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Posted: 10/1/2007 2:08:56 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2007 2:11:29 PM EST by Kratos]
I am a "Green Acres" city raised man who took the plunge and moved to 10 acres in the woods for life-style and survival for me and my family just in case about 5 years ago. I have been gradually turning my wood lot into a mini-farm while retaining the surrounding trees so no one would know we are back here unless they are local and already know.

We have a huge garden, a hand pump back up on the well, lots of fruit trees and berries, chicken coop for eggs, and have raised a few pigs each year to put meat in the freezer.

I am in the process of clearing, planting, and soon to fence 2 acres of pasture for something larger in the meat department. I will probably raise a few beef cows for now, but have been thinking of the long term self-sustaining farm life and cows do not seem a good choice. Once you butcher one, you would have to smoke massive jerky without a working freezer so much would go to waste. Plus, they take so long to get to butchering size. Milk does not seem like a big need, but it sure was a stable for pioneers. I guess I could learn to make cheese to stretch out the nutritional value from a milk cow.

My question would be what would others suggest for livestock to provide a family of four (if we do not get overrun) with meat indefinately? We have lots of deer and elk, but without transportation, they could get thinned out quickly close to our place.

I need to decide on my long term plan because the kind of fence I build will be determined by the kind of animals I plan to keep. What about a small flock of sheep? It seems like two acres of pasture might support enough sheep where you could butcher 3 or 4 a year and still maintain the flock. Plus, they are small enough that you could use all the meat before it went to waste and you would not need outside feed like you do with pigs and cows in the winter.

Also, does making space for a horse make sense? I have never owned one, but could be invaluable once gas for the tractor is gone and as transportation to hunt and fish around the area. Without buying hay, it may be all I could keep healthy on my two acres and you could only eat it once. LOL
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 2:21:32 PM EST
rabbits?
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 2:22:35 PM EST
Take a look at goats for sustainable meat.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 2:26:42 PM EST
Chickens
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 2:27:28 PM EST
We are also "small holders" when it comes to land, not much more than what you have.

We have covered 90% of our meat needs with rabbits and a once or twice a year run of 15-20 meat birds. We don't eat a lot of meat though, definitely not the "meat with every meal" types.

With the rabbits we typically work 5 does. After they are weaned from there momma's we typically keep them in a large communal cage for at least another month to fatten up. There isn't a lot on a rabbit at 8 weeks of age....

The meat birds are Cornish X Rocks we usually do a batch or two a year. Every so often I'll get a deer if we have the freezer room and need the meat.

Sounds like you have already figured out some of the drawbacks of large stock- butchering and putting them up without electricity. Small animals like chickens and rabbits can be kept "on the hoof" and butchered as needed for meals that night.

If you were putting everything you had (feedwise) into one cow and it got sick, shot or just slipped on a banana peel and died, you'd be SOL. If you had half dozen rabbits as breeders and one went down hill, you'd still have 80% of your producing stock.

Also, sounds like you are 'grounded' but there is always the consideration of having to leave your retreat. Rabbits and chickens can be caged and brought along -time and circumstances permitting- or just let loose to potentially be rounded up again later. We currently have six bunnies running around out of cages. They are fun to watch, come and eat right out of our hand, etc. For the most part they feed themselves. If by some unfortunate event we run out of other rabbit (approx. 20 youngins being brought up right now) we can catch these "wild" rabbits of ours with our hands, a net or a duece duece. Kinda fun watching them run around the yard anyways.

