Let's talk about meat, dairy, eggs, hunting, and cooking on the homestead

Mini Horses

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I think now is a good time to assess how we are doing and where we are at. The time is coming, I think, when we won't just want to do these things, but will need to do them. Get ready while we can.
True. I have always felt a need to be as SS as I could. With my own "retirement" looming -- CV19 pushing it fast!! LOL -- it is a time that I often review my own set-up. It requires me to make decisions about my entire farm & livestock management. I say livestock because I do have them, rely on them & plan to continue. So what adjustments I would need is the consideration. Many of us are feeling the same need for a "plan". Overall, I'm not stressed.

More time at home has driven me to incorporate some of the things I have seen & learned over the years. Been obtaining much of the items I feel I may need now, 98% are in place. Hopefully, electric, gasoline & propane will remain a part of my life but, if not, I am able to function. Off-grid is not my desire right now but, I can do it -- Solar to pump my well is my only TRUE need now for that, for own personal, on farm supply.

I'm not willing to forgo dairy. :lol: Overall, I find my goats more compatible than a cow for me. Winter hay/feed supply is my main consideration -- should the buyable supply become unavailable. Thankfully, It's ok right now.


Now, I need to look up Britseas "Nixtamalization" suggestion.
 

Britesea

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The main thing we are still working on is getting a pump for the well that will work without electricity. I really wanted the Simple Pump, but it appears that won't fit in our well alongside the current electric-powered pump. Now we are looking at a dual-power pump (electric/solar). It's gonna cost a few thousand dollars, so that will probably be our big push this year.
 

Mini Horses

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Is yours a deep well? I haven't priced any -- scared. LOL But that would be my consideration for a next "large" buy.

My generator will run it -- the there's gas. It's all good right now when I can stock up on gas. IF NONE -- then it's a problem to be solved. There is a dug well at the back of this property....on anothers abandoned homesite. My hand pump could be used but, I've never tested the water for it's use. One day, I may, for general info. Couple rivers close but, there's the transport thing.
The back portion of my farm is way lower, so water table could likely support a shallow well. Never tried. But the one I mention has always had water in it. It was dug & is stone lined... The parcel was granted to a freed slave back then.
 

Britesea

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Our well is 170' deep, but they found water at 22'. I don't know why they kept going- don't know much about wells. We are not very far from the river, which would be good except we have chronic problems in hot weather with blue green algae bloom; very toxic, and the only way to remove the toxins is with activated charcoal and even that isn't a guarantee. I'm not willing to risk my liver. I'm not sure if it's even safe to water crops with, because if any of it splashes onto the crops.....
 

Mini Horses

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I like the Dexters and there are a few in my area. But prices are up there. Makes it hard to butcher when you see the $$$ signs. For me, a couple heavy meat goats will work for most part. That's my next project. I've raised them in years past -- market was good.
 

TexasLisa

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I have been looking at Dexters. (Small, like me!) In our area they are $1000 up for 1-2 year olds.
 

wyoDreamer

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Thanks for the chart @Britesea

I would love to get a Dexter. I eat too much red meat, so a smaller animal will make smaller steaks, and they are said to do well on just pasture. Plus they are dual-use: meat and milk. They are said to have a really good milk/cream ratio.
I was also looking at the Devon - which is a 3-use cattle: milk, meat, and oxen. As an oxen, they have been bred to be a calmer cattle.

A couple of weeks ago I saw an ad for Devon/Jersey cross yearlings for sale - heifers and steers. $1200 for a yearling heifer.
 

frustratedearthmother

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I haven't responded to this thread yet - but I've been thinking about it for awhile. So here goes...

We have 2.5 acres here and the use of the neighbors area which is about 4 more acres. That's still not enough for the load I have on it. Hay and supplemental feed is a necessity. The first step here would be to streamline. I'm actually in that process now - just because it needs to be done.

I'm also in the midst of a breed change in the goats. I've been trying to initiate a more hardy goat. I started with a cross of Pygmy and Nubian resulting in Kinders. Kinders are more utilitarian than either of the parent breeds. Kinders are hardier than Nubians, which have no parasite resistance what-so-ever! After that - enter the Kiko breed, well-known for parasite resistance. Crossing the Kiko and Kinders I'm seeing a much hardier animal finally. I'm in the process of phasing out the Nubians. Don't need them anymore. The Kinders which are smaller and hardier supply almost as much milk as the Nubians. Kinder/Kiko crosses are very hardy. They make good meat and milk goats also.

Feed: if we couldn't access commercial feed I would have to concentrate on a goat that could not only exist, but thrive, on less. There's about 80 acres of un-utilized land right across the street from me. It's totally grown up to the extent that even walking through there would be a massive challenge. Looks like free goat food to me. They could be turned out on it during the day and brought back in at night. It comes with challenges in the form of predators. We routinely hear coyotes singing over there. Enter Cowboy and Missy!

Pigs - definitely scale down to a half-dozen or less. I'm at 11 right now with plans to butcher at least three of them this fall and next spring. Need to sell a couple more and I'll be where I want to be. The AGH can take care of itself and does well on graze. With less critters the pasture graze would support them almost year round.

Chickens: I've got a mixed flock and am happy with 'em. I have orpingtons, ameracaunas, mixes of both and a bit of Faverolle thrown in for fun. The birds I'm happiest with right now are the Naked Necks. The roosters are fiercely protective of their hens, but are no problem with people. They're a good sized bird and make a decent carcass. I've had a couple of them go broody and they are great moms and decent layers as well. They free-range with the best of 'em. In fact, they positioned themselves in the pasture instead of the barnyard so they can roam more. I've seen them waaaay out in the pasture with the goats.

Each animal helps support the others. Pigs and even chickens can utilize milk products. Pigs love eggs and can thrive on just about anything they can get their mouths around.

Almost forgot the quail. Without electricity and an incubator reproduction would be difficult to say the least. I suppose I could utilize a broody hen, but my big hens would likely crush those tiny eggs. I need some silkies!! Anybody have any silkie eggs for sale?

Gardens - have to plant as much as possible and preserve it any way that works. With no electricity canning and dehydrating would be a necessity. Extra for the animals in the form of corn, root veggies and winter squash/pumpkins.

We are all electric with no wood stove. Again - the 80 acres across the street would offer firewood. Not great stuff, but it would do for what we'd need it for. I guess we could use the extra barbecue pits to cook on with wood if that's all we could come up with. We have a camp stove and I have about 72K small propane cannisters, lol. I might exaggerate a little. But, if we were forced to cook with no propane or electricity we'd be hurting. I've always wanted to build a small solar oven. I think it's a project I'll try when the grands are here. Seems like a good learning experience and fun too.

With no AC we'd suffer immensely in the summer, but we'd survive winters just fine even without supplemental heat. We might get cold a couple of times, but for the most part our winters are so mild we rarely run the furnace anyway.

Water - we are on a well. My generators will pull the well, but you've gotta have fuel. I can store some fuel but it sure won't last forever. I'd love to have a solar pump on the well. I really need to explore options like the Simple Pump. We also have two ponds on the neighbors property we could use for water. Having the means to purify is a necessity. One of the ponds is stocked with fish - but they're not MY fish. I feel sure our neighbors would be amenable to sharing. Meat/milk/eggs for fish sounds good to me.

Haven't totally thought out other issues...like hygiene and dealing with illness. We can store some cleaning products and some meds, but...DH would be in big trouble, and wouldn't last long without his diabetic meds. :(

That thought brings up the need to do whatever we can to keep ourselves healthy and strong. Should be easier than it is, lol.
 

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