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Old 09-03-2010, 02:51 AM
tankman1989 tankman1989 is offline
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Default Most profitable livestock for small farm



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I am wondering what are the most profitable animals to keep on a small farm (8-15 acres of pasture and another 4-5 acres of plantable fields). Are certain types of sheep more profitable such as sheep with finer wool? Is black wool better or more expensive (neighbors have a lot of black sheep, lol). What about alpaca or some other exotic animals.

Any suggestions here are appreciated. I don't really want to spend 10 hours a day with these animals or anything by a few is no problem.

This in in Lanaster County (Amish country) so the land is pretty good around here and can probably support most types of livestock.
Old 09-03-2010, 03:23 AM
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Yes, sheep. Meat, lanolin, sheepskin and wool. Once folks start making wool clothing again, they'll be invaluable.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:33 AM
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Rabbits and chickens are easy to care for and dont take up much time or space. Get Hair sheep, you have the lawn mowing benifits with out haveing to worry about shearing. Its a loss of revenue from the wool but cuts down on the labor and hair sheep are more desease resistant. I have kadatin and dorper. My kadatins twin most of the time. I rotate a small herd of 4 ewes 1 ram around my small place (2 1/2 ac) I get about 6 lambs a year to sell or put in the frezzer. I only mow the front yard on a regular basis as the sheep dont get let out there. I only buy hay for them for 4 months during the winter. (cost me about 200 to feed in the winter) good luck with your place.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:48 AM
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A friend of mine is switching from beef cattle to goats. I don't have the details but in general, he was breaking about even with the beef. With the goats, he's been making a nice profit but I don't know an amount or percentage.
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Old 09-03-2010, 07:56 AM
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maybe bees, but for any real profit you need aniche like Dexter cattle or something similarly selling for ridiculous prices.
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Old 09-03-2010, 01:55 PM
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If you're looking for profitable as in most meat/feed ratio, rabbits are probably the cheapest. As far as trying to make money...idk....goats are probably good as lots of people eat them and the milk is delicious. My family raised goats when I was a child.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:30 PM
Ramona M. Faunce Ramona M. Faunce is offline
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Everyone seems to have steared you in the right direction. I would have said chickens, rabbits, goats and sheep. Never thought of bees as animals, but I would deffinatly suggest them for every farm or backyard.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tankman1989 View Post
I am wondering what are the most profitable animals to keep on a small farm (8-15 acres of pasture and another 4-5 acres of plantable fields). Are certain types of sheep more profitable such as sheep with finer wool? Is black wool better or more expensive (neighbors have a lot of black sheep, lol). What about alpaca or some other exotic animals.

Any suggestions here are appreciated. I don't really want to spend 10 hours a day with these animals or anything by a few is no problem.

This in in Lanaster County (Amish country) so the land is pretty good around here and can probably support most types of livestock.
A good wool sheep that you can card and sell directly to home spinners will typically out return everything else. We are looking at California red sheep for this. Sheep are not as good as goats at climbing rock and chewing down brush, but lambs typically sell better than kid meat. I know that I much prefer to eat lamb or mutton over goat.

If the market price for Alpaca breeding stock would drop, I would suggest adding some to the herd. Right now they are the yuppie livestock and heavily promoted. I will wait.

Both are easy to keep if you have tight fences and you can control the wild dogs and coyotes in the area. Protective dogs are a big help as is a llama or two. Plus you will have to trap and shoot a few at first.
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Old 09-03-2010, 02:57 PM
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A few years ago I did a lot of research on starting a small farm with goats as a mainstay of income. With a growing Middle Eastern population in the United States and people finding health benefits in eating different kinds of meat (not just the same industrial farm raised chickens and cows) there is a lot of growth potential in them.