Lots of vaccinations, potential medical problems, etc. with larger animals also. We seriously considered raising a pig this year. We even put in the pen and relating infrastructure. We went to a friends house and he made a huge pile of pork ribs. They tasted good going down but made both of us sick in short time. We will stick with the chickens and rabbits.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 3:37:49 PM EST
I am no expert when it comes to this, but I am learning slowly. 2 acres isn't much for cows. I have a few goats and 1 sheep, much easier to take care off. I have 33 acres and am thinking about getting some cows one day. Right now though I like having the smaller animals, easier to handle and not too big that I can't dig a hole to bury them in. If you get sheep, get hair sheep they don't need to be sheared. I have had horses before, alot of work and expensive. I don't think it would be easy to use a horse to substitute a tractor without plenty of training for you and the horse.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 3:56:36 PM EST
chickens, turkeys,

Horses are expensive
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 5:18:55 PM EST
Kratos:

My two cents: Most of us are 'spoiled'. Somehow a meal simply isn't a meal unless there is a large chunk of meat involved. In reality we really don't need that much meat that often. Most people eat far less protein than we do. Given that meat (beef for example) takes a lot more input (water, land, feed, etc) to make a pound of food than , say, most vegetable crops, meat becomes an expensive choice (in terms of time, energy and resources). Simply do without is an option (or, more realistically minimize it).

You are right. Beef is too big. Too much meat to process without going to waste. You need smaller animals. Have you ever eaten mutton? I don;t mean lamb, I mean MUTTON. Try it before you invest in sheep. It's not really popular for a reason.

Goat might be a great option. Again, not a fantastic flavored food. However, goats are damned hardy creatures that can often survive on land that is marginal for other food production.

Look into realistic food requirements for sheep and goats. I doubt two acres will support many animals on a continuous basis unless you are in an EXTREMELY fertile area. If you want 3 to 4 sheep a year, you need a flock of what, maybe a half dozen animals (Ram and several ewes). Figure six adults, plus the 4 young that need to be raised each year to replace the slaughtered animals. 10 sheep, year round , on two acres? I'm no sheep farmer but that sounds like way too little land ....

My choices and recommendations? Chickens. Forget meat. Eat eggs. Renewable, easy to handle, no storage issues. Eat eggs until the egg production units (hens) crap out, then eat chicken. Minimal care issues, low realestate requirements, no special skills or equipment required. Easy to handle. Basically one or two meal sized protein packets.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 5:41:34 PM EST
Good advice all. I already have a small pigmy goat as a pet. They are browsers rather than grazers so have to be moved around to find brush. We have chickens and have for years. I have heard about rabbits as a meat source but have never tried it. Not worth the fight with my tender hearted kids and wife when we can buy meat, but I may get cages and a few just in case things change and I have to let them just get over it.

It would be a good combination with a garden and rabbits. The rabbits could eat the garden excess and the rabbit droppings could ferilize the garden. Same for chickens but we still buy a lot of chicken feed for the chickens. They free range, but the 15 we have still eat 50lbs. of feed a month.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 6:13:04 PM EST
I am here to defend the cow!

Not really, but it sounded good. Milk is super valuable in SHTF. Raw milk is good food by itself. It is a huge advantage because of all the nutrition and energy that it contains. Cheese made from whole milk is awesome and much better tasting than the store bought crap.

If you butcher a cow, you need to learn how to can. You could easily put up every stitch of meat into mason jars that will last for years.

2 acres is pretty small for more than one cow, but I would definitely follow the good advise that you have recieved so far, but I believe that a cow would be the single most important animal you could raise. I would consider one cow at a time and if it gets sick or breaks a leg, then can that sucker up! Lots and lots of good quality protein that doesn't involve beans!

Putting all your eggs in the same basket is not smart. Putting several of these stratagies will get you where you want to be.

Just don't try to milk a bull!


My BOL has about 400,000 of beef if figured for hanging weight. We will have to sell or trade away quite a bit of them in the immediate aftermath so we don't have to milk 400 head by hand. That would genuinely suck.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 6:58:38 PM EST
We raised at one time 6 head on about two acres however we supplemented there diet heavily.

Have you looked into the small "cottage" type breeds? Something like a Dexter comes to mind. They don't require the space that a big beef breeds need and are more suited to survival type living.



-JTP
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 7:04:10 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mannlicher:
Take a look at goats for sustainable meat.


YES!

boer meat goats will do a great job mowing your grass, and producing good tasting healthy meat in record time. For two acres i'd say 4 does would be just about right, see if a neighbor has a buck so you don't have to deal with him most of the time. and make sure your fences are good.

