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Thread: Mini farm

  1. #1
    Applique Angel

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    Default Mini farm

    I need some info from you. We are about to put our house on the market and buy something else. I think we are the only “empty-nesters” that are buying a bigger house with more land!

    The property that we are about to put an offer on is 25 acres, 6 bedrooms, 4 full and 2 half baths, salt water pool, a huge pool house with full bath and kitchen. Large barn, pole barn for hay, two fully stocked lakes. The house was built in 94. While it is huge it definitely needs a lot of cosmetic updates.

    My question regards the “farm” aspect. I know what to do with the variety of fruit trees and vines. I have done a bunch of reading on chickens (current owners have close to a hundred chickens and said they would leave me some). They will be taking all the cattle with them and there is a huge herd of goats. They said they would sell me some goats if I was interested. There are also turkey, guinea, quail, ducks.

    So, what do you do with goats? I should have asked what kind they were. The did seem small to me so maybe a dwarf or pigmy type?? I know that they eat a lot of grass but do they need some sort of feed pellets or grain? When they grow up then what? Do you eat the goats? Or breed and sell them? I suppose it all depends on what kind they are. I am seriously thinking of buying 5-10 goats but I would like to get an idea of what I could expect. I know somebody here has goats (toggpine I think?)

    I’m also interested in raising meat rabbits. The reading I have done seems pretty straight forward and simple. If anyone has any experience with that I would love some info.

    Please give me any hints, tips, suggestions or Things to absolutely not do.

    I will have to buy a tractor.

    The bulk of work will fall on my shoulders. So I do not want to start out to big in the beginning and get overwhelmed. That would not be fair to me, my family or the animals.

    I am so excited and terrified about this new chapter in my life.

    Let me know your thoughts!

    P.S. If the thought of eating goats, rabbits, chicken, ducks, deer or pig is upsetting to you I truly am sorry.
    Melissa

    I really hate it when the voices in my head argue among themselves as though I wasn't even in the room.

    I tried to be normal once......worst two minutes of my life.

  2. #2
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    My sister used to have a small herd of African pygmy goats, mostly to keep her pasture clear of weeds and briars. The grass grew in nicely because the goats ate the other stuff. I know she fed her horse some grain each day, but can't remember if the goats got feed as well as forage, probably did. When she got too many goats, there were usually some people that would come by and ask if she would sell one or two of the younger small ones for a goat roast. Other times she sold them off to people that wanted to start or add to their own herd. She had a couple turkeys, guinea fowl, peacocks that all ran loose on her property, and some chickens in a pen. Once in a while she would get a calf or a young pig and raise them to butcher for her family. All of that on 4 acres.
    K is for Karen .....................Cremation - My last hope for a smokin' hot body.

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  3. #3
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    Wow, that is definitely moving bigger. I don't know how old you are or your physical shape but this sounds like a big venture. It would be wonderful if you have kids or grandkids close by to visit or help. The house and acreage sound wonderful.

    I will play the devil's advocate. Have you ever stayed or worked a farm before? I know from many of my relatives who do have farms, it's a lot of work, and if you have livestock, it's a 24/7 job, not a hobby. Will you have back-up help or hire when you may need to get away? You mentioned the bulk of the work will fall on you. Is your DH not as much of a willing participant?

    I would start small with livestock, some chickens at first. They will produce eggs, so you can only use so many unless you plan on selling some. I would add other animals as you get comfortable and have more time, as you do say that you are planning some renovations. Whether you hire for this or do yourself, you will still be busy with this.

    Good luck in your decision.

    Enjoy life and do what makes you happy. Everything else will follow.

    Every day I try to do one thing that challenges my comfort zone.

  4. #4
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    That's a big change, and I'm no help with the farm aspect. I wish you well on your big adventure.
    Katrina


    “Nothing can dim the light which shines from within.”
    ― Maya Angelou

  5. #5
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    My experience with goats come from a neighbor and my SIL. The neighbor's goats jumped up on the hood of my new car and left hoof dents all over it. Can we say pissed? They also got into the fruit trees and girdled them so bad the trees all died.

    My SIL spends a lot of time with her goats. They have to have their hoofs constantly cut, shots, she won't let them raise their own babies so she always has a playpen full in the mudroom in the spring. Of course, a lot of that is because she is crazy.

    I lived on 400 acres with my first husband. Around the house we had chickens, which kept the bugs down and provided eggs, rabbits who lived in the bottom of the pigeon cage which was huge. Turkeys which liked to jump on the hood of the pick up to sleep in the sun. They were the dumbest things and yes they actually do drown in the rain.

    Do yourself a favor and don't get anything that has to be milked before the sun comes up, especially if the winters are cold. It's not a pleasant experience.
    ATTITUDE IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN AN ORDEAL AND AN ADVENTURE

  6. #6
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    Wow! I have absolutely no advice but I am in awe of your wanting to tackle this. You are right. It's exciting and terrifying and you are gonna have your hands full for a long time. I wish you all the luck in the world. (As for me, I would just turn that barn into a giant sewing studio and have lots of dogs running around. I would be in heaven.)

