Small block stocking advice

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9 years 4 months ago #499432 by LongRidge
Farmerden, lambs are a possibility, especially if they have already been shorn. But you have to be very careful that they respect humans, and are friendly toward humans. We have just got rid of some Perendale lambs that were unbelievably scatty, even after a years handling.
If you do this, ask the farmer if you can return the lambs for the price you paid, if it does not work out.
Wren, it depends where in NZ you are, and what your soil is like, and what the pasture is like. Goats and cattle together are the absolute best way of running goats with another species. Goats don't get cattle parasites, and vice versa. Goats eat the thistles and other "weeds" (to us but not to them :-) ) that cattle don't like, and goats try to not eat clover. If I had a small acreage and wanted to produce beef for the freezer, I would kill the animal younger so that I didn't carry 2 big animals through 2 winters. The main reason why freezing works like bigger cattle is that it costs about the same to kill a big animal as a small one. Some people are able to taste the flavour difference but I don't notice it much. So the best beef I have ever had came from a 5 month old calf straight off his mum. Even the roasts could be cooked as steaks, and were :-).

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9 years 4 months ago #499459 by Wren
Replied by Wren on topic Small block stocking advice
Thanks so much - with your help I think I am gradually starting to get my head round this livestock thing! :)

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 #499554 by smudge
Replied by smudge on topic Small block stocking advice
I only have 1 hectare and we kept two beefies for years, one up to 18months and one year smaller. If your pasture is good you can do it but nothing else really. Because we had a few sheep I've now done my fist year in 20 years without a moocow. But we have a pile of sheep at the moment but they will disappear to a cold place in the next few weeks.

The cattle needed a lot of water and shifting often, sheep just need a few complete days a year so not so bad. Plus I can butcher the sheep myself.

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9 years 3 months ago #499816 by Odell
Replied by Odell on topic Small block stocking advice
Hi, I too have been reading this thread with interest. We are just about to, very excitedly, put an offer in on 5 acres near Blenheim. Our plan is to carry on working in ChCh for a year or so then sell our home here and move up. We would therefore build a little later on but we would like to start some land preparation before that. We want to have chickens, a decent vege garden, fruit trees and possibly some livestock but only what we would eat ourselves really. We will be a bit limited in the amount of time we can spend up there while still working but expect to be up there around one weekend in three and long weekends etc. I'd really appreciate any advice on what we should start with preparing. For example, should we split the land into paddocks and, if so, how big should we go for, should we start planting fruit trees now? Any other ideas would be very gratefully accepted. Thanks

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9 years 3 months ago #499839 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Small block stocking advice
Definitely split the land into smaller paddocks so you have some control over grazing. Make all gates at least fourteen feet wide in case you need to get big vehicles and machinery in and out at some time in the future. I'd be wary of planting trees if you are not going to be there to take care of them. I suspect the drought would kill most of them if you are only going to be around to water them every third weekend.

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9 years 3 months ago #499841 by John M
Replied by John M on topic Small block stocking advice
Odell, one option to help trees survive is plastic 20-25l bottles with a very slow dripping hole/tap. Fill them up each 3rd weekend and they should last long enough to prevent them drying from drought.

Depends on water source, time, how many trees etc, but the sooner you get them planted, the better.

Breeding black Wiltshire shedding sheep.

Full shedding, easy care, good feet, easy lambing and good mothering is what it takes to make the breeding cut!

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9 years 3 months ago #499878 by Odell
Replied by Odell on topic Small block stocking advice
Hi John and Igor, thanks so much. Great advice re the plastic slow 'leak' bottles. We'll give it a go and see if we get any success. What size paddocks would you suggest as a reasonable size? When we looked at the land originally we thought it looked really small - but we then went to some open homes at established 5 acre blocks and realised how wrong we were! It looks so much bigger with stuff on LOL

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9 years 3 months ago #499879 by LongRidge
Odell, I suggest that you do absolutely nothing until you have the house built. Until you know which way the wind blows, and where the frost lies, work beforehand is likely to need re-doing. The person who built our house lived on the 50 hectare property in a caravan for an entire year before deciding which was the best spot on the whole property.
Rabbits, hares, opossums, cattle or sheep will eat your plantings while you are away.
Fire will destroy any fences if you do not keep the place grazed, and a grazier won't want to be bothered with small paddocks. Also, his stock will not help the fences.
Unless you have someone to care for your animals while you are away, on a formal basis, you will be leaving yourself way open for neglect of them under the Animal Welfare Act. They will also get rustled.
Thus, if it were mine, I would try to lease the property to a neighbour until you are ready to live there permanently. It will be worth about $500 per year, depending on boundary fencing, water supply, aspect and soil fertility.

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9 years 3 months ago #499882 by Odell
Replied by Odell on topic Small block stocking advice
Hi Longridge, more good advice and thoughts - thank you! The land is part of a small subdivision of 8 blocks. One is already built on and occupied and the guy who is selling suggested those owners may be keen to put a few cattle on to keep our grass down if we want. Otherwise he has offered to put some on himself. Of course, we'll be dead keen to try to get up there to spend a bit of time even before we build. So now I'm wondering if it might be best to fence off the front two thirds or so for grazing and then have a go with a few fruit trees towards the back and try the plastic bottle suggestion for watering. We know which way the prevailing wind comes from and also that it can be very dry during the summer so we're aware we may have difficulty establishing trees without being there. There is a shelter belt already planted along the southern boundary (prevailing wind side) but only around 3-4 metres high at the moment. I imagine that would offer some protection from the wind but completely get your point re frost and drought. We'll think on it a little longer.

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