Turning your backyard into a barnyard

Turning your backyard into a barnyard

Posted by Janice Stillman on 31st Jan 2020

Converting your backyard into a barnyard can make you feel like you have the working farm you’ve always wanted. But it’s more responsibility, not less, and your animals will let you know when you’re late with their dinner. You’re going to love it!



Dear Barnyard Believer,

Who among us doesn’t aspire to self-sufficiency? Equipped with only a little land and less knowledge, we think about getting some chickens for the backyard. And as long as we’re feeding the chickens, why not raise a pig? Or a goat? Maybe even a cow? How about a horse?

The desire for healthy, affordable food and a connection to animals has driven a backyard livestock boom. Knowing the pros and cons of common farm animals can help you to make a good choice–or send you to the nearest market, happy to empty your wallet.

The Backyard Chicken Coop

The domestic chicken can be traced back some 10,000 years. Today, the world has three times as many chickens as human beings, but you may not recognize all of them: In suburbs where they are prohibited by zoning, people have been known to put their chickens in dog costumes. (Though we have yet to hear a chicken bark.)

The pros of keeping chickens include eggs, of course. But if you get one of the smaller (little) breeds, you will know before everyone else when the sky is falling. (Cue the laugh track.) In all seriousness, though, you can keep a few chickens in far less space than a goat or pig or cow.

And on average it takes only 2 pounds of feed to produce 1 pound of chicken meat.

As for the cons, keeping your brood safe may be a challenge, as foxes, coyotes, and weasels all love chickens. And no matter how hard you try, you can NOT milk a chicken.

Get Your Goat

Really, you can’t milk a chicken. But you can milk a goat. Fresh goat milk (which you can use to make cheese) is one of the big pros of having a goat. Goats are also highly social–curious, interactive, and smart. You can read to a goat, and it will listen. Plus, baby goats (kids) are hilarious. They love to hop on top of sheep and adult goats.

The downside of keeping goats is the, shall we say, essence of billy goat. If you have an intact billy goat, you will know it. So will your downwind neighbors. And everyone you meet at the store if you wear your barn clothes. Billy thinks that this is awesome, and occasionally, so does the nanny goat.

A Horse Is A Horse, Of Course

Whereas you can’t saddle and ride a chicken or goat, you can ride a horse. People stop by, and from them you will learn a great lesson: that the best kind of horse is the one your friend owns.

Horses are majestic, intelligent herd animals that like open space, so make sure that you have enough of it to keep your horse content. Note that you’ll be feeding your horse, but the horse will not be feeding you. At least not nutritionally. Spiritually, however, the connection to a horse can be strong and meaningful.

The cons? If you are not in sync with your horse or are not an experienced rider, your horse will have final say over who rides whom. Still want a large animal in your backyard barnyard, but aren’t sure you’re ready for a horse? Maybe a cow is the right choice.

Mooooving On

Having a cow makes you feel like a real farmer, and between you and me, Bart Simpson was wrong when he said, “Don’t have a cow, man.” Cows can provide fresh, unadulterated milk for you, your family, and your neighbors. And cheese! And if you don’t mind “harvesting” the manure, you can sell it for a pretty penny. Cows can also give you the answer to that age-old question, “Where’s the beef?”

Owning a cow isn’t all fun and games, though. Before you get a dairy cow, talk to a dairy farmer. It won’t be difficult, as they won’t be on vacation. He or she will tell you how to make a small fortune (from a large one). It will also be important to get to know your large-animal veterinarian. Give him or her all your money and you will understand immediately what it takes to keep a cow healthy.

If you want to find out more about keeping livestock in your backyard, including the pros and cons of raising pigs, and much more useful information, wit, and wisdom, you can get it and a bundle of FREE GIFTS, with an Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership!

Best Value Club

Get full access to everything under the Sun, including the Moon, weather, vegetable and flower gardening, folklore, nature, home remedies, and more—with your Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership!

Introducing The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership! This new and exciting club is designed especially for you—and it’s packed with articles, advice, best days, facts, and fun that you cannot get anywhere else!

