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8 Most Profitable Farming Animals | 2023 USA Smart Farmer’s Guide

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Let’s brainstorm the eight most profitable farming animals for 2023! Because meat, eggs, honey, milk, fur, wool, and leather matter – and have enjoyed a historically high demand worldwide.

That’s why raising livestock has been an effective revenue generation method since roughly 13,000 years before Jesus walked the Earth. Animal husbandry predates the first known planting of food crops. That’s a long time ago!

The point is that today, right now, is still an excellent time to begin raising animals for a profit on your homestead. There’s no doubt about it.

But which are the most profitable animals to farm in 2023 USA?

There are loads of lovely creatures to choose to rear, and each of them has its own unique set of advantages and challenges.

Of course, your lifestyle matters along with your preferences, climatic conditions, the acreage of your homestead, available resources, and physical ability to provide day-to-day care for the animals.

So, let’s explore eight of the most profitable farm animals to consider raising. We’ll look at what you need and what’s involved with raising each type, and how much money you can expect to earn.

Let’s get crackin’!

8 of the Most Profitable Farm Animals to Raise In 2023

The Most Profitable Farm Animals to Raise on Your Homestead [USA Guide]

There are dozens of different types of animals that you can raise for money, food, wool, or just for companionship. However, not all animals are equally profitable.

Some require much more care than others. Some get sick surprisingly fast. And others just aren’t pleasant to host on your homestead!

But we’re here to discuss the most profitable animals to raise, understanding that profit is a relative term.

Profit can mean straight monetary revenue. Profit also refers to something that provides your family’s survival needs, saves you money, makes you healthier, or all of the above.

And so, based on those factors, let’s take a closer look at the following profitable animals. Shall we?

  1. Honeybees
  2. Chickens
  3. Ducks
  4. Rabbits
  5. Sheep
  6. Alpacas
  7. Goats
  8. Livestock Guardian Dogs

Except for Number 1: Honeybees, these profitable livestock animals are not listed in any particular order. I chose honeybees first because I believe all homesteaders should keep bees, and they’re about as inexpensive to begin working with as you could hope for. Let’s get to know them better!

1. Honeybees

honeycomb stuffed with fresh golden honey and bees
Bees are underrated and profitable farm animals. Revenue streams for beekeepers include selling honey and pollination services. (Beeswax is also an underrated revenue source, but it won’t make you rich. It sells for around $3 to $10 per pound.) We also have a warning about bees for anyone thinking about raising them. Watch out for bears! Neither black bears nor brown bears can resist the sweet taste of honey. We can’t blame them. Fresh bee honey is too good to resist! The problem is that the bears won’t stop after they devour the honey. They also love gobbling the entire hive. Bees included!

Research has long shown that honey offers rather miraculous health benefits – like helping to heal wounds, enhancing nutrition, and even treating cancer.

People have been enjoying honey and using bees’ wax for various purposes since ancient times, and these products have never been more in-demand than they are today.

Some of the undeniable benefits bees will bring to your homestead include the following.

  • They require very little care outside of a protected environment to thrive in
  • You can sell organic bee honey for a pretty penny or eat it
  • You don’t need a lot of space to set up some bee hives
  • Bees will pollinate your garden crops, fruit trees, plants, and flowers
  • Bee’s wax is also tremendously valuable

Sounds pretty good. Right? So, what’s involved with becoming a beekeeper?

First, you must buy or build one or more beehives and ensure close access to a clean water source, like a birdbath or a small pond.

Protective fencing around your beehives will help keep raccoons, skunks, black bears, and other nocturnal marauders from molesting and robbing your precious bees.

Hey! Leave my bees alone!

How Much Money Can You Make From Beekeeping?

You can quickly recoup the expenses of the hives, bees, protective clothing, and other equipment needed to start beekeeping.

Honey has never been as expensive as it is now. Right now, I am looking at my Instacart app for honey, and it’s running at about $11 for 16 ounces.

Beeswax candles and soap are also huge sellers, always in high demand. If you have quality honey and bee wax to sell, it will sell. No problemo!

According to the American Institute for Economic Research, the average US salary for a beekeeper ranges between $40K – $60K, depending on location and the keeper’s experience level.

