22 Profitable Animals You Should Raise

Looking for profitable animals you can raise? You’ve stumbled upon the perfect resource.

Mention raising animals for profit to anyone, and I’m sure that the first animal that they suggest will be chickens.

This is because chickens are perhaps the easiest animal to care for and make money from – and with so many people jumping on the backyard chicken bandwagon, it’s no surprise that chickens are at the top of our list of profitable animals you can raise.

However, there are many breeds of animals (besides chickens!) That is also good for earning some money. Each animal has its benefits and disadvantages that can affect its suitability for you – there’s no single best animal for everyone.

Let’s take a look at some of the other animals – not just chickens – that can be raised for profit.

chickens inside a large greenhouse

1. Chickens

Ok, so this article isn’t just about chickens – but chickens do deserve their spot on the list!

Chickens are some of the most popular animals you can raise for profit since they are multipurpose animals.

They’re relatively easy to care for and require minimal space. Just four square feet per hen in a chicken coop is all you need, with a bit more space outside including shelter for them to graze and a spot for them to lay their eggs.

Do some research before you invest in chickens so that you can find the ideal breed. This will help you maximize your income, as not all chickens are super productive.

There’s no need for buying too many specialized foods, as chickens will eat kitchen scraps, weeds, and any bugs they happen to find.

The constant egg production of chickens will ensure that you always have cash coming in. Eggs are constantly in demand, both for commercial food production, as well as in individual households.

Free-range, organic local eggs are incredibly popular, and can fetch premium prices. Fresh eggs often sell for up to $5.00 per dozen!

That’s not to mention chicken meat, either. Chicken meat is a popular product that can produce an eligible income. Certain breeds of chickens only need two months to grow before they’re ready to be eaten. Some meat chickens can fetch a price between $3.00 and $6.00 per pound.

And that’s not all that can be generated from raising chickens. Their manure is another popular product that can be sold to gardeners, as are their feathers.

milking a cow

2. Cattle

The cattle market in the United States is massive at the moment, as in other countries.

Although cattle require slightly more land than chickens, they require little input. Plan on two acres for a pair of cows or one acre for a single grazing cow.

Cows also need a water source and a barn for the winter with hay to keep them fed when snow is on the ground. Shade for hot summer days, while they’re out on pasture, is also essential.

In return, cattle can provide you with several products.

One is milk. Milk can be sold or used to produce other value-added products like crema, butter, yogurt, and cheese. Milk, on its own, can be sold for about $8.00 per gallon directly, or to a store through a cooperative.

Steers can also be raised for meat to sell. Calves also sell, but you’ll find a better return on investment by raising animals to maturity.

When raising cows, food quality and animal conditions are important. Customers expect animals to be raised naturally and fed grass instead of grain.

This, of course, takes longer to get them to sale, however, you can sell meat from anywhere between $5 to $6 a pound or more.

To have an effective cattle-rearing operation, you’ll need a bull. When a bull is done with that “job”, there’s another income source you can explore – you can rent him out to other herbs to fulfill the same task.

This could earn you up to $200 per month. This is a great bonus when you consider that it can help pay for feed and housing.

goats climbed on top of an ATV

3. Goats

Once rare in the United States, goats are becoming more popular as profitable farm animals. Global estimates show that goat accounts for 65% of all red meat consumed, so you might not be surprised to hear that raising goats for meat can fetch you a pretty penny.

Goat meat is a profitable product since these animals are relatively small and inexpensive to raise. They don’t require large amounts of grazing area, either, since goats will eat just about anything.

Goat’s milk is another product that you can consider producing. It offers a variety of health benefits, easier to digest for many people as it is lower in fat and lactose. It’s ideal for individuals who suffer from dairy allergies or digestive problems.

Because goat’s milk is not always easy to find, it can fetch high prices – up to $4 a quart! If you take the time to gain organic certification, the price could be even higher.

As with cow’s milk, goat’s milk can also be used to make other value-added products like cheese. Again, these are often considered more healthy than dairy products.

You can even make natural bath products and cosmetics and lotions from goat’s milk. These offer anti-allergen and organic benefits.

While it takes some time and skill to make these products, it’s a worthwhile endeavor – a single bar of goat’s milk soap can sell for about $6 per bar.

