Reasons you should NOT become a backyard homesteader… I guess you’re probably wondering what this is all about. I tend to talk about all the virtues of homesteading and backyard farming here on the blog. I love to share all the reasons we need to work on be sustainable, self-sufficient and bring back vintage skills that are dying away. But should everyone really be a homesteader? I am going to share 10 reasons that you need to consider; they might be you should not become a backyard homesteader (at least not right away).
Please don’t be offended. Just read, take it in and really consider if this lifestyle is for you. If you’re not ready to hear some hard truth you might just want to shut this page now; and by all means, feel free to completely ignore me.
10 Reasons You Should NOT Become a Backyard Homesteader
Ok, these 10 reasons to not become a backyard homesteader are in random order. This really is my public service announcement for anyone that might have a skewed idea on this life. If you can get through this list and you still want to be a backyard homesteader then let’s high five and get you going!
I think chickens are so cute and I want fresh eggs.
I’ll be the first person to tell you that I think chickens are cute; I love watching them do their thing while I drink my morning coffee. BUT they can also be little turds who pick on the weaker bird in the flock. They poop everywhere…and I do mean EVERYWHERE. If given the opportunity they’ll take down are garden in a day; they can be worse that horn worms!
Can you deal with mites? Lice? Bumble foot? Or any of the other countless crap that can happen to outdoor livestock?
And here’s the thing…laying hens are only truly productive for about 2 years. Are you going to be able to eat said hen when her laying time is done? Do you have room to keep a hen that isn’t really laying anymore?
I like the idea of raising my own meat.
I am a great believer in raising a sustainable meat source in a backyard; like quail or rabbits. BUT are you really ready to take the life of an animal? It is never easy for me, I don’t like it and if I can get my husband to do it I will. But the fact remains that if you want a small-scale livestock in your yard for meat…you’re going to have to kill it. When you raise large livestock you can have them butchered for a fee (and not a small fee); but most of those facilities do not even butcher chickens, much less quail and rabbits.
And here’s the thing…sometimes babies get hurt are they are ill and you’ll need to cull them. The first time I had to cull a little baby rabbit I cried for an hour. Not only because it was sad to do it but I was pretty sure my daughter would need life-long therapy after.
I just love all the cute pictures I see on blogs.
There are a lot of blogs with super cute and really beautiful pictures of their backyard garden, chickens and other livestock. Most of them either are using stock photography, getting a very good angle so you don’t see the rest of the crap or they have a lot of money to hire people to help them. I am sure there are a few that don’t fall into any of those categories but most do. Because the reality is homesteading is dirty…
And just FYI many homesteading and prepping blogs write about stuff they’ve never actually done. Get to know your bloggers. They are some of the reasons not to become a backyard homesteader.
I’m sure I can find time around my full time job and hobbies.
I am a stay at home mom. I do work on the blog and I homeschool which are pretty much full time jobs but I am at home doing them. I don’t really have ANY hobbies outside of homesteading and homeschooling. I wouldn’t have time for them; something would be left undone on my micro farm, period.
Yes I know people who work full time and homestead; and they spend their entire weekend catching up on farm work they couldn’t get to during the week. It is hard and many get burnt out quickly and quit.
Gardening seems pretty easy and buying organic in the store is so expensive.
Ya’ll…gardening is not easy; I’m always battling something. The last 2 years it has been RATS. Yes folks in my little suburban farm I have had big stinking rodents eating my garden. They wiped out about 1/2 of it last fall. I found out that I have zero compassion for rodents and became quite the hunter. Then you have the bugs, wild birds and your own stinking chickens (if they free range).
Even if you’e composting you will have to buy soil when you first start out…and that isn’t cheap if you want good stuff.
If you live in a hot and dry climate like mine, your water bill is going to be shocking. And let me just say, in the Arizona summer I have to buy shade cloth to keep my garden from burning up.
BUT I do love that I grow heritage vegetables, organically. I love that I can shop my backyard for a meal, almost year round (when rats aren’t getting it first). And I love when I water it isn’t being wasted on a huge lawn that feeds nothing.
I’d like to have a money making blog about backyard homesteading.
Ok, I feel ya. But let me tell you that it isn’t as easy as it seems. And I spend hundreds every month just to keep my blog running…hundreds (the more followers and traffic the more my expenses go up). The reality is that most blogs fail within the first year and don’t really start making any money for 3 – 4 years.
Please do not become a backyard homesteader because you want to blog about it.
My friend is doing it.
Ok, I am only going to pull out a momism here… would you jump off a cliff because your friend did it? Buy their eggs or veggies and call it a day.
I can have gardens and livestock and still have a place to hang out in my small backyard.
Maybe if you have an acre or more but not if you are truly a backyard homesteader that wants to be as self-sufficient as possible. Every inch of my backyard is dedicated to homesteading. Even my porch is covered in pots growing herbs and veggies; I have a table, chairs and a bbq but we don’t spend much social time out there.
My HOA / neighbors won’t even notice.
Maybe if you’re only gardening. But you are going to have to work to keep a stealth coop. And if you are not diligent about keeping your backyard farm clean, the flies alone are going to give you away. Don’t even get me started on the noise; hens are much quieter than roosters but they love to announce when they are laying an egg. Your best bet for quiet livestock are rabbits (please see above about death).
I don’t deal well with failing but I’m sure it will work out.
Stop. Do not even think about the homestead life if you cannot deal with failure. Gardens die, animals die, canning jars break in the canner…need I go on? Before you even consider backyard homesteading you need to come to terms with failure and a lot of it in the beginning.
If you made it to the end of this list and you think you’re still ready for a backyard homestead then I’m excited for you. This life is full of challenges but they are so worth it in the end. I really didn’t write this to talk you out of homesteading but to really make your think before you leap.
Happy Homesteading my friends!