Homesteading and Hobby Farm/Ranch

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Kiroy

Marine Biologist
<Bronze Donator>
24,378
66,018
93d 44m
So recently a major life goal was realized and wife and I now own (and live on) a 20 acre ranch. I thought i'd start a thread where I keep up with the things i'm going to be doing to move towards a more hobby/homesteading life, and hope to hear and bounce ideas/tips/tricks from others about the lifestyle. We're not aiming to go full self sufficiency or 'off grid', but we'd like to eventually be producing a decent amount of our own food, obviously starting off very slow and taking baby steps as we move forward as to not get overwhelmed while learning and putting processes into place. We're lucky that due to the nature of our business, we both have a good amount of free time to put towards our efforts.

Our plan is to first get about 6 laying hens. If that goes well we'd like to follow with 2-3 goats, with one being a milking goat. If things continue to go well we'd like to add raising two kune kune's (pig) a year and two lamb a year for slaughter. This is essentially my two year goal when it comes to livestock. Most of our land is working pasture so moving on to cows (both meat and maybe milking) isn't out of the question, but i'd like to hone our skills on gateway livestock first. We also plan on having a decent sized garden which we've always had (on a smaller scale) so have a decent start with our knowledge base there.

Long term (maybe 5 years from now), i'd love to eventually be breeding goats, lambs and/or pigs so i'm able to trade / barter with other local farmers for products we don't have the skill or inclination to make ourselves. We do not plan on turning selling any products and the only time we'd sell is if we had babies that we can't trade.

Anyone else currently doing hobby farming with livestock? We've taken in 100s of hours of youtube vids on all this shit over the past few months so we've got a good idea of how to at least get started and a rough path for building an experienced based knowledge foundation. I'll be building a chicken coup / run late next month after some family trips, so I'll post some pics on how that goes.
 

BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
8,943
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21d 11h 3m
I don't do it as a hobby, but sometimes it seems that way when I balance the books at the end of the year. What part of the country are you in? How much rainfall do you get? Around here 20 acres is barely enough grazing for one cow, not enough in a lot of places, but that can vary greatly depending on where you live.

Pigs and chickens are great. They are fairly low maintenance and will happily eat your household garbage.

Think hard about a dairy animal. How much milk do you really use? And are you prepared to have something that has to be done twice a day, 7 days a week while she's producing, regardless of holidays, vacations, etc? I grew up with milk cows and would never have one again, but if you use a LOT of milk it can be economical assuming you have the time to do it but it's a lot of work and you can't even take one day off.

Goats are cute, but they can be smelly and obnoxious. They escape from the enclosures you put them in and strike out for parts unknown or use your car (or your neighbor's car) as a climbing gym, and they like to ram the shit out of you for no reason if they are male. I have never had one, but I have friends and family that do and they have never made me wish for one personally.
 
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Kiroy

Marine Biologist
<Bronze Donator>
24,378
66,018
93d 44m
I don't do it as a hobby, but sometimes it seems that way when I balance the books at the end of the year. What part of the country are you in? How much rainfall do you get? Around here 20 acres is barely enough grazing for one cow, not enough in a lot of places, but that can vary greatly depending on where you live.
norcal, we have essentially infinite water from NID irrigation and all the undeveloped acres are pasture. in the past there's been six breeding cows in the pastures but I need to ask how much of their feed was supplemented. cows are a very long term anyways, if ever. may be too much work and effort compared to some of the other animals were going to start with
 
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ZyyzYzzy

Lock Screamfeeder Up
<Moderation Tools>
20,127
30,666
115d 13h 33m
So recently a major life goal was realized and wife and I now own (and live on) a 20 acre ranch. I thought i'd start a thread where I keep up with the things i'm going to be doing to move towards a more hobby/homesteading life, and hope to hear and bounce ideas/tips/tricks from others about the lifestyle. We're not aiming to go full self sufficiency or 'off grid', but we'd like to eventually be producing a decent amount of our own food, obviously starting off very slow and taking baby steps as we move forward as to not get overwhelmed while learning and putting processes into place. We're lucky that due to the nature of our business, we both have a good amount of free time to put towards our efforts.

