More Hay Questions!

Mike CHS

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We live in Middle Tennessee roughly 20 miles from the Alabama border. Let us know if we can help with your planning.
 

Ridgetop

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DH's sister and BIL moved to Coeur D'Alene last year. Apparently, everyone from Spokane drives into CD'A to shop without masks! LOL We also are hearing that Spokane and parts of eastern Oregon are petitioning to join the state of Idaho. My sister and 2 brothers live west of Seattle. :(

You will love Texas and Texans!
 

Baymule

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I just saw this..we are looking at a 240 acre ranch in Tennessee about a couple hours north of Texas (our kids moved to Houston this last year) and I could become my own feed producer…

Not to be a spoil sport, but Tennessee is not a couple hours north of Texas. I’m in east Texas, probably 4 hours maybe 5, depending on traffic, from the northern boundary of Houston. It was right at 700 miles to go to Tennessee, just south of Nashville.

Maybe do a map directions search from the ranch you are looking at, to Houston? Where in Houston do your kids live?
 

Ridgetop

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Large properties are so appealing. However, there are some things to consider.

How far from your daughter do you want to be? Houston to Tennessee is far.
How big is your current place?
What is your age and health?
Do you have experience producing a lot of hay or grain?
Large production requires either multiple types of expensive machinery or hiring out the work to be done. (Both options cost money)
Large production of hay or grain requires knowledge of growing cycles, fertilizing, and mowing/harvesting times in the area.
Large production of hay or grain requires storage facilities.

When we decided to move to a ranch operation from our 6 acres (with no water which means no pasture) we first thought of Texas. However, we had bought my Aunt's place in Yelm when she died so we already had a place to move our sheep. Nice small house completely updated for her by us several years ago, 2 large barns, several good outbuildings, good pasture and a great well. We would need to put in new fencing but with the other benefits no problem. It was in a small town, only 20 hours driving time from our 5 children staying in California, and (less important) a few hours from my 2 brothers and sister. However, we found out that we could no longer keep our sheep on this property since the city had incorporated it into the town borders. :hit

Back to our Texas plan. We originally wanted 100+ acres. Then gradually common sense took over and we realized that we couldn't ranch that many acres anymore. All the work we had put in over the past 30 years building our current 6 acre property would not be doable in the time left to us at our ages.

We just bought a 45 acre ranch in northeast Texas. This will put us far from the 4 children and their families who will remain in California. Our oldest son will make the move with us. Moving away from our very close family is a big hardship for us since we see all but one child and his family almost every day.

In our search for property, we have come to realize that we may not run sheep on the entire 45 acres. Our more approachable goal is to fence and rotation pasture graze them on 15 of the acres while continuing to rent the rest of the Costal Bermuda pastures out to the cattle rancher who currently rents them. The alternative is to pay someone to cut it for hay. Luckily, there are several hay people that specialize in cutting and baling for small producers in the area.

Another thing we found out when looking at property in Texas is that the same hay is not available is different parts of the country. In Texas most hay is Coastal Bermuda or Timothy. No alfalfa because of Blister Beetle. This changes the way we will be supplementing our flock on pasture. Also, no feed stores stock hay like they do here in southern California - you have to locate a grower and buy from them. Probably not much of a problem with 45 acres of pasture, but in the winter Bermuda goes dormant. We will have to supplement with hay in the winter so will need to locate a grower to buy from.

If you are looking for a ranch to be near your kids, I suggest you visit them and look around the area to see what is available in both Texas and Tennessee. Once you find the area you want to be in check for the amenities you need. I don't mean opera houses and malls, I mean Walmarts, Lowes, churches, shopping, and senior centers to make new friends. You also need to check out the availability of persons offering services in wells, hay baling, grain sowing and harvesting, machinery repair, feed mills, saleyards or packing houses that will purchase your livestock, etc. Since you have grown children, you will also want to look into available medical care within driving distance. Check the distance to main roads and highways to these places since if you are on a system of private roads you may need to plow yourselves out in a snowstorm.

While you know where everything is in your location now (cheap shopping and repair places) remember you will have to find all these locations in the new area as well as make new friends.

We are looking forward to our new adventure - hope you find yours!
 

DeEtta

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Ditto here. My 2 does are alfalfa addicts BUT, will go into the donkey's manger and eat his coastal, but not if I put it in their stall. Goats are supposed to dislike grasses which is why their preference for the legume, alfalfa. However, the farm I got one of my does from feed their herd rolled coastal and recommended I stick with it. I didn't. I guess if that's all they're exposed to and they're hungry....it sure would be hugely cheaper.
Florida here too. Girls didn't care for coastal but they love Brome. I do feed a small amount of alphalfa pellets in the winter when pasture is not so green.
 

Ridgetop

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I figure if they are hungry they will adapt. Will probably bring some alfalfa with us when we move and mix it with the coastal at first. Dorpers are known for being able to live on "sand and rocks" as the association brags so I don't anticipate much of a problem.
 

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