Andrew Mayflower wrote: If I had a walk in cooler and was close enough I'd have picked up as many as the cooler could handle, and butcher them for friends and family, and local folks out of work. I'd only ask enough to get my actual $$ expenses back, so probably $0.50/lb cut/wrapped. I'd probably ask anyone out of work in the local area that wanted it to come out and help with the processing. That way A) they'd get a chance to do something productive in exchange for ultra low cost meat, B) possibly learn a new skill and C) reduce my personal workload.
Yeah, I know, it's not "permie" to go pick up a cow from a CAFO under normal circumstances, but if the alternative is to kill and bury it, I see it as a great service to the animal, and the people it would feed to prevent that from happening.
Walk in cooler? LOL LOL LOL We've done neighborhood hog butchering in June and nary a walk in cooler in sight. This is Texas and it is HOT! We quarter the carcass and pack in ice chests. Drain the water every day, add more ice. Do that 3-4 days, then start processing. You missed your chance to procure low cost meat for you and friends. Now you know how to slaughter, Southern Style. LOL Heck, even in winter, it is too hot to hang deer, so we pack 'em in ice chests, drain, ice, repeat.
If you could have gotten a steer, that would have been awesome. Gather up everybody's ice chests and get after it!
I buy a couple of feeder pigs every spring. The first of February, we got 2 at $60 each, they were 4 months old. Hampshire and Yorkshire crosses, they were small for 4 months. I give them free feed in a feed bin. I have a trough that I give them soured corn in, they suck up the juice first. Because I have learned not to wait until the last month to set a slaughter date, I went ahead and set a slaughter date in August. In March, we took some lambs that I had booked a date for months earlier. I tried to set a date for a steer that we bought and was told no, they were booked out through May of 2021 and weren't taking any more. So I called around and found a place booking dates in March of 2021 and got a date for the steer. This was for a steer that we hadn't even taken possession of yet! CRAZY!! The steer is for our own consumption. We keep a pig and sell a pig and that pays for our pig, processing and feed. I sold live lambs and took to slaughter as a courtesy, people paid for the slaughter fees and picked up their meat.
Feeder pigs here are priced from $150-$300!! For a FEEDER pig! Insane! I put the ram with the ewes in September and I won't be taking any lambs to slaughter in 2021. How can I set a date for lambs that aren't even born yet? We will load them all up and take them to auction. Let slaughter be somebody else's problem.
I raise Cornish Cross chickens and sell them, slaughtered. At least we can do those ourselves!
With no meat in the stores earlier this year, all of a sudden, everybody wanted to be a farmer. I'm happy that people took some responsibility for feeding their families, but I bet most go back to buying meat at the store.
Likewise, garden seeds were sold out too. Lucky that I got garden fever and ordered before Covid Crazy struck.
Cherokee Purple is the hands down, grow every year favorite here. The best flavor ever. I can, make sauce, spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, salsa, and bar be cue sauce. I also dehydrate them. Fresh eating is awesome, they make mid size to large tomatoes, have green shoulders, sometimes are ugly, but get over it. Do you want exceptional taste or a pretty, red baseball? LOL
I haven't read the whole thread, will come back later to study it in detail. I have to butcher chickens this morning. LOL The question I have is, Has anyone put a metal roof, elevated with walk under room, over their underground house? We pass one on the way to visit friends, been meaning to stop and ask questions, but are always in a hurry. Guess we need to slow down, stop and be nosy. We moved from a comfortable, insulated, roomy brick home to a smallish double wide mobile home. If the power goes off in the summer, it is like sitting in an oven! Not sustainable. Underground homes interest us very much, but the problem of leakage rears its ugly head. The metal roof covering seems to be a good answer, need to study this further.
