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Animals to acreage question

Discussion in 'Pasture, Hay, & Forages: Information & Management' started by Lereg, Feb 18, 2017.

  1. Feb 18, 2017
    Lereg

    Lereg Ridin' The Range

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    As some of you know, I'm a newbie that wants to buy a farm, so the question is, what would be the recommended acreage for the animals that I want to acquire? As I know from the posts here that it would depend on different scenarios, I would just like an amount of acreage to be comfortable with. I have my number, but I could be way off!

    Now, I wont be getting everything in one shot, but here's what I would like acquire:
    3 pigs , 5 Nubian goats , 20 chickens , 4 ducks , 2 cows (preferably a bred heifer) , 3 sheep (maybe), Bees , and a couple of gardens.

    I just want to get all the info I can now so I can find the 'right' place and not be disappointed at just not having enough property. Also, I may want to raise more than my starting figure is, ya know, that whole math thing, everybody keeps talking about!!!

    thank you for your responses in advance!!
     
  2. Feb 18, 2017
    NH homesteader

    NH homesteader True BYH Addict

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    Honestly the cows are going to be your biggest land users! It depends on how you are planning to raise these animals too. Makes a big difference if you're planning on supplementing with hay and/or grain or trying to get them to live "off the land" as much as possible.

    If you want everyone to be living off the land to some extent I would say maybe 10 acres plus. But others may have better ideas than me. My personal limit for my little farm is 5 and we have goats, pigs, chickens, turkeys and gardens.
     
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  3. Feb 18, 2017
    Lereg

    Lereg Ridin' The Range

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    I was thinking more for rotating pastures. For the cows, it wont be too much longer for momma cow to be in the freezer, after the weaning process, I hope! So that will probably ease up on me without having a constant 2 in there.
    I'd like them to live off the land as much as possible, but also realize some supplementing may be necessary. I just want it be be a little easier on the wallet!!!
     
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  4. Feb 18, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 True BYH Addict

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    There are a couple of other factors to consider....like the lay of the land and just how feasible it would be to utilize the land available to its full potential. You could do it on 5-8acres if ya could utilize 75-80% of it. You have to exclude house area, any standing water, heavily treed unless securely fenced. Also, if predators are prevalent, then the closer things are to a central location they are more easily secured and monitored. I agree with @NH homesteader about the cows, but for so few they could be apart of a rotational grazing with the other animals....this will allow ya to cycle thru different areas and make full use of each one. Of course, the quality of the pasture will dictate how much space would be needed.
     
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  5. Feb 18, 2017
    Mini Horses

    Mini Horses Loving the herd life

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    Management of pastures, i.e. forage planted, soil conditions, age of established pastures, rotational graze are very important. The difference in 10 acres of poor soil, no maintenance, poor grass types and 10 acres of optimal forage, soil, maintenance can be 100 fold.

    We all hope to have our farms help do most of the feeding for our livestock. I am working at more planting of my own winter feed, like turnips, beets, pumpkins, corn to dry, small grains, etc. that can not only withstand some cooler weather but provide winterizable veggies that can be fed to goats, chickens, pigs. to help offset buying concentrates.

    It's good that you are taking the time to research these things beforehand. Yes, the cow(s) require the most of those you have listed. However, with planning, you can grow and "bank" some graze for them to help lessen the hay needs. Remember that some of these animals graze higher forage than others, so a cow will eat tall, a sheep will eat some shorter, a goat wants to eat weeds, vines, tree leaves, then grass.....also a pasture consideration is habit of animals.
     
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  6. Feb 18, 2017
    Lereg

    Lereg Ridin' The Range

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    Beings that I'm still in the looking process, I cant tell you about what is there or not, along with the soil, nor the type of vegetation on the land. I know the variables, but just looking for a ball park figure. Also, I just want to be ready for when I do get the appropriate property, that I can mend the way it needs to be.

    On another note, if it helps, we've been thinking towards the area in Tn, close too Al and Miss, border.
     
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  7. Feb 19, 2017
    NH homesteader

    NH homesteader True BYH Addict

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    There are concerns about parasites and diseases when rotating animals through pastures after each other. We move our animals around also but we don't put the goats anywhere the pigs have been. I suppose after a few seasons we could, but we've avoided it so far.

    We have 5 acres and we do not feel we have enough property to raise a cow. @farmerjan can tell you about pasture needs of cattle. I think I read somewhere it's basically 1 acre per cow per month... Don't quote me though.
     
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  8. Feb 19, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 True BYH Addict

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    Uh-Oh....just remember if ya get too close ya may entice me to come visit ya...:)
    As far as a set "Ball Park" figure I am unfaniliar with pigs and cows. But, I would think for as few as ya are thinking about, probably in the 8-10 acre range would do it. I knew you were looking for a place, so that is why I answered the way I did. As difficult as it is for ya to answer questions, it is difficult to put a figure to it, too. Most people don't consider the available useage of land, but if someone said 10acres, then they get the 10 acres, but only 5 of it is usable...then, the 10 wouldn't be enough. If ya get more than 15 then ya might can use some for winter hay for your animals, too. I don't mean to be unkind, but it doesn't look like ya are a "Spring Chicken", so ya have to factor in the declining physical state and for how long ya would keep up with all that, unless ya have some "Strapping Boys" to help Dad out for some meat. By no means am I putting ya in a rocking chair, but it is inevitable. So, if I were you, I would look at the 8-10acres and get a start, then as ya are able to expand and a few more animals, and when ya get a good feel for it, then decide if ya are up to all of your goals. We have 20acres here, but there isn't any way I can maintain all 20acres. So, it really is up to you and just how much are ya willing to "Chew" for how long. Something else ya may want to think about, is, if ya get feeder cows and pigs and raise to slaughter and they are only there for 6-8mnths it could be a bit more workable on a little less land. This would give you the smaller animals to care for year round. I wish I had more experience to aid for your "Input", but like I said, I'm clueless when it comes to sheep, cows, and pigs. :)
     
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  9. Feb 19, 2017
    Lereg

    Lereg Ridin' The Range

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    I know there might be some extra fencing involved, but I'm hoping that I can leave the pigs in one pasture for a year, then switch them out with my main garden area the next year. I plan on just rotating the goats, sheep and cow(s). I was thinking about 2 acres per cow, just to be on the safe side.

    Or vice versa on the visits!

    I do plan one using the animals for meat, so the larger ones may just go to the freezer or sold to pay for the extra food costs, vaccines and what not. As far as my age goes, well, I'm sure not as young as I used to be, that's for sure! I do have a buddy that may be coming along with me, but he is older than I am, so between the two of us, and a decent tractor, we should be able to get most of the tougher things done while we can still handle it. This guy has farming experience as well, but he was up in NY when he had his.

    The goal is to get a farm that is pretty much cleared and fenced already, because of my age, so I could expand on the animals as I go. I will probably have to cross fence, and depending on what kind of fencing is there, I may have to change it. Hopefully, the posts will be good enough to reuse and I will be able to just run the new fencing. Only time will tell.

    I would like to have an area for growing some hay as well, if it will fit into the budget.
     
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  10. Feb 19, 2017
    CntryBoy777

    CntryBoy777 True BYH Addict

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    Well, we would be glad for ya to drop by anytime...just give us the "Heads Up" so we can be prepared for visitors...:)
     
    Lereg likes this.