That’s tough to beat! So, as I said, I recommend that every homesteader, farmer, and rancher start keeping bees. They’re imperative for global sustainability. And they can make you a lot of money!

2. Chickens

farmyard dog hanging out with free range backyard chickens
We put chickens near the top of our list of profitable farm animals. First, consider the insanely high cost of eggs. Several sources say egg costs have increased 70% during the last year! The constantly rising egg cost is reason enough for us to raise chickens. But chickens make more than just eggs. Chickens also create loads of chicken poop fertilizer – which is critical for farmers and homesteaders since fertilizer costs have more than doubled from 2021 to 2022. If saving cash on eggs and fertilizer isn’t enough, consider that the US demand for chicken meat has also increased recently. And we don’t see the demand falling off a cliff anytime soon! (Chickens can also benefit from having a guard dog. More on that later!)

Raising a small flock of free-range chickens doesn’t cost that much cash. And the rewards can be impressive. Chickens are low-cost animals that can scale (up or down) to your available resources. They’re excellent animals for beginning homesteaders to gain experience with.

Each chicken requires only about four square feet of space in the coop, and a single nesting box accommodates three or four hens.

(We always advise more coop and nesting box space – in a perfect world. With four to six feet being the absolute minimum. We think eight to ten feet per bird is more relaxed – and the bigger, the better.)

Of course, an electric fence is perfect for keeping predators away from your birds. Run chicken wire atop the coop to keep hawks from swooping in to steal them! (Chickens invite coyotes, raccoons, and black bears. Be careful – and protect your chicken coop.)

You can use store-bought feed as a base diet for your cluckers, but they also love to peck at just about anything – including table scraps, weeds, compost, and especially bugs. If you allow your chickens to roam around your yard, you’ll find you have a lot fewer insects trying to get in your home!

How Can You Make Money Raising Chickens?

There are various ways to make money from raising chickens, including:

  1. Selling newly hatched chicklets
  2. Selling chicken meat
  3. Selling their feathers
  4. Selling their eggs
  5. Making chicken fertilizer

Sadly, on my Instacart app, the free-range, organic chicken eggs I prefer cost $10.29 per dozen. And poultry meat costs at least twice what it did a short time back.

That’s insane! But we’ll all get through and back to better times.

So, especially right now, a penny saved is a penny earned, particularly for those of us with homesteading mindsets.

So, consider the value of always having fresh free-range egg production and chickens for food. Producing these animal products yourself can save you a lot of money over a year!

If you decide to raise chickens, research which breeds are best for your desired purposes. Some chicken breeds are better for meat, some for egg-laying, and some excel in both arenas.

If you think of raising chickens, you should also look at the profitability of raising ducks on your farm.

Ducks are super-fun!

(And their ducklings are so cute!)

3. Ducks

domestic ducks foraging and snacking in the backyard
Backyard ducks are surprisingly profitable farm animals. They produce some of the best eggs of any backyard poultry you can raise. Ducks also offer soft, fluffy feathers and delicious, savory meat. And free-range ducks are some of the best foragers – they love eating slugs, snails, spiders, flies, grubs, wild grass, algae, and any other free protein snack they find. In addition to wild forage, backyard ducks should have access to nutritionally-balanced duck pellet feed. A 50-pound bag only costs around $20 or $30 from Tractor Supply.

Ducks produce delectable meat and nutrient eggs that are considerably larger than chicken eggs. Ducks usually prefer staying outside for at least six hours every day. But ducks only require two to three square feet of space when indoors. Ducks are also defenseless if caught off guard – and predators love eating them! So you’ll have to ensure secure fencing to protect them.

You can make money with ducks by selling duck meat and eggs. Or by selling baby ducklings, which go for a selling price of about $5 per head, depending on where you are and the breed you’re buying. You can also sell adult egg-laying ducks, as well as the feathers. Plus, like chicken poop, duck manure makes excellent fertilizer.

4. Rabbits

young bunny rabbits peeking out of their hutch
Rabbits are perfect pets and homestead companions. They’re also among our most profitable farming animals. Farmers raising rabbits can monetize them via their delicious and healthy meat, Angora wool, and rabbit pelts. Some ranchers also raise bunnies for laboratory stock. The best part is that rabbits are famous for having excellent feed conversion. In other words – rabbits are highly efficient and produce lots of meat (or fur) compared to their dietary requirements. Rabbits also have other benefits. They’re easy to care for, adorable, and usually friendly. We also found an excellent Fryer Rabbit Budget worksheet that makes a helpful starting point for new rabbit ranchers.

