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eliminating bills - homesteading

Discussion in 'Frugal Living - Making and Saving Money' started by abigalerose, Sep 21, 2016.

  1. Sep 21, 2016
    abigalerose

    abigalerose Power Conserver

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    Hey everyone, I'm new to this forum (and to being self sufficient), and I'm looking for some ideas/feedback.
    A little background, I'm moving to a 7 acre farm on the 30th, I raise Golden Retrievers, I have horses, I've had 1 big and successful garden, I have a flock of chickens, and I have a seven month old jersey heifer.
    I'm trying to find ways to save money, live off the land, homested, etc. since training horses and raising dogs is my "job" I don't have a lot of income. I also truly enjoy farming and homesteading.
    I have a long term plan of having solar panels, honey bees, a green house, etc. but so far my short term/rough plan is to 1. Feed my dogs a raw diet. I've done quiet a bit of research so far and I'm starting to formulate a plan, they need 80% meat (mostly red) 10% bone, and 10% organs (half of that needs to be liver). I plan on going deer hunting, and my dad does as well, and all the deer meat, bone (except supporting bones) and organs will go to the dogs. This will be a large supplier of red meat. One day I'd like to raise some beef calves but this could be a while from now. I can raise Cornish X chickens and rabbits. And then if I need to I can go to local super markets/butcher shops/etc.
    I also want to feed myself (mostly) from my farm. I do have a jersey calf but it's gonna be a while before I get any milk from her so I'm thinking after I move I might invest in a couple Nigerian Dwarf Goats. I'm also getting some more chickens (for free!), and I'll have another big garden next year. I could possibly raise a pig or two as well (for myself and/or the dogs).
    Now here are some of my thoughts/questions:
    I'm thinking I can save all my table scraps (as well as my cousins/roommates) to feed to the chickens, I'll also let them free range. And maybe I'm wrong but I thought I read somewhere that you can give them fresh milk? And in a pinch I can cook their extra eggs for them.
    If I have enough scraps/milk that could also go to a pig too, correct?
    Can goats eat scraps? Also if I put a bag on my mower and save my grass shavings can I feed that to goats?
    And could I hook my deep freezers (because I'm going to need a few) up to a solar panel to cut down on my electric bill?
    Please feel free to share any thoughts/opinions/advice.
    Thanks for reading!
     
    sumi and baymule like this.
  2. Sep 21, 2016
    baymule

    baymule Sustainability Master

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    No scraps for the goats. And when you bag cut grass, is gets hot and starts to decompose. I've tried it with my horses and they turned up their noses at it. Probably a good thing they didn't eat it. Your grass clippings would better serve as a lawn mulch, letting them stay on the lawn. It would protect the roots in the heat of the summer, and don't scalp the lawn, cut it tall. If you have a good layer of mulch on the lawn, then bag a mowing and give to your chickens in the coop. They will enjoy the clippings and will reduce them to compost. I always build my chicken coops with a dirt floor so I can toss in bags of leaves, garden trimmings and practically anything vegetation. What they don't eat, they scratch to bits and poop on it. In a few months it makes a lovely compost.

    Excess milk can be fed to the chickens and pigs. Milk had lysine in it which is an essential nutrient for pigs. Eggs also have lysine in them and you can boil them and give to the pigs, shell and all. You might look for a grazing type pig that can forage. You also might want to stay with a small breed so you don't wing up with a 1,200 pound army tank on pig feet. LOL

    http://sugarmtnfarm.com/

    Raw meat can carry parasites as I am sure you well know, so freeze it first, which will help kill the parasites. I canned bony chicken parts and necks in quart jars for my dogs when we slaughtered chickens last month. They like the feet too!

    You might have to get an off farm job. You will have to have money and might not generate enough from your farm. Go to farmer's markets and see what other people are doing. We feed our chickens a non GMO feed which is twice the price of regular feed and have people clamoring for the eggs. Look around your area and see what people are willing to pay for and how much. If there are signs posted at driveways reading YARD EGGS FOR $2.00, then you would have a tough time selling eggs for $4.00.

