Moved rural to the mighty Waikato

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8 years 4 weeks ago #37705 by DebT
Hi All, my husband, daughters and I have upped sticks from Auckland and moved to a small (1.2acres) lifestyle block in Rotoorangi, near Cambridge. The block is divided into three main paddocks plus two small ones and lawn area around the house. The previous owners have a steer keeping the grass down but that moves in a week. We are looking at what to get to replace it. A steer seems low maintenance but we are complete novices so not sure where is best to source a weaner calf (stock agent or local farmer?). What about delivery? We don't have yards here but the neighbours do and we may be able to use theirs. A silly question, but would one steer get lonely ?
Thanks for your thoughts...:-)

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8 years 4 weeks ago #487992 by Ruth
Hi DebT, welcome to the forum.

My tiny-block neighbours had one animal and it spent its whole short and miserable life pacing the fenceline calling to my cattle. It was heartbreaking to watch. Cattle are herd animals. Some will become accustomed to life alone, but they seem to be as individual in that trait as we are. I find some of mine won't settle in a mob of less than four, some will happily live with only one other. Some of the bulls are quite happy on their own, but then they're never too far from others somewhere around. I wouldn't risk it, myself.

Sheep are more labour-demanding and require a bit more maintenance, but a couple of tame self-shedding animals might be a suitable alternative. You'll get lots of opinions on that question.

Choose your animals carefully! What someone else wants to sell you may not be what you really need to buy.

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8 years 4 weeks ago #488000 by LongRidge
A good question, and not at all silly.
I have the same concerns as Ruth, and would add that if you have a quiet steer that does not get stressed by itself, and likes your company, could you get it butchered? I have huge difficulty killing my pet cows, and only do so when they get old, injured or lame. The younger and more flighty ones are in the herd, so usually don't get to be as friendly.

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8 years 4 weeks ago #488020 by reggit
Been there done that with one steer when we first started, and never again, just not fair on them. Have you adjoining neighbours that you can co-own two steers with and move them back and forth for grass?

The first is always hardest to eat, but make sure the first meal is eye fillet and you will never be hesitant again :D

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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8 years 4 weeks ago #488025 by katieb
welcome to LSB, if you need to contact a stock agent call Dave Findlay 027 4939061 hes in Cambridge he knows the area well so will know who has suitable stock.

as the others have said cattle are herd animals so 2 or more is best....sheding sheep would be a good option unless you can get acess to more land. Your property should grow a lot of grass especially in the spring but could dry out a bit in the summer as rain tends to skirt around that area a little because of the hills around.....I moved to roto-o-rangi when I was 5(1989) & my parents still live there. Its a nice area.

Animals rule our place... cows, calves, sheep, goats, pigs, horses, donkeys, chickens, ducks... the list goes on
...."lifestyle block like" 25 or so acres around the house attached to a rather large farm with dairy drystock & a 600 cow dairy conversion :)....1500 acres to call home

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488296 by DebT
Hi, thanks for your comments. It's actually 1.4 acres not 1.2. I see your point about the solo steer. I did read about the self shedding sheep, but wasnt sure as sheep get a rep as being problematic health wise. I vaguely considered a couple of
alpacas. The neighbour on one side has more land with 5 sheep and a horse or two. He might be interested in sharing sheep.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488298 by LongRidge
He might also have someone coming to shear his sheep, in which case line up with the shearer to always come to your place to do your 3 or 4 at the same time as he does the neighbours.
With the modern anti-fly compounds, caring for sheep is hugely easier than it was 10 years ago.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488307 by max2
Having had both sheep and cattle, I don't think sheep are any more problematic than cattle and are easier to handle as far as picking them up goes if they are ''down'' to relocate to a more sheltered position.

The only thing I despair about with sheep is how quickly a lamb can die if something goes wrong. Calves tend to hang on longer for treatment to work.

If you get cattle, you will need to register for NAIT.

Personally for that size property, I would look at buying in store lambs and fattening them up for the prime market.

But you will need to look at access to yards and facilities regardless of what stock you carry. All need human handling at some point.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488340 by kernels
If you're mainly after lawnmowers, Alpacas are not a bad way to go. I've only had a couple here for a month now, but you will get attached to them pretty quickly.

Only need a covered cage trailer to transport them, minimal on-going expense, they get very tame quickly and fantastic to watch them.

The major downside is relatively high up-front cost.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488410 by kindajojo
You could look at some of the smaller cattle ie lowlines but 1.4 acres would be the bare minimum ...but Waikato does grow grass well when there isn't a drought...you would need to have hay to feed out if grass got short.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488416 by kai
I find goats are lower maintenance than sheep. The need a shelter for rain, but other than a hoof trim (which is easy to learn if someone shows you), that is all they need. I find saanens can't be bothered to escape.

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8 years 3 weeks ago #488428 by OtagoSouthlandFarmer

kai;492902 wrote: I find goats are lower maintenance than sheep. The need a shelter for rain, but other than a hoof trim (which is easy to learn if someone shows you), that is all they need. I find saanens can't be bothered to escape.

I second this. Goats are very, very low maintenance as long as you have great fencing and a shelter for them. They are very easy to please.

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8 years 2 weeks ago #488537 by Baroque
Welcome to lsb!

Goats are great friendly animals to have around and are easily trained, they are low maintenance and easy to keep providing they have shelter and your fences are good. :D

If you want to go for sheep pick something like Arapawas or a shedding variety and my advice is to invest in some yards or at least have a way of containing your animals with a simple pen made up from a few gates tied together so you can treat them if needed.

Breeding & training quality Spanish horses - THE horse of Kings! Also breeding Arapawa & Pitt Island sheep.

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