Small block stocking advice

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9 years 4 months ago #38832 by Paul Newman
Hi,

We've just bought a small lifestyle property just outside of Pirongia, Waikato.

We have 3 small paddocks totaling around 1.5 acres, and I'm struggling to know what to do with them.

I'm not really interested in keeping sheep as everyone tells me they're a heck of a lot of work and time is something that we don't have a great deal of due to work, family etc - I was interested in keeping a Highland steer but have been told that I shouldn't keep one on it's own, but that my land isn't big enough for two.

Please excuse the naivete of my post - I'm brand new to this, it's a little daunting and I don't want to do the wrong thing and have livestock that suffer.

Appreciate any pointers, suggestions etc.

Thanks,

Paul.

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9 years 4 months ago #499209 by keppelk
Replied by keppelk on topic Small block stocking advice
Welcome to LSB Paul.

Sheep can be a lot of work but there are breeds that take less work. We run Wiltshire sheep. They are very hardy and don't require much input. We've had ours since August and have only yarded them to tag lambs and trim feet of a few ewes. The trimmed feet are still good 2 months later - hoping it was a one-off. All our fences and gates are covered in wool at the moment with them shedding which takes a bit of getting used to. Uneducated visitors have commented on how unkempt they look, but after shedding they look really good. Previous owner didn't drench and we haven't yet either. So far so good.

We also run Lowline cattle. Not sure if you'd get away with running 2 Lowlines on 1.5 acres. Hopefully someone from the Waikato will be able to give some pointers re carrying capacity.

Always best to start small. Easy to go bigger - but hard to downsize in a pinch. Nothing worse than running out of feed. Your out looking for infomation which is a great start. Don't be afraid to ask questions. I've learned heaps from the threads here.

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9 years 4 months ago #499212 by RaeM1
Replied by RaeM1 on topic Small block stocking advice
At least with cattle you can buy in hay to feed them when the grass has died down during the summer.

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9 years 4 months ago #499214 by mc2631
Replied by mc2631 on topic Small block stocking advice
Try laying hens it's easily the easiest stock to handle and you should be able to sell the eggs to locals. Use poultry netting and rotate around the whole 1.5acres with portable coop so you always have fresh grass. Running a couple of pigs in front will keep the higher grass down. Either way there will be some setting up costs and work to do. Easiest options 2 weaner calves but you must split your paddocks and may have to feed them through the winter. 4-6 paddocks should work.

Mike

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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9 years 4 months ago #499219 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Small block stocking advice
I am not sure why you would choose a highland steer when there are many smaller animals available, such as already mentioned the low line or there are small galloway. Highland are somewhat large for a small block.
However, i do think 1.5 is too hard to run two animals on so you either go with sheep, and no breed is really low maintenance but some are a lot lower maintenance, as suggested with wiltshires.
Ask the neighbours to graze it for you then they do the work and your paddocks are kept short
You will find it more work running large cattle on a small acreage and running out of grass and feeding out hay etc than you would having sheep

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9 years 4 months ago #499221 by kindajojo
Is it 1.5 useable or does that include the house.
I have midi Galloways and in the Waikato you could probably run two on 1.5 but be prepared to feed hay through mid summer and winter.
You will still need yards , but can get away with sturdy sheep yards.
I have wilti's as we'll and you could run 3 to 4 breeding ewes whIch have will give 5 to 8 or so lambs each year.
That's instead of, not as well as
You could graze one or two horses

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9 years 4 months ago #499224 by Denneaux
As said chickens and sheep (or maybe goats) are the easiest options. I like cows a lot, but you need yards to handle them and will need to be NAIT registered and have TB testing. That's a lot of hassle for two cows. They also drink a lot more water than other livestock so you need a reliable water system. Another option would be to rent it out for horse grazing.

Unless stated, the above post is not meant as criticism.

Go back and read it again in your HAPPY voice!