    Maybe you can develop a market for your products. We found out that shelled purple hull peas sell for $35 to $60 a bushel in Tyler, Texas close to where we live. Guess what we will be planting next spring?

    Find your niche and concentrate on it. Talk to people and tell them what you are doing. We just moved to our 8 acres 1 1/2 years ago. We bought 4 bred ewes and are picking up 3 lambs from slaughter Friday. We have 2 1/2 of them sold, keeping half a lamb for ourselves. I keep a list of people in my phone of people interested in lamb for the next batch. I sold them for $6 a pound, hanging weight, plus cut and wrap ($85).

    Work into your farm, find your customers and meet their needs. If you have to wait tables, work in a convenience store or whatever a few days/nights a week to help support yourself, then so be it. You will be happy because you are doing what you love on your farm.

    Welcome to the forum. Be sure to check out www.theeasygarden.com and www.backyardchickens.com and www.backyardherds.com links are to the right of this page. Lots of friendly folks that will be delighted to help you on your way to happiness on your farm.
     
    sumi likes this.
  3. Sep 21, 2016
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Welcome! Good advice from Baymule! We started raising meat birds (Cornish x) last year but found the market was saturated here so we are currently only raising them for ourselves. Everyone and their brother sells eggs around here also, but there's enough demand I can sell them for $3.50/dozen no problem.

    We also raise goats for milk and pigs for meat. For ourselves currently.

    Agree you should not feed goats table scraps. They need good quality hay, minerals and I feed grain, although arguably unnecessary. They are not cheap and you can't really get by with less than what they need.

    My pigs love milk and eggs. We feed them table scraps but also grain and produce from the garden.

    My husband works off the farm but also makes money butchering chickens for people. My plan, as I am a stay at home mom, is to make a little extra money selling goat milk soaps and lotions.

    Solar is a good idea. I don't know much about it but it is one of our goals also.
     
  4. Sep 21, 2016
    abigalerose

    abigalerose Power Conserver

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    Thanks for all the advice! I wasn't sure on the goats as I've only had one before and it was a long time ago (basically my grandpa cared for it), so I thought it best to just ask. I just want one or two Nigerian dwarf goats, so I'm sure the feed bill won't be astronomical. And yep, my coops got a dirt floor! I already throw corn in there but once I move I'll be doing more plus free ranging them on nice days. As for pigs I'm looking into American Guinea Hogs, I don't know a lot about pig breeds but they seem like a good one for me. Glad to hear I was right about the milk, becuase I know I'll have excess and I'd rather use it on the farm then try to sell it. Although I do plan on making goat milk soap at some point. If not to sell then at least for myself. I know about freezing the raw meat, I've been reading a lot about that, so far I love the idea. Selling eggs doesn't do me much good, unfortunately, it's so rural around here I usually end up giving them away to friends and family and still have some left over.
    I think next year I'm gonna focus on a speciality item in my garden, so half my garden will be variety for me and half will be something I can sell. I'm thinking peppers but I'll have to see what the market is for them here. I love growing them though! I was also wondering, becuase I do really like sheep, do you think I could put any to good use on my homestead?
    Also when you have a homestead and are selling some vegitables, soap, etc. how does taxes work? Lol. I know a lot of farmers will just evade them but that sounds kinda scary.
    Please forgive my naive questions, im only 19 and I'm pretty new at all this.
    On the plus side my parents own the farm (it was left to them and they don't like farming) and they're letting me live there for free, they're also willing to help with bills while I get started, and/or I do know where I can get a job if need be.
    Oh, and how difficult is it to put up barbed wire fence?
     
  5. Sep 21, 2016
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    I don't know much about sheep so I won't comment on them. They don't fit in our homesteading adventure. If you get goats you need to get 2 or more. They are herd animals and will be miserable and some even die when alone. Nigerian Dwarf goats do not give much milk. But it is delicious! It is also high in butterfat so it's great for cheese and putting it in coffee. A bit rich for drinking in my opinion.

    Barbed wire isn't good for goats. You need electric fence or regular fencing. If you go to backyardherds.com you will find everything you need to know!

