Animals to keep pasture grass down - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 13 Old 06-27-2013, 06:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have about 3-4 acres of pasture and on it is a pond and barn.  I really want to keep the grass down and keep it neat.  It'd also be great to make some money with the land.  Anyone have any experience with animals that would be helpful and that I could manage.  I work at school so I am off summers, but work full time the rest of the day.  I need something reasonably manageable.  I would love to have some pretty sheep but we are surrounded by woods and I think we would have far too many predators. 

 

Any ideas or stories of success would be great!!!


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#2 of 13 Old 06-29-2013, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Oops, meant I work the rest of the year not day. I'm off summers but work during school months.

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#3 of 13 Old 06-29-2013, 03:52 PM
 
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Goats are the easiest, and first thing that came to mind but they ARE surprisingly picky. They won't eat "everything" in sight, so if you're looking for a true lawn mower I'd get a cow, or a sheep. I think a SINGLE Jersey cow could happily live on that much land and with the size you wouldn't have to worry about predators too too much (although we have Coyote, Fox etc and no problem with our goats..) maybe a pair of goats + a cow? You could have nice raw milk too! 


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#4 of 13 Old 07-09-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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If you don't have time for daily milking, I'd say beef cattle might be the best bet. I'm pretty sure fencing off 3-4 acres with goat-proof fencing would be way out of just about anybody's budget. Cattle fencing is much cheaper (but 3-4 acres of it is still going to be many hundreds of dollars). It does depend on what sort of plants you've got growing in the pasture- you'd want to be sure it's good enough to keep cattle (or whatever animal you decide on) thriving on.

 

We have sheep, too and they do keep the grass mowed totally down in the areas we put them. We put them away in a barn every night so haven't lost one yet to predators (we're also right next to a forest full of predators). The sheep are WAY easy to care for, but the require much better fencing than cows ( =more expensive), but not as extreme fencing as goats. We raise Katahdins which are hair sheep so I don't have to bother shearing them every year.

 

If you raised beef cattle you could sell the babies, or sell the meat depending on your state's laws, or just enjoy your own amazing grass fed beef for yourself. :)

 

Don't forget you'll have to feed whatever animal you decide on hay all winter or whenever your grasses die down.


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#5 of 13 Old 07-10-2013, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have thought about cows. I'm not sure I would want a cow for milk since I'm trying to cut down on our use of dairy. I have thought about beef cattle. Currently our neighbor uses our field in the winter in return for beef. He bush hogs it in the summer but it grows quickly. Putting sheep on it has been something I always thought would be really nice to have. Zjande - what exactly so u do with your sheep? Do u shear them urself? We have a barn that I could put the sheep in at night with a little work. Is there decent monetary compensation for having sheep?

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#6 of 13 Old 07-16-2013, 04:28 AM
 
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I have two goats, and they can be a bit of a pain at times but they love grass! We have certain plants we don't want them getting into because they will try to eat your veggies, and pretty much anything you don't want them to. so what we do, is put a stake in the ground it put them on long leashes and attach them to it so they can't get into our veggie garden. Oh yeah that is another thing about goats. Their manure is amazing fertilizer. we did one garden with it and one without and the one that we used the manure on is thriving like you wouldn't believe. they can be a bit of a handful sometimes and can be a lot of work, and you would have to get at least two because one would be too lonely and blat day and night.

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#7 of 13 Old 08-01-2013, 10:57 AM
 
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I would vote for a meat goat breed. We raise Boers and don't milk them. We let the kids nurse and self-wean, then the doe dries up.
 


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#8 of 13 Old 08-03-2013, 05:57 PM
 
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Originally Posted by momma,mia View Post

I have thought about cows. I'm not sure I would want a cow for milk since I'm trying to cut down on our use of dairy. I have thought about beef cattle. Currently our neighbor uses our field in the winter in return for beef. He bush hogs it in the summer but it grows quickly. Putting sheep on it has been something I always thought would be really nice to have. Zjande - what exactly so u do with your sheep? Do u shear them urself? We have a barn that I could put the sheep in at night with a little work. Is there decent monetary compensation for having sheep?

