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Domestic Animals

In a small homestead in arid Southern Africa, people often keep a variety of animals that can provide valuable benefits to the household. Here is an overview of some common animals and their benefits:

Photo by Quang Nguyen Vinh: https://www.pexels.com/photo/chicks-and-roosters-2134180/


  1. Goats: Goats are well-suited for arid regions because they can eat a wide range of vegetation, including tough and thorny plants. They provide milk, meat, and fiber (wool or mohair), making them a valuable source of nutrition and income.
  2. Sheep: Sheep are also adaptable to arid environments and can graze on grass and shrubs. They are raised for their meat, wool, and milk, providing valuable resources for the homestead.
  3. Chicken: Chickens are small and relatively easy to keep. They provide eggs, meat, and natural pest control by eating insects and larvae. Their manure is an excellent fertilizer for gardens.
  4. Ducks: Ducks are efficient foragers and can help control pests like snails and insects in the garden. They produce eggs and meat and can thrive in arid conditions if provided with sufficient water sources.
  5. Cattle: Cattle are great animals to keep if you have a large enough land. You can have meat and milk and a lot of dung for your garden. Cattle can also be useful to plow with or use for transport.
  6. Guinea Fowl: Guinea fowl are excellent at pest control, eating insects, ticks, and small rodents. They are relatively low-maintenance birds that can thrive in arid climates.
  7. Bees: Beekeeping is a valuable activity for small homesteads. Bees help pollinate crops and provide honey, beeswax, and other hive products for personal use or sale.
  8. Rabbits: Raising rabbits can be a space-efficient way to produce meat and fur. They require minimal space and feed and can reproduce quickly.
  9. Horses & Donkeys. Horses and Donkeys are great as a transport option. Their dung is also superior to the others for gardening and compost. Donkeys also help protect your other animals against predators like cheetahs and leopards.

Benefits of Keeping Animals.

  • Food Security: Keeping animals provides a reliable source of food, including meat, eggs, milk, and honey, reducing dependence on external food sources.
  • Income Generation: Surplus animal products can be sold or traded for cash or other essentials, contributing to the household’s income.
  • Fertilizer Production: Animal manure can be used to enrich the soil in gardens and fields, improving crop yields.
  • Pest Control: Animals like chickens, ducks, and guinea fowl can help control insect pests and reduce the need for chemical pesticides.
  • Sustainable Land Management: Grazing animals like goats and sheep can help manage vegetation and prevent overgrowth, reducing the risk of wildfires.
  • Diversification: Keeping a variety of animals adds diversity to the homestead, making it more resilient to challenges and providing alternative resources.
  • Educational Opportunities: Raising animals can be an educational experience for children and adults alike, teaching valuable skills and lessons about responsible animal care and husbandry.

It’s important for homesteaders to ensure the animals are well cared for, have access to proper nutrition and water, and are protected from extreme weather conditions and predators. Responsible animal husbandry can significantly contribute to the sustainability and self-sufficiency of a small homestead in arid Southern Africa.

A great guide on how to keep animals in a humane way:


In Namibia you can buy animals at auction:


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