Covert Urban Homesteading, Part 2: Animals

   Without animals, your urban homestead is really just a super-nice garden. To really maximize your land use, you will want to get some small herbivores to convert your kitchen waste and yard refuse into instant fertilizer and protein. It should be noted that since you have a homestead here, and not an urban farm, you should be trying to provide as much of your animal feed as possible yourself. Buying feed is not what homesteaders do, it's what urbanites do, right?
     Every one of these animals will need their human caregivers to protect them from human and animal threats in addition to providing quality feed and water, and a clean living environment. Urban homesteaders here in Florida will have numerous pests such as weasels, hawks, cranes, cats, dogs, snakes, raccoons, teenagers, homeless, and the odd code enforcement official to contend with.

     Rabbits are by far my favorite outside animal. They can live on a completely home-grown diet of grasses and weeds, or planted vegetation. Larger operations will probably appreciate he convenience of pellet, which is not prohibitively expensive. The meat and manure are high quality, and extra stock can be sold as pets.

     Chickens are hilarious little birds. I've read that a combination of cat food and day-old bread, supplemented with egg shells, can be enough food for them, though I've never tried it.

     Quail need an extremely high protein diet as naturally they would eat nothing but insects. I've heard that they thrive in areas high in cockroaches, so...

     Guinea Pigs, also called cuys, are good eats in parts of South America. Think of them as slightly smaller rabbits.

     Mice/Hamsters. I'm considering raising them just for their cat and dog food value, since they will eat rabbit pellet and kitchen scraps and be fine with that. Maybe ground hamster could become the next big chicken or fish feed additive?

     Pigeons, especially homing pigeons, are popular outdoor pets in West Florida. I've heard that they can free-range and return home very well. They eat similar feed as chickens.

Menagerie Monday Linkup     Fish can be kept in aquariums as pets, raised for meat value, or raised for their plant fertilization value (think Aquaponics). Crawdads, catfish, and tilapia are all raised successfully here in Florida. Perhaps one of the most covert urban animal operations could involve a decorative "koi" pond filled with catfish or tilapia (Guess what I'm building in my back yard!).

     Bees live very well here in Florida, the main consideration being the location and disguise of your hive(s). After all, no one can complain you have bees if they can't see the hives. Most urban and suburban areas of Florida have decorative flowering plants and trees, that produce year-round blooms.


Survival Gardener, AKA David the Good said...

You get a million extra points for using the phrase "ground hamster."

db said...

"Buying feed is not what homesteaders do, it's what urbanites do, right?"

Growing up on a farm where we raised pigs, chickens, ducks, and horses (we didn't eat the horses though, sadly), we always purchased our was simply more cost affective than trying to raise our own...

It just isn't very self-sustaining.