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Author Topic: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?  (Read 7037 times)

porkandapples

  • Joined Feb 2011
Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« on: March 29, 2011, 05:17:26 pm »
I can't tell you how helpful this forum has been, i am so glad i found you all!!

We rent almost 3 acres of land from the local estate which we have grazed our 3 ponies on and a few chooks for about 5 years. They have *almost* given me permission to keep pigs on the land as well. In the meantime we have a small piece of land we are using this year to raise 3 weaners to see how it goes. So all being well this is how i plan to use the land and i'd appreciate any feedback on whether my plan is sensible.

The land will be split into 3 almost acres.
The ponies will be on one acre in the summer and another in the winter.
The third will be split into 4 smaller paddocks for weaners. Probably 2 lots of 4 for a total of 8 months of the year. So 4 weaners in March on paddock a, moved in may to paddock b, then off to slaughter in July. 4 more in paddock c in July, moved to d in september and off to slaughter in November. As the pigs are rotated around the paddocks every 2 months They will be followed by 6-8 ducks with an artificial pond, movable house etc and electric poutry netting to keep them safe for 2 months and then grass seed. The land will then be rested.

The three acres will also be rotated so that the pigs acre will become good quality grazing for the ponies the following season with far less dock and nettles than it has now. In addition we have a roughly 200m sq chicken run which will have about 20 chooks laying various coloured eggs and a very small orchard. The garden also has a small veg plot.

I plan to sell the hens eggs (eggs we already do but have less chooks at the moment) and also duck eggs. We will let the broodies hatch out the eggs of the best egg layers and sell the chicks at POL and same with the ducks. We will also sell the pork and any excess fruit and veg, all from the garden gate. This should keep us largely self sufficient in food and should hopefully make a little profit for pocket money.

How does this sound, is this the best use of our three acres without getting rid of the ponies?? All critisism welcome  :)

mab

  • Joined Mar 2009
  • carmarthenshire
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2011, 07:20:59 pm »
The only question I would have is whether the newly seeded acre will be up to much the following year? Particularly if your planning on putting heavy hoofs on it before the roots can knit together.
 
I'm no expert mind, but when I put grass seed down one spring (by hand and raked in) it took most of the year fallow to establish itself, and was still thickening up the next year.

mab

bloomer

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Aug 2010
  • leslie, fife
  • i have chickens, sheep and opinions!!!
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2011, 07:24:10 pm »
it should reestablish ok with very little seeding.

grass is very resilient

porkandapples

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2011, 07:45:27 pm »
Thanks for the replies  :) I did wonder about that, but seeing how it recovers in the poached areas with the ponies at the moment, with the extra fertiliser (!) and a bit of seed to help it along i think it will recover by the time it's needed again. Be interested to know what others think about that??

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2011, 08:14:28 pm »
I'd split the area for the hens and rotate them over that too, or the 200sqm will get wrecked.

Helencus

  • Joined Feb 2010
  • NW Leicestershire
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2011, 08:33:54 pm »
Got to say if the pigs do to your ground what mine have grass will struggle to come back without seeding. If you seed it'll take 12 months to establish before you put horses on it. We seeded 1.5 acres and had to leave that long to ensure the horses didn't pull the roots out.
Yours may come back mine didnt.

porkandapples

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2011, 09:50:19 pm »
Thanks :)
Chicken pen will be split in two, should have said that.
Will perhaps start with a couple of weaners on a small area of the field and see how the grass covers before handing over a whole acre then, looks like i may be being a little optimistic about regrowth!

Anke

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • St Boswells, Scottish Borders
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2011, 01:52:07 pm »
I doubt that in the current climate you will make much of a profit on your pork, sorry, but calculate all your costs (incl electric fencing and arks) beforehand. you may find yourself with a lot of unsold pork and not enough freezer space. Feeding costs have gone through the roof.

Also I would consider putting a few sheep on your pasture with the horses, just to keep it tidy, maybe if you don't want to keep sheep offer the field to someone with a few over the summer, with a couple of lambs as payment (if your lease allows you to do that). People are always looking for fields for tups over the summer to keep away from the girls.

Looking at our pasture post-pigs it will need re-seeding and will take at least one season to establish. So you would need to possibly only have one lot of weaners on half an acre per year, then re-seed; weaners in the next year in the second half and rotate around like that. Also for the first few years while you get established do fewer weaners than you might want, that way you learn what your soil/purse-bank mananger/back can cope with, then expand later on. I have found that I actually prefer sheep and goats to the pigs, and our soil will not take pigs all year round, so we raise a couple of weaners most years only, and now focus on sheep and goats!

