I was hoping you'd be willing to discuss some of the techniques, difficulties, and permaculture perspectives about livestock on a small farm.
My place is 2 acres, and because we are in Montana with an extremely short growing season, we rely heavily on our animals to meet our food needs. We raise chickens, ducks, geese, pigs, and dairy goats on our little place, as well as keeping a couple of horses in a dry-lot paddock year-round.
In an ideal situation, we'd have pasture for our animals, we'd be raising at least some of the food they require, and we'd be recycling all of their manure back into the soil. As it stands now, we are hauling in nearly all of our feed, which is expensive and seems counter-productive to the permaculture model. We are, however, benefiting immensely from the manure output, so we've managed to close that part of the cycle, at least.
Can you share some of the things you've learned along the way, in managing livestock on a small acreage without benefit of pasture?