Farming animals is a pretty long-term sort of exercise. I'll give you an example:
Heritage turkeys have been more and more popular; this year I had to turn away 350 people who wanted to buy a turkey from me (so many calls that I finally let my voicemail get full and stay full). In order to have a finished bird in November...
I have to have the turkey poult on my farm in March....
which means I have to order that bird for delivery in March...
Which means that I actually place the order NOW, in December, of the year before, so that I can make sure that my turkey poult order is filled. And even then it's not certain I'll get my turkeys -- there's a small but significant chance that any given hatchery will have some sort of problem that prevents them from delivering,
My production notes for 2011:
Pigs: Keep piglet production steady at 900; cull and replace 5 sows, cull 1 boar. Out of those 900 piglets (sounds like quite a few, but it works out to be 75 piglets a month on average) reserve 20 a month for growout, and produce 20 finished pigs a month out of them. I'm at the capacity of my land with respect to pigs, and the logistics of caring for 200-300 pigs at a time are about at the limit of what I can do without hiring someone, or acquiring more land, or both.
Sheep and goats: I have 30 ewes and two rams; I'm still getting used to keeping sheep, and I'm land-bound again. So I'll keep the number of sheep steady for this year. I'll probably produce 15-20 lambs for sale. I've managed the breeding so that they'll lamb in May. One of the primary markets for on-farm sales of lamb to customers is the Muslim market -- which the pigs complicate.
Turkeys: I've retained a breeding flock of 30 turkeys and will try again this year to hatch my own turkeys eggs. I've had mixed success with this. I'm going to hedge my bets by placing a small turkey poult order with two hatcheries, but my goal is to hatch and raise my own birds this year primarily.
9 hours ago