Link Posted: 10/1/2007 7:11:48 PM EST
I saw people living on ten square feet of land in Africa with a goat tethered to their hut.

Meat, milk, hide, hair. Pretty useful and amusing too.


Colonel Hurtz
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 7:17:58 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/1/2007 7:34:23 PM EST by olwen]

Originally Posted By frozenny:
Kratos:

You are right. Beef is too big. Too much meat to process without going to waste. You need smaller animals. Have you ever eaten mutton? I don;t mean lamb, I mean MUTTON. Try it before you invest in sheep. It's not really popular for a reason.

Goat might be a great option. Again, not a fantastic flavored food. However, goats are damned hardy creatures that can often survive on land that is marginal for other food production.


some comments about these two subjects:

i raise sheep and goats. I've got about 45 ewes and 3 rams, and i think 14 does and 2 bucks (the new marketing terms for goats). if you butcher the kids/ lambs before a year, they taste really good. mutton or old goat is not that good. goat meat (chevon) has higher protein and lower sat fats than nearly anything. if you butcher a 5-8 month old lamb/ kid you'll get maybe 40 lbs of meat probably more like 30. the dogs should get some good meals from the offal though. the sheep and goat combo should keep your pasture weed free, and will clear out any brush you have within two years. you will have to do rotational fencing to grow new pasture from brushland though.

i know people that have fed kid goat to unsuspecting people on a bbq and people thought it was good beef.

if you have a shtf type of thing a goat to share with the neighborhood will make people really happy towards you, while a few eggs might not have the same effect.

eh- and if you have a dairy goat, you will get the best milk for human consumption out there. i had goat milk for a few years as a child (developed cow allergies from daily milk intake) and it was good. One good dairy goat provided a 3/4 of a gallon 2x a day. (enough for a family of 7)

dairy goat info


goat meat facts

more goat info
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 8:20:41 PM EST
red wigglers ought to give you a #/day with 4x8 bed.
they don't make noise and if you loose a few you won't be up s creek.

everything2.com/index.pl?node_id=1153294
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 8:28:26 PM EST

Originally Posted By Mannlicher:
Take a look at goats for sustainable meat.


+1 on that

There is a religious group where I grew up called the Hutiterians(sp). Big into communal living and working and self sustainment. They messed around with beef cattle for a while but eventually started raising meat goats and have had exceptional results. My dad has helped them before with EMT training and maple syrup making techniques and they gave us some off the meat in payment and it was quite good.
Link Posted: 10/1/2007 9:46:18 PM EST
You could grow soybeans and make tofu, the vegetarians' white meat.

Actually, I think soybeans have complete proteins, like real meat, but you don't want to eat them raw (diarrhea). I think you can grind them up and boil them in soups or rice or whatever and get the protein but I'm not 100% sure about that.

The soybeans obviously won't taste quite as good as, say, a slab of bacon, but they might taste better than the one and only mutton I ever ordered.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:45:02 AM EST
the horse doesn't part the hoof; don't eat it.

Deuteronomy 14:1-21

it may be against the bible, but if im starving to death, my horse is going to die before i do.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 2:02:00 AM EST
Nubian goats for milk and meat
rabbits
chickens, eggs and roasters
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 2:46:06 AM EST
Goats
Rabbits
More chickens
Geese
Turkeys
Pigeon Coop
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 3:10:18 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 5:03:36 AM EST
Despite the romace, horses won't likely last long when TSHTF... Modern horses are quite fragile compared to goats, etc. West nile virius, rhino, influenza, colic, etc... I've seen a few that just never get sick, but you still have annual vaccines, etc. Honestly, a bicycle and some extra tubes is much better transportation. (I have two horses... and 6-7 bikes)... You don't have to feed it, vaccinate it.