If you don't want to spend much time with them everyday, meat goats are the best. No milking required and most of them are hardy breeds, only needing their mandatory medical treatments and some help when it comes time for the kids to start being born. They eat much more of the plants that grow naturally in most places than cows but you'll need to feed just about anything at least once a day in the fall and winter. If you put out a couple of dogs (if you're worried about wild animals picking them off) they can be raised to live with the herd and protect it.

If I had a small farm like you're talking about, that's the way I would go. Talk to local restaurants (small ones, not chains) and see if their cooks would like to buy any animals locally and organically. I've read many a story of people selling common animals (turkey, chickens, rabbit) to local restaurants at premium prices because they're local (meaning fresh) and not hormone injected. Hope this helps.
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Old 09-03-2010, 03:01 PM
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id say go with smaller livestock as here also easier to deal with come time to butcher if you get stuck having to do the job yourself trust me a cow is a bitch if you have to do it yourself even with a few friends its a pain

goats
sheep
chickens
rabits
Old 09-03-2010, 07:30 PM
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Don't forget to look in to fish farming; especially if you're thinking of catering to local restaurants. Not a traditional livestock but if we're talking bees then...

My friend makes sausages from wild deer he hunts on his property. He uses homegrown garlic and onions and sells them to a fancy wild game restaurant. He grows lots of feed for them to forage. Not big money but he says it covers all his hunting expenses.
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Old 09-03-2010, 08:32 PM
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On 20 acres I'd throw in alot of different trees. Hard wood, shade trees, fruit trees, nuts etc,. Then I'd buy (or raise) a nice flock of dual purpose chickens that will feed you, and that you can sell people to eat or raise their own. Put the roost area in a movable trailer and rotate through your land. Weeding and feeding as you go. As the trees get bigger you can sell the extra to other folks for yards, homes etc. Also get a Great Pyrenee type guard dog to protect you and yours.

Good Luck
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:25 PM
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Ducks require almost no care and are very hardy meat and eggs
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Old 09-03-2010, 09:38 PM
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I thought Bee's when I first read your post. Honey is a great commodity. I have 6 hives now and they are low overhead type animal. You could really have 100 hives and spend less time than most farm animals.

NMFarmer
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Old 09-03-2010, 10:39 PM
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i'll pitch against goats or cows. they will cost you more for upkeep than what you can make. if your on a small plat of ground as i am enjoy having what you have. let them clean what they can and if they help pay for themselves good for you but your not gonna make money off of 15 acres. unless you hit a niche market and that will be short lived.
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Old 09-04-2010, 06:14 AM
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goats can be very profitable if you live near an urban area with a large ethnic population. or can transport them. time the kids for the holidays, and you can sell them directly from the farm or arrange with a meat dealer to deliver them in time for holiday celebrations... many people from other countries grew up on goat meat and they actively search for sources. I know of some people in this area who grow and sell meat goats directly from the farm. cash and carry, and they have regular repeat customers.
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Old 09-04-2010, 07:53 AM
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Goats are great at clearing brush, but do eat anything. any trees you want to keep they may just eat all the bark off even if they have lots of other food. They also are escape artist climbing over and under fences to get where they want. I had a few and got rid of them. sheep are much more fence friendly. If you do get goats, do electric fencing to keep them in control. jmo....
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Old 09-04-2010, 08:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NinjaBot View Post
Yes, sheep. Meat, lanolin, sheepskin and wool. Once folks start making wool clothing again, they'll be invaluable.
Don't forget if you get Dairy Sheep you can add milk to that list.
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Old 09-04-2010, 09:35 AM
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With upwards of 20 acres that you stated Id say (depending on were you are) Goats,sheep,pigs,chickens and a few cows could be done as well. Just depends if your willing to bring in some extra food (grass,alfalfa etc) I am rasing all of the above minus the sheep on a smaller patch than that. So it can be done. And dont forget the bee's and a nice orchard.
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Old 09-04-2010, 11:53 AM
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We have goats, sheep, hogs, chickens, turkeys, ducks, rabbits, and bees.
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