Choose the Best Breeds for Small-Space Farming - Produce Your Own Grass-Fed Meat

By Gail Damerow

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Readers` Reviews

★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
I bought this book because it relates specifically to backyard production. The information is up to date and does a fantastic job detailing the entire production process. It is written in layman terminology. I would recommend this book to anyone interested in raising their first farm animals.
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
kimberly beiro
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
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
If you are a beginning farmer or a want to be farmer you need to go over this book-My husbands family has farmed before he was born so he has grown up in it yet when my granddaughter brought home this book we had to buy one for ourselves...
Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm :: A Gripping Crime Thriller (Lawson Raines, Book 1) :: Ender in Exile :: Children of the Mind :: Farm Animals Coloring Book (Dover Little Activity Books)
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
erin carlson
This is a really good book for people who are wanting to start their own little homestead. However, I'll start with the negatives, first of all, while the author does a really good job of explaining the basics I personally would have liked it to be dumbed down a little bit more. I will admit that that may be due to my own personal ignorance of farm animals. I've read the chapters on chickens, turkeys, and pigs so far, and while I gained a lot of information I still have a lot of questions on each topic.

Another negative would be that it was a little bit disorganized in my opinion. For instance, the chapter on pigs goes from butchering and bests temps for freezing your meat back to pig illnesses and health. Not a big deal, but just didn't really make a lot of sense to me.

She did a great job of answering the question of what to feed? However, I wish it touched a little bit more on organically raised meat/eggs, etc.

Finally, the illustrations are a negative (they are also a positive). The illustrations that are in the book are great I just wish that there were more. There were a few places where she discussed building something or making something and I couldn't quite picture it in my head and the author didn't provide a picture for it so it's something that I just can't wrap my head around.

Now the positives of the book are that it is really easy to read for the most part. And besides that it is really fun to read. The author also points you toward others books on specific topics that go more in depth (such as butchering at home) and that was very helpful.

I loved the pictures that were included as I said before. Also, I liked the fact that she gave some detailed examples (all approximated of course) of the prices for feeds, etc) it is obviously clear that you won't get rich from homesteading :-)

In a nutshell, I would definitely recommend this book to a friend, however I would also suggest you get a few others to read and compare to ensure you are getting a well rounded education when it comes to homesteading.
★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆
thomas furlong
I have 2 problems with this book.

1, It took almost a month for it to be deliver after I ordered it. (27day to be exact)

2, Just going true the first chapter about chickens I can already tell that 25% of it is BS.
I just finished reading the 'Small-scale Poultry Flock' and then started this. Knowing that a book that is considered to be the 'go to guyed' for poultry is contradicting some statements in this book I know what i'm gonna go with.
And knowing that 25% of the first chapter is wrong how can I trust or rely on the advice in the rest of the book?

It's like the author read a book or two about farm animals and then wrote a book about how to raise farm animals.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
omar seyadi
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. The glossary is extensive but not overwhelming, the black and white line illustrations are descriptive and meaningful to the text, and the resources in the back supplement the strong foundation this reference creates.

The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals is a great source of information on chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, rabbits, goats, sheep, cattle, pigs and honey bees, all of which are quite suitable to the suburban, or, if you are fortunate enough to have zoning laws in your favor, urban resident. If you are looking into owning any of these animals, I definitely recommend adding this to your shelf.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
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.

At the center of the book is a folded color chart picturing the most common breeds raised for food; while this is pretty, I didn't find it very useful - although I did like how some small silhouettes at the bottom of the chart give an idea of the size of each breed mentioned. Aside from this, my only real complaint about the book is that it rarely address difficulties urban homesteaders face, like coming up with space, keeping kids safe, and addressing the concerns of neighbors.

But despite certain limitations, this is still is the best book I've found on the topic. It's clearly not meant to be the only book you'll want on how to raise your backyard livestock. You can and should read as many books as possible on how to raise the animals you select. But The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals is an great one stop source for making decisions about which animals you can - in all practicality - raise in the suburbs or country. I recommend it!

