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best multipurpose beastie?

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  • Honour Horne-Jaruk
    ... Hi Jenn! I m going house shopping this spring, and while I don t know if I can afford anything with room for farm-type critters, for now I can at least
    Message 1 of 35 , Jan 1, 2005
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      --- Saerlaith ingen Ruadan <barknark@...> wrote:


      ---------------------------------

      Hi Jenn!

      I'm going house shopping this spring, and while I
      don't know if I can afford
      anything with room for farm-type critters, for now I
      can at least dream 8- )

      I've been wondering, if a person could have just one
      type critter, what
      would be the most bang for the buck? Do cashmere goats
      give enough milk to
      make cheese, etc.? How hard is a sheep to milk? How
      many would one have to
      keep to get enough fiber for spinning, weaving etc.?
      --Saerlaith (who wishes chickens gave milk and wool 8-
      )


      Respected friend:
      Depending on your land's size and your rapport
      with animals, your best choices are probably (In
      approximate order easy-hard)

      An Italian Milking ewe's offspring by a Really
      Good wool-breed ram -calm, great udder and teats, at
      least decent wool in decent (4+pounds) amounts,
      non-aggressive- but the milk tastes funny. They're
      delicate, die easily, picky feeders, weather
      sensitive, offspring good for food only and skin &
      meat notoriously poor.
      A Scots Black cow, if they aren't extinct yet
      -relatively calm, eat anything, survive any weather,
      can become very friendly with kind handling. Both
      rope-quality hair and outerwear-quality plucked
      underwool, small quantity (only about twice an Italian
      milking ewe's output) very rich milk with familiar
      taste, offspring very salable, very edible, very
      trainable for Oxen. Skin, skull and horns very
      salable - but your first one will cost the earth
      unless you can get frozen embryos to insert in a
      worn-out old Holstein, and insemination fees will be
      nightmarish.
      Icelandic sheep- Great wool, great milk, great
      skins, OK meat, frequent twins, very hardy, and they
      can kill their own stinkin' feral dog pack, thank
      you... - But not cheap, and you _MUST_ buy a newborn
      ewe lamb and hand bottle-feed it, then hand feed it
      twice a day for life. Otherwise it goes wild and
      you'll never come out of a milking stall uninjured.
      (grim experience talking!)
      Scots Highland cattle- as multipurpose as Scots
      Black, with more milk, more underwool, more and longer
      guard hairs, and magnificent long horns. Not nearly as
      expensive, either. - But they're every bit as hard to
      keep tame as Icelandic sheep, plus big and strong
      enough to kill a human without even raising a sweat.
      Artificial insemination a must, as the bulls are like
      the cows only crazy.
      Of course, if your fingers are thin enough,
      almost any large breed of sheep is theoretically
      milk-able; shave the nipple area clean before the
      birth, then just tie the hind legs together for the
      first few milkings! (however, you won't be able to let
      the lambs nurse at all. If you breed the ewe at the
      right time, this isn't a big problem. You can sell the
      week-old lambs for Orthodox Church Easter dinners.)
      I hope I haven't turned you off the idea
      completely. If you do a web search on rare domestic
      breeds, you may find several other choices that I've
      just never run across.
      Good luck, and keep dreaming.
    • Saerlaith ingen Ruadan
      Municipal laws against urban chickens is one big factor in choosing my new home. In some places you need a 1 acre lot to keep livestock in the city limits, and
      Message 35 of 35 , Jan 7, 2005
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        Municipal laws against urban chickens is one big factor in choosing my new
        home. In some places you need a 1 acre lot to keep livestock in the city
        limits, and they consider chicken the same as cattle. Ick! Seattle has a
        couple of organizations just to encourage backyard chicken keeping.

        As far as I can tell, my current (and hopefully permanent) town has rather
        common sensical laws. 50 foot setbacks for animal pen/stable/coop/hive, and
        proper fencing. Any neighbor complaints get you a visit from the law to see
        if you are keeping them properly. Much better than a blanket "No" policy.
        From what the guy at city hall told me, they don't really have a set policy
        and you pretty much just get your chickies and be polite to your neighbors
        in how you keep them.


        --Saerlaith

        ----- Original Message -----
        From: "Ro" <ladyro@...>
        To: <Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com>
        Sent: Friday, January 07, 2005 8:10 AM
        Subject: Re: [Authentic_SCA] Re: Livestock


        >
        > Three words: Home Owner's Association.
        >
        > Check your neighborhood regs, or HOA regs BEFORE you decide to keep
        > chickens. Ours SPECIFICALLY prohibits keeping poultry.
        >



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