Beginning a homestead and trying to live as sustainably and being self-sufficient was once a lifestyle for a huge proportion of the population, but today this low-impact way of living is seeing something of a resurgence. One factor that can sometimes be overlooked when starting a homestead is the impact that this type of lifestyle can have on wildlife in the area, but by being conscious of the implications of the homesteading approach, you can take steps to ensure that you are living in harmony with the wildlife around your homestead.
Preparing The Area For A Homestead
Once you have obtained the land on which you want to build your homestead, one of the first steps is to try and remove and keep wildlife away from where you will be building. A temporary fence here can work very well, preferably one with a relatively small mesh so that even small animals cannot get to the building area and hurt themselves. If you are seeing signs of animal activity in this area, it may be worth speaking to an animal removal expert so they can be safely removed before you start the building work.
Building Your Homestead And Outbuildings
Building sites can prove to be great spaces for animals to hide and build their nests, so when you are building the homestead, try to leave as little material as possible around where animals could try to nest. When it comes to dealing with the debris, waste materials and other building materials, you should also try to ensure it is kept in a dumpster or debris skip before it can be disposed of safely. Otherwise, birds or other wildlife can get access to this debris, and could harm themselves.
Fencing And Growing Crops
An important part of homesteading and developing self-sufficiency involves growing your own food, and these crops will often attract “pest” animals that can damage the crops. The best way to prevent animals is to put up barriers to keep these animals away, such as appropriate fencing that will prevent wildlife from getting in. Small wire mesh fencing less than one centimetre thick is needed to keep out rabbits and rats and smaller rodents that can squeeze through tight spaces. Avoid using poisons or artificial fertilisers, as both can harm the wildlife in the surrounding area, while still not always guaranteeing to deliver the kind of results that you will be hoping for. No one wants to find dead animals in their garden and then have to dispose of them.
Keeping Domesticated Animals
Chickens are probably the most common domesticated species that are kept by homesteaders, as they produce eggs without really needing too much in terms of chicken food to produce them. However, they can also come into conflict with wildlife. It will usually be fine to allow the chickens to roam the farmyard of your homestead, but try to always feed them in the pen so the food doesn’t attract other “pest” species. If you are keeping a few larger animals such as sheep, goats or cows, try to use natural food and try to keep them within a fenced area so that they are safe from wildlife.
Keep A Wildflower Meadow
This may not always be possible, but one of the best ways of promoting diverse wildlife is to set aside a small part of your land to develop as a wildflower meadow. This approach will attract bees, butterflies, birds and other species that can have an overall positive effect on the area around your homestead. The types of flowers to plant depend on what is native in your area. Most nurseries provide a blend of native wildflower seeds to your area because they are readily available. Native plants are important because they are naturally suited for your environment and will flourish with minimal maintenance. A wildflower meadow is a beautiful addition to any homestead, and if you install a few bee hives, it can also turn into a great source of tasty honey for you as well.
Ongoing Homesteading Measures To Continue Treating Wildlife Humanely
While creating a homestead in an area that wasn’t previously settled can have an impact on the wildlife, there are also ongoing measures you can take to maintain your humane treatment of wildlife. Natural resources are king, so using natural deterrents and not using poison to deal with pest animals can make your impact on the area surrounding your homestead much less dramatic. Rotating crops in your fields can also help reduce the impact on local wildlife, as it ensures that not all of one type of nutrient is taken from the soil, which will also benefit your growth rate as well.
If you would like more information on the humane treatment of wildlife on your property, please visit us at humaneraccoonremoval.org. Thank you!