Leora Laforge

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since Nov 26, 2015
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Recent posts by Leora Laforge

Sheep are herd animals and keeping one by itself will be stressful to it. So yes it will likely be loud or try to escape. A single sheep is not a good choice for being incognito. Even when they are not alone, ewes with lambs spend a lot of time calling for their lambs to follow them. Sheep will produce milk, meat and fibre, but no breed of sheep does all 3 well. The milk sheep will be skinny, have less robust lambs, and not so nice wool, some may have reasonably meaty lambs. The sheep with nice wool are mostly dual purpose as meat breeds, these will have just enough milk for their lambs. There are also strictly meat breeds, that have lots of lambs, not so nice wool, and just enough milk to feed all their lambs.

I think you need to decide on priorites to decide what livestock you want. If you want milk and meat, there are some small milking goat breeds, such as the nigerian dwarf, or kinder.  Goats would be as loud as sheep. If you want fibre and meat, and a completely undetectable animal, angora rabbits would be worth looking at. Rabbits eat green stuff too.
I have cats but no dog. Coyotes however frequently wander through the yard. They kill cats whenever they can catch them. I have found that as long as cats have something nearby they can climb quickly, they can get to safety very quickly. I recommend having escape routes in the dog area. This can be trees, or posts, or whatever a cat can climb, and enough of them that there is always something close by. If the cats see a dog tunning at them, they should be close enough to something to scoot up to safety. The dogs barking should be enough to train them to stay out of the area, especially if they are up a post in the dog area.
1 week ago
When I was a kid a real treat for breakfast was french toast. Whole wheat bread soaked in egg a bit of milk and maybe vanilla and cinnamon, then fried. Top it with syrup or jam, you could probably even go with peanut butter. This still has a lot of sugar, but one piece of bread will soak up more than one egg. This is a protien boost in a tasty form that is a treat for kids and easy to make. So should be no fights on eating a healthier breakfast.
3 weeks ago
Hi. I am about an hour east of Regina, close to Katepwa Lake. I have a wonderful family farm here. Which I am slowly trying to make more permaculturey.

So far I have been mulching the garden for last few years. And I have chicks coming at the end of this month. They will eat the pest insects and give me fertilizer, and eggs.
4 weeks ago
Hey, I am a fellow single saskatchewanian. I am 25, currently on a farm in the Fort Qu'Appelle area. https://permies.com/t/105966/SWF-Saskatchewan this should be a link to the write up I did here a few months ago.
4 weeks ago
I second Thomas's opinion. You usually feel ticks crawling on you before they get a chance to bite. They will often crawl for hours before biting in my experience. I usually check myself over before going to bed every night during tick season. With this method I occasionally find one that has bitten me, but it has only been there a few hours. So it is never swelled up and gross. Also most tick borne diseases take a day or 2 to transfer from their saliva. If they get picked off quickly there is not significant danger. Your brothers best protection will be to avoid long grass and bush, then check himself for ticks every time he goes indoors, not poisoning himself to prevent ticks.

If he is really worried ticks can be tested for disease. Where I am health authorities like to monitor tick populations for disease, so it is relatively easy to get a bunch tested. It might not be the same where you are.
1 month ago
A lot of you guys are pretty fast at this stuff. When I butchered my own chickens, it took me close to an hour per bird. I was usually working alone, and my set up was definitely less than ideal. Just plucking took close to 20 minutes. I am kind of a perfectionist though, so that would make it take a bit longer.

If I were to try a larger animal such as a sheep, goat, or pig. I would plan the whole day to do it. I would set up a lot of stuff the day before, then start early. This will allow for mistakes and things to take longer than expected. There is a learning curve to these things and there is no point in trying to do more than you are capable of. It just leads to frustration.
1 month ago
A couple weeks ago, I picked the 3rd tick of the year off myself. I killed it and immediately called in my order for chicks. This summer they will be cute. Then they will give me eggs. Come next spring they will hunt down bugs. So I will be able to enjoy my beautiful outdoors with my wonderful animals.
1 month ago

Celia Revel wrote:A neighbor threw out the idea that it might be cost effective to raise our own beef between our two pastures.  Following the basic axiom of celia revel that nothing is ever JUST....  as in we will JUST put a cow out there and let him have at it.  My plea is for help by any knowledgeable about cattle to recommend a book that would get us in the right direction and keep the cow as comfortable and happy as possible.  Books on doing this naturally and with heritage stock would be more than welcome.  I am keenly interested in planting Native grasses and wonder which ones would be good in California.  Im also interested in nutritional quality, and I know that some breeds have been tinkered with over the years and have lost various qualities in the process.  Oh, and also, would the cow get lonely if it were the only one?  Dumb questions, but maybe I need some information about that.  I know goats will die of loneliness if left day on end by themselves.  Thank You in advance.

The basics of what beef cattle need everyday:
Water, this is the most important nutrient, they need constant access to large amounts of water.
Salt and mineral. Cattle need salt, calcium, phosporus, and several other minerals in certain quantites. Most of these will be labelled as 1:1 or 2:1, this is the calcium phosporus ratio. A local feed store should have something formulated for beef cattle, this will probably be good enough if you follow the directions.
Feed, green growing pasture should meet the needs of any class of beef cattle. When the pasture is not growing you will need hay. Growing animals will need higher quality, look for lots of leaf, nice green colour, and legumes in it. A mature cow can handle lower quality. They will eat between 2-3% of their body weight in dry matter per day, plan for 3% of body weight.

When I worked with cattle, they would come right up to me while the herd was nearby. If one accidently got outside of the fence and away from the herd it would not let anyone within 50 meters. It would be terrified of anything and everything and likely to break fences. Those cattle needed to be in a group of at least 5 to be comfortable. Cattle who were not raised in a large herd would probably not be so herd bound, but that is my experience. Figure on at least 2 animals.

Non daily things cattle need:
Vaccinate, cattle need a clostridial vaccine. Clostridial diseases such as tetanus, botulism, and blackleg have spores in the soil. You cannot avoid exposure. You need to get this from a vet, and there might be other vaccines you need, talk to the vet and ask.
Recognize and treat illness and injury. Use the BAR acronym. Bright, Alert, Responsive, you cannot sneak up on a healthy animal. When it hears you, it's head should come up. It's eyes and coat should reflect light. It should walk normally when you approach. Have someone to call if it doesn't look right, this can be a vet or someone nearby with cattle experience.

Are you looking at breeding? Or just getting a couple young animals and growing them out to butcher weight?

If you are looking at breeding, which would be good if you get a heritage breed, you are looking at a minimum of 2 cows. Then either buying and maintaining a bull, expensive. Or using artificial insemination, which would be difficult to get an AI tech out for only a few cows.

If you mostly just want meat, I recommend buying a couple weaned calves off someone nearby. Breed doesn't matter as long as they are a beef breed. The main influence on the nutrient density of meat is what the animal ate, and even then, only the last ~6 months really matter. Keep them on grass until you can see fat deposits around the tail head. This will likely be when they are over 2 years old.

There is a beef cattle code of practice that lists everything cattle need. It is up to the person to figure out how to meet all the needs. There are multiple books, articles, and magazines about all that. I personally recommend Holistic Managment: A Framework for Desicion Making by Allam Savory. This is more about deciding how to manage your pastures, land and life though.

If you don't have enough grass for 2 full sized animals there are smaller breeds such as dexters that might work. Or you might have to look at sheep or something.
1 month ago
That is definitely barley, a very popular crop where I am from.

It is used for making beer or when it is not the highest quality as animal feed.