I can't imagine 2 acres supporting a cow long, nor a horse. I would look at rabbits, goats, sheep, chickens, etc.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 5:10:52 AM EST
Another big plus one on the Chickens. They don't need much of anything and they are the gift tha keeps on giving.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 5:14:41 AM EST
On 2 acres of pasture? Goats would be my first choice for grazing livestock. Add a few chickens and rabbits for variety.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 5:21:05 AM EST
Why not dig a nice deep, well-fed pond and stock it with catfish and perch? Feed them dog food every few days and you will have some monstrous fish that don't care anything about electricity or vaccinations. The only problem is mobility but cows aren't that mobile either.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 5:41:37 AM EST

Originally Posted By olwen:

Originally Posted By frozenny:
Kratos:

You are right. Beef is too big. Too much meat to process without going to waste. You need smaller animals. Have you ever eaten mutton? I don;t mean lamb, I mean MUTTON. Try it before you invest in sheep. It's not really popular for a reason.

Goat might be a great option. Again, not a fantastic flavored food. However, goats are damned hardy creatures that can often survive on land that is marginal for other food production.


some comments about these two subjects:

i raise sheep and goats. I've got about 45 ewes and 3 rams, and i think 14 does and 2 bucks (the new marketing terms for goats). if you butcher the kids/ lambs before a year, they taste really good. mutton or old goat is not that good. goat meat (chevon) has higher protein and lower sat fats than nearly anything. if you butcher a 5-8 month old lamb/ kid you'll get maybe 40 lbs of meat probably more like 30. the dogs should get some good meals from the offal though. the sheep and goat combo should keep your pasture weed free, and will clear out any brush you have within two years. you will have to do rotational fencing to grow new pasture from brushland though.

i know people that have fed kid goat to unsuspecting people on a bbq and people thought it was good beef.

if you have a shtf type of thing a goat to share with the neighborhood will make people really happy towards you, while a few eggs might not have the same effect.

eh- and if you have a dairy goat, you will get the best milk for human consumption out there. i had goat milk for a few years as a child (developed cow allergies from daily milk intake) and it was good. One good dairy goat provided a 3/4 of a gallon 2x a day. (enough for a family of 7)

dairy goat info


goat meat facts

more goat info




My family raised goats when I was a kid. I don't have them any more but I recommend them highly. They are very tough and don't need much space. They eat very little and make the highest grade milk around.

You can easliy butcher them yourself and they meat is very good...both for you as well as in taste. It's similar to deer meat in flavor....just not as gamey. Very lean meat.

One caution, if you have goats you HAVE to have good fences. They WILL get out and they prefer trees and bushes. If you have berry bushes they will kill them quick. If you want your woodlot cleared out, they will take care of that for you in a very short time.

I'm not a fan of sheep. They are not nearly as hardy as goats and I just don't care for the taste of lamb.....and I know the difference between lamb and mutton. I've had high grade lamb and hate the taste. Also, as a friend of mine says....sheep wander the fields just looking for a reason to die.

Link Posted: 10/2/2007 6:35:02 AM EST
There are types of chickens and rabbits that you could breed and release on your land, or even surrounding land, that will live wild, not in cages/fences and can easily be trapped later. You just need to seed the area to get them started and they should keep repopulating in the area for years to come. That way you could use alot more than just 2 acres for meat production.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 6:51:47 AM EST
Two acres is too small for cows.

Goats! Stay away from wool sheep. They die easy.

Currently I have Barbados Blackbelly Sheep. I always thought they were goats until the vet came one time. Goats and Sheep are branches off the same gentic tree. The Barbado is very goat like. Easy keepers and tough. They winter over just fine in the snow and cold. Never have to give them shots, etc. Many people have asked me about my 'deer' when they come over and see them at a distance.



Link Posted: 10/2/2007 8:27:31 AM EST
I am going with chickens and goats (not rabbits only because I am allergic to rabbit fur). I can eat rabbit meat just fine, but if I ever had to skin one I would be in trouble without gloves and a mask and a decon area after. Both chickens and rabbits are fast and easy to slaughter and clean. Also (properly raised and pastured) chickens, rabbits and goats are all quite able to procure most if not all of their own food except when there is snowcover. Plus they all eat the table scraps that you won't want to eat and the leftovers from the garden (eggshells, old fruit, moldy bread, etc.).

