Beating Food Challenges: Raising Meat, Eggs, and Dairy

From rabbits and laying hens to dairy and beef cattle, there are food-producing animals for everything from small backyards to huge ranches.

That’s a good thing, because drought-caused grain shortages are filtering down to supplies of meat, eggs, and dairy products.

An example is the effect on dairy herds, explained by the Daily Dairy Report:

Extreme drought this summer meant higher prices to feed dairy cows, and now the U.S. faces the smallest dairy herd in almost a decade. That means higher milk prices, and not just for the kind you drink. Lots of types of food companies are affected, and the impact depends on the type of milk product they use. (Read more in this article at

Feed issues are causing similar shortages and price hikes in factory and small-farm meat, poultry, and egg production.

What does that mean for us? Now is the time to be thinking about raising some meat, poultry, eggs, or dairy.

Not only will it help with supply challenges, but it’s a great feeling to know that you can provide a complete meal with protein sources to go along with what you raise in the garden. But you must also Caring for Livestock

Think about what will work for you and learn all about it!

5 Important Tips on Raising Roosters

Homesteading for beginners making a living homesteading

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Our Resource List

Livestock for the backyard or farm:

Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals by Gail Damerow

Small-Scale Livestock Farming: A Grass-Based Approach by Carol Ekarius

BackYardHerds Forum

Which meat animal should you raise? at

Poultry in general:

Storey’s Guide to Raising Poultry by Glenn Drowns

Pastured Poultry Profits by Joel Salatin

The Small Scale Poultry Flock by Harvey Ussery

Raising Backyard Chickens Made Simple Part 1

Raising Backyard Chickens Made Simple Part 2


Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens by Gail Damerow

Success With Baby Chicks by Robert Plamondon

The Chicken Encyclopedia by Gail Damerow

Backyard Chickens Forum

The Chicken Chick blog

Fresh Eggs Daily blog

Other poultry:

Raising Quail by Allen Easterly at Backwoods Home Magazine

Raising Ducks by Liz Wright at Mother Earth News

Raising Turkeys at Home by Herman Beck-Chenoweth at Mother Earth News

Raising Guinea Fowl by Jeannette S. Ferguson


Storey’s Guide to Raising Rabbits by Bob Bennett

Backyard Herds Rabbit Forum

Rudolph’s Rabbit Ranch

Whisper’s Rabbitry

How to Raise Backyard Rabbits by Aubrey Vaughn at Mother Earth News

Beef cattle:

Salad Bar Beef by Joel Salatin

Storey’s Guide to Raising Beef Cattle by Heather Smith Thomas

Raising Beef Cattle on a Few Acres from Utah State University Extension

Dairy cows:

The Backyard Cow by Sue Weaver

Dairy at Home from Hobby Farms Magazine


Storey’s Guide to Raising Pigs by Kelly Klober

Raising Your Own Backyard Pig by Kay Wolfe from Countryside Magazine


Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger

Storey’s Guide to Raising Meat Goats by Maggie Sayer

Raising Goats for Fun and Profit by Janet Wallace from GRIT Magazine


Storey’s Guide to Raising Sheep by Carol Ekarius

Basics of Raising Sheep from Sheep 101


About Alpaca Meat from

About Camel Milk from Oasis Camel Dairy

Camelid Husbandry from Camelidynamics

All About Raising Alpacas by Janet Wallace from GRIT Magazine

All About Raising Llamas by Jon Geller from Mother Earth News


While we’re talking about animals, we can’t leave out fish and honey bees…


Is Fish Farming for You? 

How to Raise Fish for Food at Home from Mother Earth News

Honey bees:

Storey’s Guide to Keeping Honey Bees by Richard E. Bonney

Raising Honeybees from Beekeeping for Beginners


And don’t forget to evaluate your needs for livestock protection!

Livestock guardians:

RLT Livestock Guardian Animals (donkeys, llamas, livestock guardian dogs)

RLT Livestock Guardian Dogs


Key to the Rural Living Today Network blog posts listed above:

RLT = Rural Living Today (our main website and blog: encouragement for the urban/suburban to rural transition)


Previous posts in our Beating Food Challenges series:

Ten Realistic Ways to Overcome a Food Crisis

More About Beating Food Shortages and High Prices

Beating Food Challenges: Growing Veggies, Herbs, and Fruit


In this series, we’re listing some great resources for each of our ten topics: growing vegetables, herbs, and fruit; raising meat, eggs, and dairy; local food sources and buying freezer meat; food storage; food preservation; sprouting; foraging; bartering; and learning more and more to help along the way.