Lots of good ideas here. We live on 8 acres, have chickens, sheep, horses, dogs, the yearly feeder pig and ATM, a steer. The 2 freezers are packed and the canning closet is full. I was raised in hurricane country and lived there most of my life until 6 years ago. Now we live in tornado country. We could live very well on what I have stocked up for probably a year. I have small livestock on purpose, easier to raise and maintain. We are in a good neighborhood of fairly like minded individuals, except for a couple of jerks nobody likes. LOL We raise a garden every year, dehydrate, can and freeze the proceeds, as well as spread the wealth around the neighborhood. I have a large supply of seeds. A neighbor is having a well drilled this weekend and is going to run pipe to our place for the animals and garden. He has benefitted from our garden and meat supply and wants to keep that going! LOL
We have a very small customer base to sell pork and chicken to. We carry a million dollar liability insurance policy, yearly cost is $125. That is in case a customer says our food made them sick and wants to sue us. It does not cover them coming to the farm and hurting themselves.
I recommend common bermuda, it is a short grass, not a "named" variety, which costs more for seed. Common Bermuda is tough, resists drought, once established. You may have to water it to help it through the first summer. DWC would compliment it well and provide nitrogen. Mowing both would add humus to the soil, over time. Berrmuda will frost and stop growing in the winter, but will come back out from the roots in the spring. For winter coverage, plant a perennial rye grass, NOT an annual rye grass. The perennial stays short and will reseed and come back.
Now that I have gathered more information about your property and your situation, plant DWC and perennial rye grass NOW. Buy your common bermuda and be ready to plant it in March. If the rye and DWC is thick or tall, mow it before sowing the bermuda. I have sowed the grass seed I have planted by hand. I load my wagon with the grass seed bag, and use a small bucket to pour the seed in. Then I throw handfuls of seed and get pretty good coverage.
I am in zone 8a but spent most of my life in zone 9a and 8b. I'm very well acquainted with heat, LOL. Bermuda should be your grass of choice, you already have some growing there. Since it is fall, you can dig up some of it and sprig in in various places on your property. We went out on the side of the road and dug sprigs of bermuda and bahia and planted them in shallow trenches in one of our pastures. It is now thick and lush. Fall is a good time to do this as it will have a chance to get established before the summer heat heat hits it. It looks to be a turf type, not a pasture type. Pasture types get tall, and would require mowing more often. A turf type stays much shorter. You can even buy turf by the pallet or squares and set it out on your land. The Dutch White Clover stays green here, still blooming up to June then dies back in the summer heat. It would be a good addition to your property as it would add nitrogen to your soil.
Are you going to build a house or any sort of buildings?
Dana Jones wrote:My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.
Where approx are you located please? Bermuda grass is recommended for my area, Im almost ashamed to admit I know nothing about grass let alone bermuda grass, I hope this grass is avail via seed that can be mixed in with the DWC?
Here is a link to the UF publication on Bermudagrass and their varieties: https://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/aa200 The variety Tifton 85 appears to be the best and most well-adapted to N. Central FL.
I am located in northeast Texas. Bermuda does well here, it can stand the heat and makes a good pasture grass. Are you going to plant pasture (tall varieties) or lawn type turf (short varieties)? A good grass site is https://hancockseed.com/ Dutch White Clover stays fairly short and will still look good if it is mowed, like in a lawn. I've done lots of study on grasses because my soil is pure sand and it has been difficult to get grass started. It comes up, does great, then the summer hot sun fries it because it is not established with deep roots and the sand heats up. We have used lots of wood chips, animal manures, and waste hay.
What are your plans for your land? Like previously mentioned, Bermuda is forever. Dynamite wouldn't kill it.
My soil is locally called sugar sand, Like a Florida beach without the ocean. Clover is a great soil conditioner and provides forage for bees. Dutch White Clover is great for seasonal lawns, it will die back when it gets hot. So a lawn type grass is good to have for the off season for clover. I have it planted in my pastures along with white ball clover and crimson clover. I hand sowed all of it, it was thin to start with, but has thickened up over several seasons.
I add new hens every year and slaughter the hens in their second molt. I keep them through their first molt, but not their second molt. If you get a new breed or color every year, it is easier to figure out which group is the oldest.
Bermuda grass grows well just about anywhere. My pigs just rooted up an area of almost and acre, going to use a grass and herbal mix to reseed it. Dutch white clover, chicory, burnett, Bahia grass, Bermuda grass, crimson clover, and for winter, rye grass.
