How To Homestead On 5 Acres?


An old barn on a homestead.

Homesteading is becoming an increasingly appealing lifestyle for many people, but some people may feel that this goal is beyond their reach because they do not have less than 10 acres! We will show you how you can homestead quite comfortably on 5 acres of land!

Homesteading on 5 acres is possible with proper planning and management. There is enough space to grow enough food crops and to raise small livestock that can provide a protein source. The protein can be in the form of eggs, milk, or meat. A 5-acre homestead has enough space to make a profit.

Many aspiring homesteaders are reluctant to start homesteading because they believe that homesteading requires a large property. While more space gives you more options, it is definitely possible to homestead on 5 acres, but you will need to have a clearly defined plan!

Can You Homestead On 5 Acres?

We all have homesteading dreams of owning large tracts of land where we can indulge our homesteading fantasies to our heart’s content!

Unfortunately, for many, this homesteading dream is exactly that, a fantasy, but that does not mean you should give up on your homesteading dream.

If you have the determination and the discipline, you can homestead on relatively small-sized properties. Our article “How Much Land Do You Need For A Homestead?” covers this topic in more detail.

Take a close, careful look at the property you have available, use it to your advantage, and make it work for you. A piece of land 5 acres in size is not a large homestead, but it can be large enough to support you, your family, and your homesteading dreams if it is done right.

The key aspects of homesteading on a smaller-sized property are planning and management. The smaller your homesteading property is, the more intense your planning must be to use every part of your property to your benefit.

Planning Your 5-Acre Homestead

Homesteading on any size property requires planning, but the smaller the property is, the more focused and intentional your plans need to be.

The place to begin is to establish your homesteading goals for your 5-acre space. What do you want to achieve on this piece of ground? What is the lie of the land on your homestead? Do you have flat land, hills, sloping ground, or swampy ground?

The following are some of the questions you should ask before starting your 5-acre homestead plan.

  • Supplement your food supply. Do you only want to produce a portion of your food needs?
  • Do you want to grow vegetables only? For some homesteaders, growing fruit and vegetables to supplement their food is their main goal.
  • Do you want to raise livestock? The answer to this question determines what livestock you can keep on your 5-acre homestead.
  • Must your homestead produce an income? Are you only growing food to provide for your family or to create an income from the homestead?
  • Is self-sufficiency one of your homesteading goals? Self-sufficiency requires a different approach to your homestead planning.

If your property is only 5 acres in size, how much of that land is actually usable for homesteading? Depending on your property’s geography, you may need 8 to 10 acres of land to get 5 acres of usable land.

While this usable land limitation is not always the case, it is a point worth bearing in mind when you are purchasing a homesteading property.

Managing Your 5-Acre Homestead

Homesteading takes time and commitment. It does not help to have the best plan available for your homestead if you do not stick to the strategy and implement your plan to achieve your goals.

Will you be homesteading full-time or part-time? Juggling homesteading and a full-time job can be done, but your planning must consider this time constraint and factor it into your planning and management.

Going it alone on a homestead can be done, but a friend, spouse, or children to lend a hand and provide support is an invaluable resource for a homestead. One person can do homesteading, but two people will make exponential progress!

Manual diaries or spreadsheets are a good way to keep track of your homesteading plan and keep your management actions on track.

Many experienced homesteaders agree that the best homestead size for beginners is 5 acres. The property is large enough to produce much of what you need, yet small enough to be manageable without a lot of expensive equipment.

Can You Grow Your Own Food On A 5 Acre Homestead?

You can grow enough vegetables, herbs, and fruit to feed you and your family on a 5-acre homestead. If you are not keeping livestock, you can use as much of the available space to grow your food crops.

If you are planning for livestock and a self-sustainable homestead, you cannot use all the space to grow food. Fortunately, you don’t need huge space to grow enough food to feed a family.

It is possible to grow sufficient food to feed one person for an entire year on a vegan diet in as little as 4000 sq feet or 371 sq meters. Thus, a family of four would require 16 000 sq feet or 1486 sq meters to grow enough food for a year.

Considering that an acre is 43560 sq feet or 4046 sq meters, the space needed to grow enough food is less than half an acre!

Using space-saving growing methods, such as raised bed gardening, container gardening, or even hydroponics, you can easily grow food to feed your family in half this amount of space.

The space you do not use for growing your own food can be used to grow additional crops to generate an income from the homestead or incorporate livestock into your homesteading equation.

Can You Keep Chickens On A 5 Acre Homestead?

