Advice needed for raising sheep and pigs....

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by FreedomFarm13, Oct 13, 2016.

  1. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So, I'm planning on getting a few animals for our budding homestead, and after A LOT of research, I've decided to get sheep and pigs. I will be getting Navajo-Churro, Suffolk, and East Friesian sheep to cover all my bases for all the sheep based products I would like to be producing, and GOS (Gloucestershire Old Spots) and Tamworth pigs. I was wondering if anybody has these animals or, more specifically, these breeds and could maybe provide a novice with a few tips and pointers on the care and raising of said breeds. For example, I'm having a hard time deciding how many of each to get. I will have 6 acres more or less for them to roam on, and I definitely want males of each breed to keep us totally sustainable, but I'm not sure how many girls I would have to get to keep the boys from picking on them too much. I've read differing opinions on how much space they need and how many females per male you need, so any help there would be greatly appreciated. If anybody has any pics of their animals, I would also love to see those, since the many many hours I've spent scrolling through google images obviously did not satiate my appetite for cute pictures of their sweet faces. Anyway, thanks for looking, I appreciate it!
     
  2. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For 6 acres I wouldn't get more than a trio of pigs and a ram and 6-8 ewes. You don't want to run out of grass if you get a dry year.
     
  3. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    I've not kept sheep, or those breeds of hogs. But I can give you some general small livestock advice, and that is to start small.

    Get one breed of each animal and keep those for a year or so. See how that breed does, how much you like that animal in general and that breed in particular. Some breeds look great on paper, but in real life they just don't work for you.

    Also, if you're wanting to keep pure bred animals, logistically it's going to be difficult to keep the rams with the same breed ewes, and the same for the hogs. I'm not sure how many ewes you need per ram to be financially viable, but for hogs I think it's 4 females per boar. Something to look into.

    Honestly, unless you're familiar with male livestock, I'd hold off on the rams and boars for the first year. Get pregnant females, or young females, raise them up and see how things go. Keep them over a winter, especially, and see how much feed you need to provide, how shelter works out, where the muddy quagmires develop, things like that. Find where the weak spots are in your fencing, where you need to add a gate or cross fence, things like that.

    Again, start small. You're always going to find more or different animals you want to ad, so maxing out your carrying capacity right off is going to come back and bite you in the butt when you want to add more animals down the line.


    Adding---looked at your sig line. My juvenile blue copper lookalike cockerels are Athos and Porthos [​IMG]
     
  4. Gray Farms

    Gray Farms Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I started out in sheep with Suffolks then switched with in the next two years. They were great sheep unless you had to mess with them. Better have help, they are very large and very strong.
     
  5. FreedomFarm13

    FreedomFarm13 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Thanks for the advice guys! I probably should've added a little background on myself: I've lived on a farm most of my life. I have owned over 100 goats at one time, and have been breeding horses for over ten years, so I'm used to lots of animals, lots of work, and dealing with large, hormonal boys. I have just never had constraints on how much land I had to raise certain animals, so never really learned how much space they actually need. We always had at least 20 acres, and everything went fine, but only having six (we technically have 13, but my mom has plans for "her" half and I have plans for "my" half, so I'm being a little conservative there, it might actually be more when all is said and done), I don't really know what my maximum number of animals could be. I mainly wondered if anyone else had dealt with these particular breeds and knew about their temperaments, because I haven't been able to learn much about them through my research. Not breed specific info, anyway. I appreciate you saying what you said about the Suffolks, though, Gray Farms, because I had a feeling they would be bullies who kind of threw their weight around. Nothing I can't handle, just good to know ahead of time. It's stuff like that that can really help me get started with these guys. Although everyone else had good points, too. And not knowing that I'd been building fences and all that my whole life, those were perfectly legitimate points to bring up. And I agree about starting small. I wasn't planning on getting all of these all at once. I plan on building up my livestock over time, that way I have time to get to know each new animal and breed that comes along and have a chance to make a decision about them before I'm up and running full tilt. The only animal I know about as far as temperament (from what I've read) is the GOS pigs. I've read that they are amazingly calm and friendly creatures, and that they're a homesteader's dream because they can live almost entirely off of pasture, which I think is so cool. But, they're the only ones I've been able to find much info on, which is surprising, since they're a fairly rare and unknown breed here in the US from what I gather. Anyway, if anyone can back up this claim about the GOS hogs, or has any experience with the other breeds they'd like to share, I'm all ears!! And thanks for reading and commenting, everyone!!

    Oh-- and donrae-- I actually plan on naming my next blue wheaten boy (since D'Artagnon got eaten by a raccoon) Porthos!! Gotta love those musketeer names! And my first black boy is gonna be Aramis [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2016

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