I looked up info on violets. One site says they are toxic, the next says how good they are. Go figure. I have had violets in pastures before and no livestock died from them. If you put the goats in with the violets, keep free choice hay in front of them and they should be alright. However, if you REALLY want the violets gone, get a couple of feeder pigs and raise them in the violet pasture. The pigs will root them up, eat them and they will be gone, gone, gone. I currently have 4 pigs in a green briar infested 1/2 acre pasture (it has trees too) and they ate the vines, rooted up the bulbous roots and have effectively destroyed a lot of them. They have turned every square inch of dirt. It will be easy to get the rest of them out after the pigs are slaughtered. Then will come a planting of various grasses, weeds, clovers and herbs. The field will lie fallow until next spring before I put my sheep on it.
Good luck with your pigs! I'm in Texas where it is HOT! I raised my first pigs through the winter, which is mild here. I messed up and am raising pigs in the summer now. Never again! I guess if you had winter pigs, they would use all their feed to stay warm! Nice looking piggies, hope they grow off well for you!
What about sheathing the outside with plywood while you dry your cord wood (if you can't find any dry wood)? I don't know about your area, but here in east Texas, in September-October, the sap is flowing and if you cut a pine tree, the sap crystalizes, preserving the wood. We call it rich pine and fenceposts that are rich pine last for years.
This is the wire I used. You need real good wire to keep your animals IN and other animals OUT. Bear in mind the number one predator of sheep is dogs. In a suburban area, there will be lots of dogs. Hopefully people keep them on their own property, but some people are not very thoughtful of others. We have Great Pyrenees livestock guard dogs because of coyotes. On a small acreage like yours, you can probably put your sheep up securely at night and be ok. But you need a GOOD fence. Put up a good solid parameter fence, then cross fence into what pastures you want. You won't put it all up at one time, so buy a roll or two, with T-posts and put it up. Then do the next stretch.
You might have to go to the feed stores, they carry chicks in the spring, and raise your own. As far as long term layers, most only lay their best for 2, maybe 3 years. After that, butcher them, have some nice chicken and dumplings and raise new ones. If feed stores are not an option, do a google search for hatcheries and order chicks.
We have 8 acres and it is sand. Think beach sand, sand, sand, SAND! And no ocean!! LOL As Marco said, cover with wood chips. We have contractors working in the area, clearing power line right of ways. They are based in a town about an hour away, so we let them park 3 of their big trucks and chippers here on our place at night and on weekends. They are delighted as they only have to run back and forth in pick up trucks. We have received close to 60 chipper truck loads of wood chips. We spread half of them already around the barn and on the driveway. In the summer, it is hot, dry and walking outside feels like a sand storm. We were blessed with FREE 4-5 year old wood chips that had decomposed down to a rich black crumbly garden gold, and that's just where it is-in the garden. We had the contractors dump 10 loads off to one side, which we will let rot down for future gardens. All the rest are being dumped on a natural gas pipeline that runs through our place, so we have to move it as we can't have stuff on top of the pipeline.
How to find wood chips? ASK! Find power line contractors, call the power companies, landscaping companies, sawmills, etc. We also cruise neighborhoods in the fall when people rake their yards and bag up their leaves. They do all the work and we reap the benefits. We load up the truck with bagged leaves! I put them in the sheep lot, in the sheep shed and in the chicken coop. The animals do my composting work for me. If the leaves get poopy, throw in some more bags! Clean out every so often and pile up for the garden.
We were given 2 loads of hay-cow manure winter lot leftovers, and have another one waiting. They are about 12 yards each. We have them dumped on the side of the pipeline to compost. Then I'll spread them down the pipeline in an effort to enrich the soil for planting grass for the sheep.
