Win a copy of For the Love of Paw Paws this week in the Fruit Trees forum!
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • Anne Miller
  • paul wheaton
stewards:
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Mike Jay Haasl
  • Burra Maluca
garden masters:
  • James Freyr
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Steve Thorn
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Carla Burke
  • Dave Burton
  • Pearl Sutton

Small single or very small herd of dairy, meat, and fiber animals

 
gardener
Posts: 950
Location: Ohio, USA
172
dog forest garden fish fungi trees urban food preservation solar woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not there yet, but I figured I'd ask anyway since it's a topic of interest long term. We would like an animal that can produce milk, fiber, and meat. We don't have enough area for about anything sizeable. A grazer is essentially,  and being incognito in the city is also super important.  I've considered a miniature sheep with a poodle hair cut,  but I hear they are loud if they are alone. I hear chevrotain are tamable, but I think they are exotic pets and they don't look like they have much meat on them.  Thanks ahead of time!
 
pollinator
Posts: 132
Location: Saskatchewan
33
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sheep are herd animals and keeping one by itself will be stressful to it. So yes it will likely be loud or try to escape. A single sheep is not a good choice for being incognito. Even when they are not alone, ewes with lambs spend a lot of time calling for their lambs to follow them. Sheep will produce milk, meat and fibre, but no breed of sheep does all 3 well. The milk sheep will be skinny, have less robust lambs, and not so nice wool, some may have reasonably meaty lambs. The sheep with nice wool are mostly dual purpose as meat breeds, these will have just enough milk for their lambs. There are also strictly meat breeds, that have lots of lambs, not so nice wool, and just enough milk to feed all their lambs.

I think you need to decide on priorites to decide what livestock you want. If you want milk and meat, there are some small milking goat breeds, such as the nigerian dwarf, or kinder.  Goats would be as loud as sheep. If you want fibre and meat, and a completely undetectable animal, angora rabbits would be worth looking at. Rabbits eat green stuff too.
 
gardener & author
Posts: 550
Location: Tasmania
271
homeschooling goat forest garden fungi foraging trees cooking food preservation pig wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I used to have a neighbour that kept Corridale sheep - she said they were a good triple-purpose breed. Icelandic and Shetland sheep might also be a good choice.

I have heard that sheep milk can be a seasonal treat, rather than a reliable source of year-round milk, so whether you want milk all through the year, or just during spring and summer, will help you decide on an animal.

There was a thread on here recently about Pygora goats - they produce fibre and meat, and can be milked (although I'm not sure if they would milk for as long as a pure dairy breed). You could always get one dairy goat and one fibre goat and keep them together.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 4053
919
transportation cat duck trees rabbit books chicken woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I got corriedales and they are not milking sheep, pretty good though at wool and milk. As others have said, there is no perfect sheep out there.
 
Posts: 16
Location: Upstate New York
6
chicken solar rocket stoves
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I have read that although you can eat and milk Pygoras, the energy that goes into milk production decreases the quality of the fiber, and they aren't the best meat animals, either. I'm going to get one Nigerian Dwarf milker and one Pygora wether. I have a friend who didn't know what she was doing & bought some Nigerian Dwarfs with tiny teats & she can't milk them. Does anyone know if the Henry Milker is an ok thing to use, and whether it will milk the tiny teats? It seems like it would, but I'd like to get advice from someone with experience. If the Henry Milker will work, I can take one of her "useless" goats off her hands.
 
master steward & author
Posts: 16317
Location: Left Coast Canada
3844
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Black Welsh Mountain sheep make a great tri-purpose breed.  Milk, wool, and meat.  Very calm, broad diet (they eat like goats as well as sheep, meaning they eat trees as happily as grass), and the females are only about 100 to 120 pounds so they are easy to handle.
 
master steward
Posts: 10098
Location: Pacific Northwest
3983
hugelkultur kids cat duck forest garden foraging fiber arts sheep wood heat homestead
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ooooh, those are pretty! And small, too!


I'm really looking at the small, dog-sized sheep for when we get sheep. Shelands are another small sheep breed, and like Kate mentioned, seem to be multipurpose. I've also read that they are pretty hardy sheep, like the Welsh Mountain Sheep. The Shetlands also seem to have a wide variety of colors, which really appeals to me as a knitter.



 
Posts: 947
Location: Graham, Washington [Zone 7b, 47.041 Latitude] 41inches average annual rainfall, cool summer drought
44
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Triple purpose do exist (Icelandic sheep for example) but the less specialized an animal is the less efficient it is in its task. Add onto that your limited land base and it becomes a challenge.

Are you able to do rabbit cages? A few cages of Angora Rabbits can provide fiber and free up your pasture for milk and meat.

The smallest size ruminant purpose bred is probably the small African goats. Two Nigerian Dwarf Does for milk and mothering, inseminated with Pygmy Goat sperm to produce more meaty kids is my suggestion.
 
pollinator
Posts: 2289
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
182
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Kyrt Ryder wrote:Triple purpose do exist (Icelandic sheep for example) but the less specialized an animal is the less efficient it is in its task. Add onto that your limited land base and it becomes a challenge.

Are you able to do rabbit cages? A few cages of Angora Rabbits can provide fiber and free up your pasture for milk and meat.

The smallest size ruminant purpose bred is probably the small African goats. Two Nigerian Dwarf Does for milk and mothering, inseminated with Pygmy Goat sperm to produce more meaty kids is my suggestion.



I was going to suggest rabbits as well. They hit the need to be “incognito” in an urban environment, are efficient at converting feed, and the Angoras apparently make lovely fibre.
 
Whatever. Here's a tiny ad:
Heat your home with the twigs that naturally fall of the trees in your yard
http://woodheat.net
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!