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Urban Farming: Livestock (Goats, chickens, rabbits, and bees)

Urban farming is great!  When most people think of urban farming, they probably think of small gardens.  Urban farming is often that, but many urban farmers are also keeping livestock these days.   Some common urban farm livestock are chickens, goats, bees, and rabbits.  

CHICKENS

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Imagine fresh eggs whenever you want.  When you keep chickens, that could be a reality.  

In the early 1900s, it was common for families to have a few chickens -- even in urban settings!  Now it's becoming more popular for people to keep chickens again.  

The Keeping Chickens blog can help you get started (hasn't been updated in a long time but has good info) and Urban Farm Magazine has great chicken keeping resources.   We'll also be doing a more in-depth post about chicken keeping soon.

 

 

BEES

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The benefits to backyard beekeeping are numerous.  Some types of bees will produce honey and many will help your garden thrive!

The best part is that raising bees doesn't actually require a lot of work.  Many urban beekeepers say that you just need to check on your hives weekly.  

Many areas have local beekeeping clubs where you can take classes and borrow or rent equipment like a honey extractor.  Definitely buy your own protective gear, though!  

The Daily Green has an excellent guide for beekeeping beginners.

GOATS

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I always thought that if I were to begin keeping livestock, I'd love to have goats.  Unfortunately, once I began doing research on urban goat keeping, I found the information more sobering than I expected.  

Goats can be somewhat tricky to keep.  First, to keep goats can be very time consuming.  In order to keep a female goat lactating for goats milk, they need to be bred annually.  Goats also don't like to be alone, so you need to have several of them -- but goats don't get along with dogs!

However, people who keep goats often love doing so!  And you can have fresh goat's milk and make your own cheese whenever you want.

Urban Farm Magazine has info on keeping goats and urban farmer Novella Carpenter has a blog.  

 

RABBITS

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Until recently, I didn't even realize that rabbits were kept by urban farmers.  

Some people keep rabbits for their wool.  Many rabbit breeds produce wool every year -- including angora rabbits.  Urban Farm Magazine has information about raising rabbits for their wool.  

Some also raise rabbits for their meat.  This site has info about raising rabbits for meat.  The site also mentions that it's very easy to keep rabbits.

 

 

Check with your city to make sure keeping livestock is legal.  Some cities have ordinances against it.  

Any urban farmers out there who keep livestock?  We'd love to hear about your experiences.