Editor’s note: The writer lives in Alaska.
Choosing the right livestock for your homestead is an important decision. You may know what kinds of animals you want — ducks, chickens, pigs, cattle, etc. — but how do you choose the right breed?
Too often when choosing a specific breed of livestock, the winter hardiness of the animal gets overlooked. When winter rolls around with her cold breath, you want to ensure you have livestock that will require little supplemental heat. Heat is energy, and when you’re already trying to keep your family warm, you don’t want to waste precious energy trying to keep your livestock warm unless it is absolutely necessary.
In this article, I will go over some of the common types of livestock people choose for their homestead and then explore some of the most winter-hardy breeds. For poultry, I will focus on breeds that are typically used for laying, assuming that any poultry kept through the winter will be primarily used as a source of eggs.
Choosing livestock that is appropriate for your geographical area is incredibly important and can save you a lot of time and energy while making your winter preparations.
It is hard to find more winter-hardy poultry than ducks.