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Looking for breed recommendations and actual animals in Western NC

 
Posts: 8
Location: WNC Zone 6b
homestead
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Hi all.  We are looking to acquire some animals in the spring and are thinking of goats and/or sheet, some fowl of some sort chickens/guineas/ducks, possibly some rabbits, and maybe even a pig or two.  We have plenty of fencing in place (after i patch a few spans that have had trees fall on them), and we have plenty of barn space.  Water is also not going to be a problem since this was a working farm in the 2000s; it's just been sitting for a while.  I have some electric mesh netting that I intend to use for rotational grazing where I can.  

#1 - Can anyone recommend breeds that would thrive in our area of western NC?
   - Sheep or goats would be expected to tame some of the brush that's been growing wild the last 10 years or so.  We have a lot of wild blackberries and multi-flora roses.  We also have fallow pasture that to me looks like there's actually pretty good base of pasture grass.  Bonus points if we can harvest the animal for meat down the road.
   - Fowl would be expected to provide eggs and also eat bugs, especially ticks.  
   - Rabbits would provide compost and meat for me, and entertainment for the children (not in that order :)).
   - Pigs would provide entertainment for us and also help us create disturbances in the pasture, the Joel Salatin way.  

#2 - Does anyone actually have any animals that are for sale?  I'm interested in healthy animals that are raised mostly on pasture.  

Thanks in advance!
Farmer Frank
 
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Location: USDA Zone 8a
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Hi, Frank

Sounds like you have a nice place to start a homestead.

I don't have any animals now though I have had chickens, goats and pigs in the past. And a rabbit once.

Our chickens were Rhode Island Reds.

I don't know about breed recommendation for Western NC.  We lived in Wade, NC for a short time.  Pretty country.
 
Posts: 227
Location: Northern Puget Sound, Zone 8A
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Can't help much on sheep, goats or pigs as far as particular breeds.  But for chickens, I'd look to breeds that are sufficiently cold hardy to handle the occasional dip into negatives.  Most will probably be OK with that.  But also consider how hot your summers get, and make sure the chickens can also tolerate the heat.  NC can get toasty, and quite humid.  Most chickens will actually tolerate the cold better than the heat.

Here in the northern Puget Sound area of Washington (which, granted, doesn't as cold in winter, or as hot in summer) we've had good success with various Wyandotte breeds, Austrolorpes, Barnevelders, Welsummers, and Marans.  All have been good layers and have handled the weather just fine.  Only problems have involved a recent coyote attack that killed 7 of the 26 hens.

I think Justin Rhodes is in your general neck of the woods, and he seems to like Austrolorpes as a dual purpose breed for that area.

I don't know if chickens eat ticks as we just don't have a problem with them here, but guinea fowl are supposed to be the #1 farm animal for people with tick problems.  But they're also close to the #1 animal that people are glad when they're gone due to the noise they make.  If I had a tick problem I'd seriously consider getting some guineas, but probably would only get them occasionally and only long enough to reduce the local tick population enough to not be a problem for a couple years, then I'd slaughter or sell them.

For sheep, one thing I've learned on here is that they will clear brush.  Maybe not as preferentially as goats, but they will eat it when they run out of other things they prefer.  So, if you would prefer sheep over goats (sheep usually are easier to fence in, and less troublesome in general) that is something to consider.  With both goats and sheep though you need to do something to protect any trees you don't want them to damage.
 
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Location: western NC
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We live west of Asheville, and there seem to be a lot of Katahdin and Dorper sheep in my area. You might call the local extension agent. They will have some knowledge of what breeds thrive in our area, and put you in touch with some farms/breeders.  There will be quite a bit coming available soon on CraigsList.
Re: Chickens
We have everything for Speckled Sussex to Easter Eggers, Rhode Islands, Golden Comet and Barred Rock.  For egg size, I like to Rhodies; for personality and possible broodiness, I like the Sussex (want to try a silkie as a broody mamma...)
Re: Goats
They are fun, but can be 'teenagers who never quite grow up.' Ours are alpines, and have not bothered the "Christmas" trees in our pasture (our llamas didn't either, but no guarantees)
Have fun with your homestead/farm; I know I have!!
 
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Location: Virginia USDA 7a/b
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Frank White wrote:Hi all.  We are looking to acquire some animals in the spring and are thinking of goats and/or sheet, some fowl of some sort chickens/guineas/ducks, possibly some rabbits, and maybe even a pig or two.  We have plenty of fencing in place (after i patch a few spans that have had trees fall on them), and we have plenty of barn space.  Water is also not going to be a problem since this was a working farm in the 2000s; it's just been sitting for a while.  I have some electric mesh netting that I intend to use for rotational grazing where I can.  

#1 - Can anyone recommend breeds that would thrive in our area of western NC?
   - Sheep or goats would be expected to tame some of the brush that's been growing wild the last 10 years or so.  We have a lot of wild blackberries and multi-flora roses.  We also have fallow pasture that to me looks like there's actually pretty good base of pasture grass.  Bonus points if we can harvest the animal for meat down the road.
   - Fowl would be expected to provide eggs and also eat bugs, especially ticks.  
   - Rabbits would provide compost and meat for me, and entertainment for the children (not in that order :)).
   - Pigs would provide entertainment for us and also help us create disturbances in the pasture, the Joel Salatin way.  

#2 - Does anyone actually have any animals that are for sale?  I'm interested in healthy animals that are raised mostly on pasture.  

Thanks in advance!
Farmer Frank



Search this forum for Mike Turner posts about sheep. He is in upstate SC, and has been breeding maintenance-free sheep for years and years. I have learned a TON from his writing. I am working on the fencing now for our sheep, and much of my preparation is based on his information. He can also sell you stock that come with the genetics he has spent years creating.  
 
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Hi there.

We are in the Pee Dee Region of South Carolina.  We are what I call, gradual homesteaders.  We have chickens (bantams and standard).  Our neighbor has guineas which frequent us.  You definitely want guineas if you have ticks.  Bantam Chickens are prolific breeders.   They are small, but make a nice meal.  We usually eat our bantam eggs and sell the larger eggs.  Our best laying hens are Rhode Island Red, Red Sex-Link, and Olive Egger.

Some tricks we've learned for chickens are:


1. Instead of buying calcium/ oyster shell to increase egg production, save your eggshells.  We rinse ours right after using, dry on sink ledge, then place in a gallon size bucket (no lid or they will mildew).  Once the bucket is full, I crush them.  I just put a paper towel over the top (because the egg shells are sharp) and crush down with my hands.  Spread over a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and bake at 250 F for 30 minutes.  Then just spread to chickens.


2. To hatch Guineas, collect eggs and place under brooding chicken.  The chicken will hatch the eggs and raise the guineas.  Guineas are horrible mothers.  You will have more success with a Chicken as the mother.


We are also raising rabbits.  The best meat rabbits are New Zealand, Rex and Flemish Giant.  We have a New Zealand Doe and a Rex/Flemish Giant mix Buck.  We have bred them and have a nice mix of rabbits.  We are on our 2nd litter and  just had a litter of 10 that will be ready to go in early April.  If you want to breed them, you would need to get the doe and buck from different family lines.  (You can't breed brother and sister).  Even though you might just be raising them for meat, you may want to handle and pet them frequently.  We've found it makes it a lot easier to handle them when they are tame.

Between our neighbor and us, we could spare some chickens and guineas and we will have rabbits ready in April if we are not too far from you.
 
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