  7. #7
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    I had a mini farm in my 40's and 50's. I knew nothing when I started and most everything I did myself. Granted I had mainly sheep and angora rabbits and my specialty was the fiber as I was a spinner and weaver. I did have one angora goat at one time but didn't like it because it was a major escape artist, I called her Liquidwoman. I had some chickens when I was in Canada and they were easy. I loved those times of my life and would never regret it. Here's a few things I found helpful.

    Get a good book as a reference guide. I had quite a few but there was one I used all the time. It covered all the farm animals with tons of other info. It's older, no frills but I found the info to work very well and it had good graphics. (came in handy at lambing time). Unfortunately I can't find it so it may have gotten lost over my many moves but I'll try to do a search on Google and see if I can find it.

    Join the State organization for goats (sheep or whatever you have). They have many seminars and helpful information. The sheep organization where I was did a program one year, choosing 4 people who were new to sheep farming and taught them many of the various vetting techniques that are used on the farm. I was one of the people and it included 4 on farm visits where I was taught. Cost me nothing other then I agreed to teach a group on my farm with a hands on experience. I learned tons which was a cost savings. In later years I did give some courses in it.

    The first year I selected 5 adult females and 1 male as a starter flock. My feeling was they had the experience of lambing and I did not, so at least they knew what they were doing for the most part. Granted not everyone gets rid of their best sheep so I figured I might have to cull about two after lambing season for problem lambers. That proved correct but the three good ones taught me a lot that first year. My first priority was to breed for easy lambers because that made my life easier :-) Once that was established I bred for twins or triplets per ewe. Yes, you had to harden your heart those first couple of years.

    A friend of mine raised goats and the procedures were pretty much the same. I would have been just as comfortable raising goats but that was not my market. Grain was fed mainly during pregnancy and while the babies were young until weaning time. The nice part about giving grain even during the year was it made the animals more manageable. You need to bring them in? Go out with a bucket of grain, they'll follow you anywhere. In summer just enough to be able to jiggle that bucket and then give them a few pieces.

    Her market was cheese, milk and she also had a Greek market for the babies she wasn't going to keep. There was a Greek holiday in the Spring around our Easter time where they would buy baby lambs for butchering for the holiday meal. It was a specialty item for them and the market price was very good. I believe there are other cultures that use goat meat but I forget now what they were.

    Your more intense times of year are of course during lambing through weaning. But also you worm them at least twice a year with two different types of wormers. Once in the fall before breeding and once just before lambing. One type required a shot instead of a paste. You would do well to learn how to give your own shots and type of shots. You also need to learn how to trim hooves. While you can have a vet do castrations it's best if you learn and there are two ways to do that. I chose using a burduzzo (sp?) instead of the elastic bands which were easier to do. I found it cleaner, less chance of fly strike and overall it was actually less painful (after the initial shock), afterward they just jumped up and ran off.

    You need to decide early if you are a farmer or a pet sanctuary. It will make a huge difference in your vet bills. Early on I had a vet come to the farm regarding a ewe who was having rear back problems. She needed to be put down. I asked how much and he said $250. I replied it would be easier to send her to the butcher. He said oh, your a farmer? I said yes and he did it for $25.

    All in all, I think 10 per type would have been hard the first year or two. Remember if you breed them then you have 20 to 30 animals to take care of per type of farm animal that first year with the babies and they are also labor intensive. That's a lot :-) I really did find 5 manageable and fun. In the later years I dropped back to 5 because it does become hard on your back over time. At the height I had 25 adults and then what they lambed. Far too much and it was no longer enjoyable.

    Hope this helps. I'll look for that book in the meantime.

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  8. #8
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    Found it. Raising Sheep the Modern Way by Paula Simmons. (Obviously no longer "modern" but tried and true and very practical.

    https://www.google.com/search?client....0.E5GkCaj5Coo

    This one would also probably be a good starter: https://www.google.com/search?client...70532115668178
    Last edited by Carlie Wolf; March 4th, 2019 at 01:56 PM.

    Women are Angels.
    When someone
    break's our wings
    we will continue to
    fly...usually on a
    broomstick.
    We're flexible like that.
    - embroitique

  9. #9
    The Guild President

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    Your PS tickled me. yes, but life is life. good luck with your "new life". you will have lots to keep you busy!

  10. #10
    Missouri Star

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    Default Re: Mini farm

    Sounds exciting to say the least with so much opportunity. One piece of advice, take it one element at a time. You want to raise rabbits then start there while you are trying to settle in and understand the maintenance of such a large piece of property and home. Being overwhelmed is what you "don't" want.
    Enjoy and be happy!
    “Of all the paths you take in life, make sure a few of them are dirt.” ― John Muir
    “We can be many things in this life, choose to be kind!” ― author unknown

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