Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Garden grazing  (Read 615 times)

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-homes can amount to 42% in some once-thriving working Cornish communities
Garden grazing
« on: May 17, 2023, 11:06:38 pm »
Am looking/hoping to move home to a lovely terraced "Estate" cottage with about 1/2 acre of meadow garden.  Friends already live in an adjacent property with similar garden.  There is an associated piggery building (with 2 pig stalls), but I definitely have no intention to house pigs (!).  My friends and I have started wondering about shared living lawn-mowers (and at least 2 creatures for company).
 
So, already, not pigs;  not miniature goats either given the need for prison-type boundaries;  a pair of miniature donkeys or Shetland ponies would certainly exceed the fodder availability for most of the year. 


Geese ?? (fox predation issues !!).
Sheep ?? (are there any really small breeds that don't look to compete with their goat cousins in climbing everything).
Wallabies ??  (how high can they jump?  And how much do they eat?
Ostriches/Emus ??  (OK, this is sort-of the Joker suggestion!)


Please do not mention guinea pigs !!!  (Some will know why I say that!  Lol)


Any thoughts ?










   
« Last Edit: May 17, 2023, 11:26:07 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #1 on: May 17, 2023, 11:51:02 pm »
Sounds a lovely move  :sunshine: .


The very first thing you need to check when grazing a garden with any animal is poisonous plants, poisonous to livestock that is. We sold three sheep to a family with a large garden and we checked over the garden as carefully as we could. In spite of that, one of the sheep was soon dead, poisoned by eating a toxic plant - inevitably it was the favourite girl!


The thing about keeping farm livestock as pets is that they still need all the care and money spent on them that they do when kept in larger numbers.  So you would have to deal with their feet, their fly prevention, worm prevention, food needs in the winter even if there was enough grass in the summer, you would have to be able to shear sheep, pay vet fees for emergencies and you would need to be able to source an immediate replacement if one died suddenly.


I won't mention guinea pigs because I don't like the poor wee critters, but I do think geese would be a nice very low maintenance, long lived option. They can be a bit noisy  depending on breed but they can defend themselves quite well - a goose peck is good and painful, like a mole grip holding on with many lbs of goose hanging on, so foxes don't come back for a second try.  They also take themselves off to bed when you tell them to and are far more intelligent than you might expect.  You have to heft them to your land or they can just fly off but once settled they will stay.  I really love my Shetland Geese. They have blue eyes and when we let them hatch goslings they were the most devoted parents and I'm sure they would happily live in the house if we let them  :o ::)
Of course their big plappy feet will squash your dearly nurtured veggies, but a low fence will keep them out.  Ours have a pond but a large dog bath will do for water (they have to be able to wash their heads and they do love to take a bath every day. Another plus point is they don't need to be shorn. So my vote goes to geese.







"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #2 on: May 18, 2023, 08:55:47 am »
Another vote for geese, although even half an acre will get away from several geese during the growing season. They tend to graze over and over the same small patch as they like to take the freshest shoots so inevitably you get longer patches that will need mowing or strimming. However the goose eggs will be a bonus - laying season is from Feb - June.

chrismahon

  • Joined Dec 2011
  • Gascony, France
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #3 on: May 18, 2023, 09:28:40 am »
We had acre in England and taking away the veg plot didn't leave enough grazing for two Jacobs or one Texel. But it may be worth looking at Ouessants? We collected two Marans hens from a couple and they had a large flock of them. Told us they didn't need shearing, because they moulted? They are very small and were kept behind a low chicken wire fence, so perhaps easy to manage?


Not keen on geese. They would outlive us by years and are messy.

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-homes can amount to 42% in some once-thriving working Cornish communities
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #4 on: May 19, 2023, 07:09:16 pm »
I'm awaiting the wallaby assessment, but thanks most kindly for the geese & the very interesting (I'm liking) Ouessant sheep suggestions.  I'm sort of with the comment that geese can be messy, but I will go check out Shetland Geese which are new to me.  (Thinking back, I did/do rather like the look of Chinese geese, but will need to compare.)  Not sure what my incumbent friends will think and, of course, my cottage rental bid is by no means certain of success (there is pretty much a scramble for all and any lettings these days - what a mess we are all in as regards housing on the UK !!).

But, for comparison, what about wallabies anyone ???


