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Country Discussion Topics
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Livestock to clear 10 acres
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Lynn Ruth    Posted 01-02-2004 at 22:26:17       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Planning on building a home, we have no livestock or farm machinery! What would be a good choice in livestock, to maintain the grass growth on the property. There is a creek running through the property, and we would like to maintain grass growth for childrens future 4H projects! Thank You!

calypso    Posted 01-03-2004 at 05:51:26       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Brush control will be handled a lot better with a nice little Ford 8N tractor - less feeding and upkeep AND a lot of fun.

toolman    Posted 01-03-2004 at 12:28:32       [Reply]  [No Email]
calypso is right and you don,t need good fences and is usuall where you left it unless of course the neighbours might borrow it.

Fawteen    Posted 01-03-2004 at 03:20:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
Sheep. Don't escape like goats do (my experience too, I gave them to a feller that planned to BBQ 'em) will eat most anything, and if you select a "primitive" breed, very easy to care for.

A primitive or unimproved breed tends to be smaller, hardier and more independent. My direct experience is with Shetlands, which have the advantage of also being very tame and docile.

I keep 6 plus lambs (as many as 16 sheep total) on a bit over 3 acres of grass pasture, and they keep it pretty well mowed. As noted by others you'll still have to mow it 2 or 3 times a year to keep the weeds down. Other concerns are shearing and if you have a dry year you'll need to have some hay on hand, and (obviously) hay in the winter time.

Donna from Mo    Posted 01-03-2004 at 03:49:08       [Reply]  [No Email]
Do you shear your own sheep? And what do you do with the wool?

Fawteen    Posted 01-03-2004 at 04:01:33       [Reply]  [No Email]
Nope. Thought about it, but I can have it done for $5 a head. A decent set of clippers is a coupla hundred dollars, throw in the cost of band-aids and styptic pencils, and it just ain't worth it ":^)

I've had reasonable luck selling the raw fleeces to home spinners. I could get better money if I skirted, washed and carded them, but it's WAY too labor-intensive, and the nearest carding mill is 100 miles away.

Donna    Posted 01-03-2004 at 04:07:12       [Reply]  [No Email]
Cliff and I did some sheep-shearing for extra money, years ago. His boss at the butcher shop had shears and let us use them. I sure wouldn't think of doing that job for $5 a head! Of course, we were never that skilled at the job. I just helped catch the sheep, Cliff did the actual shearing.

Fawteen    Posted 01-03-2004 at 04:27:42       [Reply]  [No Email]
I got two women that come by every spring and shear for me. They've "retired" from full-time shearing, but keep me covered as I have a small flock.

I always have them corralled in a clean area, and have the groundsheet down and an extension cord ready to go when they show up. They're in and out in well under an hour.

The fact that I always give 'em an extra $20 might help too...

Hey Fawteen!    Posted 01-03-2004 at 03:39:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
How do the Shetlands do with 'established' trees?...If I were to say let them have the run of a Sugar Bush (and the rest of my 8 acres), would they try and chew through bark on trees from 6 inches up?...How about even if there was enough grass?...What do you feed in the winter?...What kind of shelter do they need here in the NorthEast?...How 'few' can you run and still have them be a happy social group?

Salmoneye, Just wondering for the future...

Fawteen    Posted 01-03-2004 at 03:58:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
I have all the evergreens I want to live fenced off. They seem partial to pine/fir/spruce needles, must be a breath mint to 'em or something. Haven't had any trouble with them nibbling on deciduous trees.

I keep hay in front of them year around. 6 sheep and a llama will go through about a bale a day in the dead of winter. A bale will last a month or more in the summer when there's fresh grass. They need different stomach flora to deal with hay than they do grass, so I keep it available so as not to upset their digestive system when they switch back and forth. I feed 'em a taste of grain daily. They don't "need" it, they'll do nicely on just hay, but they're "trained" to it, and will come from three counties away when they hear the grain bucket. Kinda handy.

All they need for shelter is a windbreak. A three sided structure with a roof over it is plenty. Many's the time I've gone down in the winter to do chores and couldn't see the sheep. I'd dump a scoop of grain in the bucket, and 2 or 3 piles of snow would sprout legs and wander over...

They're herd animals and "social" enough to need a companion, but I'd think two would be plenty.

Thanks    Posted 01-03-2004 at 05:18:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
Just the info I needed...

Now if SWMBO had not gotten rid of all her wool tools and wheel...


A man, a plan, a canal, Panama

My favourite palindrome

Donna from Mo    Posted 01-03-2004 at 01:30:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
No matter what kind of livestock you get, the pasture will have to be mowed on occasion to keep weeds and brush down. Cattle don't mow a place like a lawnmower does. You need to check with neighbors to see what your land can support. Here where we are, I'd hesitate to have over two cows on 10 acres: in a good year it would keep four cows, but in a drought year you'd be doing well to keep two alive on it. Goats aren't great mowers either, they prefer brush if they can get it.

jimNCal    Posted 01-02-2004 at 23:15:55       [Reply]  [Send Email]
NO GOATS!! I have 5 perfectly healthy, pain in the neck, nanny goats I'd GIVE to the first person that showed up to take them. They'll eat everything EXCEPT what you want them to and they can jump any fence like a gazelle. Just my wooden nickle's worth, thanks.

