keeping farm animals together? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 20 Old 11-14-2009, 02:23 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi all,

we are currently looking for property to build a little homestead and i have been thinking about how much space we will need and fences, barns, etc. basically, i want to raise food for our family of 5. i would like to have 2 miniature milking goats, chickens, ducks, turkeys, miniature jersey, 2 llamas, beef cow, and a few sheep and pigs. i am wondering, can they all live together??? or do i need separate spaces for different animal groups? what is the best way to set up the space? are there good books to read about getting started?

thanks!
lisa
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#2 of 20 Old 11-15-2009, 01:00 AM
 
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YOU can keep the cows with the sheap or the goats but you can keep the goats and sheep together becasue they share parasites and diseases.

So if it was me I would keep the goats and cows together and leave the llamas to gaurd the sheep.

I am unsure about the chickens and the turkeys or the pigs.
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#3 of 20 Old 11-16-2009, 08:10 PM
 
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I thought that you couldn't keep cows and goats together, or is that horses and goats? Ruminants....let's see, horses are not ruminants, so yeah, cows and goats should be fine.

For any poultry, you can have a 'poultry area', but you should really have separate housing for turkeys and chickens, esp. because of the size difference--I wouldn't want a Tom to try to mate w/a poor little ole chicken hen!. We keep chickens and guineas together. I want ducks soon, but don't know what i'll do about those, yet.

Llamas should be ok w/goats I would think since some people get them as guardian animals for their goats. Pigs I would keep in separate quarters. They make ALOT of poo.

Have you considered meat rabbits?

As for books, any of the Storey guides are great. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss?ur...Guides&x=0&y=0

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#4 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 09:24 AM
 
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Just from experience, you often don't want horses with other animals because they can act like a bully. Most other grazing animals don't bully each other. Llamas can be guard animals but I've seen them ignore the whole herd if they weren't raised with that herd.

Pigs do graze but they are omnivorous like humans. They can be too rough for goats or sheep and my friend actually lost a goat kid when her pig reached through the fence and um, ate it. Chickens and ducks seem to like to be around pigs though. They eat up the stuff the pigs miss and like how the pigs root up the ground.

Our chickens free range in the day and go wherever they want but mainly stay out of the goat pasture for some reason. Our ducks also free range and spend some time around the chickens and a lot of time in the goat pasture. They even lay down with the goats sometimes. At night the chickens have their own roosts that suit most of them but 3 roost in the rafters of the barn and 3 roost in the goat pen (just make sure they can roost above the hay) and one roosts in with the ducks.

The Storey guides to raising animals are pretty good. Specific to one animal though. We have the goat and the chicken guide. They are also easy to find online. There are a number of books about small farms. I can't say which ones are good though. Here's a list:

http://www.journeytoforever.org/farm_link1.html

I have 10 Acres Enough and while it's a neat read it's not overly helpful to me in a practical sense. I have a book my parents used when they did the "back to the land" thing called Grow It. It's really practical but I don't know if you can get it anymore.

Alicia - Mother to DS (12) and finally expecting another
Living on 100 acres with the love of my life, our son, goats, chickens, ducks, a cat and 2 Chesapeakes!
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#5 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 10:24 AM
 
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I'd also recommend having a separate living area for the ducks. They need water to play in, wash, etc. I had them and they were total slobs IME.

Many folks keep turkeys separate for health issues; chickens carry something that can get turkeys sick. We housed a pair short-term, and the tom was a bully at the feed trough.

I keep sheep and goats together without problems. We do deworm, and when we do this, we do everyone at the same time. In the past, we housed a pair of Jersey steers with the sheep and goats. Only trouble with the steers was that they were naughty and liked to tear down fence and let the others out.

You'll want to ensure that your birds don't poo on the hay for the big animals.

I don't have any pig experience...but if your focus is self-sufficiency, I'd recommend focusing on the food/wool providers before the horse. Unless she's for transportation. They are pretty pricey animals. Even if you get the horse free, vet care and hoof care are expensive, and feed needs are quite specific.
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#6 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 12:22 PM
 
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Oh yes, our ducks are by far the dirtiest animals in the place!