The income potential for raising goats is vast, especially when you consider that you can also rent goats out to people who want to have overgrown areas cleared of their vegetation. Some people will pay $250 per day in order to have a herd of a dozen goats graze their land!

bees in beehive

4. Bees

Even humble honeybees have the potential to be raised for profit. They’re simple to raise as they don’t, unlike the other animals on this list, require daily tending. And in some cases, you may be able to get the bees for free.

You will need to invest in some equipment (which can be costly) such as hive boxes, a good pair of gloves, and a bee suit.

When bees swarm in the spring, you can place a mixture of five pounds of sugar water in the hive box feeder to attract them. You can then keep the bees for the long term on your property.

Honey is a natural alternative to sugar that can be used in many recipes. A small amount of honey ingested each day may also help people who suffer from seasonal allergies.

The demand for local, pure honey has increased tenfold over the last few years, and has seen prices rise to around $5 per gallon.

Another potential income stream provided by bees is the fee you can get by renting out the hives and the bees. Local food producers get hire beekeepers to rent their bees to pollinate crops.

Pollination can increase crop yields, making the average rental fee of $25 per hive – well worth the farmer’s trouble.

Honeycomb, too, is becoming more popular, especially in the culinary industry. This Is yet another product courtesy of the humble honey bee that can help you make a profit, often reaching prices of around $20 per pound.

a couple of white rabbits

5. Rabbits

Rabbits are absolutely adorable and can create significant income. They can be kept in simple hutches, requiring menial quantities of land. They eat a combination of store bought foods, and homegrown vegetables, weeds, and grass clippings.

Rabbits are prolific breeders, and can have up to 12 kits per litter.

Rabbit meat is very much in demand, as it is low in calories and high in protein. It is popular among the medical community, especially for people with heart disease who struggle eating other kinds of meat.

It’s not unusual to see rabbit meat sold for $8 per pound.

Not only that, but some people buy rabbit pelts to practice tanning, while others buy pelts to make hats, gloves, and coats. Since rabbit pelts can be difficult to find, they can attract prices of around $10 a piece.

High levels of nitrogen and phosphorus found in rabbit droppings make it a popular manure that’s in demand by gardeners, with this item selling for around $5 per pound.

With a rabbit family producing as much as one ton of manure per year, this can amount to a significant income.

pekin ducks drinking water

6. Ducks

There are different breeds of ducks, some of which can make excellent profits. These animals are easy to keep, needing slightly more space than chickens but not creating as much damage.

It is possible to make money from ducks in many ways. A mature duck, depending on breed and location, can be sold for around $10. However, for a quicker turnaround, chicks can be sold for $3 to $5 apiece.

Laying ducks are also a marketable product, as are duck eggs. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, and are packed with vitamins and minerals. These eggs can be sold for hatching ducklings, or for eating.

Fresh local duck eggs can be hard to find in most areas. This has resulted in some pretty high prices for duck eggs – good news for you!

Duck feathers and down are also marketable products you can sell. There’s nothing more comfortable than a pillow or cushion filled with duck down! Plus, the patterns that are unique on individual duck feathers make them popular for crafting. Some Feathers sell for as much as $10 apiece!

Ducks produce a lot of waste, but local gardeners will almost always buy the manure when it is available.

free-ranging pig next to old stone rocks

7. Pigs

Pigs aren’t the first choice of many as a profitable animal to keep – although they can make you lots of money, they do produce more of a smell. They can sometimes be aggressive, too.

Nevertheless, the pig is an excellent moneymaker.

As with many animals, the free range trend can extend to keeping pigs – and can help you create a more marketable product.

Pigs will eat virtually anything – but you’ll need large quantities of food to keep them well-fed!

In addition to selling pork, you can also sell piglets. A pig will birth as many as 12 to 13 piglets at a time. These take just a few months to mature with the meat often sold at more than $3.50 per pound.

Cat Proofing The Garden

8. Cats

You might be surprised to see cats on this list, but most cats can be raised and sold relatively easily – especially if you do so when they are still kittens. However, some breeds are more highly prized than others, and therefore can demand premium prices.

To raise cats, you don’t have to have any specialized equipment and breeding can be done in any home environment.

One highly sought-after breed is the Ahsera cat, which looks like a snow leopard. This cat breed will produce up to five litters each year, so owning one is worthwhile especially when you consider that these cats can be raised for $125,000 – each!

Many people also want to raise cats for exhibitions or shows. This stimulates the market for cats with certain breed standard appearances.

