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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Third times a charm...Or is it 3 strikes and you're out!

Well... They are back... Again.... 
And I'm praying and hoping that this time our approach will work!
Dairy goats... A main component of my dream farm..ah... As we know 'dream farms' or ' dream anything doesn't always work out. We built so much of the farm to accommodate dairy goats!
And every bit of what we built for goats has worked out to accommodate other livestock.
When you're raising over 90% of your own food priorities are very important and high input livestock had to be taken out of the equation. 
However... Our land is very much ' goat land' ...a few Weedy pastures.. Steep hills (which about killed the sheep I tried to keep!) tons of wood lots .. Many very over grown , wild and beautiful! Wouldn't trade my trees or hills for the most perfect pastures in the world!
Perfect pastures are good for sheep and cows...
Goats need weeds and over grown wood lots to be truly healthy .. It keeps them from getting barber pole.. Provides them with their natural high mineral foods and good stemmy fiber keeps their rumens working. All this also means no or very little feed bill making them economical..instead of an expense burden!
Pasture breeds barber pole , doesn't provide fiber or enough nutrition...
So here I am with great goat land and no time for goats.... Ok.. I had 30 goats! Lol!!
Way to many for the amount of fencing I had... Talk about breeding barber pole...
And a feed bill through the roof!
So bye bye goats! Incoming.. Sheep!
Then the dairy sheep bit the dust on my non sheep friendly land!
There's a lot to be said for getting the right kind of livestock for your land! It will make life with livestock somewhat easy.. 
Somewhat....
So we brought in fainting goats... I had high hopes.. They are much hardier and easier to handle... They cost nothing to feed on my land... They could be milked as I had before..but much less milk,, less maintenance 
But it just wasn't right... I still felt like I didn't have time for them either... And i didn't 'love' the fainters... Dealing with animals is much easier when you truly love keeping them...It's as important as having the right natural resources for them... 
Anyways.. I had brought in 4 does and 2 bucks... Still To much to manage and keep up with! 
During this time I had struck up a deal with a couple of people to trade eggs for goat milk.. I do have a soap business and milks make the best soaps! My milk allergy doesn't allow for much milk but I can tolerate raw goat milk well in small amounts.. So , yes! Perfect deal!!
Then one of my sources needed all her milk for a new farm project she wanted to  try... All good... I have another lady with good milk... But she proved to be less than reliable when I needed milk...so that didn't work out either.
Now what!
Remember how I kicked chickens to the curb.. Ducks were more economical , easier to manage and worked way better as egg layers here and we liked their meat better...
Yes...all that... But missing chickens I brought in a few silkies , expecting to raise them and probably sell them because chickens really don't make sense to keep when something else works so well for the same purpose..

To my surprise they are the perfect chicken for our farm!!! Extremely economical ,, very easy to manage .. Good layers of small eggs and the most excellent chicken meat I've ever had...
Winner winner... Yum chicken dinner!
Now since my good experience with those chickens I have attempted to bring in other breeds I liked... They do not work as well as the silkies for us...

So with knowing this... One victory reintroducing a animal.. And then another fail... 
Why not try my first love livestock again.. Small dairy goats....
So I searched and found a doe in milk.. Big priority .. Easy to milk open orfices.. Got no time for hard to milk!!
Didn't not want a huge producer.. Didn't want any bred for show or papers.. Just bred for easy milking and easy to keep..
Found her! And bought her daughter too! Hoping her daughter has the same easy to milk udder!
2 does... That's it! A buck will be brought in for breeding and then he can leave....
All young goats they have will be for our food. Which we really like goat meat! One of our favorites .. Even though they don't yield as much as lamb we like it way better.

So far... So good....I have 2 holding areas for over night keeping.. One for summer, one for winter...
During the day they browse one of the over grown pastures or wood lots... I have more food here than 2 two mini goats ever consume!
At night Sugar is milked and I put them in the summer shelter area with some cut tree limbs to hold them over til morning...
No need to feed hay till everything has died late October or November probably...
It does take extra time to manage them but it's a small enough amount of time I can spare in exchange for milk, some weed control and meat.
And Ofcourse maybe some nice pelts! Kid leather is so nice!

This gives me hope I can add back a couple of my favorite rabbits.. Angoras.
The only rabbits I ever liked!
I'm a spinner and crocheter .. Angora is my favorite fiber .. And it's so hard to find good angora wool!! And Harvested to my standard...
So it's a venture I'm willing to try with a couple to see if it works...
Different approach... 
Picking 2 buns up this weekend so we will see how this venture goes! 
Well I hope!

More of this subject later...
Many blessings!

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