Most retirement strategies focus on “wealth creation”. The aim is to provide you with enough cash to maintain your extravagant pre-retirement lifestyle. Not necessarily a bad thing in itself, but there is a better way – using self sufficiency as a retirement strategy!
In this third part of this series we look at keeping livestock as part of self-sufficiency in retirement.
Animals can be problematic, you need more space than vegetable growing and they will need a greater or lesser amount of care. Chickens are probable the ideal livestock for the backyard pastoralist. They are cheap to acquire and feed, comparatively quiet and easy to house and they provide eggs, manure and hours of entertainment. I house mine in a moveable house or “chook tractor” which I then locate over my veggie beds. They clean up bugs and weeds (after the veggie cycle is completed) dig up the beds and manure them in situ. A winner all round but you must make sure they can’t dig there way out and get access to your growing veggies – they are very abrasive and where you have chooks and veggies together you wind up with just chooks!
If you don’t have enough room for vertebrates, maybe you could try insects (bees) or mollusks (snails). Of the two, snails are the easiest but you have to be able to consume the end product – escargot – or there is not much point. Bees do require some knowledge and equipment but give you honey, wax, propolis and pollination in return.
You may want to look at keeping rabbits for meat, but around here we even have trouble dispatching a chook when required, so something as small, furry and cute as a rabbit is perfectly safe. Again, if you can’t bring yourself to “harvest” the produce, you have just saddled yourself with an extra pet. I did see one group who located their rabbit pens over a worm farm and got some product out of them that way.