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Thread: Any farmers or anyone familiar with farming out there? page

  1. #1
    JohnOTD's Avatar
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    Any farmers or anyone familiar with farming out there?

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    Katie and I are putting together a dream for once we settle down from a traveling lifestyle. We currently reside in St. Croix and once we leave here we plan on backpacking in Europe or Asia for a few months and deciding on the next spot from there.

    Our dream is to settle down on some land, build a house, start a 1/4-1/2 acre garden and raise goats and a few head of cattle. If we go half acre, we're considering raising rabbits, pigs and chickens (we'll do the hens either way for eggs...we eat a lot of eggs...)

    I was wondering if anyone had any ideas on acreage necessary to raise sayyy...4-6 heads of cattle (grass-fed of course) and to be able to throw some goats into the mix for good measure...? The extra land will not be used for gardening or living, just pasture land for the cattle and goats.
    www.primalfreedom.blogspot.com

    If a man has the right to self-ownership, to the control of his life, then in the real world he must also have the right to sustain his life by grappling with and transforming resources; he must be able to own the ground and the resources on which he stands and which he must use. In short, to sustain his human right. - Murray Rothbard

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    Cassandra's Avatar
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    If you have good grass, you can use a couple of cows per acre. You ideally should have an acre per cow and for both cows and goats you should have at least two each, three is better. They are not happy being single cow or goat. Goat is the one animal that I haven't raised but my friends tell me they maybe smaller than cows, but you have to have higher (much higher) and denser fencing, along with a lot of things for them to climb around on. Both can be escape artist, but goats are very nimble. Beware of anyone wanting to sell you a single cow or goat out of a herd, that usually implies they are troublesome escapers. it's not worth the "great deal" they are offering you. i learned this the hard way after buying a single cow that escaped from the back of my trailer at 60 mph, yes I lost her and the baby she was carrying) Once you have a security fence like Ft Knox, goats are easier to handle, from milking, feeding, trailering, houseing and birthing. Also, ideally you should have one donkey, with either one. They are the best alarm system you can have. They will make a lot of noise if anything gets into the fence as well as escaping out.
    Rabbits and chicken are some of the easiest animals to raise! They produce a lot of babies easily, grow quickly for the meat and take up the smallest place on a farm. You need good housing first and you can also put in a big run (make sure your fencing goes at least a foot and a half under ground) They eat just about anything that you will normally put into a compost,(including they love yard, leaf and grass trimmings) while giving you some of the best fertilizer for your garden. (and their crap is smaller and easier to set aside for fertilizer) Plus, cleaning up after them is a lot easier. Vet bills and medical are a lot less exspensive than goats or cows. AND...they are a hell of a lot cheaper to buy than goats or cows.
    There are books out by Storey press all about farming, raising animals and self-sustained living. My first advice to you is to make sure you have good, solid fencing/housing for the animal you are wanting to raise and learn how to repair it yourself. It will envolve some special tools, but it will save you money for someone coming out to fix it.
    As usual, I wrote a book.... Anyways, I can't tell you how great it is to have your own animals and veggies. They are a lot of fun. I hope that you will start with chicken and rabbits because they are cheaper animals all the way around. Plus, if you happen to screw something up with them, you are not in the money hole as much. I know that sounds bad, but nothing is worse than paying several hundred dollars on a cow and then losing them to illness or injury. You can buy chicks and rabbits for a few dollars each. If you are wanting them for food they are a lot less exspensive to care and feed.
    I envy you and hope that you guys love the little farmlife. It is so rewarding!! Good Luck.

  3. #3
    Cassandra's Avatar
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    here is the website for storey books www.storey.com
    also there is a great magazine on small farming called Grit. www.grit.com

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    JohnOTD's Avatar
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    Cassandra, thanks for the great info!

    I've been looking into a book called "The Backyard Homestead" which basically talks about growing all the food you'll need on a 1/2 acre.

    It includes grain as part of the crops, but that can just be more veggies! (Or animals!)
    www.primalfreedom.blogspot.com

    If a man has the right to self-ownership, to the control of his life, then in the real world he must also have the right to sustain his life by grappling with and transforming resources; he must be able to own the ground and the resources on which he stands and which he must use. In short, to sustain his human right. - Murray Rothbard

  5. #5
    LX's Avatar
    LX
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    You might check out a book called square foot gardening, loads of good stuff on growing things without much space.

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    Cassandra's Avatar
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    As far as gardening goes, there is a small book of companion gardening titled Carrots love Tomatoes (she also has on for ornamental gardening). Sorry I can't think of the lady that wrote it and I don't have access to the book now. It is really interesting and I learned a lot from it, mainly all the new veggies and herbs I'd not heard of. She has garden planners that yield A LOT of veggies in a small space. Her theory is planting certain herbs and veggies together that work well for protection from bugs, helping them grow or amending the soil. She also tells you what not to plant near or together because one plant will kill the other. Rodale publishing has a lot of books, as well as Organic Gardening magazine. Beware if you subscribe to their mag the will sell your name to everyone they can! (Grit won't do that) Hey, don't worry about not eating non-primal food you might want to grow with companion planting, your animals will still love to eat peas, corn, grasses or just about anything else that you'd want to grow.
    I also would recommend that you never get a horse for your small farm. They are really hard on the grass, they tend to pull the roots out of the ground (cows and goats don't) plus they love to dig for tender roots. (funny, I couldn't ever eat my horses, unless I was starving) That is also the way with pigs, they'll tear up a pasture overnight. I personally love to eat pork but a live pig has always given me the willies---shiver--
    There is also an old collection of books call Foxfire that is still in print. It is a series of twelve books on the how-to and lost arts of living life before modern living like dressing out animals, hunting, cooking, building, planting by the moon, to funny things like old-wives tales of ghost and midwifery. My parents referred to them a lot and we still use a lot of the practices on the farm. They have had a revival in the interest of these book over the last few years because of people wanting to be a little more self-sustaining.

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    Cassandra's Avatar
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    LX, I have that book also! It is really good. It gives great ideas on companion planting. I have always had better luck with planting when I started planting plant closer together, plus it helps greatly on the weeding---which I friggin HATE!!

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    Just4ME's Avatar
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    Instead of buying the books I joined gardenweb.com. Awesome forums and information to be had there!

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    Cassandra's Avatar
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    Cool....I know I know that I will check it out!

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    My feeling is twenty-ish?

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