Can you really have a homestead in your backyard and not have your neighbors egg your house with the farm fresh organic eggs that you gifted them just the day before?
Yes you can and if you make it all the way through this article I’ll tell you how, and point you in the direction of someone who has been doing it much longer than I have.
Now I’ve never been one to wonder “What will the neighbors say” about how daft I must look sometimes. That doesn’t mean I don’t care about their feelings. I do ALWAYS try to be conscientious and considerate, but what I’m saying here is that I don’t mind if they think I’m a little “quirky” (over my 29 years I have found that “quirky” more often than not means strange/unfortunate when it’s spoken in that “bless your heart” tone of voice).
But it’s not just the animals that would make me appear “quirky” oh no, I was quirky before the animals. Let’s not forget who (in our old HOA neighborhood) went to the bus stop in a pink unicorn onesie while riding their kids scooter down the side walk. But surely since moving to a new area and starting up a micro farm in my backyard someone thinks I’m certifiable…right?
Actually not so much. First of all we stumbled across some of the most incredible neighbors. I’m talking helping wrangle chickens in our PJs in 15 degree weather (while laughing) and assisting in goat delivery awesome. So that’s been a blessing. What I’m finding is that people like farm animals. There are a lot of people who enjoy the idea of the simple farm life and farm animals, but don’t want to tackle all of the work on their own. They like watching as it unfolds in the safety of YOUR yard and benefiting from your efforts–and you’ll definitely want to share you bounty with your neighbors. Happy neighbors mean smooth sailing on the “urban homestead”.
Here are some tips that I have learned over the months of homesteading in my backyard and making sure that everyone is safe, happy, and healthy:
- Don’t get anything nosier than a DOG. Everyone is comfortable with dogs everyone understands that they will hear dogs barking so use that as your noise barometer. In our experience goats are okay, chickens and ducks. I wouldn’t recommend a rooster, goose, cow or donkey if you have neighbors very close.
- Say no to SMELLS. In the spring and summer everyone loves to go outside, but if your neighbors can’t grill out in their backyard because the stench overwhelms them the next thing that they’ll be roasting on their grill is your goat.
- Keep things clean. If your backyard looks like a junkyard your neighbors will have reason to complain and that’s NOT good for you. Make sure your animal pens are kept up and that you don’t store tons of junk where it’s visible.
- Fencing! If your neighbor really seems bothered by the site of your homestead or if you just want to be preventative get a privacy fence. What they can’t see can’t hurt them.
- Bribe them! Everyone loves fresh healthy food. If someone lives next to you and puts up with your farm shenanigans reward their patience. Give them eggs, milk, fruits, veggies, anything you produce, give them a little something for their troubles (so to speak).
But don’t just take my word for it…
I follow DaNelle at Weed ‘Em and Reap and she has been a wealth of knowledge on my backyard homestead journey. Her set up is very similar to what we have going on here. Neighbors on both side, chickens, ducks, goats, and gardens. I highly suggest checking out this post of DaNelle’s about dealing with HOAs while trying to create your backyard homestead.
With enough effort and consideration for your neighbors you too can have a backyard homestead.