerate of their neighbors. If you live in a suburban setting with neighbors close by, common sense dictates they may not appreciate the idea of your roosters waking them up at 4AM!


A Few Things to Consider

It’s a Tough Job: Do you really have what it takes to be a modern homesteader –or  even a part-time one? Raising any sort of livestock is a non-stop job. That means 24/7 and 365. And animals have a distressing tendency to become sick, give birth, or get loose at the most inconvenient times.

Adequate Facilities: Make sure you have the financial means and know-how to build fences, chutes, shelters, hen houses, and all other necessary facilities to house and protect the critters. Do plenty of research on what it’s like to raise the specific animals you’re interested in. For example, chickens require secure housing, otherwise they’re likely to become prey to both four-legged and winged predators. Goats also need to be properly penned in. Unlike cows, goats love to roam and will escape your enclosure easily unless properly secured.

Yes, Don’t Forget the Legalities: Address local, state, and federal laws concerning the procurement, breeding, and housing of animals. This also includes zoning permits, building codes, ordinances, and homeowners association rules.

As you search LandHub.com for land to buy, perhaps you’ll wish to consider whether the property for sale is ideal for your vision of becoming a modern homesteader, surrounding yourself with nature, and perhaps even enjoying sustainable living via your patch of earth.

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