Kristina Seleshanko, Proverbs Thirty One Woman
★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆
aaron shields
I have a few issues with this book. I have a dual option bachelor's degree in Animal Science and there is some information in this book that is incorrect or at least misleading. First, the idea that if you provide individual pans of supplement for your chickens and you can expect them to consume what they need to meet their deficiencies as depicted on page 39 is not effective. While I understand the thought process, animals don't instinctively know their deficiencies. If you are deficient in something, do you automatically know what you need to eat and how much of it? No, of course not. You have to go to a doctor and usually get told what to take. Animals are no different (as we are animals). You need to have a proper diet formulated for your animals and have any necessary supplements mixed into the feed so that the animals get a properly mixed ration. Also, some of these supplements don't taste good to the animals. So they refuse to eat them even if they would want to. Mixing it intor their feed covers up the bad taste. Animal science departments across the nation have shown again and again that it just doesn't work. Furthermore, it encourages alfalfa pellets to be fed when flushing goats. A concentrate is far safer as alfalfa can readily lead to bloat in such a case. Also, the section on pasteurization is extremely biased and could get someone deathly ill! While it BRIEFLY mentions that pasteurization kills harmful bacteria, it completely misses Why pasteurization is so important. E.coli, Salmonella, Listeria, and Campylobacter infections can be Deadly and this book encourages people to take an unnecessary risk that could lead to them getting ill. Here is a compilation of real life stories of what can happen from drinking unpasteurized milk:[...] This book completely overlooks the facts and risks in forgo of the author's bias in taste. If you want to drink raw milk, that is fine, but all of the facts should have been discussed. Also coccidiosis vaccines are mentioned, but the two types are not discussed at all even though one type can actually Cause disease. The virulent vaccine is actually capable of infecting your flock with the disease. Attenuated vaccines have a much lower potential to cause actual disease. However, the virulent is the most common. The two types should have been discussed. Either way, a veterinarian should be apart of making that decision for your flock. My final problem with this book is that there is nothing on donkeys/horses or llamas/alpacas. Those are some extremely popular and important species that should have been included. The fact that the book speaks on donkeys as grazing partners for other animals, but then never discusses raising donkeys is a bit odd. Overall, Most of the information is fairly accurate but there are a few costly suggestions in this book that can be avoided by speaking at length with a veterinarian before raising the animals.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jonathan palfrey
If you are interested in homesteading and in particular raising animals, I can't think of a better book to start with. For starters: I find this book simply beautiful to look at. It's exciting to flip and read through the different species, which include pretty much everything from chickens, bees, pigs, and cows, and more! They even have waterfowl, so they pretty much have all the bases covered.

The information is presented in well-written body text that is broken up by helpful infographics, lovely line-art illustrations, and there is even a pull-out of full color illustrations on recommended species. I was excited to find this book so complete, although for more in-depth advice on pigs I purchased "Small-Scale Pig Raising" for all the nitty-gritty. It's a good thing that I bought this book first though, because it appealed to my modern tastes and inspired me that raising animals is indeed doable.

I highly recommend it
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
If you are brand new to homesteading, or even contemplating starting a homestead, this is a great book for you. I am a big fan of Gail Damerow, she is a very knowledgable writer, and here writing style keeps you engaged. For those of us that have been homesteading for a while, this is information you have likely read before.
I do like that she included the best breeds for homesteading. She even includes some ideal homestead layouts for every homestead, large and small. I also like the extensive resource section of the book. The kindle edition even has links to each listing, which is very handy.
The first book I purchased by Gail was; "Barnyard in your Backyard". It has pretty much the same information except the B.i.y.b. book goes into more detail.
The main difference between the two books is that the backyard homestead guide focuses on providing meat, dairy, and eggs for your homestead, It includes processing information, as well as how to handle milk. Bottom line; if you already own Backyard in your barnyard, this book contains a lot of the same material. Good luck on your homesteading adventure
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
viki wilds
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.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
My wife and I purchased this book from a local store, and we have learned so much! We would start reading a section regarding a specific animal thinking there is no way that we would ever raise the animal, but by the end of the chapter you realize it wouldn't be that hard! :)

This book is a great middle ground with it not being too in depth, but at the same time covering all the basic and enough to get started with the animals it covers.