There are even cats that can be useful as working animals, with the barn cat kept by many to reduce rodent population.

dog trying to get rid of a mole

9. Dogs

Often referred to as man’s best friend, there’s always a huge demand for dogs as companions. However, they can be used in other ways, too. Dogs can be used for hunting, security, racing, and even escorting the blind.

For successful breeding, you will need to have an area separate from the home. The size of this area will depend on the extent of your breeding program. In some places, you may need a kennel license.

The pedigree of the breed is an important factor when it comes to how much money you can make.

  • The Rottweiler can be sold for $2,000 – $7,000.
  • The German Shepherd can be sold for $1,500 – $7,500.
  • The English Bulldog can be sold for $2,000 – $4,000.
chicken and sheep inside hoophouse

10. Sheep

Sheep can be highly profitable animals to keep, however they do not suit every environment. If the correct grazing is not available, they can be quite expensive to feed.

Wool is one of the traditional commodities of the fabric industry that went into decline with the introduction of modern synthetic fabrics.

Today wool is enjoying a resurgence in popularity as its health, comfort, and durable properties have been widely recognized.

The price of wool does depend on the breed and the commodity markets but can sell for about $10 per pound.

In addition, the meat of a young lamb aged between 9-12 months is a popular product. Depending on the breed, a live young lamb can be sold in the spring for approximately $300.00.

11. Alpaca

Alpacas were originally kept for fleece, a natural alternative to wool. A popular product in Peru, alpaca fleece here is collected readily – to the tune of 4,000 tons of fleece per year! By comparison, the United States only collects around 50 tons.

Fleece is popular in many handmade products, but has not yet become a mainstream commodity – you will have to do a bit more digging to find a market if you decide that alpaca fleece products are what you want to sell.

Despite the restricted market for fleece, it’s a good option. These animals themselves are in high demand, as many are used as guard animals, with well-bred female alpacas being sold for thousands of dollars.

Alpacas don’t require much specialized care, and can be housed with many other kinds of animals, like sheep.

13. Llamas

Llamas are similar to alpacas in how they are cared for, and how their fleece is harvested. The fleece is in high demand among spinners, weavers, knitters, and other artisans who specialize in natural products.

As with alpacas, of course, fleece is not the only way to make a profit when raising them.

They are popular pack animals as well as animals at petting zoos, where they can be used to entertain children for the tourist industry.

They have even been used in pet therapy! You’ll find alpacas for sale in the range of $10,000 to $100,000, making them valuable animals to raise.

14. Fish

Keeping fish, whether indoors or outside, is a hobby with universal appeal. Not only can you make a substantial profit in breeding fish, but if you have the right kind of facilities, you can also get into fish farming.

There is a massive demand for high-quality koi carp. Prices depend on the shape, skin color, and patter of the fish, but prices range from $15 to $5,000 per fish, with the potential to produce serious profits.

You will need adequate aquarium space to breed exotic fish, as they can be somewhat fussy in regard to the environment.

Current trends show that the earth’s population will be 9.7 billion by 2050, with the demand for animal protein doubling. This could propel the global market for both freshwater and saltwater fish into the $270 billion bracket.

15. Guinea Pigs

These adorable animals are kept as pets in many countries. They are popular, as they are easy to keep and breed. They are normally disease-free, and have a diet similar to that of rabbits. They can also be kept in hutches like rabbits.

Depending on the breed of the guinea pig, they can be sold as pets for anywhere from $10-$40.

Some countries raise these animals as a food source to satisfy the increasing demand for protein.

two baby turkeys

16. Turkey

Turkeys are easy to keep, particularly if they are allowed to free range. They don’t require massive quantities of land.

During the holiday season, just about every family will purchase a turkey for the holiday meal – because of this, you should be able to fetch high prices for the birds. They’re must-have items!

There’s a demand for turkey throughout the rest of the year, too, of course. Turkey eggs for breeding purposes are of particular value – these can often be found selling at prices of around $2.50 to $4 an egg.

You can also sell turkeys as live birds, with ages ranging at a day old to mature birds (yielding you somewhere between $3 and $15, depending on the age of the bird.

17. Bearded Dragon

The bearded dragon might sound like an odd animal to raise, but believe it or not, there are a lot of reasons to keep these animals! You can sell these creatures for somewhere between $40 and $900, with the price depending on the color and type of the dragon.

Breeding the right type of dragon, therefore, can be quite profitable. There’s a learning curve involved, though, since the animals require the proper environmental conditions to be bred successfully.

