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Goats, sheep or pigs

 
Bianca Morton
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Not sure if I'm asking this in the right section but since it spans 3 different critters i figured I'd ask here. Please move if needed.

While I dont have a farm I did find myself stopping by this forum quite often recently. I just got a 3 acres property a couple months ago and I was planning on stocking it with some farm animals and a couple aquaponics greenhouses. I have a manmade pond in the property about 100ft wide 25ft deep (on the deepest spot) that i've been told goes dry in the summer. I was told that I need to get sheep, pigs or goats to do some gleying and also clear the overgrown blackberry bushes aroudn the property. I even saw a forum post here of someone who documented sealing their pond with 4 pigs. From what ive heard all 3 will both seal the pond and eat the blackberries so my questions are as follows:

Pigs, sheep or goats, which one do you prefer and why?
Which ones are easier to take care of?
Which ones are most profitable (i will not kill them myself. id prolly sell byproducts and later sell to a butcher, maybe)?
What are some average care costs for each, food, medicine, supplements ... (im in northern CA)?
How many should I get? Was thinking maybe 4?
Average purchase price for babies to teenagers (this is a hard one because of location)?

If anyone is close to chico/magalia recommendations on where to get them would be greatly appreciated

Thanks,
Bianca
 
Stephanie Meyer
Posts: 39
Location: West Michigan Zone 5
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I have goats, but a lot of permie authors seem to think they are the devil. They can be difficult to fence, require supplementation to stay healthy depending on area, browse which is hard to regrow at a fast enough rate, go straight for what you don't want them to eat, etc. Goat meat tends to be a harder sell depending on area and I've heard most people average about 5 years before getting out of goats. I like my goats and am learning how to do the dairy thing but I would probably go pig if I could choose anything, and if I could convince my husband that pigs would not eat our (human) kids. I have 2.5 acres and my plan is to go heavy on planting shrubs/browse but I am in zone 5 too and pretty much think I will always have to supplement with hay during cold months. I have also only had mine a year though so I am very inexperienced, other goat people probably have better insight!
 
Skjoldr Draugarson
Posts: 17
Location: Western PA
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Bianca Morton wrote:

Pigs, sheep or goats, which one do you prefer and why?
Which ones are easier to take care of?
Which ones are most profitable (i will not kill them myself. id prolly sell byproducts and later sell to a butcher, maybe)?
What are some average care costs for each, food, medicine, supplements ... (im in northern CA)?
How many should I get? Was thinking maybe 4?
Average purchase price for babies to teenagers (this is a hard one because of location)?



1] I own both pigs and goats, but have no experience with sheep. In my opinion your best bet would be pigs. Though both goats and pigs would clean-up your blackberries I am not sure that the goats would give you the desired gleying effect you are searching for. Pigs are certainly experts in such a situation as sealing ponds [and as I have found even making their own].

2] I think both are easy enough to care for though there is definitely a greater concern for supplementation of goats depending on your area. As far as fencing them [knock on wood] I have not experienced the issues that many have speak of in regards to keeping them in a certain area. I rotate them around depending on where I want them to go and how the land is holding up, what I wanted them to do, etc. I have raised them all from a young age or birth so perhaps that is why? I use pallet fencing for both animals and haven't spent any time chasing either. I haven't had health issues with them either and have delivered kids and piglet. I keep them all natural without the use of any meds or antibiotics - treating with herbs if anything arises. I have heard about goats having issues with worming, etc. and can suffer quickly from illness. We dust them with DE and haven't had any issues.

3] I would guess pigs would be most profitable in that most folks enjoy pork, bacon, hams, etc. where as goat meat is mainly still an ethnic market from what I understand. Truly it would depend on what you want to profit from I suppose depending on how this animal will fit into your long term plans. If it is a once and done then definitely pigs. If you go further into dairy goats or fur goats they could prove more profitable depending on your market.

4] Rough costs in our area from feed mill: Pigs 100# meal about $22.00 Goats 50# pellet 16% protein $18.00 Goat mineral 25# $20.00 Hay ranged by season. Unless you are planning on planting feed crop and preparing the land first you may get stuck with a feed bill. Pigs are definitely the more versatile eaters with more unique chances of gathering scraps, extras and such.

5]Four sounds like a nice number and that is what I usually split my herds into so as not to overuse the land they roam.

6] Not sure what pricing would be like in your area but here goats cost quite a bit more than pigs a that age. I have seen piglets go from $20.00 and up were kids going from $60.00 and up. [Though I have not had to buy them in recent years.]

Hope this gives you a bit of help!

DISCLAIMER: I only raise my animals for our own family consumption and keep them for breeding to sustain our meat/dairy supply. I have not dabbled in the 'market' or modern circles.
 
Bianca Morton
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Thanks for your reply!
I wish I could find piglets for about 20$... looking at craigslist i only see them for about 200-250$... might have something to do with H4 though
 
Hester Winterbourne
Posts: 110
Location: West Midlands UK
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I would steer clear of sheep, but get both pigs and goats, on the principle of greater resilience in diversity. Maybe two of each.
 
Bianca Morton
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Thanks Hester, he thought behind sheep was the bobcat sheeps foot or whatever its called that is used to seal ponds from what i hear. Seems like way too much work lol.

Im leaning towards pigs right now.

 
Pia Jensen
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Bianca Morton wrote:

Pigs, sheep or goats, which one do you prefer and why?


see Gley technique for sealing ponds and dams .... and walls? geese reference
 
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