I’m A Jinxi

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Hello for the California part of the Mojave Desert. So just a brief intro my husband and I bought a three acre property out in the desert about a twenty minute drive away from a big traveling pit stop on the way to Vegas. We love animals and livestock and have cared for other people’s sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits and our own poultry. We loved these experiences so much we’ve decided to start our own farm.

So now here’s the question, what do we do? What kind of animals will be a responsible addition to our home and be able to provide enough profit to pay for itself?

We have a well so water isn’t really an issue. And we have about four big hog panels to start with. More can be bought once we decide what we want to raise. And we’re willing to plant pasture or crops for our animals if need be.

We had bought Muscovy ducks and they are doing wonderfully, but we’re just outside the quarantine zone (virulent Newcastle disease) and can’t sell any of our birds. But once that disease isn’t an issue we intend to sell the ducks, seeing as they breed so well. We considered rabbits as a meat source for our dogs and selling the fur and bones. But laws are changing and the fur industry is going to be non existent soon.

So our big choices are between alpacas for their fibers and manure, or dorper sheep for meat and breed stock. But the trouble is making sure there’s a market for these animal byproducts. And to be honest I’m not sure where to start to find a guaranteed buyer for any of this. We had a bad experience where we housed two pigs for someone. They intended to split one pig between them and us as payment and sell the second one. But when dispatch time came around we couldn’t get a buyer at all. Tried for almost a month and nothing.

A third consideration is growing produce for a third party. But again, it’s a matter of trying to find a buyer before we plan on planting anything. Don’t wanna grow a bunch of zucchini if everyone wants eggplants.

So in summation I would like your opinion on what livestock is worth investing in and how to get ahold of a marketplace to sell to. Any advice and help would be greatly appreciated. And if there’s something that I haven’t considered I would love to hear anout
 

Beekissed

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It's good that you are looking at possible markets for your livestock, as that's a big one if you want them to pay for themselves. Since you only have 3 acres and you live in an arid, brittle climate, you'll also have to consider feed sources....will you have affordable feed sources for your animals? Will you have affordable water sources also?

A good place to start is looking at what others in the area are growing and selling. You'll definitely want something that does well in your area. Hair sheep do well in that kind of climate, some better than others. I'd look at what breeds do the best out there before investing.

What is your predator pressure like? That's another important consideration...what level of housing/fencing/guard animal presence will be needed to protect your stock?

After all of that is sorted out, it's likely you'll be able to make a better determination as to what stock to keep.
 

I’m A Jinxi

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It's good that you are looking at possible markets for your livestock, as that's a big one if you want them to pay for themselves. Since you only have 3 acres and you live in an arid, brittle climate, you'll also have to consider feed sources....will you have affordable feed sources for your animals? Will you have affordable water sources also?

A good place to start is looking at what others in the area are growing and selling. You'll definitely want something that does well in your area. Hair sheep do well in that kind of climate, some better than others. I'd look at what breeds do the best out there before investing.

What is your predator pressure like? That's another important consideration...what level of housing/fencing/guard animal presence will be needed to protect your stock?

After all of that is sorted out, it's likely you'll be able to make a better determination as to what stock to keep.
To be honest no one really grows or raises and sells anything out here. Some neighbors have chickens for themselves and another keeps a few goats for their family. People just mostly farm for their own use.
We have a feed store not far away that is very reasonably priced and have read about a lot of growing techniques to grow food year round even for our area. We also have a well so water isn’t a cost for us. And we’ve considered getting a water tower as a backup in case the electricity goes out.
We have coyotes and stray dogs and roam around but we’ve never had problems with them I’m our yard. Our DDR German Shepherd wouldn’t allow it.
We would be completely willing to invest in this endeavor (fencing, food, equipment) as long as we know it will pay for itself eventually. We’ve even talked about I getting a larger plot of land or buying a neighbors land if it proves a viable income.
 

Beekissed

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To be honest no one really grows or raises and sells anything out here.
That might be a clue you'd want to follow up on. Why isn't anyone growing livestock for sale out there? Could be for a good reason?

Any livestock auctions in the area? Any scheduled animal swap meets? If you are to buy livestock, you'll likely find someone who IS raising livestock to sell where you live and you'll likely want to pick their brains for the info needed for your particular area. What sells? Who has a good source of what sells? What is the potential for finding breeding stock for future breeding?

If you are the first and only, I'd say your market will be a tough one and finding new genetics as you proceed will also be tough.

Depending on your livestock, will your well support their water needs? Even here where we live, with plentiful rainfall and high humidity, a good well can be stressed a bit if we go through a little drought and we are watering stock too.

The same would apply to gardening or feed crops....will your well support watering needs enough to grow what you need?
 

I’m A Jinxi

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That might be a clue you'd want to follow up on. Why isn't anyone growing livestock for sale out there? Could be for a good reason?

Any livestock auctions in the area? Any scheduled animal swap meets? If you are to buy livestock, you'll likely find someone who IS raising livestock to sell where you live and you'll likely want to pick their brains for the info needed for your particular area. What sells? Who has a good source of what sells? What is the potential for finding breeding stock for future breeding?

If you are the first and only, I'd say your market will be a tough one and finding new genetics as you proceed will also be tough.

Depending on your livestock, will your well support their water needs? Even here where we live, with plentiful rainfall and high humidity, a good well can be stressed a bit if we go through a little drought and we are watering stock too.

The same would apply to gardening or feed crops....will your well support watering needs enough to grow what you need?
my husband reminded me that we have a cattle farm a mile or two away that grows their own hay. There is also a sheep farm forty minutes away with a huge pasture as well. There’s a virtual animal auction about three hours away. We had no problem feeding and watering pigs but when it was time to sell we couldn’t find a buyer. We posted on various online forums, and at feed stores. We couldn’t sell it for a dollar. It seems like feeding, watering and housing the animal is the easiest part. When it comes to selling is where it becomes difficult.
 
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