I recently purchased about 5 acres of dense pines adjacent to where I currently live. I have a company lined up to clear the pines, but I don't know how to manage the land after that. I live in NW florida and the brush grows like crazy here so I would like to use goats or some other livestock to keep the brush under control until I have the time to do something with the land. Any idea how many goats it would take to keep everything under control? I have three fenced on maybe 1/4 of an acre now and they demolished that in about a month. I don't want them to destroy everything, just keep it controlled.
Considering getting maybe 3 (2 female and one male) Zebu cows eventually. Would they be alright on the cleared land? I know grass won't grow very well after pines are cleared but I could supplement them with hay or whatever else until we can get grass to grow. Or should I just wait on that?
Any other livestock that would be beneficial? I don't think I would care for sheep, there's nothing they provide that I'm really interested in. I wouldn't mind a pig or two, but they would be primarily pets since I don't care for pork (no I don't even like bacon). I would prefer something that could either provide food, income, or something of value...
And lastly, what would be the best way to fence 5 acres to accommodate a variety of livestock? I don't want to spend a couple thousand to fence in some goats only to have that fence not be suitable for cows (even if they are miniature). My plan is to create several paddocks for rotation so I'm looking at a lot of fence...
For fencing you might want to just perimeter fence the full acreage then get something like cattle panels to make moveable paddocks with, this will save you needing a lot of gates and putting in huge amounts of permanent fencing.
Three goats will work as long as you are rotating them every two weeks so they don't kill everything by browsing it to sticks.
I would not attempt raising any animal that I was not going to use for either food or for shearing and selling the wool (hair), If you like goats, look into angora goats, that way you get milk, angora wool to sell and meat.
Think of what it takes to care for any species before you jump in and if you don't have at least two or three uses for that animal species, it may not be worth delving into raising.
I will use our farm, Asnikiye heca, as an example. We raise chickens, hogs, and will be getting some goats next spring. We currently have 1 acre of paddocks and will be adding another 1.5 acres over this winter season to allow for a three week rotation, the chickens are with the hogs and the goats will be added to the same rotation schedule but one paddock area behind. We have perimeter fencing and use cattle panels and T posts to set up the space being used in the current rotation paddock space. The cattle panels are held to the T posts with heavy zip ties, this makes it easy to move them as needed, eventually the T posts will all be in place and we can simply move the panels around. Our pastures are being planted so there will eventually be a mix of around 20 different plants for the animals to eat. There are lots of bushes for the goats to browse but we will have to add hay feeders and mineral containers for them.
Don't forget that goats will also need a play ground to keep them occupied and so not develop a desire to escape to more fun looking areas. They also hate getting wet.
Hmm I hadn't thought about making them moveable. I do like the idea of not making permanent fencing. I'm already kind of regretting the fencing we have for the goats now. It's not the prettiest fence and it's right along our driveway. I'm not particularly picky about what my yard looks like, but I have considered building another house on the new property and renting the one I live in now. I don't think any renters would care for the fence so I would have to tear it down...
I completely agree with you on raising animals that have multiple purposes. That's one of the reasons we don't have pigs yet, or even some other larger livestock. I finally came to terms with butchering our extra roosters but it might take me some more time for some of the larger ones. I would really like a cow or two for meat but I'm scared I would get attached and that's one expensive pet. I think goats will be easier, once we have quite a few. The roosters were easier because the hens raised them and I never spent time with any of them specifically, and they started ganging up on hens.
My goats do well staying in their pen. I actually thought most people were exaggerating about how much they escape until I brought a buck in for breeding. We had to keep him separated when we couldn't supervise and man was he determined. Luckily he could only find his way out of his pen but not back into where the ladies were. We finally gave up and gave him free reign of the yard until he went home...
We know several folks that have the termination issue, they all now use a licensed butcher company, the animals are taken in live since the butcher has to do it all from Kill to wrapping.
It's a small fee for the killing (35.00), and then the rest is priced at .50 cents per pound. I consider this a really fair pricing system for the work.
While I don't have any problem, my wife can't be around for the killing.
Once the animal is down she is all about the processing though.
We have seen folks do the killing with other animals around, I don't do that.
I have a special building I do the complete processing in, away from all the animals and enclosed enough so no one can see.
I also spend some time with the "victim" so they know they are appreciated.
I feel that this keeps them relaxed and they do not feel a thing.
Humane killing, swift and clean, is what I want and a relaxed animal has far better texture and flavor than one that is stressed at the time of demise.
Any time you raise animals, you are going to get attached to them, for me the trick is to keep in mind what their true purpose is.
It also helps that we know our breeding stock is always going to be around.
That makes it easy for me to thank the animal for it's sacrifice so we may have what we need.
We also waste no part of that animal to show our appreciation.
I use killing cones for chickens its fast and easy on the birds and me.
I have considered taking them to a butcher but ultimately I wouldn't feel right about that. I am like you in the fact that I want to show them appreciation and I want them to go relaxed and happy. Sending them to the butcher, I imagine, would be a pretty scary experience (rightly so), and I would have no way of knowing that the butcher treated them kindly. If we decide to keep any animals for meat, we will do the butchering ourselves. Originally, I had asked a coworker to help butcher the chickens and he started talking about swinging them around to break their neck. I realized very quickly that they would have a much more humane death if we just did it ourselves.
I wasn't around for the dispatching of our roosters, my boyfriend was kind enough to do that part for me. But I did help process them, which didn't bother me like I had anticipated. Eventually, I'm sure I will be fine being around for the actual deed and maybe even do it myself. Oh, and we waited until everyone was sleeping so none of the chickens would see. I know they might not have the same level of intelligence as us, but I'm sure they would understand that one of their flock mates was just killed if they saw it.
It seems like everything you are saying is what I have been telling myself in anticipation of getting animals for meat. I'll let myself get somewhat attached to the breeder animals, treat everyone well, waste nothing, and keep in mind that any of the animals I raise are a hell of a lot better off than any that I would buy in the supermarket. I was raised in the suburbs in NJ and, while I know this is a better way of life, it's all a new experience for me. I just need to take time to wrap my head around it. I know I'll get there...baby steps...
Yes indeed, baby steps works well to adjust to a new way of life.
I was raised in a military family but spent part of each summer at my grandparent's farm where I was taught the ropes of my current life style.
When I was 14 I was on the reservation to learn from the elders and to go through both a spirit walk and a vision quest.
I now follow the path that was shown me by the ancestors.
We are all the caretakers of the land and our earth mother. All living things, four legged, winged, two legged, the soil, the rocks are our brothers and sisters and are to be respected.
When we do these things we are part of Wakantanka and we earn our place for when we go to the spirit world.
Enjoy your journey, discover all that is around you for it is all part of you, kola.
Especially in the Southeast, do your due diligence with regard to parasites, particularly intestinal worms, in goats. Different breeds vary in tolerance, and rotating pastures helps too. If they have access to mostly above ground-level brush, that will also diminish the danger. But most people end up losing a few no matter what. I don't think cows are as susceptible, but I have less experience with them and they have their own issues.....mostly around being too large to butcher and process on a homestead scale.
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