Su Ba wrote:Just as with most permaculture discussions, I find it impossible to rank something from #1 thru #10. It all depends........which is what I need to say about most things.
Where I live, I could get a donkey for free, but a decent horse would cost me $3000-$4000. Nobody uses an ox here that I know of but I could purchase a nicely built bull calf wean-off for around $600, depending upon breed. Mules are almost impossible to find at any price.
Scott Fike wrote: In general, which of these kind of draft animals are the most economical to initially purchase, keep and maintain over the life of the animal (this includes food, water, vet bills, etc., etc.):
1) draft oxen
2) draft donkey
3) draft mule
4) draft horse
Conversely; feel free to re-rank them from overall most economical at the top to least economical at the bottom of the list.
David Livingston wrote:I use a human being ie me . Costs well upkeep and food have to be maintained anyway . So I dont need to pay for extra feed or fuel plus there are no extra start up capital costs. I can get big jobs done by doing a little bit every day and I have not debt
Ivan Illich wrote:Man, unaided by any tool, gets around quite efficiently. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer in ten minutes by expending 0.75 calories. Man on his feet is thermodynamically more efficient than any motorized vehicle and most animals. For his weight, he performs more work in locomotion than rats or oxen, less than horses or sturgeon. At this rate of efficiency man settled the world and made its history. At this rate peasant societies spend less than 5 per cent and nomads less than 8 per cent of their respective social time budgets outside the home or the encampment.
Man on a bicycle can go three or four times faster than the pedestrian, but uses five times less energy in the process. He carries one gram of his weight over a kilometer of flat road at an expense of only 0.15 calories. The bicycle is the perfect transducer to match man’s metabolic energy to the impedance of locomotion. Equipped with this tool, man outstrips the efficiency of not only all machines but all other animals as well.