Yes... We've been through the livestock.. Just about every breed of goat available in America , 5 breeds of sheep,, so many chicken & duck breeds , a couple of different hogs, many breeds of rabbits and so on.. Searching for the right animals and/or breed to fit our land and climate with the lowest input possible and greatest use of available natural resources...
Ha! And livestock that I can put up with!
2015 saw a couple of animals make their exit..
Utility pigeons being one... Turkeys...And then goats.. Again!
There are many pros to keeping meat pigeons... And Ofcourse cons like any other livestock I could get into .. But overall they are pretty great!
.... On a personal level that may or may not effect the individual that wants to raise them... the number one reason for me to let them go was because we grow all our vegetables and grain corn .. So summer is a very bad time for us to have to drop everything and slaughter something.. any animal that isn't born in the winter or spring and has a 6 to 8 month grow out is a management problem. Pigeons tend to be very prolific in the spring and summer eggs take 2 weeks to hatch , then squab are ready to eat in 3 to 4 weeks... They are super fast to process but I don't like anything to take away from my garden and preserving in the summer... And when you get 4 or more ready at once that does take some time!
I just can't keep all the poultry I would like,, with bringing chickens back because I needed more egg layers something had to go. The pigeons happened to be in an aviary that would be perfect for my silkies...
I need my egg laying ducks too ( we love eggs!) and my geese certainly aren't going anywhere! So on the list of most needed poultry they needed to go..
I do admitt I miss them....I really miss them.. Their cooing and bathing .. Such beautiful birds! Birds I searched for years to purchase,,, it was a little heartbreaking for me to let them go..But I have to realize I can't keep ALL the livestock animals and breeds.
I'm 1 person .... With 24 hours a day like anyone else.
I do think I squeeze a lot of of my days when I really try but animals will take ALL your time if you let them!
Which is why... One more time, I say , buh-bye to goats.
Y'all little time stealers just don't work out for me...true I have 'goat land' plenty of browse and hills.. But you guys are drama queens.. Even the most laid back of goats still find their way to trouble here... So annoying are goats to me... And I love them,, I do! But I do not like owning them at all!
I brought them back after being very very happily ruminant free all spring and summer..
Seriously it was bliss not having goats or sheep here to deal with!!!
But...always a but!!! late summer it was obvious we could not keep up with the weeds !!! Geese don't eat weeds once they get to big and fiberous .. And there are areas I just do not want pigs in!!! Not that most pigs are awesome weed eaters but they can help... Not much but some.
My husband can't give up days of his time in our busiest season to weed wack our acres!! A lot of our land can not be mowed at all ,, it's way to steep! So we need something to eat those weeds and be useful .
Plus, Fresh raw milk is nice to have... I can do without goat milk on a regular basis , that's not a big problem. I seriously do not need as much milk as daily milking goat gives even with the goat milk soap business ... Nor with my milk sensitivities should I consume that much. Regardless... I bring goats back.
The weeds were such a problem !!! A big problem... So the goats go to work eating weeds.. At a much pickier slower pace than I would like , but still, it's something! My farm was turning into a jungle!
And then... I bring in one of my all time favorite animals.. Donkeys!
With the addition to the farm of donkeys I can let go of goats again!!!! Yay!!!
....so far..... Donkeys are great weed eaters and I do get along with them way better. My rough land works fine for them and They are much lower input for me and fill more roles here. Example: they don't need a guardian .. They are guardians and I want to get away from using high input dog guardians.. So that's a good fit...
their feeding requirements are less demanding (The larger donkeys eat a lot of forage and hay but still do not require the higher quality legumes and grain most goats need to be productive... However I've found the small standards and minis eat very efficiently!! And way way less) and finally
The mass amounts of manure they make is amazing for my ever growing gardens!
So I think.... I hope...I Even pray that donkeys may take the place and job of ruminants here!
They may have other uses too.. Riding, pulling, packing, milking and in some countries (also now legal in the USA meat) but that's another post in the future perhaps.. Lol! Can you tell I'm beyond excited to have them here!!
Do not misunderstand though...
Goats are great useful livestock for the right people and farm!! Just not this farm ...
And I come to turkeys... Back and forth I went on keeping them.. My husband even really liked them! And he's not really into the poultry at all.
The turkeys are wonderful , interesting , beautiful birds like pigeons. They are certainly tasty and easy to process too!
Ultimately they had to go , because again, I can't keep all the poultry I would like too! Managing 4 separate flocks of geese, chickens and 2 flocks of ducks.. Nope! No time, no space for breeders.
I was going to make time and space but they kept getting into my garden.. And that was the end of that!!!
Turkeys must go :-(
I brought in a few other chickens to try.. We will just say Bantams & utility silkies are by far my number one choice for my chicken flock.
So I'll just have to miss the chickens that didn't make the cut, turkeys and the pigeons .. Goats.. I will probably not miss them... But I will enjoy buying local fresh goat milk when I can and ha! watching others put up with them ;-)