I created this resource page as an easy to reference guide of helpful tools, books, and other resources you may need in your urban homesteading adventure! This way you can quickly find beneficial tools, courses, books, and other resources to help save you time and money. Growing your own food doesn’t have to be difficult!
Best Resources For Raising Chickens
Chickens are one of the easiest types of livestock to start raising, and they are legal in many cities. Here are some of the best resources for your backyard flock:
Best Books on Raising Chickens
Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock: All of the best chicken related information from Farming My Backyard is compiled into our ebook, Backyard Chickens: How To Have A Happy Flock. After reading Backyard Chickens you will learn how to keep your flock at their happiest and healthiest without a lot of extra work on your part!
Storey’s Guide To Raising Chickens: If you want ONE book to get you started and have on your shelf to refer to for all your chicken questions, Storey’s Guide To Raising Chickens is that book. If you’re not a big reader, and just want to flip open to a specific question, this is a good book for you. But don’t get me wrong, it’s great to read from cover to cover too!
The Chicken Health Handbook: Gail Damerow is one of my favorite chicken authors out there, and The Chicken Health Handbook is a must have for anyone serious about raising a sustainable flock of birds. Most small flocks have very few health issues, but if you want to scale up, or aren’t sure how to handle problems popping up in your flock, this is a great resource. It’s also helpful for preventing problems from developing in your flock. For more information read the post Chicken Disease You Need To Know About.
Storey’s Illustrated Guide To Poultry Breeds: Not sure what types of chickens are right for you? There are so many choices it can be really daunting. Plus, everyone has their favorite birds that works for their goals. How do you know which ones are going to thrive on YOUR property? Storey’s Illustrated Guide To Poultry Breeds can help you figure out where to start. You can read more about it in the post 3 Rare Chickens Breeds You Need To Raise.
Free Range Chicken Gardens: When you have only small space to keep chickens, it can really help to stack functions. With only small space, you have to use the same space for multiple purposes. Many people don’t let their chickens free range. Often they are afraid the chickens will destroy their yard and garden, however it is possible to let your chickens out, and STILL have a beautiful yard! Free Range Chicken Gardens can guide you through setting up a chicken friendly yard that they won’t rip to pieces.
The Small Scale Poultry Flock: If you want a more natural way of raising chickens that isn’t super reliant on factory farmed based feeds, you’ll definitely need a copy of the The Small Scale Poultry Flock. Also, if you’re allowed to keep roosters in your area and want to start breeding your flock, this book is a great resource, and will walk you through setting up a breeding program.
Baby Steps To Backyard Chickens: If you’re feeling really stuck on getting started and need some hand holding before bringing your first birds home, check out my free e-guide, Baby Steps To Backyard Chickens. It has a series of steps to take to get your homestead ready before bringing home your first birds! It also comes with a free checklist when you subscribe for the newsletter!
Best Tools For Raising Chickens
Chickens don’t need a ton of stuff, and most of it you can make out of repurposed materials, but here are some of the chicken raising essentials.
Chick Brooder: If you are raising day old chicks, you’ll need a few supplies. First, you must have somewhere to put them! You can purchase a pre-made brooder, or you can easily make your own. Read the post DIY Chick Brooder Box.
Heat Lamp: I don’t recommend using a heat lamp for fully feathered birds, but chicks will need a heat source until they are all feathered out!
Mason Jar Feeders/Waterers: Chicks are too small to eat out of a regular feeder, so the mason jar feeders are super easy to throw together. The mason jar waterers work really well for the first week or so until the birds get a bit bigger.
Chicken Coop: Your birds will need a safe space to sleep where predators can’t get to them. Chicken coops can be as fancy or as easy as you want them to be. You can purchase a pre-made coop, or you can make your own. Read 55 Best Chicken Coops For Practical People.
Feeder/Waterers: There are many differnet kinds of chicken feeders and waterers, but I find the easiest to use are rubber feed pans. They are easy to clean and hold a good amount of feed. If you use them for water in the winter it is easy to break up the ice in them. Another good option is an automatic waterer, which are easy to make yourself.
Feed Storage: One of the downsides of raising chickens is that rodents can be attracted to their feed. One way to reduce this problem is by keeping all feed bags in a metal can with a tight lid.
Best Resources For Raising Goats
Goats work best on larger homesteads, but it is possible to raise them in the city if you are really committed. No matter where your homestead is located, here are some of the things you will need to get started raising goats.
Best Books on Raising Goats
Holistic Goat Care: If you want to raise goats that are resistant to parasites, and good at providing for themselves, Holistic Goat Care is a good book to include in your library. For more details, check out the posts Nigerian Dwarf Care Tips For The First Time Owner and Nigerian Dwarf Care Tips For The First Time Owner.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101: Background and Basics: If you want a quick and portable overview of raising dairy goats to help get you started, I recommend Nigerian Dwarf Goats 101. You can read my full review in the post 9 Reasons Why You Need Nigerian Dwarf Goats.