Our plan is to first get about 6 laying hens. If that goes well we'd like to follow with 2-3 goats, with one being a milking goat. If things continue to go well we'd like to add raising two kune kune's (pig) a year and two lamb a year for slaughter. This is essentially my two year goal when it comes to livestock. Most of our land is working pasture so moving on to cows (both meat and maybe milking) isn't out of the question, but i'd like to hone our skills on gateway livestock first. We also plan on having a decent sized garden which we've always had (on a smaller scale) so have a decent start with our knowledge base there.

Long term (maybe 5 years from now), i'd love to eventually be breeding goats, lambs and/or pigs so i'm able to trade / barter with other local farmers for products we don't have the skill or inclination to make ourselves. We do not plan on turning selling any products and the only time we'd sell is if we had babies that we can't trade.

Anyone else currently doing hobby farming with livestock? We've taken in 100s of hours of youtube vids on all this shit over the past few months so we've got a good idea of how to at least get started and a rough path for building an experienced based knowledge foundation. I'll be building a chicken coup / run late next month after some family trips, so I'll post some pics on how that goes.
This is my goal in 20-30 years. That being said my father has about a dozen hens, a decent size coup and a fenced area (.5 acre) for said hens up in CT. They are probably have the best living conditions of any chickens in the world, and he spends very little time on them.
 
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Kiroy

Marine Biologist
<Bronze Donator>
24,378
66,018
93d 44m
This is my goal in 20-30 years. That being said my father has about a dozen hens, a decent size coup and a fenced area (.5 acre) for said hens up in CT. They are probably have the best living conditions of any chickens in the world, and he spends very little time on them.
Ya I can't wait to get it going. Gonna set up auto feeders / waterers ect.
 

moonarchia

The Scientific Shitlord
9,766
15,673
30d 18h 49m
So recently a major life goal was realized and wife and I now own (and live on) a 20 acre ranch. I thought i'd start a thread where I keep up with the things i'm going to be doing to move towards a more hobby/homesteading life, and hope to hear and bounce ideas/tips/tricks from others about the lifestyle. We're not aiming to go full self sufficiency or 'off grid', but we'd like to eventually be producing a decent amount of our own food, obviously starting off very slow and taking baby steps as we move forward as to not get overwhelmed while learning and putting processes into place. We're lucky that due to the nature of our business, we both have a good amount of free time to put towards our efforts.

Our plan is to first get about 6 laying hens. If that goes well we'd like to follow with 2-3 goats, with one being a milking goat. If things continue to go well we'd like to add raising two kune kune's (pig) a year and two lamb a year for slaughter. This is essentially my two year goal when it comes to livestock. Most of our land is working pasture so moving on to cows (both meat and maybe milking) isn't out of the question, but i'd like to hone our skills on gateway livestock first. We also plan on having a decent sized garden which we've always had (on a smaller scale) so have a decent start with our knowledge base there.

Long term (maybe 5 years from now), i'd love to eventually be breeding goats, lambs and/or pigs so i'm able to trade / barter with other local farmers for products we don't have the skill or inclination to make ourselves. We do not plan on turning selling any products and the only time we'd sell is if we had babies that we can't trade.

Anyone else currently doing hobby farming with livestock? We've taken in 100s of hours of youtube vids on all this shit over the past few months so we've got a good idea of how to at least get started and a rough path for building an experienced based knowledge foundation. I'll be building a chicken coup / run late next month after some family trips, so I'll post some pics on how that goes.
Find a refugee from a shithole country if you want tips on goatherding (and husbandry).

Seriously, though, your pal Screamfeeder Screamfeeder might be the best resource on the board, assuming he wasn't full of shit about the ranch. Even if his ranch isn't geared towards that, he can probably find resources by asking his brother and all that.
 
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dizzie

Triggered Happy
1,452
2,343
35d 20h 9m
Really interested in reading about how this plays out. While I'd never be able to do it here in the UK I really like the idea of being more self-sufficient lifestyle and enjoy gardening and animals. As said above goats are complete bastards, a friend had one and it used to try and ram everyone it saw.
 