My wife works in an ag vet office and has determined that sheep are not as hardy as goats in general. We like goat milk and it makes amazing cheese. Goats are also small enough that they are reasonably simple to slaughter and you won't have a overwhelming bunch of meat to worry about going bad. IMO goat meat is marginal in taste so stick with the younger ones for slaughter.

2 acres is too small for a cow or a horse unless you want the land to become barren like a feedlot. I know, I have or have had both. Plus, horses are expensive to keep. Food, vet bills, training, horseshoeing, tack, etc. The cheapest part of being a horse owner is buying the horse in the beginning.

One thing to keep in mind is that small animals like chickens, bunnies, and smaller goats are food for other things than just you. Foxes, coyotes, weasels, skunks, racoons, etc. will all either kill chickens to eat or eat the eggs if they can get into the hen house. Fence accordingly! I have about 6 red foxes on my place (160 acres) and unless I keep the chickens locked up in a secure fenced area I can easily lose more than a dozen hens a day. Ask me how I know...... If the S ever does HTF and I need to go full scale into personal meat production mode those will be some dead foxes mighty quick!
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 8:46:51 AM EST

Originally Posted By Ranchhand365:
Two acres is too small for cows.

Goats! Stay away from wool sheep. They die easy.

Currently I have Barbados Blackbelly Sheep.



Have you eaten any of the Barbados yet? I have a friend that needs to get rid of a couple of bucks and I was going to put them on my place just to keep my agg exemption up. I have more than enough space but, how do they taste. My friend has not eaten one either.

Thanks
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:06:47 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 10:09:12 AM EST by gunner300]

Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:14:44 AM EST

Originally Posted By arpaul:

Originally Posted By Ranchhand365:
Two acres is too small for cows.

Goats! Stay away from wool sheep. They die easy.

Currently I have Barbados Blackbelly Sheep.



Have you eaten any of the Barbados yet? I have a friend that needs to get rid of a couple of bucks and I was going to put them on my place just to keep my agg exemption up. I have more than enough space but, how do they taste. My friend has not eaten one either.

Thanks


Yes tell us more about these sheep, looks promising.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:28:38 AM EST
Also, if you raise goats, you want to castrate the males early on. Then butcher them before they get too big. The meat will taste great and be very tender.

If you don't do the above, you will end up with nasty meat. Male goats have a strong scent glands (they stink during breeding season). That flavor gets into the meat if you don't castrate them. Butchering them early just keeps the meat tender.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:30:53 AM EST

Originally Posted By Mannlicher:
Take a look at goats for sustainable meat.

Yep, and you could also pack the deer and elk meat home on them.
M
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:13:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 1:14:16 PM EST by dragongoddess]
I think the answer is an easy one to come up with. What did people use before there were stores to get ones food.


While I have no experience in this area I would think goats and sheep for the production of meat,wool,milk,cheese and fertilizer for the field. While there may be one breed to fill all needs I would keep several different ones just as insurance against a disease that would kill the live stock.

Now I see people are mentioning meat that is very lean. This I think would be bad because you need fat even in a healthy diet. Plus the extra calories can't be beat.


BTW someone is going to have to know how to spin and make clothing.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 2:51:04 PM EST
Hard to beat rabbits.
Prolific little buggers with a great conversion rate.
Suffice it to say we eat a LOT of rabbit!
Also raise chickens, but mostly for eggs.

As far as goats and sheep, my experience is that you can't keep sheep alive and you can't kill a goat (although we have had problems with males getting crystalline blockages in their ureathas)

Add in 6 or so deer per year, plus lots of other game,fish, and shellfish, and we're eating GOOD at my house!

We have horses.I hate 'em. 'nuff said!
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 4:33:28 PM EST

Originally Posted By Ranchhand365:

Stay away from wool sheep. They die easy.


I currently raise about 100 black faced wool ewes and I take offense to that comment. Wool sheep do not die any easier than hair sheep. All sheep have a high tolerance for pain, so generally if they are off of feed or look sick, they are VERY SICK. Symptoms do not show until they are nearer death than some species.

