Sunday, November 11, 2012

Our Future Animals and Why

For the past 5 years, we have been seriously researching which animals to have on our farm. As we want to be as self-sufficient as possible, the choices must give us the maximum benefit with the minimum effort. Here are the animals and a description of what they will be used for...

Sussex Chickens – These chickens are dual-purpose. That means they are good for meat and egg production. The hens weigh about 3.2kg (7lbs), and produce 240-260 eggs per year. Since we have a 50/50 chance at getting males and females from the eggs, we will use some of the males for meat production. Basically, we will incubate 10-15 eggs per month to be raised as meat. The eggs that become females will be used in egg production or sold.

Dorset Sheep – These sheep are dual-purpose also. They are good for wool and meat. We were looking for a triple purpose sheep, but it seems the breed that we wanted is not imported into the United States. The Dorset is a prolific breeder. It can produce 4-5 lambs per year. The gestation length is 142-152 days. After they have one set of kids, they can be bred again. Ewes weigh 70-90 kg. (150-200 lbs). Rams weigh 100-120 kg. (225-275 lbs).

Miniature Jersey Cows – This is dairy breed, so we will only use it for milk production. They stand 107-122 cm (42-48 inches) at the hips, and weigh 136-317 kg. (300-700 lbs). They produce 2-3 gallons of milk per day. Miniature Jerseys are not a new breed, nor a bred down replica of the Jersey cattle we see today. They are descendants of the original Jerseys imported from the Jersey islands and Britain many years ago with the same size and conformation of the original Jersey breed. These cattle are safer because of their smaller size. Also, they eat 1/3 less than a standard size cow. 

Hereford Bull – This breed is for meat production. Herefords are one of the most highly adaptable breeds of cattle in the world. A Hereford's thick hide, light-and-dark coat color, and ability to live off of grass and hay alone, make it able to adapt so readily to the different climates it lives in. Herefords are known for their great temperament and docility, and because they require little management in terms of feeding, they are one of the best breeds to raise on ranch or rangeland-like conditions. Plus, we love beef stew!

Nubian Goats – Nubians are large, with does weighing at least 135 pounds (61 kg) and 175 pounds (79 kg) for bucks. The minimum height of the breed, measured at the withers, is 30 inches (76 cm) for does and 35 inches (89 cm) for bucks. Anglo-Nubians can live in very hot climates and have a longer breeding season than other dairy goats. Considered a dairy or dual-purpose breed, Anglo-Nubians are known for the high butterfat content of their milk. Nubians are remarkable in temperate zones of agriculture in being able to deal with temperatures as low as 0 °F (−18 °C) with open faced shelters. They readily attach to their new human owners with simple neck and side stroking. Nubians love human interaction and will call for their owner.

Anatolian Shepherd - With acute hearing, exceptional eyesight, and the strength to take down wolves and bears, the Anatolian Shepherd Dog is a superb guardian of his flock. I think we will call him Maximus.

Koolie - Specifically, it is a herding dog, a subcategory of a working dog. A dog which has a natural instinct to cast out (i.e., circle widely), round sheep and bring them back to their owner. They are used for “heading” sheep and also for quiet careful work at close quarters at lambing time or for “shedding” (cutting out) sheep. Known to be patient, temperate, dedicated, with a strong sense of willingness and devotion; the Koolie is not naturally aggressive but can demonstrate dominance. They show an untiring enthusiasm for work and an admirable hardiness when the job or circumstance requires. Unlike other working breeds, which are noted for their crouched form or style and preference for either yard or field work, Koolies are at ease working in closed surroundings such as yards or trucks and being out in paddocks and droving. As well as working anything from ducks to bulls, like all dogs of their kind they will herd family members and children in the absence of other charges.

American Paint Horse - is a breed of horse that combines both the conformational characteristics of a western stock horse with a pinto spotting pattern of white and dark coat colors. They were developed from a base of spotted horses with Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred bloodlines. The American Paint Horse's combination of color and conformation has made the American Paint Horse Association (APHA) the second-largest breed registry in the United States.

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