Small block stocking advice

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9 years 4 months ago #499237 by muri
Replied by muri on topic Small block stocking advice
Alpaca can be more work than sheep.
They need nail clipping, they need shearing, and they can be prone to Facial Excema. Added to that, it may be hard to find someone in your area who can do all those things.
You could buy two yearlings, run them through until the grass runs out then put them in the pot.
Its not the most economical way of doing things, but then with a small acreage it becomes difficult.
Same with sheep, buy some in, see how it goes, and turn some into meat before the winter.
Now is the time for buying lambs as they are being weaned

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9 years 4 months ago #499238 by Denneaux
Just replying to the comments about TB testing. Here, it is all cows that are over a year old that aren't going to the works in the next 12 months (homekill would not be counted as going to the works, I don't think). Obviously a bit of variation from region to region. But, you do need access to yards for cows...sooner or later. With the smaller animals you have a bit more freedom with handling.

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 #499246 by Ashlee
Replied by Ashlee on topic Small block stocking advice
If you would like to learn more about alpacas you are welcome to visit our block, you can contact us through our website. Cheers.

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9 years 4 months ago #499267 by LongRidge
You are going to have to prune the plants in the garden, especially the trees. Which are poisonous ones, that the animals must not be fed with? If most of the trees and shrubs are nutritious to cattle then they can be supplemented with the prunings. Remember to not put the poisonous ones in the paddock to burn later, or you could have a very sick animal.
I would buy 2 weaner Dairy X or full Dairy heifer calves, very soon. Run both of them until you can get another one next October or November. Kill the noisier when she cycles of the old ones soon after you have got the calf.
October/November 2016 buy another calf and kill the 2-year old. Etc, etc.
A heifer will eat less than a steer, and will "finish" sooner than a steer. Not as much meat, and more problem with them jumping fences when it's that time of the month, though.

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9 years 4 months ago #499278 by katieb
Replied by katieb on topic Small block stocking advice
re TB testing, TBfree website will be able to tell you the age & how often for your area, ours is now every2 yrs(was every yr) for everything 2yrs +.

Ours is done in April so its just the dairy herds & the carryovers to be done. Usually the culls have gone when it is done so theres less animals to organise

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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9 years 4 months ago #499296 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Small block stocking advice
We have to TB test all the cattle except tiny calves (not sure of the minimum age). It depends where you are.

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9 years 4 months ago #499303 by Breadcrumb
I have alpacas, goats, cattle and sheep. The alpacas win for being the easiest, healthiest and least problematic. The goats win for being the most pet like and friendly. The cattle are pretty good but might be a bit intimidating if something happens while you are away and your partner has to deal with it. Having kept one with just alpacas, I don't think it is very nice for the cow. The sheep are yummy and good at keeping the paddocks nicely 'mowed'. The sheep are the hardest work by far but they are also our least tame animals and that makes a huge difference. Being able to approach your animals
in the paddock is probably more important than what species you get to how much work they are.

If converting pasture to meat is not the most important thing then get something fun the kids can interact with. Goats are fantastic for this. Lots of people are fascinated by alpacas too and they are very cute and interesting to watch. Our cattle are all friendly but, because they are big and young, I don't let my kids go in the paddock with them. This might be a consideration too if you imagined your kids running around your land.

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9 years 4 months ago #499306 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic Small block stocking advice
I am reading this thread with interest - we are moving this weekend to 2.25 acres (probably just under 2 usable grazing once you take out the house and surrounds) so we are having very much the same discussions at the moment (although we need to do some serious fencing before we can get any stock other than the chickens we already have!)

I hadn't really considered cows because I thought it was too small, but nice to hear that could be an option to get some beef in the freezer. We were thinking chickens and sheep for eating and some goats for fun (and milk) but I'm sure we will change our minds a few times in the next few months!!

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.

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9 years 4 months ago #499323 by EV
Replied by EV on topic Small block stocking advice

Paul Newman;504853 wrote: 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 don't at all mean to sound facetious, but would like to politely enquire as to what the idea/aim was in purchasing a lifestyle block?

If you just wanted some space in the countryside, the easiest and cheapest thing would be to turn it into a big lawn and mow it, if the terrain allows. I find it takes me about 2 hrs to mow 1 acre, and about $10 in petrol.

Or make friends with neighbours and let them graze your paddocks too.

If you just wanted space for the kids to play, you could (over time) make a fabulous big playground - bike tracks, huts, sandpits, rope course between trees, whatever.