A 5-acre homestead has ample space to include chickens as part of the plan to raise meat birds and produce eggs for your family.

Chickens are often the first livestock animal that most beginner homesteaders raise. Chickens are relatively easy to maintain and care for and do not require a lot of space.

Plan for at least 10 sq feet or 1 sq meter of outside space for each chicken as the absolute minimum. The more space you can give the chickens, the happier and healthier they will be and the better they will produce.

Chickens also need a coop where they can roost at night with at least 12-inches or 30cm roosting space for each bird in the coop.

Selecting chicken breeds suitable for your climate and high egg production will maximize the use of space on your homestead.

The average production that can be expected from egg-laying chickens is 12 eggs per day from 3 or 4 chickens. If you have a family with 4 people, 6 to 8 egg-laying chickens should provide you with more than enough eggs for your needs.

Using a strategy, such as a mobile chicken tractor, will allow you to move your chickens around to different locations on your property very easily. This method makes your chicken “space” portable, so it does not take up a fixed area of your land.

As the chickens are moved around, they will fertilize the ground with their nitrogen-rich manure, helping to improve your soil for growing food.

Meat chickens and egg-laying chickens should be kept separate on the homestead to prevent unwanted breeding, and there is usually a higher turnover of birds raised for meat. The space requirement for meat birds will be the same as for egg-laying chickens.

Can You Keep Goats on A 5 Acre Homestead?

Goats are a favorite livestock animal on smaller homesteads because they are easy to take care of and can produce meat and milk for the homestead.

The determining factor for the space needed for goats is whether you keep them in a dry lot where you bring in all the food the goats need or if the goats are allowed to forage for their food.

Goats need indoor space to protect them from inclement weather and outdoor space to forage and get some exercise. Goats are herd animals, so you should never plan your space for only one goat. You always need to have a minimum of two goats so they can have company.

For indoor space, your goats need at least 20 sq feet or 1.8 sq meters per goat. For forage and outdoor areas, you need 200 sq feet or 18.5sq meters per goat. At a minimum, you would need to double this since you should never keep a goat on its own.

Divide your land into different paddocks so that you can rotate the goats throughout the season to offer them enough food and variety to satisfy their natural curiosity! The alternative is to dry lot the goats in a single paddock and bring in all the food they need.

Can You Raise Large Livestock On A 5 Acre Homestead?

Large livestock are difficult to raise on a 5-acre homestead because of the space limitations. Larger livestock animals need more daily forage to sustain them and keep them healthy.

A single dairy cow with a calf would require 1.8 acres or 78408sq feet or 7284sq meters to supply sufficient yearly grazing.

However, you need to factor in rotational grazing to prevent one area of your land from becoming over-grazed and the space taken up by your other homesteading activities. Consequently, it is only feasible to have a single dairy cow and calf pair on a 5-acre homestead.

Can You Have A Self-Sufficient Homestead On 5 Acres?

Complete self-sufficiency is generally an unattainable goal in our modern age. While it is possible to become food self-sufficient, you will probably still need to rely on the outside world for tools, clothing, equipment, and energy.

Generally, the minimum starting point to become as self-sufficient as possible is 1 acre per person living on your homestead, making a 5-acre homestead too small to be completely self-sufficient.

Solar energy would be the best option for power and heating since a 5-acre homestead is unlikely to have enough wood resources to provide fuel for your homestead sustainably.

However, with livestock to provide meat, space to grow food crops, and solar for energy, you can become at least 80% to 85% self-sufficient on a 5-acre homestead.

Conclusion

Homesteading on 5 acres is not only possible but also an ideal space for beginners to start homesteading. The best advice for homesteaders is to start small and take it a step at a time.

Get your vegetable garden up and running and producing before you venture into chickens or other livestock rearing. Even if you have a larger property, start by developing 5 acres first to keep the management commitment to a minimum and to find your homesteading feet!

References

http://www.growbiointensive.org/ 

https://www.growveg.co.za/guides/growing-enough-food-to-feed-a-family/

https://khpet.com/blogs/farm/how-much-space-do-chickens-need

https://www.nrcs.usda.gov/Internet/FSE_DOCUMENTS/stelprdb1167344.pdf

https://www.smallfootprintfamily.com/how-much-land-is-needed-to-be-self-sufficient

Alice

Alice is a writer who grew up on a beautiful homestead in rural Old England. She now lives in New England with her fur babies and is on a mission to return to the land for a simpler, greener, and all-round kinder existence.

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