Les    Posted 01-03-2004 at 07:46:46       [Reply]  [No Email]
I agree! I "borrowed" a goat years ago to try to keep the brush down. I'd stake him out in a spot. What I really wanted him to do was eat the little popple trees that came up everywhere. Well, he'd eat everything except those stinkin popple trees unless I left him in one spot so long that he got desparate and I couldn't bring myself to do that.
Guess I should have borrowed a beaver. Probly would have been less of a nuisance.

Jon(MI)    Posted 01-03-2004 at 08:41:31       [Reply]  [No Email]
Les, I had to laugh about your popple (Aspen) problem. I bet you had cut down a parent tree or two. The root system of those trees cut down are looking for daylight, sprouting many young trees from its alive root system. It takes 3 years of mowing the new ones down every couple of weeks. Had that problem myself. Good luck.

Les    Posted 01-03-2004 at 09:11:18       [Reply]  [No Email]
I tell you what, it takes more than three years. That was at least 25 years ago that I had that goat and the popples trees still are the fastest growing things out behind my house. I now mow the area with my tractor but them buggers pop up like mushrooms overnight. There is a bunch of "parent" trees in the edge of the woods, which is where they come from. That's okay, I'll just keep mowing them down and one of these days, I'll get around to cutting all the popples and mebbe the problem will be solved.
Got any beavers for rent?

deadcarp-lol    Posted 01-03-2004 at 07:45:57       [Reply]  [No Email]
am i to assume you have an opinion on goats then? lol - it took all of 6 weeks to cure us of goats. we only had one pygmy goat but she destroyed years of effort in that time. ever see a nice folded canvas trucking tarp with holes chewed in every folded corner? did you know that rubber trees don't grow back from stumps? and does "WHY YOU LITTLE SOB!" sound to you like an invitation to play tag all day? well that's what she thought i meant. and the way she shamelessly tattled on our german shepherd, even he's glad for a peaceful nap. boy i tell ya, those darlins are more fun than a dozen youngsters! got a hyperactve child? talk him into getting a pet goat! :)

jimNCal    Posted 01-03-2004 at 08:46:32       [Reply]  [Send Email]
The REAL corker is that my Dad TOLD me not to get them and I just HAD to know better. I could go on quite a rant over the mischief and distruction I've subjected myself to learning,(for THE last time),to listen to "the" voice of reason. Good to hear the old man laugh tho.

Lynn Ruth! In California    Posted 01-03-2004 at 14:34:31       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Ha Ha!

I will scratch the goat idea completley!!!!!! Thank you all for your ideas and experiences! heheheheheh! :o) Sheep look like the best way for us at this time from what you all have said! Tractor would be ideal, but not in the budget
:o( Cant wait to get started! Property used to be used for cattle grazing, grass smells funny and leaves an oder on clothing, guess ill ask the neighboors if they know what kind of grass it is, hope the sheep like it! Thank you all! bye! hugs and kisses!! Lynn Ruth!!

pat    Posted 01-04-2004 at 10:22:11       [Reply]  [No Email]
I will make my comment here as well, I believe that after you really figure out what a few animals will cost you, initial cost,feed,hay,vet or meds,FENCING, the charger FENCING,, and the labor intensity to just get the place ready for the animals, I believe you will be better off with a small tractor, nothing new, but you should be able to pick up a decent tractor with a bush hog for say 2500-3500,,, figure out what the animals will cost you over a yr or two or three etc,,, and the tractor looks good, plus you will find many uses for it on the place,, then after a while you can get your animals,,,,, it costs more than just going to the auction barn and buying them,,,,, yes the tractor may cost a little once in a while but not nearly as much as animals,, plus you will need a tractor anyway to clean up after the animals,, just my thoughts,,,, see it through dont stop with your plans, they always come together eventually,pat

jimNCal    Posted 01-03-2004 at 14:54:10       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Lynn Ruth,
What part of Cal are you in. My missus and I have a small acreage just outside Fresno. We have 5 Ford tractors on the place and would try to make you a deal we could all live with.
Also, Cal St. University system has Ag extensions all over that EXIST to help the small farmer/rancher in many areas of soils, crops, livestock, & etc. We pay the taxes. Use 'em.
Best of luck. I wouldn't trade my four posts for a square mile in the middle of town.

Lynn Ruth in California    Posted 01-03-2004 at 16:21:30       [Reply]  [Send Email]

We live in Twain Harte! We have property in Jamestown, just outside Sonora! You are south of us about 2 hours! E-mail me @ and We will give you our Phone number and chat about the tractors, or I can call you if you prefer! Thanks for being so helpful with the information, my husband Greg will be the person to talk to regarding the tractor (Guy stuff!) Thank you agin Jim! Bye for now, Hugs & Kisses

Lynn Ruth!!

JenNcal    Posted 01-05-2004 at 21:29:49       [Reply]  [Send Email]
Hey Lynn Ruth,

We sent ya an email.. by the way, you have any recipes for.. er ummm Goat!!!! ?????

take care.. Jim n Jen NCal

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