Using what we have (goats, sheep, chickens)

tortoise

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I am curious as to the HOW of using the animals we have in a more productive way. Our goats (5) are pets, there's a single dairy goat in the bunch with one teat so we won't use her for a dairy animal. Our (6) sheep can't keep up with half the lawn, much less our pasture. Our chickens are free range in summer, cooped in winter.

Our goats are wise to electric tape grazing fence - 2 strand. I have not tried staking them out - I'd like to ask other people who have done it.

The sheep did a nice job cleaning up windfall apples last year. We have a wethered lamb raised for meat - waiting for the right temperature weather to process him. We have 2 ewes due to lamb next month.

Chickens lay more eggs than we can use, and I haven't had any luck in selling them. Seems to be a glutted market, but I haven't tried too hard. We get about 3 dozen per week. I would appreciate help with tips for selling eggs. We're not on a main road, nor do we own the property next to the road, and we have Amish neighbors in more convenient location selling eggs -- so roadside sign is not going to work. In my state (WI), I can legally sell eggs on the farm, at a farmer's market or on a residential delivery route. We incubate chicks and hope to have Rhode Island Red and first-generation Dark Cornish / Rock cross chicks this year.
 

baymule

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Do you know anybody that would be interested in buying eggs? What about people your DH works with? Do any of them live close enough to make delivery worthwhile? Then maybe you could call on their neighbors and get several families in the same area. Or make some cards and hand them out when standing in line at local stores. Strike up a conversation with the person in front/behind you. I've sold a lot of stuff like that-captive audience-they can't get away.

What kind of goats do you have? What about getting a dairy goat that you can use? Have you considered meat goats? And maybe you need more sheep!

If you got 2 feeder piglets and raised them for the freezer, you could feed them boiled eggs. Eggs have lysine in them, an essential nutrient for pigs. If your pasture is securely fenced, you could "graze" your pigs. Heritage breeds will graze grass and would love a chance to clean up windfall apples. You could raise a pig for yourselves and one to sell.
 

sumi

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X2 the above, absolutely. When I sold eggs I was about the only one in the area, so I had more customers than eggs, once word got out, but when I started I just let people know, friends etc. They told other people and it took off. Farmer's markets are a good idea, also guesthouses (B&B).
 

Denim Deb

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Is hubby allowed to take them to work and sell them? My hubby takes them, but he'll call people first and find out who wants them. I also sell them to people at church, friends and even my chiropractor's office.

For the goats, can you set up some cattle panels as a temporary grazing area? I've done that in the past when I had an area I wanted the weeds cleaned out of. They did a good job. My only problem was, if I didn't stand right there, they'd cry and not eat the weeds! Staking them out can be hard. I tried it and they'd pull the stake out of the ground.
 

tortoise

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Hubby gives eggs away at work. We feed them back to the chickens and also to the barn cat.

@Denim Deb , I was thinking it I staked goats they would yell at me all day instead of eating.
 

tortoise

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Thread update! I'm dealing with the same situation "How do I make this situation function better?"

I have a yearling dairy goat buck. I trained him for staking him out (he doesn't yell). He is also lead trained and I'm envisioning training him to be a pack goat which would help me get out to the further garden and permie areas. Currently, I walk him a mile per day when the driveway is walkable and temperature above freezing. I hope to buy a dairy doeling this spring.

We are up to 8 sheep (including 1 meat wether), and we expect about 10 lambs this year.

I've learned how to use more eggs in my cooking. We're getting 1 - 2 dozen per week now and I'm not having trouble with excess eggs. I'm very proud of learning to use our eggs. My goal is to give away as few as possible. No sense in paying for chickens, not eating the eggs, and then paying for groceries too!

Hubby and I have settled into the separate chicken flocks. I have the barn flock, which is our Cornish dark rooster, buff rock hen group. I'm attempting deep litter in there and all our household compost goes in with them. I feed them expired dog food, cracked corn, crushed eggshell, and layer feed. Hubby takes care of the coop flock of purebred Rhode Island Red. He feeds them layer feed and deer fat (in winter), they free range when there's no snow.

I think I can get more use of my barn chickens if I put yard clippings and stuff in with them like Back to Eden style gardening suggests.

I have talked with hubby about raising a pig in the brushy hillside pasture were we have goats. He doesn't think our fence would hold a pig. I wonder if a pig can cohabitate with goats?
 

NH Homesteader

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I wouldn't put a pig in with goats. We know someone who tried (after I told them it wasn't a good idea) and the pig really injured one of the goats. They speak different languages. Goats butt for dominance, as you know. Pigs eventually get sick of that and do what pigs do, which is bite. And they bite hard. Really pigs don't live well with other animals.

We use hog or cattle panels for our pigs. They also can be trained to electric fence.
 

Beekissed

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All the animals here have an important purpose and they are integral to the land. The chickens aerate and fertilize their own pasture, while also providing manure for the garden via their nightly deposits into the deep litter under the roosts. They remove pest bugs from the garden soil and the area around the garden and the orchard. They also give us meat, eggs and fat for our consumption and food for the dogs.

They also give the dogs a job to do, which keeps the dogs happier and healthier. Their life lived outdoors doing what dogs do on the land is important to us~they remove rodents, protect the garden from deer, rabbits, possum, coon and bear, they ward off those who would seek to steal things and they protect the chickens from predators.

The cats also work on rodents, protecting our peach and apple crops. They fertilize the garden too, neatly covering their deposits with the mulch layer, where the bugs and worms can consume it and turn it into nutrients for the soil web of life.
 

tortoise

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My cat and dogs are not nearly so hard-working as yours! :gig

We feed our cat very little to encourage her to hunt. Hubby has seen her digging food scraps out of the chicken pen litter. :sick While we have tons of mice in the barn. Thanks cat. :barnie
 

tortoise

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Beekissed - do you chickens damage your garden or eat berries? We worry about losing our harvest to the chickens.
 

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