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Old 09-11-2008, 09:30 AM
 
Location: Virginia (soon Ellsworth)
653 posts, read 1,723,585 times
Reputation: 327

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i want to keep either 3-4 Goats or Sheeps, which are the lowerst maintenance.
no experience with any farm animals except chickens and let them loose sleeping in the tree. food and water is alway available when they want them.
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Old 09-11-2008, 11:07 AM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,536 posts, read 55,453,855 times
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Goats, but you need way more knowledge before you even consider buying any.
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Old 09-11-2008, 05:33 PM
San
 
54 posts, read 393,880 times
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I agree with harry chickpea. Having worked with veterinarians for a good part of my working life, I'd have to say that goats require much less maintanance than sheep. I have also raised sheep in the past so I know where of I speak. However that is not to say they are totally without problems. As he said before you buy any animals, you need to know a great deal more. I would suggest you get information from a local veterinarian and also from your local extention service. Also, check out some info at the local library and online. Don't buy anything without knowing what it's going to take to keep those animals healthy and in good condition.
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Old 09-11-2008, 06:08 PM
 
11,257 posts, read 44,311,975 times
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In the general sense, goats are easier to keep than sheep.

That said, a lot depends upon what you want the animals for. If it's to keep weeds under control, meat breed goats (Boers, Spanish, etc) are hardier and a better choice than fiber goats (Angoras, Cashmere, etc). Milk goats (Nubians, etc) are a little mellower than meat breeds, but still require more care and shelter than meat breeds.

But you need to be careful about what you want here ... meat goats will aggressively challenge your fences. If there's a way that they can weaken or get around, over, or through a fence, they will. Unless you've got concreted in fences with electric hot wires in the bottom and top, they will get out. That means they'll be in your neighbor's gardens, lawns, trees, and weeds, too. Unless you adequately shield every one of your trees, they'll eat the bark off and kill them. I've seen 4 goats go through an onion patch and destroy an acre's worth in less than an hour. They don't catch easily, and they'll ignore you until they're ready to be lured back into a corral area.

Sheep, on the other hand, are only slightly less destructive. They generally won't eat the bark off trees, but they'll eat just about everything else and may wander almost as far as goats. They won't challenge fences as hard, but will go out if there's a weak spot in the fencing or at a gate. You'll be surprised at how little an opening they can go through. If you have a vegetable garden, or decorative landscaping ... it must be fenced off or they'll be into it and destroy it. Your best bet is for hardy sheep breeds are Tunis or Southdowns ... again, these are meat breeds and famous for their easy keeping qualities. You won't want Hampshire's or Dorsett's, large breeds that will bowl you over as much as to look at you.

Consider, also, that most Sheep breeds require shearing twice a year. Do you have the desire to get the equipment and learn to shear your sheep? Do you have a local shearer who will come over for a reasonable price and shear just a few?

Do you have a livestock or horse trailer that you can use to get the animals to a vet when needed? We can haul a couple of goats or sheep in the back of our Subie wagons, but that's not adequate when you've got 5 head to haul around.

If you're not into a breeding program, keep only females. Even neutered males can be aggressive and challenge you with serious butting which can break bones (yours!). IF you want to breed, then you're looking at a whole new education into animal husbandry and keeping your ram away from the ewes or does except for breeding time. Now you're needing infrastructure/pens, and it's a lot more work.

It's not trivial getting into livestock, even on a small scale. Chickens are much much much easier to get into and keep, especially if you're just letting them free range.

Also, consider your predator threat to your livestock. If there's coyotes around, you need to address that problem or you'll be looking at a whole bunch of very clean white bones in neat piles where your sheep or goats used to be. Unless you've got many thousands of acres for your sheep to roam and livestock guardian dogs, livestock is not a simple proposition to be taken lightly. It's a lot of work and responsibility.

You might also want to check out your library for "how to" books for the small flock. Carla Emory had a great book out on small acreage living, too, with great sections on getting into and keeping livestock.
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Old 09-11-2008, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Whitewater, Colorado
156 posts, read 231,720 times
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Goats.. Just be sure that you built a good fence!!
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Old 09-11-2008, 08:55 PM
 
Location: Virginia (soon Ellsworth)
653 posts, read 1,723,585 times
Reputation: 327
i want to keep them for milk and weeds/shrups control in large tract of uneven wood lot in Maine.
i want to raise them to survive like deers, no vacine no antibiotic, if the environment is not suitable to keep them wild, i don't want to keep them at all.

temporary electric fence to be relocate as weeds / shurbs depleted

Quote:
Originally Posted by Firebug86 View Post
Goats.. Just be sure that you built a good fence!!
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:31 PM
 
Location: Somewhere in northern Alabama
18,536 posts, read 55,453,855 times
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You don't want them, then. They need a winter shelter, water that won't freeze over, enough fuel (food) to get through the winter, and they can get hurt or have diseases. Even in milder climates, where they can be more or less self-sustaining, they need care.
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Old 09-11-2008, 09:59 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,853 posts, read 30,794,271 times
Reputation: 22403
Quote:
Originally Posted by boonskyler View Post
i want to keep either 3-4 Goats or Sheeps, which are the lowerst maintenance.
no experience with any farm animals except chickens and let them loose sleeping in the tree. food and water is alway available when they want them.
Sheep are lower maintenance. Your fencing needs are much, much less (Goats are Houdinis). You have to be more careful with Sheep food (low copper), in both cases you are going to need a livestock guardian dog to take care of them from the coyotes (or a donkey or a llama).

Wool sheep are multi purpose (milk, fiber and meat), goats less so although, if you have a hispanic or middle eastern population nearby goats are popular for meat too. You can also make goat milk soap from their milk.

Sheep are more docile (some would say boring), goats have more personality but are harder to keep OUT OF THINGS. Goats are much more noisy IMHO if that is a consideration.

I'd choose wool sheep myself. Something small and easy to take care of (Icelandic, Shetland, Miniature Southdown).

20yrsinBranson
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:02 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,853 posts, read 30,794,271 times
Reputation: 22403
Quote:
Originally Posted by boonskyler View Post
i want to keep them for milk and weeds/shrups control in large tract of uneven wood lot in Maine.
i want to raise them to survive like deers, no vacine no antibiotic, if the environment is not suitable to keep them wild, i don't want to keep them at all.

temporary electric fence to be relocate as weeds / shurbs depleted
Nope, won't work. All domestic animals need care. You even have to trim goat and sheep hooves if they don't wear down naturally. Check into raising less domesticated animals. Deer, Elk, Pronghorns, wild Antelope. There are people out there who do and make a lot of money with them.

You need to take care of domesticated sheep and goats, your requirements would not work for them.

20yrsinBranson
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Old 09-11-2008, 10:07 PM
 
Location: SW Missouri
15,853 posts, read 30,794,271 times
Reputation: 22403
Quote:
Originally Posted by sunsprit View Post

If you're not into a breeding program, keep only females. Even neutered males can be aggressive and challenge you with serious butting which can break bones (yours!).
They can kill you! It is estimated that four people per year are killed by RAMS butting them in the head when they bend over.

I know someone who had to sell their aggressive ram after being knocked to the ground REPEATEDLY by him. Luckily they were near the fence and could CLIMB out because they really feared for their life. (it was an older lady)

There is a lot to know about how to raise animals.

20yrsinBranson
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