Any animal you take on yourself requires care and attention, so probably no easy answers there.

Do your wife or kids have any interests that lend themselves to a bit of space?

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9 years 4 months ago #499380 by chocfish
Hi there and welcome!

any stock is a hassle when it all goes t*ts up!

we have 4 acres but only 1/2 that is useable (hilly) paddock. after much deliberating I chose to try a dexter cow and can highly recommend them!
they are hardy, friendly and eat anything! my only advice would be to ensure you have good fences and if poss visit the animal before you choose it as they do have very distinct personalities [^] Oh and they taste great too :)

we get 1 cow at a time and it they are kept company by the neighbors sheep and pony until the homekill guy arrives and then they feed us for 18month easily. We dont have a yard or a run or electric fences and we have never had a problem. I would suggest you see if a neighbor has a yard you can use if you should ever need to tho!

we also run a small flock of chooks and it is surprising how much paddock they can go thru - don't get a rooster tho unless you are prepared to deal with all the baby roosters you will get also you have to think about what you will do with any sick / old birds as it is darned expensive to go to the vets with a chook!

Plant some tree lucerne (sp?) as the native birds love it, your stock can eat it and if all else fails it makes for good fuel.the sheep also love the poplar trees but not sure if that is an approved stock feed :rolleyes:. it is however indestructible!

most of all tho - enjoy your land, talk to your neighbors and don't rush into anything :)

Crazy revolving door of dogs ponies and kids. ….

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9 years 4 months ago #499395 by lisaeve
Replied by lisaeve on topic Small block stocking advice
We leased our grazing for the first 18 months we were here and I highly recommend it, especially if it's someone that is interested enough to come & deal with their stock when you have an issue. It's given us a really good idea of how many animals we can support, how good our fences are against various animals (bull calves = not great) and what we'd actually like to have. Bonus - income while you're making up your mind. And it gave us a chance to get the grazing back to a good standard as it had been neglected for quite some time.
We are lucky though to have neighbours with yards that we can borrow if necessary.

17 Ha lifestyle property in Bay of Plenty... 7 Ha covenanted bush, remainder scrub, hills, and flat.

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9 years 4 months ago #499410 by Farmersden
Keeping any livestock is a steep learning curve, we started some 5 years ago with a couple of lambs and some chickens.. if you don't want to worry about breeding to start with I would suggest a couple of lambs that you grow for the freezer; good education for the children and you can get someone in to do the homekill before they need shearing etc. chickens are a must and again great for the education factor. Don't forget the veggie patch and maybe an orchard? We do a couple of steers at a time but the winter hay can be quite costly if the grass isn't growing! Whatever you decide enjoy the rural lifestyle talk to your neighbours and see what local knowledge they have about grass growth, local vets, etc.

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9 years 4 months ago #499426 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic Small block stocking advice
Newbie question (and sorry to hijack the thread a bit!) - how long do you keep cattle that you are growing for meat, ie what age is good to slaughter them?

And would 1.5 - 2 acres be enough for 2 small cattle (e.g dexters? lowline? any other good options?) with the expectation that we might have to supplement feed in winter (or even summer if there isn't enough rain?)

And if we also had goats would they be ok in the same paddock, or is it recommended to separate them or graze one after the other?

Thanks in advance!

Muddling our way through 1Ha on the Christchurch Port Hills, with flocks of heritage chickens, Silver Appleyard ducks, Gotland sheep, and Arapawa goats.

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9 years 4 months ago #499428 by katieb
Replied by katieb on topic Small block stocking advice

Wren;505092 wrote: Newbie question (and sorry to hijack the thread a bit!) - how long do you keep cattle that you are growing for meat, ie what age is good to slaughter them?


depends on what you get, a heifer will not grow as big as a steer but will be at killable condition earlier

We usually eat heifers, had one angus x done this morning plus a jersey bull with a damaged leg who will become mince & sasuages

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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9 years 4 months ago #499430 by Tui Ridge
We do our cattle anywhere between 18 months and 2.5 yrs - just whenever we need to fill the freezer / reduce numbers. Lowline in particular have a good meat to weight ratio.

We did a lowline x fresian recently at 21 mths he was 325kg when the homekill guy first hooked him up and we got almost 190kg of meat from him [^] (even the homekill butcher was well impressed on that one!).

Also, at times, we have the cattle, sheep and a group of alpacas grazing in the one (very large) paddock, Though we usually follow the alpacas around with a couple of cows of some sort to tidy up after them. :)

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

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