Los Angeles Times
Want a hobby farm? Things to peck on
If you’re considering starting a hobby farm, be clear about your goals. Connect with other hobbyists. And do some research. “For example, it’s good to know that chickens can fly over the garden fence before your neighbor” finds out, Northridge hobby farmer Dominique Salamone said.
Also, be realistic about your limitations (physical or financial), goals (fresh eggs or milk) and abilities (trimming animal hooves). Mary Ellen McComb learned this lesson the hard way when she adopted two fat-tailed sheep to keep the weeds down at her Northridge home in 1993. An experienced hobby farmer, McComb, who got her first horse at 13, has kept everything from chickens to a potbellied pig. Still, she said, it was difficult to find someone to shear the sheep and trim their hooves. (She eventually got help at a local community college.)
Find out what tools you will need to buy to care for, shelter and breed your animals. Know your estimated costs (seven chickens, for example, would go through about 50 pounds of feed every month at a cost of about $30). Start small. And design housing with expansion options for growing animals.
Because farm animals can be smelly and noisy, Salamone said tolerant neighbors are a plus. And it’s a good idea to talk to them (to say nothing of your family members) about your plans ahead of time.