Sebastian Hammer

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since Dec 07, 2011
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Recent posts by Sebastian Hammer

What are LGDs? The only thing I could come up with is "large guard dog" like a Pyrenees or something. In all honesty, after thinking about it, other than the chickens I don't think I really have to worry much about predators. We have the occasional bobcat and I have heard people talk about panthers, but I think they are both fairly rare. And, really, there are so many deer in the woods I think it would be too dangerous for them to come very close to the house for the calves/kids.
11 years ago
I had actually thought about the miniature cow breeds. The ones I had found seem to be on the expensive side. Someone else I had talked to suggested getting, well, everything. He suggested getting a cow, couple goats, maybe throw a couple pigs and a few chickens or ducks all in together. I had even heard having a donkey in the mix will help protect the "herd" from predators.
11 years ago
I was wondering what y'all thought about raising cows as compared to goats. I am looking for both meat and milk. I am going to be moving to a ~40 acre spot next Spring and was thinking a few goats or cows would be great. I am thinking of devoting 3 to 5 acres to the livestock. Of course, that allocation could change, well, tomorrow even based on what I learn.

My thoughts on the comparison are below, this is just what I have gathered from my initial research and talking to people.

Smaller and easier to transport
Eat a wider variety of plant material
Can keep a larger number in the same area so I can keep more females (does?) leading to, seemingly, more consistent milk production
Try harder to get out (even though I do know a dairy guy who seems to think his cows automatically appear outside the electric fence when it is off)
Males seem more territorial
Easier to butcher at home

More docile and easier to keep in a fence
Produce way more milk
Little more finicky about what they eat
Easier to control and paddock shift
Milk seems to have more milk fat (which is a definite plus in my book)
Can be used for work easier if need be

So, what do you think?
11 years ago
Thanks for all the responses. I will definitely have to look into the Dexters and Murrays. I like the Dexter's 4% milkfat. Yeah, I am thinking about just putting them on some rented acreage and shift them weekly to 4 or 5 different paddocks. Most of my "neighbors" are commercial dairies with holsteins and jerseys. I am actually getting raw milk from one of the jersey dairies now.

I was considering keeping a bull. Admittedly, I know nothing about cow breeding, etc. and have a ton to learn. And I like the idea at least of a bull with horns and when I butcher put the horns above a door to the shed or something.

Crossing does seem interesting, but I would like something that is, more or less, self propagating. If I have a bull and a few heifers I would not need to worry so much about finding a breeder, semen, embryo, etc.

Btw, do you think grazing chickens and pigs with the cows would work? I have not fully thought out the logistics, but was thinking about getting some pigs and chickens as well and thought it might be good to graze them all together. Obviously, I would need larger paddocks than if I had just the cows alone, but thought it could be interesting.
12 years ago
I am thinking a few cows (<5) would be good on the homestead. I am probably 2 years out, but do like thinking about this kinda thing any way. Well, we would like some cows for milk and for beef. I thought about just getting the best milk cow and then butchering the steers and replacing the cows with their young. I have heard meat production on milk cows is not the best and then thought maybe I should get some heritage breeds that would be good on both accounts. Some of the criteria I am thinking:

1) High milkfat content. I was shooting for 3.5% or better.
2) Able to produce well on grass only.
3) Able to withstand the heat of South Carolina in the summer time.
4) Good beef production.
5) Average to low production. I could make less than 3 gallons a day work well enough.

Obviously, these are not set in stone, just some thoughts I had initially. I came across the Florida Cracker that seemed like a decent cow and saw another place that had a few breeds that might fit the bill. I also heard about the miniature jersey, but they are really expensive (which is good and bad of course). I just wanted to toss it out to the general consensus and see what recommendations y'all had.
12 years ago
I really appreciate all of the responses. The climate is lower South Carolina so I think I am 8a or something in the climate zone. Gaia's garden seems to be fairly well recommended so I think I will pick that up and check out some YouTube videos. I looked around for a minute and did not see Mullison's book for less than $99. I will see if I can dig a little deeper and find it somewhere. I might even stop by some of the used book shops in the area and see what I can come up with.

I like the idea of thinking about succession and what will be the starting point as compared to the ending point. That is a good thought.

Thank you for the responses. Who knows, maybe in a few years I will be self-sufficient on the homestead. Think the amount of land I am talking about is enough to feed a family comfortably? All indications I have seen seem to say yes.
12 years ago
Ok, I have been searching here and listening to some podcasts and think this is awesome. My question is, where can I find something of a basic primer on a basic permaculture layout? I am considering building a house and moving to a ~22 acre tract with about 8 acres of open land. This 8 acres has been coastal bermuda farmed to death and I am guessing not much will grow in the beginning until I get the land worked and that kinda thing. I was looking for some basic permaculture layout I can start from. I realize most of you are well beyond the basics and getting in the the subtleties of a 6 foot hegulcultur bed or a 3 foot is a little more nuanced than what I am looking for at the moment.

I guess I am just looking for a basic layout/concept of nitrogen fixing trees go here, annual garden vegetables go near these other plants, etc. Any ideas?
12 years ago