- Sep 4, 2015
- Reaction score
- S coastal VA
My goal is using them to develop superior graze so that I don't have to depend on hay to get them through the winter, even in drought years.
Of course, the area in which you live determines some of the success you can/will have with this "as a whole". Drought can certainly create a situation -- the heat and dry of some places will greatly diminish the ability to grow certain forage. Winter is the greatest challenge for even those in a good growing area. And sometimes the type of animal is a huge consideration.I'd like to take the high tensile back through the woods on this ridge and develop silvopasture there so as to optimize this place as fully as possible.
While sheep & goats prefer browse & some "weedy types" of forage, domestic horses are hard pressed to do well on much of that. Pigs, well, they dig for everything That said, I believe that, with sheep & goats, woodlands provide a good amount for them. Woodlands can provide protection for the ground forage, which open terrain cannot. It is difficult to have enough of the "banked" fields to fully sustain them in a hard winter, IMO. That's why some hay is important here. I have banked fields … they are not enough for "total" feed in winter. The animals burn a lot of calories then. Yes, like most with pastures, I look at what I do, can do, should do, to have better. Here's where animal "type" comes into play.
Since I have dairy goats, for them to maintain, kid, and MILK all winter, the add ons are critical if you want good production. Even summers they get/need extra as extended, heavy lactation requires more energy than just the usual maintenance of self and offspring and short term lactation. Milk a quart a day, no problem. Milk 1.5-2 gal a day (per head) can be a problem if that is for 9-12 months. Some dairy goats will "milk thru" for a couple years, if desired & well fed. Doesn't have to be grain, could be excellent forage/hays, esp alfalfa supplements at milking time...with high quality hays.
The sire is critical for a herd -- not that the best females aren't -- as that truly is 50% of your herd results. It does usually require us to maintain a larger herd for some time, to be able to ascertain if the offspring are superior. At least in sheet/goats it is a shorter time, as their maturity & subsequent kid/lamb phase is shorter than say cattle.Or did Ringo put enough of a twist on their faults that you will keep them and see what happens?
While all the above efforts are part of good farm management and animal husbandry, the fact is that many are not looking at the "total" picture of self-sustaining. This is true from view of animals and land. For a farmer to do well, they must look at the options, methods and their own abilities to work them -- be it acreage, numbers, time and funding. Especially true when "retired" & farming. Alas, many are only enjoying "an animal or two" and not concerned beyond that because they will "sell-off and cruise the world" once age happens.
Bee, sorry that your mother is declining. Been there, done that. Yes, let her do what she safely can and remembers, while she can. Being a nurse you have seen enough to know this but, this one is different -- it's MOM. It was 5 years of progressive decline for my mother but, passing at 91.5 she had had a good life and went peacefully in her sleep. The last few months were not good to see but she had 24/7 care. She was ready when the time came and had, no doubt met with her Maker. Life begins and ends with God.