I have a 1 acre field that I would like to use for livestock...for keeping grass short and for pets. Thinking geese (already have some ducks and hens), and maybe goats or a sheep? Any recommendations? Also should I be doing anything to the field for weeds etc?
First livestock for new smallholder(12 posts)
Sheep will eat off the grass and as you already have ducks they will eat any fluke that might be around so that is a good combination. Sheep are alot of work as you have to dip their feet and shear them. Goats need good fencing as they can get out easily. Do you have a pond area for geese? If you wanted to cultivate the land then pigs would root up the land and fertilise it and then you could grow veg on the land afterwards.
sara @ farmingfriends
Whereabouts are you? as I know the RSPCA has quite a number of hens, goats, pigs, geese and ducks needing homes around the country.
Pigs sound like a good idea, geese are great but really really noisy. We have some who live about 1 mile across the valley from us and we can hear them every time someone walks past! Mind you, they are very good guards!
Avoid sheep, too much hassle with feet, shearing etc. Pigs great and will stay in electric fencing, get some weaners, run them on through the summer and pop them in the freezer! Goats are escapologists and tend to browse not graze so do not keep the grass down very efficiently. You may find it easier to invest in a good mower and stick to the ducks and chooks!
What about alpacas. Don't know much about them but perhaps they would be suitable?
If you're looking for pets, I'd go for Goats. They seem to be much more tuned in to humans than sheep and will follow you around if they think you may have some food. They don't need shearing unless you get a fibre goat. They will need a house to keep out of the wind and rain and you will need substantial or electric fencing to keep them in. They will eat any trees they can get at.
As for grazing they won't keep the grass as short as sheep but we found they will keep it reasonably tidy and are very good at keeping thistles and nettles under control. Be careful of Ragwort though.
Don't get an entire billy goat unless you have no sense of smell and want to fall out with the neighbours, but nannys and castrated boys are fine. You would need to have 2 they need company.
They do change your life a bit and are quite a big commitment.
Most of all they are great characters and a pleasure to have around.
Sorry not a fan of goats, have had them and all they do is escape and eat stuff you don't want them to. Ours wouldn't eat thistles etc, maybe we had fussy ones!!!
Still have the feet issue, ours needed doing a couple of times a year and were not easy. We got the farrier to do them in the end as they left two of us to hold them.
Hello again Eden
I wonder where you live....If it is by the sea, seaside donkeys are great pets. They come in their 'holidays', about October to early May. They are no trouble, and they go home! Like having someone else's children to stay. You can indulge them, because you know they are not there forever!
Geese are fab for grazing and weeding. We have about an acre for our geese, 4 in total and they have done a great job. Just be carefull about the sex as two ganders do not work. We have not had to cut the grass since they arrived. I love them and would not hesitate about having them to graze . They are not noisy if they know you, but will tell you if a stranger arrives. Goats eat everything including bushes or trees and are great escape artists.!!Goose Girl
Hi there, we have a 9 acre small holding, a bit like noahs ark! a couple of everything! we have 2 pygmy goats who replaced 2 milking goats, they are fab however they will escape at any given opportunity! fencing has to be very good! but they are fun and do keep the grass down. (pygmy goats dont eat everything - a tad fussy!) We also have an ever growing number of saddleback pigs, they are fab! they have turned over half of the fields but they are so friendly and very funny! 2 of the big girls have just had their piglets weaned off - all 17 of them! they are amazing fun and taste pretty good too! always a full freezer when you have pigs!! they dont take much to keep them in, ours have the run of a massive 4 acre field and seem pretty happy in there.
my mother isnt a fan of feathers and i know my terrier would eat them all if we had any geese or feathered friends so i am unable to comment on that front!
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