Alicia - Mother to DS (12) and finally expecting another
Living on 100 acres with the love of my life, our son, goats, chickens, ducks, a cat and 2 Chesapeakes!
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#7 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 12:31 PM
 
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I think this might just be our situation, but my sheep were total bullies toward my chickens, and herded them around all over the place. They also LOVED the chicken feed, so we had to be careful that they didn't get into it. They would try to break into the chicken area, routinely, in order to get at their feed.
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#8 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post
...but if your focus is self-sufficiency, I'd recommend focusing on the food/wool providers before the horse. Unless she's for transportation. They are pretty pricey animals. Even if you get the horse free, vet care and hoof care are expensive, and feed needs are quite specific.

Uh-huh. $35 a pop for hoof-trims, trailer for transporting, vet fees, hoof enhancers, grooming supplies, riding equipment, feeds, etc...Ours cost us an arm and a leg and after he got stuck in a tree and took 3 fire departments to get him out, that was it and we gave him to our farrier.

I've heard/read that ducks are really messy, too.

I totally want some sheep in the next few years. I'm sick of mowing, lol. Plus my dd could spin and I can dye and crochet it and she could knit it...... **snaps back to reality and wipes drool off chin**

Rabbits are the way to go, really. Small and easily manageable. Depending on where you live, they may need a/c in the summer, but no heat required in winter--just shelter from wet and wind. We LOVE our rabbits and man are they t.a.s.t.y!

Oh, and I just got a new book The Backyard Homestead and it's pretty good. Also, Barnyard in Your Backyard is decent for an intro into several animals/birds. In "Backwoods Home" there is a great section of books to order. I really want several of them. Really drooling over books on anything one can make w/goat's milk.

Happy Homesteading Homeschooling Homebirthing Beekeeping Dready (& a bit redneck even) Mama to 4 fab kids :  dd (23), dd (13), ds (11), dd (5)

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#9 of 20 Old 11-17-2009, 11:24 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post

I totally want some sheep in the next few years. I'm sick of mowing, lol. Plus my dd could spin and I can dye and crochet it and she could knit it...... **snaps back to reality and wipes drool off chin**

.
Go for it! We have the most beautiful wool, and dh, I, and dd knit-we're fighting over it!
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#10 of 20 Old 11-18-2009, 09:59 AM
 
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Veering OT, but...

karne, how much time do you spend cleaning, carding and spinning? What sort of hardware do you have for the tasks?

I have specifically one sheep whose fleeces I'd like to use for a garment/rug/blanket, but I have zero experience. Just learned to knit a few weeks ago...
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#11 of 20 Old 11-18-2009, 10:09 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post
after he got stuck in a tree and took 3 fire departments to get him out, that was it and we gave him to our farrier.
I'm dying here with a visual on that......

SMC to dd 4/07.
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#12 of 20 Old 11-18-2009, 01:37 PM
 
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I'm dying here with a visual on that......
ROFL! I was wondering if anyone would catch that.

We have a creek running thru the woods on our property. This horse, Mack, was a super good horse, old, well-mannered (a 23 year old retired English Dressage champion jumper), and super safe (*excellent* ground manners). He would have a "senior moment" once in awhile and cause quite an agricultural emergency. He'd stand there and just fall asleep and fall over. Once he got stuck under a fence (ok, twice), and the fence had to be taken apart, and his head was downhill, which isn't good for a horse. Anyway, one time he actually fell asleep by the creek bank and I guess as he fell he got his legs tangled up in all the tree roots. I called the fire department, and they called in 2 others, and the newspaper reporter (seriously, there's like one, lol) heard over his scanner that a horse was stuck in a tree, and he just HAD to come see that. They got him out, and he was fine. My farrier came to get him the next day. I just couldn't take the worry anymore. The farriers land was set up way better for this horse than ours. I miss him.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled discussion. I believe it was about which farm animals can be kept together....

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#13 of 20 Old 11-19-2009, 01:10 AM
 
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Originally Posted by 1jooj View Post
Veering OT, but...

karne, how much time do you spend cleaning, carding and spinning? What sort of hardware do you have for the tasks?

