Deciding to commit to the lifestyle of homesteading is a challenging thought for a lot of people, but how much time does it really take? You might be surprised at how doable finding the time for homesteading actually is!
What Is Homesteading?
Often times, homesteading is portrayed as a lifestyle carried out by people who strive to be entirely sufficient in their food or energy needs. Sometimes the definition is simplified to just refer to the home you cultivate and settle in.
The point is, the definitions are broad. One of the most beautiful parts about homesteading is that the definition is ultimately up to you! It’s a lifestyle that you customize to serve YOU!
Your homestead can be centered around beauty, productivity, or creating a fulfilling set of hobbies that you live out every single day.
This thought process is ultimately what led me to create this blog: At Home on the Homestead. I want to inspire people to take the life they live and customize it to fit their dreams and lifestyle.
Maybe you live in a neighborhood and simply want to grow enough vegetables to make salsa every summer. Perhaps you dream of a flock of backyard chickens to collect eggs from daily. You could even be a homestead junkie like me, who has dreams of tending almost every farm animal under the sun with a too-big garden to frolic in.
To get started, determine the amount of time available for creating and maintaining a homestead. Then, you can figure out what tasks will fit your schedule.
How Much Time do YOU Have for Homesteading?
The first step is identifying when you’ll be able to work on homestead efforts.
If you work a full time job, that is obviously a different schedule than a stay at home mom. If you are single, or don’t have a partner who is interested in homesteading, that will provide a different amount of manpower than two people with the same dreams and goals.
No matter your situation, there is a specific amount of time and energy that each person can commit to homesteading.
It is perfectly reasonable to spend only weekends on homesteading, or to dedicate your evenings, or to go full out into making your homestead your full time job. I can’t say it enough: you can customize every aspect of homesteading to what YOU desire.
Ask yourself how many hours per day you have available. This will determine the kinds of activities you can integrate into your schedule.
Next, think about the types of responsibilities you’d like to take on.
Our homestead journey began with thinking about all things food. I desired home grown ingredients to use in my kitchen, so the related activities followed. Gardening for fresh vegetables, chickens for meat and eggs, goats for milk. It all came slowly and intentionally with that goal in mind.
Your goals may be different. If you want to cultivate gardens for beauty, you’ll be growing things with different seasons and attention requirements. If you want to tend animals as pets, that might look different than growing an animal for food production.
How Much Time Does Homesteading Really Take?
The short answer? It depends… As I outlined above, your specific goals and lifestyle will ultimately determine what you take on, but keep reading to get an idea of what each animal and chore takes for us.
Before we got started on our homestead, I looked for any information I could find about this topic. Now, I can only speak to our journey, so it might be different for you, but I think it’s helpful just to get ideas!
How Much Time Does it Take to Maintain Our Homestead?
Maintaining the homestead is just what it sounds like. We aren’t really moving the needle forward. This includes daily and weekly chores that need done when you have animals and plants that depend on your care.
Daily Homesteading Chores (30 minutes max on average)
Daily chores are ones that drive the bulk of our routine. Everything follows the daily chores. Some animals we have honed systems for that require minimal daily attention which gives us more time for other things!
Laying Chickens / Meat Chickens (2-5 minutes)
- Let the laying chickens out of the coop
- Move the meat chickens tractor one space along
- Fill/refresh feeders and waterers.
- We use a mobile coop on wheels for the layers that is very easy to move. We move it one space every day to distribute the manure over the pasture and avoid killing the grass.
- Close the laying chicken’s coop at night. (the laying chickens put themselves in at dark.)
Ducks (2-5 minutes)
- Let the ducks out of their house
- Fill/refresh feeders and waterers including their kiddie pool “pond”
- We use a mobile house for the ducks as well, so this gets moved one space daily too.
- Close the duck house at night. (the ducks put themselves in at dark)
Cows (5-10 minutes)
The bulk of the cow chores are weekly chores, meaning they need minimal daily attention.
- Check and fill the cows waterer as needed.
Goats (0 minutes for daily chores)
Our goats are by far the easiest animals on the homestead! For the most part, the chores they require is on a weekly basis. If they’re in milk, we do have to milk daily, but that is a seasonal chore.
- if milking, this takes 15 minutes daily.
Garden (0-15 minutes)
The garden doesn’t require much daily care, but I always advocate for a daily visit just for maximum enjoyment! We don’t water our garden regularly thanks to our climate, location on our property, and the way the beds are built. It saves us a ton of time!
- Harvest any fresh ingredients for daily meals
- Pull weeds adjacent to the plants I’m harvesting
Weekly Homesteading Chores (about 3 hours)
Weekly chores are ones that contribute to the regular care of our homestead to keep things happy and healthy.
Layer/Meat Chickens (15-20 minutes)
- Move the laying chicken’s fence and coop to a fresh piece of pasture
- Scrub out layer/meat chickens feeders and waterers
- Refill nesting boxes with fresh hay
Ducks (15-20 minutes)
- Move the duck’s fence and house to a fresh piece of pasture
- Scrub out feeders, waterers, and kiddie pool “duck pond”
Cows: 2-3 times per week (30 minutes)
- Move the cow’s fence, water, and minerals to a fresh piece of pasture
Goats: 1-2 times per week (20 minutes)
- Move the goat’s fence and house to a fresh piece of pasture
- Scrub and refill water (their water only needs refreshed weekly)
Garden (30 minutes)
- Harvest produce that needs preserving
- Weed the beds I harvest from
How Much Time Will Homesteading Take You?
If you want to have a homestead of your own, don’t let fear of time stop you! Take on the tasks that you dream about and make them fit your availability.
You can put chickens or ducks in a static coop which removes the time needed to move them every week. Then, you can even create feeding and watering systems that are automated to save even more time. We plan to add some of these updates to our systems too!
I said it before and I’ll say it again: homesteading will ultimately be customized to fit your life! The flexibility is the reason it works for so many people, and can work for you!