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Showing posts from June, 2015

Fruit Trees

Fruit Trees

Well in the last three posts I have talked about some of the different livestock we will have on the homestead but it takes more then meat and eggs to keep us going (there is probably about half the members of my family who and having serious doubts that it is really me writing that!).  We have decided to plant fruit and nut trees for various reasons, as I mentioned in an earlier post I would like everything we do have multiple uses on the homestead.  The fruit and nut trees are no exception. I am going to go off subject here to tell you about the area where we are setting up our homestead but rest assured I will circle back around.  My wife's parents have a little less then 320 acres total. We will be getting a little less then 40 acres of that.   A lot of that land years ago was farm land but there is also somewhere about 60 acres that is native prairie and woodland.  The tract that we are planning on building the homestead on is a good combination of all three.  A f…

Pigs

Well, we talked about chickens and cattle now it is the pigs turn!  Like with each of the other breeds, in the pigs we are picking the same type of qualities, an animal who will contribute in multiple ways, a breed that can handle the Minnesota winters and an animal who can sustain primarily on forage with ease of care.  With pigs I also want to find an animal with the genetics to avoid "Boar Taint".  Boar taint is a combination of chemicals in male pigs that give the meat a bad taste.  Traditionally there are two ways to avoid it.  Castrate the baby piglets or butchering before 6 months.  Both of these I would like to avoid, the castrating because, well unlike cattle or goats where castration can be done with a banding machine, pigs testicles are held to close to their body as piglets.  this means surgical removal is required.  I really do not want to do this myself and I do not want to add the additional expense of having a vet do it, neither way is fun for the animal.  O…

Cattle

I have to admit this is the part of Homesteading I am most looking forward to but also the part that has me the most nervous.  I have wanted to do something with raising cattle since probably about 2000.  At that time we were in Texas and various car salesmen I worked with had acreage and a few head so it was enough to pique my interest.  Of course in Texas you did not have to worry about sub-0 temperatures when you thought about what kind of cattle to raise so when trying to put my plan together for Minnesota, well I did not have a lot of people I could turn to for advice so it has been a lot of research!  On of the reasons I want to raise cattle is to put it bluntly, I like beef, but I do not like paying almost $5 a pound for hamburger, especially when I am not even sure what I am getting anymore!

From all the research I have done I have pretty much decided to primarily raise Galloway cattle.  Galloway's are a heritage breed originally from Scotland .  I decided on this breed fo…

Chickens

Chickens

We intend to start with 50 Plymouth Barred Rock chicks from a straight run (mixture of males and females) in the spring of our retirement year.  The chicks take about 16-18 weeks to mature at the end of that time we will butcher all but 2-3 of the males.  Plymouth Rocks are a dual use breed, they are good for both meat and laying.  We chose the Rocks due to their being dual purpose and very cold hardy which is important due to the Mn winters. 

We plan on running two chicken coups, one permanent  attached to the barn with the nesting boxes accessible from inside the barn and this will be their wintering area.  The permanent coup will be where we will keep this first batch of chickens for the first spring and summer and in the winter months.  The permanent coup will have access to about 1.5 acres of land to include some wooded areas.   In winter the chickens will be feed supplements as well as milled corn and chickpeas that we will have grown.  In the spring the chickens will …