Organic Home Garden Series: 5 Gardening Advantages to Having Organic Livestock

Depending on where you live and if the regulations within your area permit, you may want to consider owning organic livestock. Livestock can be anything from smaller animals such as poultry  or rabbits to larger animals like goats, cows, pigs, and sheep. Having livestock actually yields many benefits for growing plants.  Here are 5 advantages to having your own organic livestock for your home garden.  

What does it mean to own organic livestock? To put it simply, it requires the owner to manage livestock by using only natural, organic practices. For example, the animals may eat only organic feed, live in an organic environment, obtain health care through natural methods, and their waste must be controlled so it does not contaminate the soil, plants or water.  Sound like a lot of work? It can be, but believe it or not, the animals give back to you in return.

Advantage 1: Plant Clearing

Do you need natural ways to clear out undesired vegetation in your garden? Do you need help bringing down your weed count? Why not let livestock do the work for you? Chickens are great at removing weeds and old, dead or decaying plants. Bushes, under brush, and small trees can be a hassle to clear out, but goats can effortlessly and quickly make them disappear.

Advantage 2: Natural Fertilizer

As I mentioned above, you don’t have to go to the store to buy natural fertilizer for your garden because the waste from your organic livestock can be used as natural fertilizer. Animal manure, such as that which comes from goats, can easily add nutrients, vitamins, and minerals back into your soil. Chicken waste is known to be super high in nitrogen which can help balance out pH levels naturally.

Advantage 3: Composting

Instead of buying compost, livestock can help you create your own organic compost pile. One of the best things you can do to help breakdown your compost pile faster is to add livestock manure to it. The manure can add beneficial organic matter and nutrients to your compost, which in return may be used to naturally enhance your garden soil.

Advantage 4: Natural Pest Control

Certain types of livestock are natural pest controllers for those not-so-useful insects in your garden. Chickens, ducks, turkeys and guinea fowl are awesome for removing garden pests, slugs, and ticks the natural way. Guinea fowl are known for their keen eyesight, and can easily spot pests from great distances. Egg shells from your poultry’s eggs can be used for keeping away white moths.   

Advantage 5: Self-Sufficiency

If you’re looking for ways to make your organic garden more self-sustainable, I would recommend having livestock, if possible. Imagine having to never go to the store for gardening items such organic fertilizer, compost, or organic pest control items. Garden scraps or waste can easily be eaten by pigs, chickens, and even goats, depending on the scraps. In addition to that, if your livestock produce milk or eggs, you won’t ever have to buy organic eggs or milk at the store, either. Your livestock can help you work with your garden cycle naturally instead of against it.

Let me be honest, owning livestock is not for every gardener. I live in a city which allows certain kinds of livestock such as chickens, goats, and turkeys. Before purchasing and owning livestock, it is always wise to check what your local area livestock regulations and rules are. I would also recommend starting out with smaller animals in smaller numbers first to avoid overwhelming yourself. If you think owning organic livestock can help you reach your gardening goals, why not give it a try?

Stay tuned for more organic home gardening tips and ideas!