 

Oops, I apologize for the late reply. Our sheep are a breed called Katahdins. The don't grow wool which is great for us because we would rather not have to shear them! I'm not a knitter and have no desire for wool. Katahdins are a meat breed. We just breed them and eat them. Honestly, I believe the potential for monetary compensation depends a lot on your area, and the year. Folks I know around here who raise registered Katahdins make a living off of them, but they would tell you they are far from rich. ;) They mainly sell them for meat, and they milk them and sell their dairy products (sheep cheese, lotions, and soap). Another woman in our area raises registered St. Croix. She told me that its unpredictable- one year she sells out all her lambs at $400 a piece, the next year she has to give them away because no one wants them (she gave us 8 of them- we ate them yummy.gif) . You could look into selling wool on Etsy? And research how lamb & sheep and their products sell in your area... Perhaps contact sheep raisers you find on Craigslist?

 

We put our sheep away each night, and tie them out on a stake (like youngmom89 described with her goats) most days. Never on rainy days though as they despise rain. ;)

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#9 of 13 Old 08-11-2013, 12:11 PM
 
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Whatever animal you decide on, my favourite type of fencing is electric.  Fairly inexpensive, easy to move around and it works if set up properly.  We don't have problems with our goats escaping.  I'd also consider combining at least two types of animals if you want shorter grass.  For example, goats like to browse and eat the taller plants, sheep like to graze and eat the shorter grasses.  Also, geese are amazing grass eaters and easily contained with electric fencing.  I wouldn't let them into your pond, though.

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#10 of 13 Old 08-15-2013, 11:19 AM
 
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No.  there is probably not very much money to be made in sheep by the time you figure in your fencing cost.  If you run a hot wire around it and keep a tame cow with a calf that would probably be both the easiest and most economical.  If I were you I would see if that same neighbor wants to hay it.  Seems like a win win and easy especially since  you have a good relationship with them already.


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#11 of 13 Old 09-04-2013, 02:22 AM
 
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We just got geese smile.gif They are really funny, I wanted three (we have one acre) but ended up with seven, oh well.

good thing about them: You can just use these portable sheep electro fences, they are 50 m long and you can just change position as needed. Due to the electric fencing you would not have to worry too much about predators. Plus, you keep like two females one male (I have no idea what you call them in english smile.gif ) and harvest the rest and than you have meat, and not too many animals to feed through winter.
OUrs have just a little pallet house made from four pallets.

They are really funny, so I already worry about butcher day...

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#12 of 13 Old 10-06-2013, 08:03 PM - Thread Starter
 
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wow, these are good ideas.  We have barbed wire fencing which holds in the neighbors cows when he has them on my land for a short period of time.  There would still be plenty of room for me to have some livestock out there too.  I really like the idea of meat sheep and hadn't thought of that before. That's something I need to look in to.  I wonder how many of them would be the smallest amount to start with?


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#13 of 13 Old 11-18-2013, 11:09 AM
 
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I have raised sheep for years. My suggestion is start slow and low. 4 max. THat way in case one dies for some reason the remaining animals have buddies. ALso you can start by buying feeder lambs. THen send to a butcher before you put a lot of hay and grain for the winter into them. AND let the pature rest over the winter. THe next step is to kept them all year long. It does re quire a "barn" no matter if kept for summer or all year round. But it can be fairly small. ANd a few chickens can be a bonus-- free range eggs are a rich orange yellow and much healthier for you . Fencing-- look at PRemier 1 for electric netting-- this is good for both chickens and goats/sheep. IT keeps predators out and sheep in a small area. Just move it every few days when the grass is eaten down.

Just as a reminder these animals are expensive to feed; the grain prices are rising, so stay small until you can gage the cost in your area. It might seem expensive for the price of a feeder lamb but remember who ever had that lamb also needs to cover the feed for the ram.
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