As to the meat aspect. I can get a lamb to 75 pounds in 45 days from birth. I would like to see that from a emu barbados. I am sorry, but I see hair sheep as a fad. Put some meat on the carcass and then we can talk.

Plus, in a true survival situation the wool would be a great commodity. Clothing, insulation, mulch, etc.

of course, YMMV
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 9:11:32 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/3/2007 9:12:52 AM EST by NoStockBikes]
Brining this up because of various references to deer, elk, etc... As I mentioned in a thread in GD... in basically two weekends (not a lot of hunting going on during weekdays) approximately 20% of the Minnesota deer population is harvested, and that's just people hunting as a recreational activity (labeled such because meat is readily available in stores). Deer populations will crash FAST as soon as people start subsistence hunting.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 9:23:22 AM EST
I plan on living in part off of feral hogs post Teotwawki. Even in a survival situation I doubt they can be hunted out. The studies I have seen show that within 5 years a single sow will be responsible for 2,000 offspring. They are like large rabbits or rats....they cannot be exterminated. I have seen ranchers poison them, shoot them, trap them....hunt them with night vision and shoot them from a helicopter.....and they are still thriving and expanding their range.

I plan to trap some fairly early on and I will be in pork chops, bacon and sausage along with the all important fats for as long as need be.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 3:32:22 PM EST

Originally Posted By ColtRifle:
Also, if you raise goats, you want to castrate the males early on. Then butcher them before they get too big. The meat will taste great and be very tender.

If you don't do the above, you will end up with nasty meat. Male goats have a strong scent glands (they stink during breeding season). That flavor gets into the meat if you don't castrate them. Butchering them early just keeps the meat tender.


actually if you butcher about 70-90 pounds for boer/ kiko goats you don't need to castrate. you should get 30-40 pounds of meat at least, and they will grow much faster with the male hormones from the testi. this would typically be around 6-8 months old, depending on the goats genetics.

Link Posted: 10/3/2007 3:35:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By PokeChoke:

Originally Posted By Ranchhand365:

Stay away from wool sheep. They die easy.


I currently raise about 100 black faced wool ewes and I take offense to that comment. Wool sheep do not die any easier than hair sheep. All sheep have a high tolerance for pain, so generally if they are off of feed or look sick, they are VERY SICK. Symptoms do not show until they are nearer death than some species.

As to the meat aspect. I can get a lamb to 75 pounds in 45 days from birth. I would like to see that from a emu barbados. I am sorry, but I see hair sheep as a fad. Put some meat on the carcass and then we can talk.

Plus, in a true survival situation the wool would be a great commodity. Clothing, insulation, mulch, etc.

of course, YMMV


yeah, i agree- all the sheep really need is a shepherd boy to watch them and actually care for them and they should live 6+ years easy, depending on the conditions.

Link Posted: 10/3/2007 3:36:42 PM EST
I wouldnt get a horse they dont taste good. Just kidding I have alot of horses and I love having them but it will be very hard to keep one and not feed it grain or hay. If I were in your situation I would not get a horse. First off you have to find a good sound horse and you have to maintain their hooves very well. If planning for SHTF i would definately learn how to shoe and take care of my horses feet. Also horses are prone to have alot of shit go wrong with them you could always wind up paying alot of vet bills down the road.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 3:40:05 PM EST

Originally Posted By dragongoddess:
---goats?---

Now I see people are mentioning meat that is very lean. This I think would be bad because you need fat even in a healthy diet. Plus the extra calories can't be beat.



you can still put lots of fat on a meat goat, just the actual meat won't have nearly as much fat throughout it. and/or marbeling. i have a buyer that only wants pasture/ hay fed intact male goats at 70-90 pounds and is paying a 20 cent premium. she did get some goat kids that were fed to much grain mixture, she said they had to much fat on the carcass to trim out profitably. but in a survival situation it would be no problem.

Link Posted: 10/3/2007 4:10:37 PM EST
"Dove Cote"

Provide a place for pidgeons to live and you have a endless supply
of food that spends all day taking care of it's self.

GM
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 4:30:53 PM EST
Chickens or other poultry are a good choice. If you want to think bigger than that, I would go miniature Sheep or Goats.