18. Chameleon

Chameleons might also be considered an odd choice, but these exotic animals are quite prized as pets.

Any demand means there’s opportunity for profit – but, as with most animals, there’s also a higher demand for certain breeds.

Veiled chameleons can be sold for a price of around $75 while Parson’s chameleons can be sold at more than $1000 apiece. They again require the proper environment for healthy breeding so keep this in mind before you dive in.

19. Gecko

Geckos have gorgeous colors and patterns that have been refined and developed throughout many years of selective breeding. The appearance is likely the single most popular reason why these creatures are so popular as pets.

As long as your geckos have nice warm hiding places, they are relatively easy to keep. They don’t require expensive equipment and are hardy and docile.

They’re easy to train, and are quite long lived, with some individuals living for twenty years or more! Because of this, deciding to raise a gecko is not a decision to make lightly.

There are some patterns and colors that are more popular than others, which likely accounts for the price range difference between $100 and $300.

20. Turtle

The sale of certain types and sizes of turtles has been subject to restrictions in the United States for several years due to the animal’s association with the Salmonella disease.

That, however, does not mean that this is an animal that cannot be raised for profit.

Some raise these animals for export to other countries. It is estimated that the global trade in these animals is close to $10 million.

21. Snakes

Although some people might be horrified at the prospect of owning a pet snake, particularly when you consider that many types of snakes are deadly, the profit associated with the snack industry might have you thinking otherwise.

In 2020, the American snake trade was worth over $519 billion. This figure includes thes sale of all snake=related products. Here’s a snapshot of snake prices:

  • Sunbeam Snakes – $55-$125
  • Hognose Snakes- $100-$750
  • Egg Eating Snakes – $65-$100
  • California Kingsnakes – $60-$350

Extra care does need to be undertaken in caring for and breeding these animals – they require particular environmental conditions.

22. Alligator

Again, the alligator is likely not the first animal that comes to mind when you think of creatures you might raise for profit. It was removed from the list of endangered species, so a healthy trade has now developed.

Alligators are super cute when tiny, so there’s a hefty profit to be made by breeding them for this market. The animal meat, though, is where the real profit is.

A cooked-skinned whole alligator can sell for $13.50 per pound. That could result in a whole alligator achieving a selling price of $300. Alligator tenderloin averages $38.50 for 2 pounds.

23. Ostrich

The ostrich is the largest living bird on Earth, with males growing to between 83 and 108 inches tall and to weights of 330 pounds or more.

Despite the size of this animal, each bird will lay around 30 to 50 eggs each year. This makes the ostrich one of the most profitable animals.

The eggs are large, with just one egg equating to around two dozen chicken eggs. Because of this, just one egg can sell for up to $50 for use in culinary purposes. THey can also be sold for hatching ostriches.

A young chick can be sold for up to $600 while a bird that’s a year old will average $2,500 to $10,000 or more.

Selling ostrich meat is something else worth considering. At 14 months, the birds can be butchered to produce up to 140 pounds of meat.

  • Ground ostrich meat will sell from $10 to $15 per pound
  • Fillets can sell for $25to $50 per pound.
  • Tenderloins will typically sell for more than $50 per pound.
  • These prices could produce a minimum of $1500 per bird.

Summary

As you can see, there is a long list of animals that can be raised for profit. Some of these animals might be surprising – an alligator might not be your first choice! However, there are plenty of people out there who make a decent living from these animals.

Chickens are some of the easiest animals to keep as there is a massive demand for them and their products.

Remember that a profit and an income are not the same thing. Each animal will have costs associated with raising them, which you will need to balance against the income to understand profitability.

Which of these is right for you?

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  1. Reptiles! I have to show the wife this list! We have been breeding reptiles for decades, and my wife always thought it didn’t relate to homesteading or prepping. It’s always just been a hobby, but I make enough selling the babies to cover all their expenses.
    The bigger take away, I also raise the insects that some of my critters eat. The bearded dragons eat dubia roaches, meal worms, and soldier fly larva – all easy to produce, and I also sell dubia starter colonies, bins of meal worms and the best of them all: the soldier fly larva that grow in my compost pile – they literally have zero overhead! AND, the chickens go absolutely insane for them.
    We breed Bearded Dragons, Ball Pythons, Corn snakes, King snakes and Eastern Box Turtles (for a state project, we do not sell the turtles).

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