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Advice planning our homestead

 
Jim Aldridge
Posts: 25
Location: Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
8
cattle kids homestead
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I have been doing a self study on Permaculture but I haven’t been through a PDC, yet. Our goal is to do some gardening (perennials and annuals) raise chickens, goats, dairy cow/beef calves for the freezer, beekeeping , and maybe pigs. I have done a base map, zone map, and sector analysis map. We are growing zone 6 and at 2000 feet above sea level. Any advice or input will be appreciated.
6A4502B6-26D7-4416-B879-B22DB07EF7E9.jpeg
Base map
Base map
FD4708ED-F354-449C-A4FE-4CA66EFE466A.jpeg
Sector analysis
Sector analysis
AB6DC036-70E1-471B-877C-79C70940E7AC.jpeg
Zone map
Zone map
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 112
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
3
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How much land is this? How many acres of each zone are you working with?

How many animals are you planning for? Are you bringing feed in or producing it yourself?

Are there any fences in place or will you be building them?

I assume no barns, coops, or weather shelters are already existing so you will be building them.

I’m no authority on permaculture. My experience is with grazing sheep, pigs, and poultry. Planting and maintaining pasture is a major part of that and it takes more effort than most people think.

Get fences, buildings, and pasture in place and ready before adding the animals. I have made the mistake of getting stock too soon and it takes years of hard work to recover from that. Don’t do it.

Access to water is also very important for your stock. You need a good plan and system in place. Running water and/or the ability to move it to the animals. I used 1000 litre totes to move water to my stock. They worked well until my flock was up to 80+ head. At that point the hot days of summer meant refilling a couple times a week to ensure fresh clean water.

Rotational use of the land is also important. Don’t keep animals on the same ground for too long. Ideally move them as the forage is eaten down. Cows graze high grasses, Goats a little lower. Pigs and chickens then clean behind. That will give maximum use of the forage and then dispersal of the manure. The pigs and chickens help reduce the flies attracted by the cow patties when they spread them all over.

If you want to colllect manure use a central pen or coral where the larger animals can be fed and watered each day after coming in from grazing.

There is sooooo much that could be written
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 5207
Location: Bendigo , Australia
439
plumbing earthworks bee building homestead greening the desert
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Pretty open ended question!
My advice is to research, buy books attend open days and seminars.

Its not a subject one can learn on a forum alone.
 
Jim Aldridge
Posts: 25
Location: Cumberland Plateau, Tennessee
8
cattle kids homestead
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We have 12 acres. We aren't sure how many animals we want. We know we want at least one dairy cow and the ability to raise enough beef for my wife, my son, and I for the year, if possible. Along with that, we want poultry, pigs, and goats, but we aren't sure about the numbers. It isn't fenced yet, and we don't have barns, coops, or shelters up yet. There is a sense in which it is still somewhat of a "blank slate," but that's why I really want to do the planning process right.
 
John C Daley
pollinator
Posts: 5207
Location: Bendigo , Australia
439
plumbing earthworks bee building homestead greening the desert
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Somewhere on this whole site, I created a check list for exactly what you are doing.
Maybe search for it, good luck.
 
Anne Miller
steward
Posts: 15128
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4150
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
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Similar to what has been said there are just too many variables.

I would start my planning with the gardens and chickens.

After those are drawn in maybe it will be easier to add other buildings or for others to offer some suggestions.

Have you put any thought into what size garden you will want?  Are you planning a kitchen garden? If so it would be placed near the door that has access to the kitchen.

Are you planning a stationary chicken house? That would also be good to have access to the kitchen.

On our homestead, we had a big garden outside the back door and then the chicken house was on the other side of the garden.

We were in a mild climate so we did not plan any other housing for animals. we had a beef cow or two.

Later on, our daughter wanted a pony so that is when we built a loafing shed.  After the pony left, we had no need for it so the cows used it for shade.

When our daughter did a pig for 4-H we built a pen and a small shelter for the pig.  It all went away after the pig went away.

This thread from similar threads might offer some helpful information:

https://permies.com/t/5192/permaculture-designing-tools
 
klorinth McCoy
Posts: 112
Location: Southern Manitoba, Canada, Zone 3B
3
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One other suggestion I have from personal experience is to not skimp on the quality of your building. Do it right the first time.

It's not about the amount of money you put into what you build. It's the quality of the building. If you build it right it will last for longer and you won't be replacing it in just a couple years.

This is especially true with animals shelters and buildings. Cows, goats, and pigs are hard on them.
 
Monica Truong
gardener
Posts: 1883
Location: Trochu, near Calgary, Canada
269
2
homeschooling forest garden books
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How is your homestead getting on, Jim? Now that a year has passed, you have some real feedback from living with the design you implemented. First hand experience is a great teacher, if you have time to learn from your mistakes or don't mind making them. But getting together with people with experience and learning from them, helps you avoid those mistakes and make an even better design. Hiring a consultant is one way to go, but if you are of a DIY mindset, which alot of people on this forum are, you might consider taking the PDC at Wheaton Labs this June. There is an earlybird special still on, but only until Sunday!                                                          
 
Jules Harrell
Posts: 139
Location: upstate NY near MA/VT
9
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My advice is to start small, with one animal type. I suggest goats. First secure your fencing, pasture, hay (especially for winter) and shelter. Give them more space than you think they need. I use electric fencing for summer (3 joule is only solar choice that keeps goats inside) as well as permanent fencing for winter. Figure out what goat keeping means before moving to chickens, pigs and cattle. Secondly, find a sister or brother farmer and apprentice with them. No amount of books or you tube videos will prepare you for the injuries, the escaped animals, the babies born outside in 10 degree weather, the need to milk mama to keep her babies alive who's udders wont drop and whose teats wont fill, the dehydrated babies with the runs who you have to force rehydrate, worms, bloat and hoof issues inherent in livestock farming. Start with one type, goats are the easiest and most hardy, use their poop and old bedding in your garden, and help a farmer out while you learn. Jules
 
Anne Miller
steward
Posts: 15128
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4150
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
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When we were planning our homestead we started with the fencing.

We put the house on the highest elevation though the land was relatively flat.

By placing the house where we did, the house was in the center of the ten acres of land.

I feel that the front yard was Zone 5, except for the driveway.

The back five acres were kept moved and was home to the cows.  I figure that was Zone 3.

We started with a chicken house and chickens.

Then a calf for the freezer, which the calf was replaced yearly with a couple more claves.  we had a calf born which was sold to our neighbor.

Then we had various other animals, some bought and some rescued.

The last animal we got were goats.  I think there were 5 or 6 and we had some born to our goats.

My dear hubby was just not a goat person so we got out of the goat business.

Now that it has been a couple of years, I too, am looking forward to hearing from Jim as to how he worked everything out.
 
Jimmy Chase
Posts: 1
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How much land do you have? It's important to know the size of each zone and how many animals you're planning for. You'll need to build fences and shelters for your animals, and make sure you have a good water system in place. Rotating the animals and managing the forage is crucial. Building fences should be your first step in planning your homestead.
 
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