I have specifically one sheep whose fleeces I'd like to use for a garment/rug/blanket, but I have zero experience. Just learned to knit a few weeks ago...
I spend no time cleaning because I'm fortunate to have a friend who washes for me. Really fortunate, because as newbies we never thought to shear on a tarp, or otherwise clean surface, or NOT throw the wool into the grass/hay! It was a mess. We've learned from that!

We have hand carders that we use, and we also barter for some carding. I drop-needle, and am learning to spin. So the answer is that I spend a fair amount of (very pleasurable) time working on this, mostly because I'm motivated, but learning! The wool is totally wonderful!
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#14 of 20 Old 11-19-2009, 01:14 AM
 
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Pigs will kill/eat smaller animals. Chickens, ducks, goats.... all a piggie snack.

They also can be rather aggressive to humans; they have killed people, and small children and pigs are a huge no-no.
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#15 of 20 Old 11-26-2009, 02:37 AM - Thread Starter
 
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hi all,
i appreciate the collective insight! thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.
lisa
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#16 of 20 Old 11-30-2009, 05:24 PM
 
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Horses can be kept w/ goats, just as an fyi - we used to have ponies w/ goats when I was a little kid and they all got along just fine. I've actually read some stuff that ideal you'd keep goats w/ cows or sheep because they eat different things - goats eat the weeds, cows eat the grass and everybodies happy

As for ducks & chickens... we have both right now which free range around our yard/house/woods. They're cute. Overall though, I don't think we'll get ducks again... unless we finally start getting eggs and like them (not that we're getting eggs from the stupid chickens atm either...)
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#17 of 20 Old 12-01-2009, 03:49 PM
 
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Horses can be kept w/ goats, just as an fyi - we used to have ponies w/ goats when I was a little kid and they all got along just fine. I've actually read some stuff that ideal you'd keep goats w/ cows or sheep because they eat different things - goats eat the weeds, cows eat the grass and everybodies happy
Yep, lots of people keep goats with horses on purpose because it helps keep them calm, like racehorses for example.

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#18 of 20 Old 12-01-2009, 06:51 PM
 
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Yep, lots of people keep goats with horses on purpose because it helps keep them calm, like racehorses for example.
Long as the goats are CAE/CL free and the horses don't use the goats as toys. Usually all is well, I'm just being honest. No sense going itno something blind and winding up hurt because of it.
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#19 of 20 Old 12-03-2009, 10:47 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Chicky2 View Post
ROFL! I was wondering if anyone would catch that.

We have a creek running thru the woods on our property. This horse, Mack, was a super good horse, old, well-mannered (a 23 year old retired English Dressage champion jumper), and super safe (*excellent* ground manners). He would have a "senior moment" once in awhile and cause quite an agricultural emergency. He'd stand there and just fall asleep and fall over. Once he got stuck under a fence (ok, twice), and the fence had to be taken apart, and his head was downhill, which isn't good for a horse. Anyway, one time he actually fell asleep by the creek bank and I guess as he fell he got his legs tangled up in all the tree roots. I called the fire department, and they called in 2 others, and the newspaper reporter (seriously, there's like one, lol) heard over his scanner that a horse was stuck in a tree, and he just HAD to come see that. They got him out, and he was fine. My farrier came to get him the next day. I just couldn't take the worry anymore. The farriers land was set up way better for this horse than ours. I miss him.

Ok, back to your regularly scheduled discussion. I believe it was about which farm animals can be kept together....


Ah, I can't wait until I get to the country!!

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#20 of 20 Old 12-17-2009, 09:47 PM
 
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I've had horses, pigs, a dog, a goat chickens and ducks all living together.

The horses will bully every one and you can't have chicks or ducklings around them because they will step on them.

The pig bossed the goat a bit but once dominance was established there were no problems. The pigs were actually fine with the chicks and never tried to eat them but the pis were Large Blacks and they're a pretty docile breed.

Ducks are incredibly messy and just want them anywhere I don't have to walk or clean.

I'd rather have animals separated, especially from the horses just because it gets too hectic when you need to go in with them

and
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