Your Charter Membership gives you all the elements of a true almanac—a “calendar of the heavens” and a “time capsule of the year” for 2020, plus some fantastic bonuses when you join today. More about those bonuses in a minute.

Since 1792—in fact, every day since!—The Old Farmer’s Almanac has been trusted and enjoyed by folks from all walks of life: people who grow their own food depend on the planting dates; home cooks, gardeners, and folks hungry for something quick and delicious love the recipes; just about everybody checks on the Moon phases and sunrise and set times … as well as the weather forecasts … to know what to expect on any given day, week, month, or season.

With The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership, you’ll have content that is both useful and humorous. You’ll discover quirky facts, timeless adages and advice, amusing quotes and profound proverbs, contests, Anecdotes and Pleasantries, Best Days to do things (from fishing to weaning from planting to setting eggs, for example), and so much more!

Your Charter Membership gives you everything that you’ve come to expect and depend on in an Almanac—valuable and accurate content and advice. In fact, fulfillment of readers’ expectations has made our Almanac the best-known and most sought after Almanac for generations.

Did you know? The Old Farmer’s Almanac is the oldest continuously published periodical in North America! We got started with this valuable content in 1792—when George Washington was president and the U.S. Post Office Department was first established . . . and we’ve been at it ever since then, for 228 years!

Best Value Club

People always ask how and why our Almanac has lasted—and continues to be a best seller. The answer is simple: We stay true to the original mission of founder Robert B. Thomas, who declared in an early edition, “Our main endeavour is to be useful, with a pleasant degree of humor.”

We believe that, especially in today’s trying times, finding humor and enjoyment in daily life is important and can be uplifting, and we hope you like our light-hearted fun and find the joy in chuckling at our witty and inspiring words.

This will make you smile, too: Every edition of The Old Farmer’s Almanac is fresh, new, and designed to make the year one of the best ever. How do we do that? With entertaining and informative articles. With your Charter Membership, you’ll be able to read about:

  • Foolproof advice for growing your own food, whatever your experience level. Timetables and advice for spotting meteor showers, bright stars, conjunctions, and other fascinating astronomical events.
  • Daily weather forecasts for every region of the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii.
  • Fresh new ways to savor your garden harvest, including winning reader-submitted recipes.
  • “Adventures in the Zodiac Zone”—what’s behind the Sun and Moon?
  • The “full” explanation of if and why more strange things happen during a full Moon than at other times.
  • And more—almost 300 pages of riveting content!

Plus, charts, maps, and photos bring it all to life for you—making every article and every table easy to understand and follow.

But that’s just the beginning! Here’s just some of what else you’ll discover in the 2020 Almanac:

  • Growing Farmers: stories, inspiration, and advice from the folks who grow our food. Find out how farmers are adapting to changing times to keep their farms productive.
  • Looking for a little peace and quiet? Aren’t we all! Find out why that is becoming more of a challenge in “A Sound History of Noise.”
  • Timetables and advice for spotting meteor showers, bright stars, conjunctions, and other fascinating astronomical events.
  • Best days for planting, pruning, weeding, grafting, and controlling pests, plus tips on fine-tuning your phenology skills for a more fruitful, vibrant garden.
  • Fresh new ways to enjoy coconuts. From fresh to toasted, curry to cream pie and beyond, prepare for a tasty adventure.
  • Easy, delicious, and Almanac prize-winning recipes that take pasta to a new, delicious level.
  • Ready for a little old-time fun? Find out the story behind the game of horseshoes. Need to take care of some aches and pains? Read our article on some home remedies you can make that are just as good (or better) than what you can buy.
  • The “full” explanation of if and why more strange things happen during a full Moon than at other times.
  • They say that dog is man’s best friend. Find out the story behind that in “How Dogs Train People.”
  • Thinking of getting chickens? Read “A Chicken in Every Plot” to learn the benefits (and risks) of having chickens in and around your garden.
  • 2020 is a leap year, so we’re celebrating with a look at all the different ways leaping has made its way into fun, games, science, sports, and more.
  • Donkeys come in many colors and a wide range of sizes. Learn more about these social creatures in “Burro Into This.”
  • Take a (virtual) nature hike on Snake Road and learn how the last ice age shaped the land.
  • All this and too much more to mention for nearly 300 pages of riveting content!

