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#131764 - 05/01/08 05:28 PM Small farm animals for small homes
garland Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 170
Loc: harrisburg, pa
So my wife and I have been discussing the current decline of the economy; the 45%+ increase in food/fuel/etc.

As a result, we decided to move forward with some plans to help increase our self-sufficiency. Money's been tight but we've found a way to basically build a roost and get 9 chickens (hens). The hens have been easy to deal with and are actually relatively fun to work with. The next step is actually to get a small goat for milk and a whether (gilded companion goat). We're on about a half acre of land, so there's not a great deal to work with, but we're doing the best we can.

I'm wondering who else has taken steps like this and if they can make any recommendations. Specifically what next to approach from the standpoint of food. Our next plan of action is basically like this:

1) A gated fence enclosing the property.
2) Goats w/ enclosure.
3) Veggie garden.

Beyond that, I'm thinking of getting a 3000 watt generator wired up to my well pump so that I can ensure fresh water even in an emergency situation. Perhaps a fuel storage system too, though I have my concerns regarding the safety of that.

Home security is also a concern - we've befriended SOME of our neighbors, but one or two are just plain weird and very anti-social. It's a pretty small community but I don't feel one should take something like that for granted, especially if things continue at their current pace.

So yeah, if anyone has any suggestions I'm all ears.
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#131767 - 05/01/08 05:42 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
garland Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 170
Loc: harrisburg, pa
Meh, somehow this went into the wrong forum. Can a mod put this under the long term survival forum?
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#131770 - 05/01/08 05:52 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
IIRC, you are probably relatively close to the Amish/Mennonite communities of Southern PA. Find a way to pick their brains. Granted, some are more modern than others, but they have good lifestyle skills that translate very nicely into what you are trying to do.

One of the previous posts mentioned how much work the "garden for a family" was. Research that thread. Also, look into container gardening and other options.

I would look into non-conforming (non-show) dwarf/pygmy goats. I was acquainted with a guy in NJ that had some Nigerian Dwarf goats. They required surprising little room, were hardy and healthy as all get out, and their feeding needs are easy. I would possibly breed them a little. The meat is pretty good. I like "cabrito", as our Spanish-speaking friends call it. Also, milk, cheese, yogurt.

Look at your house heating requirements. How will you handle the power outage from a blizzard? Same from the occassional tropical storm that manages to drift into the area. The generator is for more than water pumping.

All-in-all you are on the right track.
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#131775 - 05/01/08 06:01 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: MoBOB]
garland Offline
Member

Registered: 12/22/06
Posts: 170
Loc: harrisburg, pa
Actually, we're going with nigerian dwarves smile We wanted something relatively hassle-free, small, and well tempered. We don't particularly care about the 'show' aspect of it.

The heating thing is definitely a concern. My house is very efficient (it's brand new and was one of the requirements I had when purchasing one) but aside from a kerosene heater backup heat is not exactly in place ATM. It's something I'll definitely consider thinking about.

Overall my wife has done the bulk of the research and has been doing a good job with making sure she fully understands the constraints and time involved with making something like this work. I just make sure the bills get paid smile

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#131782 - 05/01/08 07:31 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
Nishnabotna Offline
Icon of Sin
Addict

Registered: 12/31/07
Posts: 512
Loc: Nebraska
You might want to think about a rooster for them hens. They wear out faster than you think, and a rooster could make the flock self-perpetuating. Also another source of meat. Might have to get a larger hen house though.
www.backyardchickens.com
If you're a little worried about your neighbors, but not a lot, consider getting a watch animal. Traditional dog, or geese also make good watch animals. They are territorial and loud.
If you're really worried about you neighbors, kill them before they kill you.
Have you made preperations to keep your animals fed in hard times?

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#131793 - 05/01/08 08:26 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
raydarkhorse Offline
Addict

Registered: 01/27/07
Posts: 510
Loc: on the road 10-11 months out o...
check out some alternative energy sources, some can be fairly cheap and can help lessen energy costs before an emergency occurs.
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#131802 - 05/01/08 10:06 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
LED Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/01/05
Posts: 1474
Can't go wrong with a goat or two. They're hearty, will graze on just about anything, produce milk, yogurt, cheese, meat, etc. And you could use their droppings as fuel if needed.

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#131809 - 05/01/08 11:40 PM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
Archaic_agate Offline
Stranger

Registered: 04/23/08
Posts: 4
I imagine that geese would go better with goats and chickens than a dog at first. And geese can be used for meat as well if the situation calls for it. grin
A small farm is a very good idea.


Edited by Archaic_agate (05/01/08 11:41 PM)

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#131816 - 05/02/08 12:33 AM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: garland]
wildman800 Offline
Carpal Tunnel

Registered: 11/09/06
Posts: 2818
Loc: La-USA
Besides what others have offered, which I agree with, Geese will eat some garden plants but not others.

With the right plants fenced in, geese can be released into that garden each day and they will keep that garden weed free without harming those plants.
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#131838 - 05/02/08 04:40 AM Re: Small farm animals for small homes [Re: wildman800]
MoBOB Offline
Veteran

Registered: 09/17/07
Posts: 1219
Loc: here
The geese are also "guard dogs".
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"Its not a matter of being ready as it is being prepared" -- B. E. J. Taylor

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