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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.
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.
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.

Goats:
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

Cows:
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?
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.
7 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.
7 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.
7 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?
7 years ago