• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Pigs, goats, chickens, oh my!

 
Lauren Dixon
Posts: 67
Location: Kalispell, Montana
3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
We have a small 1.5 acre lot, mostly wooded, which we are slowly working to convert to a food producing powerhouse for our family. We have some valuable wild edibles on the place, including huckleberries, wild raspberries, thimble berries, service berries, and morel mushrooms, to name a few.

Our woods consist mostly of doug fir, with a few scattered birch and maple trees. Our idea is to begin slowly pushing the wild forest back, while attempting to preserve a few good patches of wild berries, so that we can begin replacing the wild forest with an intentionally grown food forest.

I have been reading the book 'gaia's garden' and really like the idea of zone planting from the house outward. In our situation, we have a zone 1 close to the house, where our gardens currently sit, and then a zone 5 wilderness immediately outside our small garden space. We are completely lacking the interim spaces for things like fruit trees, hedges, livestock space, etc.

I love looking out and seeing wild forest, but this particular forest also makes it quite difficult to grow anything we want to grow, as we get very little sun.

So, to get around to my question: How can we make pigs, goats, and chickens work for us in this situation? We currently have chickens in a tractor set-up, which is working pretty well for us. We are seeing our grass improve with every pass of the tractor, and we are seeing a disappearance of hawkweed every place the chickens have been. Cool! Now, how can we incorporate a couple of pigs and a milk goat into this scheme without wrecking our ecosystem, while also possibly clearing some brush for us? I don't want a stinky little, muddy, compacted pig pen, or a barren goat-scape. Is it feasible to pull this off on a little more than an acre? Already, I'm hearing neighbors complaining about the POSSIBILITY that I might have pigs at some point. They are already convinced that the smell will be unbearable. This is something I think I can avoid if we manage it properly. All advice is appreciated!
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
42
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
To managed rotational grazing with all of the animals to avoid 'stinky'. This will break parasite cycles, protect the soil from compaction, allow plants to regrow and gradually your soil will improve. I would suggest planting legumes such as alfalfa and clover to suck down nitrogen from the air as well as the carbon all the plants add to the soil.

I would suggest doing about a dozen chickens, a few ducks if you have a water spot as they help control mosquitoes, two pigs and I don't know much about goats but would suggest not more than two based on knowing sheep. We graze all our animals together. They eat slightly different things.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
Read about our on-farm butcher shop project:
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/butchershop
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic