Living on 73 acres, you learn pretty quickly that farm animals are really a necessity and not just because they are cute, fluffy and you have extra money to spend. We live roughly 15 miles from our town (small though it is) so we need to keep the basics on hand. In fact, you could almost consider us preppers. Not that we expect the world apocalypse or the nation's economy to fall, but we do live in an area with tornado activity. (Plus, I have no desire to run to town daily b/c I forgot to buy it the day before.) What does this have to do with animals? Let me explain...
Chickens. We have 24 right now (12 adults, 12 chicks) and I am incubating more. I can't say they are great for keeping the bugs away because I don't let mine free range. Now, before I get lots of peta comments, they get treats daily and I always make sure to throw grass clippings, meal worms,etc... to them so they have lots to do and eat. My chickens think if they are allowed OUTSIDE their coop, they should lay their eggs outside the coop as well. I became tired of playing Easter egg hunt every day to be honest. Plus, if you garden, it has to be enclosed completely because chickens do not care if your squash or green beans are almost ready to harvest, they will scratch and destroy the plants to find the teeny-tiny bug in the center of the plant... just because they can. Our hens do quite well in keeping us supplied with brown eggs and we have 2 roosters to continue the line. The rest of the roosters? Well, sorry but in the pot they go, which only adds to the farming experience.
Rabbits. We have A rabbit currently but are getting a few more so we can start breeding them. Not because they are cute and fluffy. Not because I planted too many carrots. They are production rabbits and will be culled at 8 weeks old. Now, again, no peta comments. Our doctor told us that rabbit meat would be GREAT for our twins' digestion problems since the medicine isn't really working and I see no point in buying the meat at the supermarket for an OUTRAGEOUS price when we can raise them much cheaper. For anyone with digestion problems ( heartburn, acid reflux), rabbit meat can be used as a replacement in any chicken recipe (I swear it almost does taste like chicken...) and you will be amazed at the difference it will make.
Goats. Okay, I have to admit: I love our goats. We have a Nubian and a Nubian/Brush Goat mix that have been in our family (between us and my hubby's parents) for the past 8 years. They are GREAT lawn mowers! In fact, I haven't mowed our backyard in over a year since we brought them to our house. (In-laws are sick and couldn't take care of them any longer). Not only that, goats' milk is also GREAT for digestion problems. It has made a HUGE difference in our kids' issues and I can honestly say that I actually dislike using cows' milk for anything but cooking now.
That's all the animals we have so far... well, unless you count the 2 dogs, 2 cats and 2 fish. And the guineas in the incubator. But next year, we're adding 2 horses, 2 steers and maybe (if I can talk the hubby into it) a pig or 2. I figure that if we own this much land, we might as well put it to use! lol