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Next Animals To Add To My Homestead  RSS feed

 
Posts: 200
Location: S.E. Michigan - Zone 6a
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First where I am today - I have 10 acres with a creek running through it. I have maybe 3 acres of grass, 5 acres of trees with brushy undergrowth. I've been planting some fruit trees and berries and some veggie garden space in the remaining 2-ish. I have a flock of 30 chickens that I have been moving around on the front side of the creek with electro-net fencing.

Now I'm considering adding another animal and am wondering what I should do next. I was thinking goats until the underbrush is gone, and them maybe switch over to sheep. I'm looking for something that I can make a little money on, thus the thinking about pasture lamb.
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
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It is hard to make money on either on your scale. The better money would be goat milk if you get a customer (and can sell raw milk, check your local laws!) Goatmilk goes for $10/gallon here. If you are willing to milk daily. Just the savings from not buying milk for your family is probably worth more than you would get for 2-3 lambs a year.

Sheep are especially susceptible to predators, and once they find out how easy and tasty lamb is they just keep coming back until the herd is gone. You need serious protection for sheep--either locked in a barn at night or guard dogs. Goats are a lot tougher. You will still have issues, but adult goats can defend themselves and their kids.

Goats are impossible to keep in fences, you have to make them want to stay (well fed and not bored). ALWAYS have at least 2 goats (one goat will always get bored).

Some goat milk tastes horrible, some tastes wonderful (better than commercial cow's milk). Always taste the milk before you buy the goat (or cow) if it is fresh. If it tastes bad, sell her and try again, or keep her as the nurse nanny for all the babies and keep the milk from the other(s).
 
pollinator
Posts: 1595
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We opted for sheep over goats. We got katydins(sp?) and they can be milked. We'll attempt it when they give birth. What was stated about goats escaping is what led us that direction. It seems a small gap on the bottom of a gate (4") is enough for a baby to get out.

What sealed it for us was the meat. My wife brought home lamb meat from the store. We ate lambchops. We made burgers and spaghetti from ground lamb. The meat tastes good. Never sought goat as a comparison. I haven't eaten beef in a year at home. The key with sheep is to slaughter less than one year old. After that it gets gamey.

I think that is the ultimate thing to do. Eat both, see what you prefer. Do this and you always have a buyer for the product.

On a sidenote, people go ewwwww! when you mention eating lamb. If you go to Britain, lamb is to them what beef is to us. We never cook it fancy. Skillet fried in olive oil with salt and pepper. Its great.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1125
Location: Big Island, Hawaii (2300' elevation, 60" avg. annual rainfall, temp range 55-80 degrees F)
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Have you considered rabbits?
 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
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Pigs are great for clearing land. I've had great success keeping pigs contained with electric. Better than all other animals. You could do an interior & exterior electric fence set-up just in case. You can slaughter in 6 months or so. If you buy 2 put one in the freezer and sell the other. It's a pretty easy sell.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1361
Location: cool climate, Blue Mountains, Australia
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Sheep give a lot less milk than do goats but the milk is a lot better, nice and very creamy.
You must really think twice before adding a milk animal. You have to milk twice a day at the same time.
Sheep at least ours are difficult to milk and it can't be done by someone else if you are away.
Sheep like to eat everything which you tell them they should not eat esplecially your best plants.
But fencing is easier.
 
wayne fajkus
pollinator
Posts: 1595
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Angelika,
My wife has tasked me with finding a demonstration class on milking sheep. Ours haven't been bred yet. Would you be willing to demonstrate, or do you know anybody that offers the service?
 
steward
Posts: 2723
Location: Maine (zone 5)
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Rabbits have made a great small scale meat animal for me. They are easy to take care of and are very inexpensive.
On the larger scale, pigs are great at clearing rough ground. I have enjoyed all the benefits of running a couple pigs on the scrubby areas of my fields. MMMMMMMM Bacon!

Either way, you can't go wrong. (in my opinion)


Best of luck



 
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