Mothering Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
my dh is insisting that we need a tractor for our 5 acres we are moving to in 2 weeks (wow!!). I insist that we don't. i read through the tractor thread and while i see that it certainly can be super useful, i *personally* would love to do without owning one.<br><br>
does anyone manage their vegetation with sheep or goats? we have a field or 2, not much, that will need mowing. eventually it will be either cultivated in rows for veg. or orchard, and then there are random bush areas that will need some taming, but otherwise- woods and i'll be doing lots of landscaping.<br><br>
i was thinking a sheep or two... anyone doing this? easy? hard?<br><br>
(i realize animals can't snowplow or dig post holes, but i'm taking this one task at a time! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol"> )
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
206 Posts
Well, we're trying it for now - I'll let you know how it goes! <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,848 Posts
It depends on what kind of vegetation you want managed. If you want to sustain woods long term, for example, you don't want goats in it too often because they tend to do short work of saplings so you won't get any new tree growth. However, they're great for clearing brush. If you only need such done a couple of times a year, you may want to consider renting a goat herd rather than maintaining your own animals.<br><br>
Sheep (someone correct me if I'm wrong) are grazers rather than browsers and will neatly keep grass short because they cut rather than tear at the vegetation and focus on grass. Or was that horses?<br><br>
And with the right equipment a horse CAN help pull out tree stumps and clear snow.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
i think we'll definitely rent to start! i have seen folks at fairs here with information about that...<br><br>
so, WoadAbode... what do you have? what are you trying to do? how's it going so far?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
82 Posts
I'm still not convinced we "need" a tractor but it sure would be nice...<br><br>
We are planning to get a couple of Highland cattle at some point soon, to help keep the brush down.<br><br>
I don't feel draft horses to plow our driveway and pull out stumps etc is a reasonable solution *for us.* Draft horses eat a lot more than a tractor, LOL! And we are not knowledgeable about horses. We would have to buy tons of hay as things green up so late up here on the mountain (our neighbors groan about the cost of their horses compared to even 5 miles away in the valley).<br><br>
However I was walking near town the other day and saw a beautiful sight - a guy was doing horse-drawn logging, pulling logs out of the woods with a draft horse. It was really, really amazing - and so peaceful and quiet.<br><br>
Congratulations on your 5 acres. For that amount of land - I agree you could definitely get away with a riding mower for some parts (around the house) and manage the rest with animals. Now, if you come up with a great solution for the snowplowing, PLEASE let me know! We have a looong driveway (I should measure how long, I think I'd say 75-100 ft) and snow blows over it daily even when it doesn't snow because it's on a slope (even with bushes for snowbreaks).
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,271 Posts
One or two is just as much work as a dozen. They get lonely.... really- they do. Also you might want to consider mixing your animals- that is how you will get effective control of your vegetation. Please make sure that you have a diverse seeding in place before you purchase your livestock as they need different nutrients. But it is a great idea and with a little work- it will work. The other thing you can consider is hiring out the windrowning and baling- that is if someone would do just 5 ac!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
We have shetland sheep which are a a small hardy heritage breed and they are definitely browsers. We are creating pasture from brush with them. Our 5 acres was selectivley logged just before we bought it but in our climate everything grows very quickly. The sheep eat all the salmon berries, blackberries and groundcover and will strip small trees of bark. We just cut those ones down for them. After the leaves are cleared from berries we go in and cut down the stems and trunks. We have lovely mature bigleaf maple and cedar in the pasture which the sheep love to sleep under. After they clear we scatter pasture grass mix and move them to another area. We had a horrible winter last year and our last year pasture turned to mud but is growing again as we have the sheep in a new brushy field. We dig or kick up little roots by hand and put in a big pile and have a bonfire every once in a while.<br><br>
Our larger breed sheep brouse but probably prefer to graze.<br><br>
It is slow work but entirely doable. You can use temporary fencing to clear in small areas that way too.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
535 Posts
It is probably doable, but will involve a lot of fencing or good portable electric fencing and moving them daily to manage everything. And you can't run sheep or goats or cattle in a young (or older) orchard unless you fence off every tree and bush you want because they will eat every leaf off they can reach and kill it. We have a tractor for fence posts, plowing, mowing the unfenced areas, brush hogging, making hay, etc.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,562 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
this is all really great information. i truly would love to manage with animals, but being that we are just moving up next week, we're not ready! i think i have a lot of homework to do on the subject; plus, we do travel for weekends and out west to see family so we need to establish a relationship with someone who can be a trusted caretaker.<br><br>
i've got dh on board with converting whatever machine we might get to veggie oil- so that makes me feel better.<br><br>
anyone got one of those? veggie oil running tractors?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
365 Posts
We just bought a 4-acre hayfield (along with some woods), and plan to move there soon, but are not ready to manage it with animals - yet. We are very interested in coming up with systems that rely on animals instead of fossil fuels, though, so we hope to avoid having a tractor.<br><br>
It seems that MANY neighbors there have tractor equipment, and our property is going to be cut and baled by a neighbor this week. He is trading the labor for the hay. Right now, we don't need the hay, so the deal is great for us. I think many folks around here will do the haying on property just for the hay. I was thinking that we could start our projects on one field, and have him continue haying the other two fields until we are ready to take them over as well.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,161 Posts
I agree with pp. THere are usually lots of tractors owned by others that can help with the projects you can't manage. I am no spring chicken and I am only just over 5 feet and we fence on glacial tillw ith bog chunks of rock and big roots and we build a pretty tight fence if I do say so myself. mu mattock is another extremely useful too. I built my pond by hand with one.<br><br>
But lets face it, the boys love their toys and my dp (not a boy) would love a tractor as well. DD and I vote for a Norwegian Fjord Horse and harness.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top