Oh, and a polytunnel!

porkandapples

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2011, 03:03:36 pm »
Thank-you Anke, thats really helpful.

Re. selling the pork, this shouldn't in theory be an issue as we intend to keep the weaners as an own a pig type scheme with friends. People will purchase a pig from the start and pay half for it then, the other half is payable on delivery of the butchered meat. This will only be to friends and family who have indicated that they are interested already. We won't be making a huge profit on the pigs but are pretty much guaranteed to sell all we have. However i take you point about not stretching ourselves or our land to start with.

I think you're right about just using half an acre at a time for the pigs.

Re the sheep, i'm not sure there will be enough grass for them as well but will give it some thought, be great if we could squeeze some in too!

Would love a polytunnel, its on the longer term things to save up for list!

Thanks for the feedback, much appreciated :)


plumseverywhere

  • Joined Apr 2013
  • Worcestershire
    • Its Baaath Time
    • Facebook
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2011, 04:55:03 pm »
Hi porkandapples

just wanted to say good luck, it sounds like you have thought this all through really carefully (and are still doing so) unlike hubby and I who kind of ended up with about 4 acres and still don't know what to do with it  ::)
looking forward to hearing how it all goes for you (it will be brilliant I'm sure!)

Lisa
Smallholding in Worcestershire, making goats milk soap for www.itsbaaathtime.com and mum to 4 girls,  goats, sheep, chickens, dog, cat and garden snails...

porkandapples

  • Joined Feb 2011
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #10 on: March 30, 2011, 06:09:44 pm »
Thank-you, i appreciate that :) I'm sure i'll make lots of mistakes along the way but as long as no one gets hurt and i have fun doing it i don't mind that  ;D

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2011, 09:27:56 pm »
Ah, just put something on about our grass and remembered this.

Your pigs will trash the grass for sure.  If you take the pigs off the area say October and reseed - you'll probably need to do some sort of cultivation of the land first if they are anything like our pigs who left their pen like the Somme with holes and raised bits - the grass will be quite sparse the following spring. I assume this is what you'd be planning to allow to grow all year for winter grazing for the ponies. If you leave it ungrazed or uncut, it will go to seed. Best to get some sheep on it if you can, preferably high stocking for a short period to keep the grass short so that it won't seed but will send out tillers, thus producing a denser, more resilient sward more likely to stand up to the ponies being on it over winter.

I'd always soil test though to see if it needs lime, P and K.

AengusOg

  • Guest
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #12 on: April 02, 2011, 06:13:22 pm »
Much will depend on your annual rainfall and the type of grass sward you have. Lots will depend on the type of soil you're on and any drainage systems.

Three ponies on just under an acre may struggle for grass by mid June in a hot year such as we had last. You may have to feed through part of the summer, or work both paddocks all year, and decide where to winter. Poo-picking will be essential.

Some years you may even have too much grass.

Also be aware that the sort of ideas you have will need to be implemented on time with the seasons and the prevailing weather. You may find yourself with too much work, or too little machinery, and too little time, at times.

Sometimes equines need lots of time to get used to pigs. ;)
« Last Edit: April 02, 2011, 06:17:38 pm by AengusOg »

ellied

  • Joined Sep 2010
  • Fife
    • Facebook
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 08:24:21 am »
I can't comment on the pigs side but 3 ponies on an acre sounds very overgrazed and they can't follow pigs or go onto new sown grass for at least a year and probably two so I reckon you'll be paying a lot extra in feed/hay for them in winter and possibly in summer as well if you get a very dry or very wet summer..  I'm not sure what ponies you have, if they're shetlands or laminitic prone and you are already feeding hay year round and stabling at night perhaps you are being realistic but not if they're larger breed natives or cobs that you want living out on grass.
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bamford6

  • Guest
Re: Here's my plan for our three acres, how does it sound?
« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2011, 04:49:25 pm »
i would also think about geese better turn over 20 geese would pay for christmas and feed youre stock in december i do that 25 pound take a way no work killing etc and you have pork .next step ducks the better the stock the more you will make iv just done dingwall thainstone forfar clitharo and this week darby ducks 3 to 4 pound each naw Cayuga 10 to 15 pound each more for the eggs and birds feed is the same .so its up to you best off luck with youre stock .i still dont no whot to do i have 200 rare breed sheep lambing this week and 53 breeds poultrey and geese ducks .as well as 150 chicks

 

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