Storey’s Guide To Raising Dairy Goats: These are classics for a reason. Storey’s Guide To Raising Dairy Goats is classic goat care in a classic book.
Raising Goats Naturally: If you have goats, or want them, but aren’t completely on board with the drugs and conventional methods of raising them, read through Raising Goats Naturally for a different perspective.
Best Tools For Raising Goats
The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder: Keeping goats means there are plenty of records to keep. They need hoof trims, supplements, occasional dewormer, and that’s not even including the breeding records! The Busy Homesteader’s Goat Management Binder helps you set up one place for all your records and makes managing their care that much easier.
Hoof Trimmers: Goat hoofs grow quickly, and if they aren’t trimmed regularly can cause pain and foot problems for your herd. A sharp pair of hoof trimmers makes this periodic chore go quickly and smoothly.
Milking supplies: Milking supplies should be easy to use and easy to sanitize. At the very least you will want a stainless steel bowl to milk into, and milk filters to strain out any floating debris or hairs. Read How To Make a Goat Milking Stand For Free Or Cheap for a break down of other useful milking tools and How To Make a Goat Milking Stand For Free Or Cheap.
Manger: Even if you raise your goats on pasture, they will likely need some supplemental hay. You can purchase a manger, or make your own. Just make sure it’s durable, because goats can be very destructive! Read How To Make An Upcycled Goat Hay Manger.
Disbudding Iron: Cauterizing the horn buds on baby goats is one of the least pleasant parts of raising goats, but it’s very important for your safety as well as their safety. If you aren’t going to hire someone to do this for you, you’ll need to get a disbudding iron.
Castrator: Young male goats can impregnate their sisters and mother at just 12 weeks old, so you’ll want to make sure to band any of the males that you won’t be keeping as breeding stock.
Crate: It can be really useful to separate the young goats at night, pregnant or sick does, or have a crate for car travel. Luckily, dog crates work perfectly for smaller goats.
Best Resources For Raising Rabbits
If you want to raise your own meat in the city, rabbits are the way to go. They are quiet, easy to house, and very productive. Here are some of the essential items to get started raising rabbits.
Best Books on Raising Rabbits
Storey’s Guide To Raising Rabbits: Raising rabbits can be pretty straight foward, but it’s nice to have a reference manual available in case you have any questions. My go to rabbit book is Storey’s Guide To Raising Rabbits. Also read Colony Raising Rabbits: How To Get Started.
Best Tools For Raising Rabbits
Housing: Rabbits can live in the classic hutches, or you can set up a colony for them. If you decide to go with a colony, or just want to let them out regularly for some exercise time, a wire pen is incredibly useful. Read Colony Raising Rabbits: How To Get Started.
Feeders: Rabbits need fed daily and constant access to hay. Hanging style feeders can help keep them from relieving themselves in their food and are easy to clean.
Waterers: Without continuous access to water, rabbits can die quickly. They also prefer it to be clean and fresh. The easiest to find and clean are the water bottle style with ballpoint metal tubes. However, in winter crocks don’t freeze as quickly, and are easier to defrost.
Best Resources For Gardening
Everybody loves gardening right? And thankfully it doesn’t have to be a big production. There are a few things that make it easier however. Here are some of my favorite gardening resources. Also, read Inexpensive Garden Tools Every Gardener Should Have and Is Fancy Equipment Needed On A Homestead?
Best Books on Gardening
The Art Of Gardening: Building Your Soil: The quality of your soil is one of the biggest factors affecting how well your garden grows and how nutritious the food that you grow is. The Art of Gardening: Building Your Soil will walk you through ways to improve your soil whether you are just starting to garden or have been for a while. Read Building Soil Is The Secret To Great Gardens.
Permaculture For The Rest of Us: Creating a successful urban homestead is more than just a few vegetables growing in the corner. Permaculture for the Rest of Us for a great break down on how to make all the elements of your homestead work more productively for you. Read 11 Reasons Why You Need To Know About Permaculture.
Gardening Like A Ninja: If you’ve been wondering how to incorporate food production into your home in a non-obtrusive and attractive way, you’ll want to read Gardening Like A Ninja! You can sneak useful plants into any home, even if you live in an HOA! Read 5 Beautiful Plants For Your Garden That Bees Love.
The Suburban Micro-Farm: Want a good overview on starting and maintaining an urban homestead in the city! Check out The Suburban Micro-Farm. This inspiring book is based on an actual property that is only 1/10th of an acre. Read Beautiful Front Yard Gardens Save You Time and Money.
The Fiercely DIY Guide To Seasonal Living: One of the nice things about gardening is it kind of has an ebb and flow that fits with the seasons. Even if you don’t have a garden, you can still incorporate seasonal living into your lifestyle. Check out The Fiercely DIY Guide to Seasonal Living for more ideas and read How To Live In Tune With The Seasons.