Sheep are grass eaters, and Goats are brush eaters, so you need to pick your species according to plant life on your property. Picking a miniature breed will minimize fencing costs (A 50-60 lb Nigerian dwarf can be safely and reliably restrained by a fence that a 150+lb meat goat would casually knock over.) There are milk and meat varieties of both species depending on your desires. The pygmy and dwarf goats are also in season more often than other goat species which may make it easier to ensure a year-round supply of milk and/or meat.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 4:42:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By frozenny:

My choices and recommendations? Chickens. Forget meat. Eat eggs. Renewable, easy to handle, no storage issues. Eat eggs until the egg production units (hens) crap out, then eat chicken. Minimal care issues, low real estate requirements, no special skills or equipment required. Easy to handle. Basically one or two meal sized protein packets.


+6.66

For your chickens, start with females only. (Hens lay better than if you have a rooster in there.) One thing I remember is to beware quantities. If you start with just four hens, you'll already have more than enough eggs to handle. Half the year, each one will lay about five eggs a week which means 4 x 5 = 20 eggs per week. The other half of the year, their rate will be slower.

Man, I remember one of my major pet peeves. My aunt and uncle kept their massive chicken coop right across from our house. Over time a small country road between the homes became a major road (still two-lane) with a posted speed limit of 45 mph (so people regularly go 50+). That coop was (and still is) what I consider an attractive nuisance because it's irresistibly enticing to the cats that lived on our side of the street. Sadly, more than one of my mother's beloved kitties died while trying to cross that road. Now they keep most of the cats indoors to try to prevent this. Even so, one will occasionally try to make the run across the road. It's so hard for them to resist, even though they have plenty of food (in bowls and wild) on THEIR side of the street. But I digress.

Hens are the way to go. Later they become tasty stew. Introducing a rooster later is a lot of fun if you are a morning person. I still wake up to that rooster whenever I visit my parents on holiday.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 4:51:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/4/2007 7:55:00 PM EST by Kratos]
We already have a dozen hens and one rooster. Has anyone else seen that not having a rooster increases egg production? I think the rooster is a waiste of feed, but the wife likes the crowing. She is the one who has to carry a stick when she goes out in the yard because he knows I will boot him across the yard if he tries to spur me. I am very tempted to take the rooster for a long walk the next time my tender hearted wife and son are not home.

Also, what about chickens breaking and eating eggs. I think it is mainly one doing it and want to put it in the pot so it stops. Any experience on this one?
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 7:03:14 PM EST

Originally Posted By Scottmkiv:

* * *

The pygmy and dwarf goats are also in season more often than other goat species which may make it easier to ensure a year-round supply of milk and/or meat.


Why does that remind me of the stories about the antics of the little people, the Lollipop Kids, during the filming of the Wizard of Oz, when they weren't on camera? It was supposedly impressive, even relentless.



Originally Posted By Kratos:
We already have a dozen hens and one rooster. Has anyone else seen that not having a rooster increases egg production? I think the rooster is a waiste of feed, but the wife likes the crowing. She is the one who has to carry a stick when she goes out in the yard because he knows I will boot him across the yard if he tries to spur me. I am very tempted to take the rooster for a long wife the next time my tender hearted wife and son are no home.


Yup, mating the bastards definitely shows them who's the boss.
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 7:10:08 PM EST

Originally Posted By GeorgiaBII:
Chickens


Yup..
eggs too
cow gots moo milk...
Link Posted: 10/3/2007 7:43:37 PM EST
I think having a horse would be great.

I'd also suggest a lever action 30-30 if you get a horse.
Link Posted: 10/4/2007 5:25:57 PM EST

Originally Posted By Kratos:

Also, what about chickens breaking and eating eggs. I think it is mainly one doing it and want to put it in the pot so it stops. Any experience on this one?


you can use a squirt bottle with some vinegar water to dissuade ornery critters.

for egg eaters you need to pick up the eggs faster.

if you can seperate the chickens into two groups, you should be able to tell eventually through elimination who is the culprit.

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