Kiroy

Marine Biologist
<Bronze Donator>
24,378
66,018
93d 44m
Really interested in reading about how this plays out. While I'd never be able to do it here in the UK I really like the idea of being more self-sufficient lifestyle and enjoy gardening and animals. As said above goats are complete bastards, a friend had one and it used to try and ram everyone it saw.
from everything I've read goats are extreme pack animals and literally go crazy if they don't have another goat (or lambs/horses/cows) to hang and graze with. Could be a possibility of why that one's such a fucker. and our immediate jump into goats will be females only. Need to spend a few months chicken ranching first. All advice on this lifestyle change centers around starting slow and small, so that's the plan.
 
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Goatface

Trakanon Raider
2,813
1,063
34d 6h 22m
i help my friend with his small homestead. his land is about 80% woods, 10% weeds, briars and poison ivy and 5% water.
the land used to be well kept, but in last 30 years turned into over grown mess.

he only has 2 goats and bunch of dogs/cats

think his plan was to add more goats and a few chickens but his work/travel/etc paused that.

repairing the fences is close to a full time job due to falling trees/limbs or other things.
when he first moved in, the goats would make a break for it as soon as there was opening, but they got attacked by a dog and don't seem to up for adventure now.

goats will chew and shit on anything and everything you have.
working around them and put your shovel down, one will run over and bite it.
get off the tractor to fiddle with something, one will jump up and bite the seat.
 
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lurkingdirk

<Medals Crew>
16,120
10,722
49d 5h 52m
I think your plan is good, because you're starting small. Make sure you have a solid handle on one thing before adding another. I know people who have done similar things, but taken on too much all at once, and the farm just gets away from them because they're trying to learn about chickens, goats, and pigs all at once. Don't add more than one new element a year. Make sure you have good feed supplies. You'll do great.

And congrats on this, it's a wonderful thing to do!
 

Rime

Trakanon Raider
2,154
866
13d 9h 1m
I grow most of my own produce (have to buy fruits, as the soil around here is not great for the trees) - Green beans, cucumbers, carrots, radishes, lettuce, zucchini, and tomatoes - Canned/Pickled at the end of the season with a nice surplus to give away most years - and potatoes almost year round (inside of old tires, go figure). Just last year I picked up a couple of hens (6) and a rooster (1). They lay enough eggs that I end up giving them away once in a while, even though I had to butcher one of the hens as she decided she was going to start eating eggs (Sometimes they just do, even if their dietary requirements are being met).

Chickens tend to be nasty animals. They will eat anything and they make horrible messes, so you have to move their area often if you do not want to kill the ground. They are very good at eating whatever they come across (bugs, small snakes, mice, etc) and that helps to cut back on feeding costs during the warmer months. I have a moving fence+small coup that they get during the spring/summer/fall when it is warm enough and a more permanent structure that they go to in the winter or when a cold stretch is coming.
 

Rime

Trakanon Raider
2,154
866
13d 9h 1m
Nix the goats. Plant fruit trees. Get 6ft minimum if possible.

Cows are headaches. As is most live stock.
I grew up on a dairy farm. Cows in large numbers are a huge headache, particularly due to communicable diseases and the herd mentality. If you keep two or three, it is not as rough, but they require a considerable amount of maintenance as well. Whatever you do, if you go the cattle route, you need at least two, as they can get depressed/destructive if they are alone.
 
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BrutulTM

Good, bad, I'm the guy with the gun.
8,943
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21d 11h 3m
repairing the fences is close to a full time job due to falling trees/limbs or other things.
Tell me about it. Our place has close to 60 miles of barbed wire fence and a lot of it was built in the homesteader days 100 years ago. Between that and the half dozen corrals I could basically spend every waking hour fixing fence and never run out of things to do.
 

Bandwagon

Maps
<Moderation Tools>
8,386
23,683
I grew up with 2 goats at my house, and spent summers with my grandma, who had about 10 goats, as well as mules and horses.

Fucking love goats. I think they have more personality than just about any other animal, and it's hilarious to watch them play and run. Good practical uses makes them worthwhile, but they'll be frustrating if you're not using them to keep vegetation down or just enjoy them as pets
 

Bandwagon

Maps
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And we always had chickens. I got tired of collecting and cleaning eggs every day as chores, but the eggs are way better. I'd love to get some now, especially because i cook eggs for the dogs every morning, but my dogs are bird murderers and i know it would end terrible.