Everything in nature loves to eat rabbits – especially ME!

Rabbit meat is to die for!

Seriously though, rabbits are excellent animals to start farming for profit. They don’t need a lot of space. Plus, they’re quiet and require very little from you except to keep them safe, fed, and hydrated with access to fresh water.

You can feed rabbits store-bought rabbit pellets, give them veggie scraps, or even feed them hay and grass. They like munching on just about anything green.

You can begin a money-making rabbit colony with just a few females and a buck. The average rabbit litter has about six babies, each of which can get culled for meat production at about eight weeks of age.

I can tell you firsthand that dispatching and cleaning a rabbit for cooking is much easier and cleaner than doing the same to a chicken. Rabbits don’t have feathers, which makes all the difference! On that note, rabbits have lovely pelts. Rabbit pelts can still bring a pretty penny.

Read More!

5. Sheep

curious sheep standing in a green grassy field staring at the camera
Here’s one of the most famous farm animals for profit. Sheep! Farmers raise sheep for meat and wool. Lamb (young sheep) and mutton (older sheep) are the primary sheep meat markets. Wool is also a big seller. And the secret to raising sheep for wool is choosing one of the best sheep wool breeds! Luckily, we amassed a list of the 15 best wool sheep breeds, and we don’t leave out any details. We showcase the best and most famous sheep breeds for wool – including breeds capable of making wool for socks, scarfs, winter hats, blankets, carpets, and fine apparel.

Sheep are hardy animals that don’t require a lot from their shepherds. They can sustain themselves and remain healthy with access to forage and water. They also need shelter at night and protection from predators, as they are not the best fighters! (We admit, the rams are tough as nails. But they still need help fending off coyotes and wolves.)

There are a lot of different sheep breeds, and you need to carefully consider which are best suited for your local climatic conditions, accessibility to water, and soil quality. Typically, you can keep up to four sheep on a single acre of property with adequate forage.

You can make money raising and selling sheep meat, milk, and fleece. You can also sell lambs. Lambs could bring about $100 per animal. Given that ewes produce liters of two to four lambs, on average, it would probably require a herd of about 50 sheep to generate a healthy annual revenue stream.

6. Alpacas

cute alpaca looking at the camera
Alpacas are nowhere near as popular as goats, sheep, cows, or chickens on American farms. But don’t overlook them! These wooly, adorable creatures are profitable farm animals resembling affable denizens from Whoville. (We also think alpacas would fit in with the Fraggles from Fraggle Rock.) Either way – Alpacas make luxurious wool that sells for around $25 for just over two pounds. Alpacas also create wheelbarrows of fertilizer. And – farmers can also breed and sell Alpacas. The cost of Alpacas varies big time according to origin and age. (Some adult Alpacas can cost well over $100,000.)

Alpacas produce highly desirable raw fleece three times stronger than sheep wool, plus a lot softer. These odd-looking animals make challenging but sensible investments for many homesteaders. Raising alpacas is a lucrative market!

Just be aware that, like sheep, they are herd animals and get very lonely and anxious when alone, so you always need to buy at least two. Even though they are insanely cute, they’re also quite hardy and require little from their keepers.

You can raise six alpacas on a single acre of land. Besides what they graze on, they commonly need raw oats and vitamin supplements to get them through the cold winters. No worries, though! Per-animal feed costs are easily manageable.

You can expect to pay at least $2,000 for a female alpaca, which can produce roughly 10 pounds of raw fleece annually. That fleece sells for about $3 per ounce, meaning one animal can generate approximately $500 per year just in fiber.

And if you breed alpacas, you can sell offspring for up to $1,500 per head. Notably, some prize-winning alpacas (easily) sell for $20,000. Or much more. Not a shabby source of income!

7. Goats

white domestic goat relaxing in the barn
Goats are easily one of the most profitable farming animals. The demand for goat milk, meat, and cheese is steadily increasing in the USA. Goats are also perfect for rural or urban farmers since feeding costs are much less than cattle. And goats offer more than tasty meat and cheese. They also eat boatloads of weeds! Their reputation for agility and eagerly devouring weeds in tough-to-reach places has also led to the popularity of goat-scaping. Goat-scaping empowers nearby residents to rent a pack of goats to de-weed yards and farms. (Hungry goat brigades for hire. We love the idea!)

