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Most Uses - Plants & Animals

Posts: 35
Location: The Ozarks
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In your experience, what are the most useful plants and animals you have encountered?

I'm not talking about, "Well, you COULD get x, y, and z from this thing I read about on the internet."

What I AM talking about is this: "I got this breed of this animal, and now have three good yields from it because..."

Posts: 526
Location: Missouri Ozarks
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This is all from experience, but is also the work of a little brainstorming (as in, "I guess they also do...").

Ducks (I'm mostly thinking Muscovies here) readily provide:
- Meat -- fresh & cured
- Cooking fat
- Bones and skin for stock
- Dog & cat food (slaughter offal)
- Feathers and down
- Table eggs
- Hatching eggs/Ducklings
- Manure/fertility
- Weed management (they'll strip seeds off foxtail, e.g.)
- Grazing services/Lawnmowing
- Fly (& other creepy-crawly) control
- Feed & fertilizer for pond fish
- Companionship (if you're into that sort of thing)
- Entertainment
- Cash or barter value
- The ability to casually sneak up on an animal you want to catch and slaughter
- A good lesson in the proper way to hold a duck (NOT by a leg)

Cattle (and I think this all probably applies to other ruminants as well) provide:
- Meat -- fresh and cured
- Cooking fat
- Skins/hides/leather
- Bones for stock
- Gelatin
- Dog & cat food (offal)
- Decoration (in the way of skulls)
- Milk and other dairy products
- A good forearm workout (from hand milking)
- A lesson in punctuality (i.e. the importance of milking on time)
- Calves
- Grazing services
- Manure/fertility
- Weed management (to a degree)
- Companionship (I like my cows more than my ducks)
- A good reason to sprint from time to time (to head off a running cow)
- Cash or barter value
- Reflections on the pros and cons of wearing steel-toe boots in the barn

And let's see...

Apple trees provide:
- Fruit for eating
- Fruit for drinking
- Especially fruit for drinking
- Things to throw
- Seeds for more apple trees
- Feed for livestock
- Shade
- Something to climb in
- Something to hopefully not fall out of
- Wood for smoking foods (from prunings)
- Firewood (from dead trees)
- A reason for bees to stick around a few days
- Beauty
- Cash or barter value
- A trellis for volunteer squash vines to climb

And I'm sure we could add dozens of other uses for each of these.
Posts: 6812
Location: Arkansas - Zone 7B/8A stoney, sandy loam soil pH 6.5
hugelkultur dog forest garden duck fish fungi hunting books chicken writing homestead
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American Guinea Hogs, lard, meat and fun, they are more like dogs than hogs.

Black copper Marans, eggs, meat, feathers for fly tying and decoration of flutes and other wooden instruments, laughter.

Standard donkey, manure, grass mowing, tree trimming.

ducks, Runners, eggs, meat, laughter, fly tying feathers.

All trees in the orchard, good fruit for canning, eating fresh, gifting.

Grape vines, wine, eating fresh, jam.

Posts: 1793
Location: Wisconsin, zone 4
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Chickens without a doubt.  Simple to care for, great fun to watch, personable, eggs, meat if you are so inclined, great manure for compost/garden, "self-seeding" (they create more chickens), they clear areas for gardening while fertilizing, eat lots of bugs.  I love having chickens.

As far as plants, autumn olive and comfrey are my favorites.  Autumn Olive are easy to propagate, have very good berries for humans, chickens LOVE the berries, they fix nitrogen, they make a nice habitat for small birds, they are easily coppiced, and they are very attractive.

Comfrey makes great biomass, it's good livestock food, it has medicinal properties for humans, it acts as a rhizome barrier, it brings up nutrients from deeper than other plants can go, makes great compost, is an awesome chop and drop plant, it houses hundreds of spiders over winter, the bees LOVE the blossoms, they are very attractive plants, are great living mulch plants.  
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