Plantiful: Start Small And Grow Big With 150 Plants That Spread, Self-Sow, And Overwinter: Adding new plants to your garden can sometimes get pricey. One of the best ways to combat that is to propagate your own from cuttings, or to plant ones that will come back year after year. Plantiful has a list of 150 plants that can help you get started. For specifically edible and medicinal ones, check out my post 15 Reliable and Edible Plants For The Forgetful Gardener.
Best Tools For Gardening
A Shovel: You can start a garden with almost nothing but a few seeds and a shovel. Shovels work for prepping beds, turning compost, and harvesting root vegetables. Make sure you like yours, because you will probably be using it a lot!
Seeds! You have to start out by planting something in your garden, right? There are many seed companies out there, but it can be harder knowing what type of companies your purchase will support. I’m a fan of Seeds For Generations, a family owned business that offers heirloom seeds. When I want plants or fruit trees, I buy from Territorial Seed Company.
The Gardening Notebook: I tend to garden a bit haphazardly, but there are some real benefits to being a planner. If planning isn’t your thing, you may want to look into The Gardening Notebook, which is an easy way to keep track of everything. Read Planning a Garden Is A Simple Way To a Better Harvest.
The Herbarium Membership: Once you grow your plants, you’ll want to make sure you know how to use them. The Herbal Academy has courses and a membership site that will teach you about herbalism. Read 5 Reasons You Need To Learn About Herbs.
Best Resources For General Homesteading
Even if you don’t raise animals or keep a garden, you can still be a homesteader. Homesteading is about providing for your own needs, looking outside the consumerist model, and becoming a generator of resources. You can do this no matter where you live.
Best Books On Homesteading
Nourishing Traditions: Everybody eats, which means everybody can take the time to prepare traditional and sustainable foods. Nourishing Traditions is a great introduction to reconnecting with food. Read Nourishing Traditions Is The Best Cookbook For Beginning Homesteaders.
Radical Homemakers: Homemaking can have a bit of a bad connotation, but what about radical homemaking? That’s cool! Check out the book Radical Homemakers for a thought provoking attitude change to the domestic arts. Read Radical Homemakers Empower Us All. Will You Become One?
Creating Your Off Grid Homestead: Most of us don’t have the opportunity to create an off grid homestead from scratch. That doesn’t mean we can’t learn from those who have. If you are thinking about installing solar panels, or want to someday move off grid, check out the book Creating Your Off Grid Homestead. Also, read the post How To Get Ready To Be Off The Grid Without Feeling Hopeless.
The Made From Scratch Life: Making things from scratch doesn’t have to be serious and healthy all the time, you can also have a lot of fun making yummy treats, goodies, and projects. If you want to start doing more DIY, check out The Made From Scratch Life. Read the review in Just How Easy Is It To Make Raspberry Jam?
Taming The Laundry Monster: Taking care of your clothes helps them last longer and saves you money. If doing laundry gets a bad rap in your house, check out Taming the Laundry Monster for some tips on how to make it easier and more enjoyable.
Best Tools For Homesteading
Rain Barrels: Saving rain water to use in your garden is one of the easiest ways to be more self-reliant. There are some really beautiful rain barrels out there too. Read 20 Ways to Save Water and Cut Down Your Bill.
Wood Burning Stove: Another great way to become more self-sufficient is to install a wood burning stove. Even if you don’t have space to manage a woodlot, there is usually free or cheap wood readily available even in the city. Plus, you will be warm all winter, even if the power goes out! Read Why You Need A Wood Burning Stove.
Clothesline: Even if you don’t want to hang your clothes out to dry all the time, knowing how to do it can be a real money and time saver in a pinch. Plus, clotheslines and drying racks are pretty cheap and easy to set up. Read How To Line Dry Clothes Indoors When Your Dryer Is Being Stupid and Best Tips on How to Line Dry Clothes Outside.
Soap Nuts: Using grey water friendly soaps and cleaners is another way you can be mindful of your impact no matter where you live. One of the more fun and unusual kinds are soap nuts! These are fruits that contain saponin that actually grow on trees. Read Eco-friendly Cleaning Supplies That Are Cheap And Easy.
Mason Jars: Most kitchens have everything you need to cook from scratch. And if you don’t have basic cooking supplies, go get some! However, I think mason jars are the must have kitchen item all homesteaders need. They are super useful for so many different purposes. Read How To Make Sour Cream With Yogurt and Homemade Apple Cider Vinegar and How To Make Easy Kefir Cheese.
Hopefully some of the resources here will help you out on your own homesteading journey!
Thinking About Getting Chickens?
Get ready with the free email course, Intro to Backyard Chickens. The course also includes a free, printable checklist to walk you through step by step!