You might want to buy your own chipper for small branches. You are going to cut trees, chip up those branches and leaves! Take the tree trunk and larger branches and bury them for flat style hugel beds. Don't plant fruit trees on top of buried trunks or they will sink as the tree trunks decompose. Plant fruit/nut trees off to the side of flat hugel beds. Return the nutrients to the soil, and the wood mass will hold moisture. A neighbor planted watermelons on top of a flat hugel and had a great harvest!
@Travis Johnson, that is interesting about the Corriedale sheep. My present flock is my "learner" sheep, so if I kill them out of ignorance, I haven't lost an expensive $1,000 registered ram or ewe. But I did choose hair sheep so I wouldn't have to shear them. There is no shearers around east Texas that I know of, and I don't know that I could handle that. I'll keep them in mind. I am leaning toward registered Dorpers or Royal Whites.
We fenced with 2"x4"x48" non climb horse wire. It is woven wire, PLEASE don't buy welded wire, it is total crap! Our's is permanent fencing and we built it to stay for a loooong time. There are a lot of wool sheep breeds, your wife would have a good time trying to decide which breed to get!
There is nothing silly about posting your plans and dreams. I have them too! We used hair sheep first to clear brush and lower limbs of trees. Then we cut select trees and let the sheep eat the tops as they lay on the ground. Now my sheep run to the sound of a chainsaw. LOL We used a machete to chop greenbriar vines and dragged them out of the tree tops. The sheep ate all the green leaves off the vines, then we picked them up and piled them for burning. Free food! We spent last summer clearing about an acre like this and now it is a decent pasture. We planted winter rye grass for the sheep this winter. In another few weeks, we'll have to take them off and sow summer grass seed and keep them off long enough to let it get established.
We used pigs in winter 2015-2016 to root up the garden spot. We had already dug out a tremendous pile of stumps, green briar roots and other things, but the pigs really finished rooting up things. After we took them to slaughter, I smoothed out their moon craters with the tractor and planted a garden.
At this moment we have 4 pigs in a half acre pasture that needs help. It is not as infested with briars as the one acre pasture was, but they are happily rooting their way all over the place. We'll take them to slaughter in May, then smooth it out and sprig Bermuda and plant a variety of grass seeds.
I don't mix the sheep and pigs. Never get only one pig as they are social animals and need a friend. I use 2"x4"x48" non climb horse wire for all my fencing. It even keeps the chickens in.
I would be very polite and so sweet that sugar wouldn't melt in my mouth. Then if they are ugly or ignore you altogether, you won't be so much of a suspect when the dog mysteriously disappears.........
My heart hurts for you. I am so sorry. Others have already given you good ideas on what to do, I have nothing to add there. I just wanted you to know, that yes, we do know what pain you are feeling and what a tough decision this is for you. Big hugs.
I have a Kubota 23 HP (too small for round bales) with a front end loader. I LOVE MY FRONT END LOADER!!! if it were a bigger horsepower, it would be perfect. But our neighbor that we buy round bales from, delivers them with his tractor, one at a time, as needed. I use my front end loader all the time. Get one, you will be glad you did.
We raised ours through the winter. We live in northeast Texas and rarely get snow. We do have dips in the 20's, but usually not more than a week of really cold weather at a time. We have a lot of sunny days in the 60's and 70's. They had shelter packed with hay for the cold. The good thing was no smell and no flies. Their pen was 100'x70' and they had plenty of room to run and play. I would raise pigs in the winter again.
I use white mechanic shop rags. They are tough, come in packs of 25 and last forever! I've had mine for over 20 years and they still scrub good. With so many in a pack, you can get a new clean one every day and satisfy your husband's bacteria fears. If I abuse one and stain it all up, then it goes into the use-for-anything stack.
What a blessing to have a fruit orchard already planted, no matter how neglected it was before you got it. All I can think of is How Awesome! And then to have young trees that produce good fruit, how much better can it get?
I live in northeast Texas. I am a white female old enough to remember segregation. Yes, there are idiots out there, but they are becoming fewer and hopefully, one day they will all die out. People are people, no matter the color, religion, beliefs and all the other defining descriptions on the list. So what. I hope you make your move and find friendly, welcoming people. If you run into an "idiot" it's their loss, not yours.