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Old 07-12-2012, 07:10 AM
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Here's my future plan 40 acres of land and I wanna raise chickens, rabbits, goats , and 4 cattle 1 bull 3 cows, I also want to use 3 acres for grass for the cattle, and 2 acres for feed for the other animals. also I want a small garden for table food, and a stock tank with catfish. My question is, is this enough land for my dream homestead? I know there's alot of work and money tied into this but like I said its a goal and dream, but I'm not rich so the amount of land I need to get for a operation like this is my question, any advice, I'm country raised and I have ranch experience. And this is a long term goal, I wanna have the land in about 5 years. How's my plan?
Old 07-12-2012, 07:14 AM
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Rather than a tank of catfish, how about a 1 acre pond. Then you can have bass, pike, turtle and sunfish, as well.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:24 AM
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The kind of grass you have will dictate how many cattle you can run. Ask some ranchers in your area . Simple native grass here in West Texas will not support that many cattle.
I suggest not keeping a bull. Borrow one from time to time. Some people will agree to that just so they dont have to feed him all the time.
Youre on the right track, just do your homework.
Old 07-12-2012, 07:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Emerald Eyes View Post
Rather than a tank of catfish, how about a 1 acre pond. Then you can have bass, pike, turtle and sunfish, as well.
I think he meant pond. In Texas and Oklahoma they call small ponds "cattle tanks".

Al
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Old 07-12-2012, 08:30 AM
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Yup you knew what I ment didn't know it had different meanings else where. To me pond is small like bedroom sized. And tank is larger. Lol learned something new
Old 07-12-2012, 09:36 AM
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Why catfish? Would some other fish like bluegill or tilapia work better? I know panfish aren't as large, but they tend to grow faster and a pond can support more of them. I have no idea what Texas law allows, or what fish does better down there.
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Old 07-12-2012, 09:40 AM
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Well catfish and large mouth bass are the food I wanna get out of the stock tank/pond. The reason for catfish is because it's what I like most and they do well in south Texas. Also largemouth bass do well also plus it's common in stock tanks down here. But I do plan on putting perch and minnows in the tank also.
Old 07-12-2012, 09:45 AM
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Tilapia is a great idea thanks.
Old 07-12-2012, 09:57 AM
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Have a look at some closed loop systems such as aquaculture, hügelkultur, and permaculture.

High output with less work.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:15 AM
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A couple of things to consider - rather than goats (unless you need them for thick scrub clearing or specifically for dairy products), what about self shearing sheep like dorpers (benefit of three lambings in 2 years, excellent protective parents and other breed benefits) and make one of your cows a dairy breed such as a jersey, milking shorthorn or brown swiss so you have milk, cheese and other dairy products - plus milk or clabber (and the whey from cheesemaking) to feed your chickens and to feed pigs which don't need as much room as sheep or cows.

The number of stock per acre is highly dependant on the soil, pasture type, length of growing season and weather/rainfall. 3 acres is too small for running 4 cattle year round without bringing in feed, but if you are looking at 40 acres, why restrict them to only 3 acres? Consider what your meat requirement is per year, as smaller or miniature breeds like Dexters or miniature herefords might be more suitable to your needs, and their need for food and space is less than full size breeds.
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Old 07-12-2012, 10:38 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FNG33 View Post
Well catfish and large mouth bass are the food I wanna get out of the stock tank/pond. The reason for catfish is because it's what I like most and they do well in south Texas.
I love beer battered catfish bites. It may well be my favorite fish meal. When I buy land (eventually), the ability to have a pond is a "must have." I grew up with a 1 acre pond that had lots of largemouth and sunfish. My grandfather never let us take any bass out of the pond though. Since he has passed, we take a couple each year to eat. They sure do taste good.

You shouldn't need much room at all for the chickens and rabbits. I think 2 acres of feed for them would be plenty. I've never actually had them though. I have absolutely no experience with the other stuff though.

Good luck on your homestead!
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Old 07-12-2012, 11:40 AM
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I think you need much more land for the cattle. I'd try one of the small cattle breeds, like Dexters, and see how well they do in your area. It all depends on how much rain you get, and how well your grass will grow.

We have 6 acres here in GA, and I am trying to plant as much of it as I can into a food forest. I need to do a ton of work with regard to soil building and water storage.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:42 PM
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I would read how Joel Salatin runs his farm. He only buys in some corn for the pigs, and the cows are raised on pasture and hay. He considers himself a "grass farmer" because he uses the animals to tend the grass and in turn the animals tend to him. He's a fascinating guy and a very productive farmer.
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Old 07-12-2012, 12:58 PM
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The old rule of thumb for grass fed cattle is 3 acres per bovine. Supplementing with hay can reduce the acreage but hay is getting expensive and with the current drought it's going to be hard to find.

With 4 cattle 20 acres of pasture is more realistic if you intend to grass feed only. 10 acres would be pastured at a time while 10 acres would be allowed to grow. Pasture also has to be regenerated from time to time as in my experience cattle will not eat the grass where they have crapped on.
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Old 07-12-2012, 01:41 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Creek Walker View Post
The old rule of thumb for grass fed cattle is 3 acres per bovine. Supplementing with hay can reduce the acreage but hay is getting expensive and with the current drought it's going to be hard to find.

With 4 cattle 20 acres of pasture is more realistic if you intend to grass feed only. 10 acres would be pastured at a time while 10 acres would be allowed to grow. Pasture also has to be regenerated from time to time as in my experience cattle will not eat the grass where they have crapped on.
Yes! This is why the way Joel Salatin farms is so "low tech". He moves his cattle EVERY day to new pasture, then after "X" amount of time he moves the chickens behind the cattle. The chickens break up the cow "pies" and eat any hatching larva as well as aerate the pasture so that it's growing cycle continues. He gets eggs from the chickens, meat from the cows with only mobile fencing. His methods are worth looking into, especially with 40 acres to work with!

Although, with a second reading of the original post, I don't think it would be worth keeping your own bull. They take special fencing and handling and they eat all year round, for just a "bit" of work once a year. It would be MUCH more financially viable to use a local bull's services or even A.I. from a catalog.
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Old 07-12-2012, 03:06 PM
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Be advised, in the winter when the grass is dormant , it has almost no protien in it. You will have to feed your cattle.
I have opted not to keep cattle long term for this reason.
If you are on the Texas coast, you might have a longer growing season.
If you are serious about having meat when SHTF, consider chickens and rabbits.
Goats can survive in extreme conditions also.
Old 07-12-2012, 03:12 PM
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Don't even THINK about keeping a bull, not when AI is so readily available.
Old 07-12-2012, 03:29 PM
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Just an idea but why have cows at all? You could go with goats for dairy. When you slaughter a cow you have all that meat to take care of. with goats you could just take one when your family needed it. i have no idea what i am talking about.
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Old 07-12-2012, 07:18 PM
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yea the cattle seam like too much, chickens,rabbits, and goats saeams like the way for me to go also catfish,bass, and talipia seam good choices i know how to trap wild hogs, my wife is excited about the plan she grew up with chickens and on a farm so she is happy about the plan
Old 07-12-2012, 11:12 PM
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Planning is fun. Why not jump in now, though, instead of just planning? Find a local farm with livestock you think you might want in the future. Offer to volunteer NOW. Learn how to feed and care for the animals NOW.

I've learned it's far too easy to make plans that aren't well thought out. Question everything. Experience everything. Who knows? You might just fall in love with a line of animals and be able to adopt or buy one from a farmer you have a good working relationship with after volunteering.

Good luck.
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