Ideas for a kid-friendly home hobby/business?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Ratterrierstoo, May 16, 2005.

  1. Ratterrierstoo

    Ratterrierstoo New Member

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    Hi all, I'm new here but have been reading and enjoying a lot of posts on the various themes. My family lives rurally on just over two acres, house and barn. About one acre is fenced to pasture. We homeschool our children, ages 9 years-9 months. My hubby makes a good living working in computers, but I'd really like to make a supplementary income however small. Right now I raise Rat Terriers and enjoy that but feel the need to do more. I'd like to put our pasture to work for us either raising some animals or putting something to eat in the freezer. I'd also love to have the kids be able to help out in the venture.

    Looked at raising emus, but claws and children don't seem to mix. Plus where do you market the things?
    Thought of miniature horses (dd would love that) but not sure if that would actually clear the bills involved!
    Had pygmy goats awhile but they were mighty troublesome and used up more money than they made.

    What other kinds of animal(s) are suited to a small pasture with a 4' tall fence? We're open to new and unusual ideas, just need the right mix of conditions. Something seasonal might be nice since we are schooling half the year. Also would be interested in other home-business ideas that the kids can get involved in. We are able to market wares via computer or at a local Farmer's Market.
    Anybody want to weigh in with an idea?

    Thanks! I think this is a neat community. :)
    Rebecca
     
  2. Robin183

    Robin183 Member

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    How about Alpacas?

    Robin
     

  3. Madame

    Madame Well-Known Member Supporter

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    I wouldn't recommend alpacas. They are expensive and I've been told they are bad tempered and hard to work with- skittish and irritable.
     
  4. bgak47

    bgak47 Well-Known Member

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    Rabbits...if you are willing to raise them commercially.
     
  5. Ratterrierstoo

    Ratterrierstoo New Member

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    I'd rather use the pasture than raise something in pens, but it's an idea. Need to research the local market for them (as a commercial product and not pets).

    Thank you for the replies so far... I know somebody out there has another idea that they just haven't mentioned yet. Speak up! I promise I won't laugh!

    Rebecca
     
  6. BamaSuzy

    BamaSuzy Well-Known Member

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    I sell homemade goat milk soap but my best selling item here has been "farm fresh eggs from happy chickens!" I can't keep enough eggs on hand so have 27 more baby chicks which should be laying by July (which will bring my total of laying hens to 61) and am thinking of expanding the little chicken house even more....

    Chickens are entertaining to watch too! I sell big brown eggs and blue eggs and folks just love them. I checked on the legalities and the state told me that as long as I sold them from the farm and didn't market them in stores I could sell all I want from here without grading them.
     
  7. southerngurl

    southerngurl le person Supporter

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    Since you are breeding rat terriers, you might look into selling Flint River Ranch, as I do. I have been selling it for over a year now.

    You can read about it at my website, www.naturespets.com .

    This will not use your pasture, however. LOL.

    Might also look into bees. Might look into icelandic sheep.
     
  8. Cat

    Cat Well-Known Member

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    Rebecca,

    Where do you live? Is it close to a city, very rural? Listing your state would help people give ideas. I know what might be feasible for one person wouldn't another because of the location. A lot can sell free range/cage free/pasture eggs and get a wonderful price however that wouldn't work in my location. Some, if you're interested in the meat production aspect can also sell fresh pasture raised chicken. This would require some work for the butchering unless you could hire it done, and it may be gruesome if you're not in to that type of thing. Myself, I can clean them as long as I don't have to kill them! In our area, meat goats and sheep are popular, the great thing about those is that the buyer picks them up and does the slaughter themselves. Heritage turkeys are also a very popular item these days.

    Oh well, suppose that's enough for now. You may not even be interested in this type of work but it is what I have been discussing lately with others.
     
  9. longearsfarm

    longearsfarm Well-Known Member

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    I'm also someone who is kind of stumbling into some home businesses. I sell goat's milk soap, and sell out all I can make. But it's tough to make a huge profit.

    But I bought 3 Nigerian Dwarf dairy goat does last year, and now all three are PG and due in about a month (late I know). I already have buyers for *all* the babies and did absolutely no marketing. I work for a vet and already know, barring disasters, what we're getting at least number wise. I'll make back the cost of the original goats plus. And I have a use for the milk -- my family for milk, cheese and soap -- and for my business --soap. So since you have pasture I'd recommend this breed of goats. They're small, easy to handle, super friendly, like dogs, and honestly the BEST farm animals. Kids love them. And they love kids.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Valerie
    LongEars Farm
     
  10. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

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    You could raise meat lambs over the summer on pasture, then sell them. You wouldn't have to butcher them yourselves, just take them to the processor who will do all the dirty work.

    I also like the chicken/egg idea. You can leave them for the weekend once they are grown, and if they free range they will take care of any bug problem you may have. I'd keep a few anyway, to scrape through the manure, spread it around, and eat parasites.
     