Goat farming can be a blast! A small herd of goats in a protected pen can earn you money from meat and milk. And goat meat is the best! Did you know the USDA reports that goat meat is the 4th most popularly eaten meat type worldwide?

It’s true.

That means that these bold, odd animals can be highly profitable. The trick is to have enough protected acres of land for them to hang out and thrive on. (Without being harassed or hornswoggled by local coyotes!)

When you’re goat farming, each goat will need about 15 square feet of space, and you need tight fencing because they’re freakishly cunning and markedly adept climbers!

Luckily, goats aren’t very picky and like to eat nearly anything, including the following.

  • Healthy kitchen scraps
  • Tree Bark
  • Flowers
  • Shrubs
  • Vegetable gardens
  • Fruit trees
  • Grasses
  • Weeds
  • Grain
  • Hay
  • Anything that grows and is within their reach!

You also have to watch out for goats in cool, wet climates as they are prone to developing hoof issues and parasitic infections. Goats like life better and stay healthier in dry, hot climates.

Goat milk is the best for making cheese, yogurt, soap, and other sellable products. You could earn $1,000 – $2,000 annually with just two goats. And, as mentioned, goat meat is usually in demand – no matter where you live. (Within reason.)

You can also earn by selling goat kids, which could cost roughly $200 per head. Plus, some goat farmers earn hundreds of dollars daily by renting their goat herds out to people who need foliage control. Now, that’s an excellent, passive way to earn income!

8. Livestock Guardian Dogs

guard dog watching over and leading sheep flock
Here’s one of our favorite livestock guardian dog breeds and one of the most profitable farming animals. The mighty Great Pyrenees! Great Pyrenees help protect livestock from predators like wolves, coyotes, foxes, and human thieves. And they’re experts at their job! They’re loyal and defensive, yet they also love your fellow family members. However, we admit they are insanely alert dogs and may bark at mail carriers, cats, chipmunks, and other visitors that you do not deem dangerous. We read that guard dogs reduced coyote lamb predation by 43%. And while it’s impossible to calculate how much money a livestock guardian dog can save you – the peace of mind is invaluable. Keep your flock safe! (These dogs can help!)

Livestock guardian dogs (LGDs) can be the wisest and most valuable investments a goat or livestock farmer can make. You’ll need one LGD for every 50 livestock animals. (Or so.)

Livestock dogs are indispensable on larger farms with massive flocks or herds to care for.

These courageous, dedicated protectors live to guard and defend your livestock and property from predators, thieves, or whatever else may threaten the domain. They keep animals safe. It’s what they do.

Of course, LGDs need to get trained early to learn the skills they need to do their jobs well. Rottweilers, German Shepherds, Great Pyrenees, and Anatolian Shepherds make excellent LGDs.

But remember, these working canines should live outdoors with your livestock. They are not family dogs. However, livestock dogs are not vicious and get trained to accept your family animals and not consider them as livestock threats.

Of course, you can breed and sell livestock guardian dogs, too. A litter of eight Great Pyrenees puppies can sell for an easy $8,000. Or more. Food for thought!

Closing Thoughts about the Most Profitable Farming Animals In 2023 In the USA

There’s no question that you can create various supplemental income streams to support your homestead by raising animals for profit. Aside from the cash you can sell them for, you can also save a lot of money by not having to buy items like free-range chicken eggs for $11 per dozen (INSANE!).

Just be sure that, no matter which types of livestock animals you choose to raise, you check with your local government representatives to ensure which animals you’re permitted to host and sell where you live. Every state and every city has its own rules and regulations. (No fun. We know.)

There will always be value in meat, milk, eggs, fur, and leather. And especially honey. So, why wait another day to procure and care for some of the lovely livestock animals reviewed above?

With some basic shelter, food, water, and protection, your profitable livestock animals will provide extra income for your farm. And also excellent learning opportunities for your children. And yourself!

What about you?

Which profitable farm animals sound the best in your neck of the woods?

Let us know!

And thanks again for reading.

Have a great day!

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