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new to permaculture & homesteading....what critters are best?

 
Patricia Lager
Posts: 3
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I live on 2.3 acres with a barn (in need of much rehab). I have .75 acres closed off for my 4 dogs. I would like to add some farm animals to my barn (for pets and getting rid of weeds). I would also like chickens for eggs. I love pigs (thinking about adopting a few pot-bellied pigs form the local humane society). I would also like to adopt some grazing animals. Which critters (and how many) would work best with 2 or 3 pigs? I am leaning towards donkeys, sheep, or goats. I probably have 1.3 acres of land for these critters, and I would be able to rehab my barn to house them.

Also, would my barn need to be heated in the winter? I live in Central Illinois.

Thanks!!!

-Patty
 
R Scott
Posts: 3305
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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Heated? NO. they ARE the heat source. As long as you have plenty of bedding for them to cozy up in and the barn is not drafty. Enough for pigs to burrow into and make a blanket on top and they can handle artic winters.

We have had pigs kill kids and lambs--but as long as you start with adult goats/sheep and young pigs they seem to do OK.

Pigs will DESTROY a barn out of simple boredom. Do not let them get to any wood.
 
Walter Jeffries
Posts: 1085
Location: Mountains of Vermont, USDA Zone 3
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He's right, pigs will chew on and destroy wood if they are bored. So don't have them bored and don't lock them in. They do not need heat. We are in the mountains of northern Vermont. It gets very cold and is very windy here. Probably even worse than Illinois. We keep our 400 pigs out on pasture. In the winter we provide them with open shelters which they sometimes use and sometimes don't. Often they sleep out on hay under the stars.

I do not recommend keeping pigs for pets. Do the math on the costs and manure produced. This can be greatly alleviated by keeping the pigs on pasture. See:

http://www.google.com/search?q=site:sugarmtnfarm.com+%22pet%20pigs%22

We do keep our pigs with sheep, chickens, ducks and geese. The key is that during lambing time the ewes need a week or so to be away from the pigs so the lambs can get up and running.

Cheers,

-Walter Jeffries
Sugar Mountain Farm
Pastured Pigs, Sheep & Kids
in the mountains of Vermont
http://SugarMtnFarm.com/
 
It's in the permaculture playing cards. Here's the link: http://richsoil.com/cards
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