Wish there was a bit more on butchering, but the book does provide some really great references!
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
robert mood
This book has a wealth of information. Unlike its sister book, though, this one focuses on livestock and goes into much more depth than the others; it's a great starting place if you have no idea what you're doing with livestock- whether it's Goats, Waterfowl, or just your average chicken... What really makes this book for me, though, is the wide use of pictures to help illustrate what the authors are talking about.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
This is an ideal overview of the wide variety of animals that you and your family can raise for food. Poultry and waterfowl are treated as both sources of eggs and sources of meat. You're introduced to the idea of keeping rabbits for meat. Gail discusses the benefits of keeping dairy goats and the options for freshening them. She covered food producing critters from honeybees to cattle.

Reading this book caused me to consider animals I had not considered previously and eliminate others I'd considered in lieu of others. Great read.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
michal filipowski
This book was written for people whom are aware of there omnivorous needs. And want to seperate themselves from mass cruelty. Hunting and raising animals for food is part of our make up. A bear is also an omnivore. Do you think a bear would think twice about eating you when it is hungry? Since you're a vegan, why are you buying this? Why are you going out of your way to wrongfully condem people? Grow up. Find more hobbies other than searching the store book listings to scream and harass people over your narrow minded extreme point of view. You're extremist word vomit only reinforces our beliefs.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
james white
I like this book much better than The Backyard Homestead: Produce all the food you need on just a quarter acre!. Because it is a narrower topic, the material was covered in a much better way. This is not the all-encompassing reference, but it gives the newly interested all the information they need to get started. They cover all the major breeds or the most popular farm animals in easy to understand, no nonsense language. The pros and cons of different animals and methods are discussed. It is also presented in a positive, even inspiring way. My kids love it too - they are very intent on getting chickens and my daughter is learning about caring for rabbits. Great book.
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
This book is great for the beginning homesteader. The information included is a great way to give the reader an idea of what sort of animals they want to care for depending on their needs and wants. It should be treated as just that, however: a beginner's guide. The author wisely advises the reader to seek out local groups such as clubs for more in depth information, as well as the kind of questions that should be asked of those who sell the animals.
★ ★ ★ ★ ★
wanda roxanne
We got this book when we got our ducks. There is a lot of useful information in here! I've been reading it for a while, and even when I go back and read, it always seems like there is something that I missed or didn't pick up on. There are a few things that it didn't cover (for example... if you are feeding poultry starter, you probably need to add Niacin to your ducks water) but those things are few and far between.

Overall, this is a great book!
★ ★ ★ ★ ☆
jaci rase
This item was a 2011 x-mas gift. The book arrived promptly; I look forward to a good read. Asked for it re: my small farm plan. Hope the book stands up to the other decent reviews I've seen on the store. Will post an update when possible.
★ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
It is bad enough that animals are considered food, instead of what they really are --- our companions, by the megabillion dollar meat and dairy industries, but to actually be a "real" person and to be face to face with these animals every day, and even name them at times, and then to cut their throats is beyond heartlessness. How much emotion and compassion do you have to get rid of in order to slice the throat of a little pig, a goat, a rabbit, etc?? Why don't you eat cats and dogs while you are at it? No difference here whatsoever.

It is a proven fact that animals have intelligence, emotions and can feel physical pain. Heck, anyone who has a cat or dog for a companion knows that. It is no big mystery.

And you wonder why you get obese, heart attacks, diabetes and cancer??? Eat the foods that Mother Earth provides. The kind of foods that actually nourish you. Fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, grains and legumes. You want to save money on food? Eat REAL food. Animals are companions, NOT food for us. And this myth about them overrunning the earth if they are not eaten is not true. If that is true, then how come the multibillion meat industry has to forcibly and unnaturally impregnate animals? Animals are actually being reproduced by men, NOT by natural instincts. And if there is one animal that truly is overrunning the earth by its presence, that would be MAN. 7 billions strong and growing at rapid speed every single day.
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