[Edit:  I've read enough now to cross off wallabies as an option !!]
« Last Edit: May 20, 2023, 12:26:02 am by arobwk »

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-homes can amount to 42% in some once-thriving working Cornish communities
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #5 on: May 19, 2023, 08:13:24 pm »
I just came across "Babydoll" Southdown sheep !  Any experience ?  (Apparently they are not devastation browsers so wondering whether they might also be gooduns for periodic grazing of the willow plantings !?)


Also, are turkeys an option - are they any different, garden-wise/care-wise, to geese ?
« Last Edit: May 19, 2023, 08:28:47 pm by arobwk »

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2023, 01:31:24 am »
Are baby Doll Southdowns not a US breed?
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Richmond

  • Joined Sep 2020
  • Norfolk
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #7 on: May 20, 2023, 07:50:38 am »
I just came across "Babydoll" Southdown sheep !  Any experience ?  (Apparently they are not devastation browsers so wondering whether they might also be gooduns for periodic grazing of the willow plantings !?)


Also, are turkeys an option - are they any different, garden-wise/care-wise, to geese ?

Turkeys do graze but not as much as geese. You would also need to clip their wings to prevent them flying over fences and trying to roost in trees or on walls or high buildings. You would need to pen them in somewhere secure at night. They are very characterful and engaging however but not a first choice for grass control in my experience.


arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-homes can amount to 42% in some once-thriving working Cornish communities
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #8 on: May 20, 2023, 03:52:50 pm »
Are baby Doll Southdowns not a US breed?

With a moniker like that one would assume they were "made in the USA" !  Obviously the original stock was English and I personally assumed they were dwarfed in the USA (our American friends seem to have an obsession with doing that).  However, I have just read a piece that suggests modern Southdowns have been bred bigger rather than bred smaller:  iow, the Babydolls are probably more like the "originals". 
I find agri' history fascinating !  The ancient Chinese development of some of our go-to veg' is a case in point: ancient carrot tops to celery comes to mind.
 
« Last Edit: May 20, 2023, 05:36:58 pm by arobwk »

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #9 on: May 21, 2023, 01:22:51 pm »
I just came across "Babydoll" Southdown sheep !  Any experience ?  (Apparently they are not devastation browsers so wondering whether they might also be gooduns for periodic grazing of the willow plantings !?)


Also, are turkeys an option - are they any different, garden-wise/care-wise, to geese ?

Turkeys do graze but not as much as geese. You would also need to clip their wings to prevent them flying over fences and trying to roost in trees or on walls or high buildings. You would need to pen them in somewhere secure at night. They are very characterful and engaging however but not a first choice for grass control in my experience.


Unless its unusual, I think turkeys are amazingly noisy. I hear one gobble gobbling from across the valley, not sure if its just when walkers are going past, but certainly a change from lambs yelling for mums!  :D

arobwk

  • Joined Nov 2015
  • Kernow: where 2nd-homes can amount to 42% in some once-thriving working Cornish communities
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #10 on: May 21, 2023, 01:34:06 pm »
I had to laugh when I read-up on Southdown's characteristics on the Society pages ... "A leg at each corner, straight and ... "


(Perhaps all breed judging guides say pretty much the same, but ... LOL)

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #11 on: May 21, 2023, 10:51:08 pm »
'A leg at each corner' is actually a standard description for commercial type sheep which stand square and wide.  It isn't used for primitives because they're not stocky.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

Penninehillbilly

  • Joined Sep 2011
  • West Yorks
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2023, 12:28:45 pm »
'A leg at each corner' is actually a standard description for commercial type sheep which stand square and wide.  It isn't used for primitives because they're not stocky.
I've always thought of it as meaning a healthy animal, when unhappy/unhealthy they tend not to stand square, feet tucked under slightly?
That's what they used to say when looking at horses anyway.
Thinking about it I can see why it would be in the breed standard for stocky animals though.


SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Garden grazing
« Reply #13 on: May 24, 2023, 08:25:40 pm »
I had to laugh when I read-up on Southdown's characteristics on the Society pages ... "A leg at each corner, straight and ... "


(Perhaps all breed judging guides say pretty much the same, but ... LOL)

Leg at each corner tick (pic 1) and not so much (pic 2)

(Both copied from USA Texel Sheep Breeders' society website)

Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

 

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