Free Livestock for Your Farm

Got a farm but can't afford to buy farm animals? One homesteader who had the same problem found a way to get free livestock.


| November/December 1979



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Candy Reis' initial haul of free livestock included 11 donated rabbits. Now she has so many she tries to give them away.


PHOTO: STAN DOWNS

When Candy and Bill Reis moved to a farm complete with lots of empty outbuildings, they couldn't wait to "stock" their land with all kinds of critters. Unfortunately, the cost of buying an assortment of barnyard beasts proved to be beyond their means.

However, Candy wasn't about to give up. Instead, she simply ran a $1.00 ad in the local paper that said, "WANTED: Your unwanted ducks, chickens, rabbits, or any other farm animals you no longer need."

The response was overwhelming! Although Candy's initial intention was to get a number of large laying hens, that was about all she didn't get during the several weeks her ad was run. Instead, her request brought over 70 chickens (from banties and eight-year-old layers to roosters), 11 rabbits (some were certified prizewinners), eight ducks, one goose, one dog, two cats, four young male goats, and an eight-year-old milking doe who had miscarried (but had possibly been rebred to a registered buck).

Know When to Say "No"

If you want to try the Reises' approach to acquiring free livestock, be sure to pay attention to the following pointers (which Candy says are bits of wisdom she had to learn the hard way).

First, if someone offers you animals that you have no desire to care for or consume (as folks undoubtedly will), know how to say no! Also, while you're polishing your diplomacy,  consider in advance a tactful (as well as honest) answer when someone asks for reassurance that "you're not going to butcher them, are you?" (More than a few people will get misty at the thought of their "babies" winding up on someone's dinner table.)

Second, know how to care for the animals you choose to accept (it's best to do your research on raising small livestock because, as Candy points out, "It's not likely that anyone will offer you a cow, horse, or pig"). Be sure to glean any and all available information from the offered beasts' previous owners.





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