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9 years 4 months ago #499225 by ChantelleW
I have about 2.25 acres effective in Huntly and tossing up between a couple or three Dexters (one of which would be a house/nurse cow) and the other two a calf and weaner, or the two weaner white faces my nephew has offered me at family rates :)
He is a dairy farm manager and tells me that with my pasture either would be OK, with a few Wiltshires cleaning up behind the cattle. I am lucky enough to have good grass, fencing and water (troughs to all seven paddocks) so I can have a good rotation schedule, with the orchard paddock as emergency grazing.
Have only been here a few weeks and have been concentrating on vege gardens, chickens and general set up and looking forward to more advice on this thread to help me with the livestock decision :)

3 + Acres, pigs, chickens, sheep and a heading dog called Jupp.

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9 years 4 months ago #499228 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Small block stocking advice
TB testing is only done on breeding cattle, not on non breeders, at least in our area thats the case.

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9 years 4 months ago #499230 by Tui Ridge

muri;504875 wrote: TB testing is only done on breeding cattle, not on non breeders, at least in our area thats the case.

Yes, we only needed to get our 3 cows done, and seriously - it was so quick and easy, the guy knew exactly what he was doing - our girls are relatively quiet and friendly so he just did them in the small holding paddock. :)

Me and hubby and 2 boys, Alpacas, Arapawa sheep, Lowline cattle, lots and lots of chooks and ducks ;)

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9 years 4 months ago #499231 by Paul Newman

kindajojo;504867 wrote: Is it 1.5 useable or does that include the house.
I have midi Galloways and in the Waikato you could probably run two on 1.5 but be prepared to feed hay through mid summer and winter.
You will still need yards , but can get away with sturdy sheep yards.
I have wilti's as we'll and you could run 3 to 4 breeding ewes whIch have will give 5 to 8 or so lambs each year.
That's instead of, not as well as
You could graze one or two horses

It's 2 acres including the house, so I reckon about 1.5 acres across the 3 paddocks. I don't really want to get involved in breeding stock as I'm away from home for a few days every couple of weeks so I don't want to overload my other half as she'll be flying solo looking after the kids, and working full time. We have yards but I wouldn't know whether they're sheep or cattle yards.

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9 years 4 months ago #499232 by Paul Newman
Clinging on to somebody who mentioned that there's no such thing as a stupid question - could I run one highland (or one lowline) with a couple of Alpaca's for company? I'm approaching this as being educational (and just generally "nice") for the kids, and not really viewing it as a commercial operation although some beef for the freezer would be good every couple of years.

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9 years 4 months ago #499233 by Cigar
Replied by Cigar on topic Small block stocking advice

muri;504875 wrote: TB testing is only done on breeding cattle, not on non breeders, at least in our area thats the case.

Around here all cattle over 18 months old are tested, which makes sense to me - young cattle are less likely to be carrying TB, whereas I can't see it making a difference whether they are breeding cattle or not (though beefies tend to be killed by 2 yrs old, and are inspected for TB at the works).

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9 years 4 months ago #499234 by kai
Replied by kai on topic Small block stocking advice
we have 1.5 acres total and so only probably 3/4 acre grazing the rest is in orchard/veggie growing. We have goats. If you pick your breed of goat wisely they do not test your fences that much (eg saanens do not seem to want to jump or go through fences except when they are young kids). In the years I have had them I have only had to have the vet out once for a problem (ie not routine stick the ring on the kids balls) and then it was a goat that arrived with a problem. They need their feet looked after and the occasional dose of scourban here as our grass is too green for them, but other than that they are problem free and a lot less hassle than sheep in my experience.

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9 years 4 months ago #499235 by kai
Replied by kai on topic Small block stocking advice

Paul Newman;504879 wrote: Clinging on to somebody who mentioned that there's no such thing as a stupid question - could I run one highland (or one lowline) with a couple of Alpaca's for company? I'm approaching this as being educational (and just generally "nice") for the kids, and not really viewing it as a commercial operation although some beef for the freezer would be good every couple of years.

I am not an alpaca person because from what I hear and have seen they are a lot more work than sheep: you still need to sheer them which is a lot more hassle than sheering a sheep and not all sheerers do them and I do not think you get as much meat from them. No doubt an alpaca lover on here will disagree.

Could you consider teaming up with someone else local with a small LSB and get two cows between you and share the grazing?

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