Sheep, Goats, Mini-cows?
August 31, 2009 7:34 PM   Subscribe

Sheep, Goats, Mini-cows? I have about two acres of fenced-in land in Ohio, I already own two goats (one fainting goat, and an angora) and some chickens. Trying to maximize enjoyment and profit, what animals should I raise, good suggestions in the past have been, nubian goats, (sell the milk and meat) sheep, rabbits (reproduce fast, good profit), ect. What should my next purchase be, the more creative the better.
posted by Benzle to Grab Bag (12 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
from what i've read. rabbits are the best in terms of most meat for the least feed and least trouble and care
posted by Redhush at 7:47 PM on August 31, 2009

I have not raised them myself but I hear muscovy ducks reproduce fast, keep bugs down and have a nicer non greasy flesh than other ducks.
They are also big and ugly and personable and some owners say they have a sense of humor.
posted by Iron Rat at 8:10 PM on August 31, 2009

Alpacas. They've got everything going for them that angora goats have, plus
  • they're foliage browsers, not bark eaters, so your trees won't get ringbarked
  • they're soft-footed, so they won't compact the soil in your paddocks
  • they can and will kick the hell out of foxes with their sharp toenails
  • best saved for last: they shit in one or two neat piles instead of scattering it everywhere, so you've got much less parasite trouble and an easy compost source for your veggie patch.

posted by flabdablet at 8:22 PM on August 31, 2009 [2 favorites]

Emu farming
posted by amyms at 8:31 PM on August 31, 2009

From a purely husbandry and care standpoint:

Emu are evil bastards. Don't. I still have nightmares about feeding Emu. I needed no more proof that Theropod dinosaurs became birds than working with those ... .THINGS.

Alpacas are sweet natured but require a great deal of vet care by specialized vets.

Rabbits are good meat animals. Have not personally raised them, but my grandfather used to.

Ducks are good animals for this sort of thing. Geese are under the "evil bastard" category.

Goats are evil, but not bastards. They are tolerable. Consider getting more?
posted by strixus at 8:45 PM on August 31, 2009

Goat cheese, sold as local specialty, along with the other goat produce you already sell, is what I'd do for max profit on a small steading (if I could stand goats) Not cows, because they're only giving milk for less time (though I like cows.) Ducks are OK but do best with more water than you probably have.
posted by anadem at 8:57 PM on August 31, 2009

I'll second alpaca, and throw in a few llama to keep the alpaca in line. There's a growing market for both alpaca and llama wool, plus the animals themselves are adorable.
posted by MeghanC at 8:58 PM on August 31, 2009

A family friend had llama in the city of SF many years ago. I don't remember much about how difficult they were to care for, but they were nice good-natured animals.
posted by ctmf at 9:39 PM on August 31, 2009

Chickens. Easy to care for, low initial investment, reproduce quickly, easy to collect and sell the eggs, and relatively easy to butcher when they've stopped laying.
posted by entropic at 10:16 PM on August 31, 2009

Turkeys do well on fenced pasture plus bought feed and they are showy as all heck and like to hang around with people. A heritage bird that has been pastured is better than a store bought butterball. They will not clean up the garden scraps as well as chickens but will act as zucchini disposers.
posted by Iron Rat at 10:26 PM on August 31, 2009 [1 favorite]

Definitely alpacas, for all the reasons stated above. Plus they make awesome noises... kind of like humming.

You could start your own fibre company!
posted by indienial at 11:03 PM on August 31, 2009

A friend has Llamas and Alpacas, and advises against them except as pets. What you get for the wool doesn't make them economically viable.

Dairy goats + cheese is a higher value option, however 2 acres won't support many animals year-round - might be enough for a hobby, but I doubt you could make an economic proposition from it. Goats need to be rotated onto fresh pasture or they get worms - most worm treatments have a 30-day milk withholding period.

Sheep are an option - you have enough land to raise sheep to keep you in meat, plus some to barter, and sheep are very low maintenance compared to goats [voice of experience]. They don't need as much fencing [you MUST have robust fences for goats] and generally look after themselves, especially if you get a breed that doesn't need shearing.
posted by HiroProtagonist at 8:14 PM on September 1, 2009

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