Adam Klaus wrote:As for the suggestion of animal power, no disrespect intended at all, but that is one seriously skilled endeavor. Not something you can just jump into. It is an honorable skill and a noble art, but if you just go buy a donkey and a plow, there are going to be some real comedy scenes at first. And potential injury, which you should never underestimate how expensive that is!
Hope those thought help to give some structure to your dilemma. Your body is by far the most valuable, versatile, and useful tool you will ever find. Treat it well, use it wisely. Reap as you sow.
It is a skilled endeavor, but like farming it is a skill that can be learned. However injury to you or your animals is a real risk. My Father was teaching our stallion how to drive, while paired with our mare got thrown from the forecart when the stallion spooked and he could not bring it under control quick enough. I arrived home just after that happened to find my father wondering around the field a bit confused from the concussion he got, looking for the horses. I found the horses wrecked and scared near a tree line. It took me a good thirty minutes to free them. Fortunately they had only minor injuries, but it could have been much worse.
Also Horses ain't cheap. We spend more on our horses than we do on our tractor every year.
I'm not saying don't do animal powered farming, but if you do, do it for reasons other than economic reasoning. If you enjoy working with your animals it is a great way to spend time with them, and with proper management do have positive impacts on your farm.