    I don't know about taxes, but I know the general rule is the government wants you to report everything! I don't currently sell anything from my farm so I'll also leave that to someone else.
     
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  6. Sep 21, 2016
    abigalerose

    abigalerose Power Conserver

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    Oops, I should've clarified! 1 or 2 females. Of course I'll have a male becuase no male = no babies = no milk lol. So total of 2 or 3 goats, really.
    And the barbed wire is for a cow lol I've already got good secure fencing I can use for goats :p
    lol yeah I know that's the general rule too! And I know a lot of people who only take cash and don't report it But I didn't know if paying taxes is going to take up all of my profit.
     
  7. Sep 21, 2016
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Ah sorry I forgot you said you had a cow! Will you let your goats stay together all the time? Some do, but it's generally recommended to keep the buck away from your does except when you want to breed. So, that means another goat (buck or a neutered male, called a wether) to be his buddy. So he's not lonely! They just add up on you! Haha

    OK so for pigs, I have standard size pigs and I love them. But if I wasn't married or if my husband wasn't around to help me with the "big" things like relocating them, etc, I would do guinea hogs. They're smaller and I've heard they're quite friendly. There is a lot of fat on them, but you can use the lard in your goat milk soap! Yes! They're way easier to manage than these giant things I have! Plus they eat grass and you don't need to feed them as much.
     
  8. Sep 21, 2016
    NH Homesteader

    NH Homesteader Super Self-Sufficient

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    Sorry my phone decided to post that about a million times. Yay technology.
     
    Last edited: Sep 21, 2016
  9. Sep 22, 2016
    abigalerose

    abigalerose Power Conserver

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    Why exactly is it recommended to keep them separated?
    I might be better off getting another milk cow until mine is old enough! All these goats sure are adding up fast and I haven't even got any yet lol.

    I love the big pigs, but as a short, wimpy, single, 19 year old girl, I wouldn't be able to handle them on my own! I'm definitely thinking the guinea hogs are they way to go, from what I've read so far it looks like I could probably fence off a section of woods/partially wooded area, give them some scraps and milk, and I'd have a pretty darn small feed bill. A couple of those, a couple calves, and a couple deer every year would easily keep all my dogs fed! Although I don't know how much a guinea hog costs. And the fact that they're friendly will make them hard to butcher! Lol.

    I'm trying to get to where I budget myself $20,000 a year to live off of, weather it comes from dogs, horse training, a job, or what have you, I'd like to stay under that. Hopefully I'm not even spending that much a year. Life would be a lot easier if I didn't like animals so much :D
    But I had all these big expensive farm plans, I wanted to have 100 acres and fancy horses, and a herd of beef cattle and a beard of bucking bulls, and 8 top quality breeding dogs and so on. But all this is stressing me out, so I've decided to simplify my life. I've always wanted to homestead but I've been getting carried away lately. What really makes me happy, is riding my horse, having puppies, and enjoying nature, so I'm thinking I'd be happy with 10 acres, a tiny house, 2 horses, a good milk cow, and 2 or 3 dogs (plus whatever I need to provide feed for my dogs, and my garden and chickens). And I'm just trying to find ways to simplify things and homestead, without severely stressing myself (I get stressed easily), and it's hard to figure everything out by myself.
    And your post only showed up once! Lol
     
  10. Sep 22, 2016
    Britesea

    Britesea Super Self-Sufficient

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    One reason you'll want to keep the buck separated from the does is that the smell of the buck will actually get into the milk-- yuck. Before you invest in a buck, look around to see if there's anyone else with a buck that you could use for breeding. In the long run it might be cheaper and easier for you.

    I've been thinking of getting into mushrooms as a cash crop. You just need some fresh-cut hardwood logs (oak seems to be a top favorite) to grow things like ****akes, oyster, lion's mane (tastes a little like lobster) and others. There's also Stropharia or garden giant that you can plant in the soil of the garden and not only harvest the fruit but they shrooms will increase the yields of all your other veggies. In 30 years of visiting Farmers' Markets in 2 states, I've only seen one guy that was selling mushrooms, and he usually sold out early.
     

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