  11. longshadowfarms

    longshadowfarms Well-Known Member

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    The answer to this question really is very dependent on your location. A friend tried hard at rabbits here but couldn't swing it. If you've got the right location and outlets, you can do very well with it. Lambs do well near Islamic populations. Asians really like dark colored poultry. You could do balut if you had a good market for that. Growing organic herbs or some veggies might be another idea. I think I'd do some in depth research of your area before jumping into anything. The internet does open up an entire world for your product but you need to be willing to spend the time or $ for a website and then computer time in contact with customers. Good luck!
     
  12. Laura

    Laura Well-Known Member

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    What's been most profitable and easy for us was turkeys, pastured and fed wheat. We don't get very attached to them, either, like we do other animals.
     
  13. Ratterrierstoo

    Ratterrierstoo New Member

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    I'm sorry, I should have said right away. We live in NW Ohio.

    As to those who mentioned chickens and eggs... That's a long story. Actually I LOVE chickens! We have had them before. Unfortunately the dogs LOVE chickens too!! I don't kennel since the 4 dogs are really family companions. Then of course we get into whether we should get rid of the dogs in favor of 'livestock'. Thought about it. The kids would be crushed.
    We had a long and emotionally charged period when it was all out war between us and the dogs with the chickens in the middle. The end result is we now have an empty chicken compound that looks like something left over from a war with different types of fencing and earthworks here and there. >sigh<
    Also my sister and mother in law raise eggs and sell them roadside. OHHH, I do love chickens and I can see them pecking around and clucking to themselves out in the pasture right now!! Ahem! Sorry...

    Someone mentioned Flint River foods and I have heard of them, so I will look into that. Thanks!

    Rebecca

    OK, finished reading the other posts. We are rural, about 15 minutes from nearest town. Nearest towns are less than 40,000 people and very conservative. Nobody here seems to eat lamb (except us). The nearest big cities with diverse populations are an hour away.
    Hubby actually sets up and runs websites so the internet is not a problem for us. We can use that.
    Goats... weeelll, we did have pygmy goats as pets and had trouble selling the kids. They didn't tend to sell for enough $ to pay for the hay we had to buy to feed them over the winter. The shocker though was seeing how much hay they waste. Money literally trampled underfoot. How do you feed the buggers without the waste?
    I am tempted to do dairy type goats and get into that milk soap thing. But once bitten, twice shy. My husband would probably have a fit if I said I want goats again.
    But I am not counting anything out completely. I love all your ideas, people!
     
  14. Conni

    Conni Well-Known Member

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    What about some type of orchard??? Apple trees, grapes, blueberries?, strawberrie? Christmas trees?

    Top soil- can you sell top soil or rock?

    Calves? 1 could feed on your pasture- have it bred, have a baby and butcher or sell one of them?

    sorry if I am repeating- i didnt read all of the posts.
     
  15. cc-rider

    cc-rider Baroness of TisaWee Farm Supporter

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    Hmmmm... I think I'd go the turkey route. The huge free-range turkey place in Swanton (?) just closed shop. Old man retired and kids don't want to do it. The daughter works with me. No more turkeys in that area!

    CC (also in NW Ohio!)
     
  16. Mel-

    Mel- Well-Known Member

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    ebay? do you know anything about antiques and collectibles or are you willing to put the time in studying prices in completed auctions? kid can help all along the way from buying (especially if buying from auctions, they can cart won items to the car or guard won items while you are looking/bidding on other things). they can help clean, take pictures, pack, etc. depends of course on how old they are. also depends on how much extra income a month you want and how much time you can put into it.

    home daycare?
     
  17. babetteq

    babetteq Well-Known Member

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    what about angora rabbits? You can sell the fur and you don't have to kill them to do it. It might be a good project for kids to sit and pluck the fur out to sell. Nice angora goes for a pretty penny and you need a bunch of bunnies to do it. The dogs would be an issue, but a good pen should fix that problem (a good pen and a hose!)

    babs
     
  18. foxtrapper

    foxtrapper Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Meat goats is a growing market. A 1 acre pasture won't hold many though. If you're direct selling to buyers, you get your highest profit, so you don't need that many to make a buck or two. If you're willing and able to handle ritual slaughtering on your place, you get the absolute highest price. But allowing ritual slaughter has it's own drawbacks, starting with the FDA.

    Geese are another possibility, though that market is not strong at all. It's very micro-regional. They are cheap to raise and you can eat them if it doesn't pan out.

    Beekeeping. Honey sells well. Not the cheapest thing to get started in though.

    Earthworms. It's a strange one, but it tends to be profitable. You're selling fishing worms. Very low capital costs.

    Produce. As in big garden and a roadside stand. But you and the kids have to be willing to man it and do the work. I do know some that do unmanned stands with a cash box on the honor system. There is theft, but it tend to be more honest than you'd expect.

    Specialized produce. As in something strange that a local specialty market or resturant will want. It's very risky and hard to do, but has the potential for tremendous profit. From ****aki mushrooms to broomstraw grass.

    Victory gardening. Essentially a pick your own garden. You oversee the massive garden, with buyers coming in at the begining getting either a percentage of the crop or a specific area of the garden. It seems to be a neater idea than it pans out to be.

    Boarding. You could board a horse or two. Horse folks pay silly amounts of money to board their critters. They want to be able to ride them though.