Introduction to Livestock Production

Livestock production may take many forms and, depending on your facilities, you may be able to combine several enterprises on your farm.
Introduction to Livestock Production - Articles


The term "livestock" encompasses many species and numerous breeds within these species. You may choose to raise dairy heifers for a local dairy, produce sheep or goats for individual markets, or deliver to your local livestock auction. Because of Pennsylvania's diverse population and proximity to major population centers, livestock production is always a viable option for farmers.

Many farms already have structures that may be easily adapted to livestock production. If there are no currently-suitable structures on your property, small-scale livestock ventures do not require elaborate structures. A three-sided structure to shield animals from inclement weather may suffice.

Pennsylvania currently has no large slaughter facilities for sheep and goats; however it hosts the largest sheep and goat auction (New Holland) in the United States. Steers and hogs may be slaughtered locally and sold by the half, quarter, or cut or may be trucked to a slaughtering plant. You must remember that any cut of meat that is to be transported across a state lines must be federally inspected.

There are several poultry processing plants located in Pennsylvania, but almost all large flocks of meat-type birds (broilers and turkeys) are produced under contract. However, there are many backyard flocks of turkeys, broilers, and layers that are kept for sale to neighbors or for sale at farmers markets' or through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) ventures.