Plus, the Almanac’s easy-to-follow charts, maps, and photos bring it all to life for you— making it all easy to understand and use.

Best Value Club

An Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership will deliver exciting rewards for you—and for a special introductory rate right now, to all new Charter Members.

When you join today, you’ll ensure that you get the latest details about Almanac events and forecasts—and you’ll enjoy all these benefits:

Your best garden ever—Almanac gardening advice, planting dates, time-saving tips, and detailed guidance from experts will get you growing like never before.

You’ll know in advance about every important astronomical event in 2020—when they’re happening, where in the sky, and the details and delights of each one.

You’ll have access to the world’s best source of Almanac content—from astronomy and weather to anniversaries and milestone dates; from important (and little known) holidays and religious events to traditional days in calendar folklore.

You’ll save time and money when you follow all the practical advice and tips that we deliver to you about everything from gardening to food preparation and cooking. You’ll be a weather expert in your family and circle of friends—no one else you know will have the detailed knowledge about forecasting and weather that you’ll have . . . and for every region of the country!

How can you not consider becoming an Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Member?

What you’ll get with an Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership.

When you claim your Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership today, your Charter membership will include:

The Old Farmer’s 2020 Almanac—Our newest edition, the hard-copy version will be shipped to you with everything you’ve come to expect from the world’s premier almanac.

Bonus #1: The Old Farmer’s Almanac 2020 Gardening Wall Calendar. Each month features a beautiful full-color original illustration of seasonal plant or animal life, as well as timeless gardening secrets and advice, folklore, fun facts, and holidays—plus Moon phases to help you use the “Planting by the Moon” chart and have your best garden ever!

Bonus #2: The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1820 edition—A printed version will be shipped to you with your order. Take a trip down memory lane and see what one of our early Almanacs looked like! It’s a time capsule of life 200 years ago!

Bonus #3: The Old Farmer’s Almanac 1920 edition—A printed version will be shipped to you with your order. Another classic Almanac, this takes you back a century: Compare the content then and now!

Bonus #4: The Old Farmer’s Almanac EXTRA! —A treasure trove of digital updates and Almanac content not found in the printed edition, including audio and video multimedia content. EXTRA! is far more interactive and fun than plain printed pages!

Bonus #5: Complete access to our EXTRA! library, with 40+ digital issues at your

fingertips any time!

And all of this is available to you—right now—when you claim your Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership.

What are you waiting for? This Charter Membership offer is in effect for you right now!

No other Almanac has so many fun and fascinating facts, timely and accurate events and predictions, and topical and useful articles all in one place for your easy access and use— and covering more regions of North America than any other almanac or resource!

Best Value Club

Why not join right now?

Gardeners, weather and sky watchers, and nature lovers everywhere have been enjoying The Old Farmer’s Almanac for generations, and now it’s easier than ever for YOU to experience it all with an Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership.

When we created this new club for folks like you, we wanted to make it easy to use, easy to order, and packed with content and value—that’s why we named it the “Best Value Club”! The Almanac is the ultimate resource for gardening, astronomy, folklore, nature, and more, and now it can be all yours with your Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Membership.

Why not be among the first—gardeners in your neighborhood; weather and astronomy watchers under the Sun; cooks in your community; trivia fans in your circle; nature-lovers in your area—to join us today and benefit from all the valuable Almanac information that you simply cannot get anywhere else?

Become an Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club Charter Member today—while this special offer lasts!

Sincerely, 

Janice Stillman

Editor, The Old Farmer’s Almanac

P.S. You should act today to claim your Charter Membership in The Old Farmer’s Almanac Best Value Club—including your 2020 issue of the Almanac …and your bonuses, too!

Best Value Club