Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats by Jerry Belanger and Sara Thomson Bredesen covers all the basics:
- Purchasing goats.
- Keeping records.
Along the way, you will find helpful diagrams, schedules, recipes, and more. You will learn about goat meat, milk composition, and the truth about goat-related myths.
In Storey’s Guide to Raising Dairy Goats you will find answers to many of the questions you may have about getting started and probably some advice on things you haven’t yet considered. Take the time to read this book before you buy your first goat. It may prove to be a big help to you.
Predators are one of the most frustrating problems related to poultry-keeping. Many times, you never even see the culprit, just the damage it did. Coyotes, raccoons, possums, hawks, and owls all take their toll on the flock, but what can you do about it?
First of all, remember that prevention is the best cure. If you have a predator problem, don’t let your chickens roam at large. Safely enclose them in an electric netting-style fence designed for poultry, and check for shorts frequently. Even if you can hear the fence charger clicking, a determined predator won’t be deterred by 2,000 volts. 4,000 is about as low as you want the charge to go; 8,000 is better. This means that you will have to keep the grass cut short under the fence.
Also make sure that your poultry is safely housed at night. Any hen or guinea perched out in the open after dark is an easy target for owls and other predators. Bring them home and lock them up!
So what if a predator does pay your poultry a call? First check your defenses and figure out how it got in. Make sure your electric fence is working properly. If the problem is that chickens are flying over the fence and making themselves easy prey, trim the flight feathers of the offenders.
Sometimes, though, a wily possum will figure out a way to get over or under a fence without getting shocked, or a hawk will make a habit of swooping down into the poultry pen for a daily meal. If your flock is plagued by an inveterate predator, you may have to eliminate the culprit. Depending your local laws and on what type of predator you are dealing with, you may need to consider shooting it or catching it in a humane trap to release someplace else. Just check the regulations first!
Most predator problems can and should be prevented, however. A good electric poultry fence is often the best line of defense. (Just remember to move the pen regularly.) As long as the birds have a charged barrier around them and a home to run to when threatened from above, you should have few difficulties with predators.
A book by Joel Salatin is guaranteed to inspire brainstorming, and Salad Bar Beef is no exception.
Salatin repeatedly points out the fact that humans tend to overcomplicate things, and the current state of the beef industry is proof—ruminants designed to eat grass are fed costly grains in a confinement system. So what does he propose instead? A more natural concept that he calls salad bar beef.
Salatin’s love of simplicity carries through his whole system of cattle raising, which makes it perfect for beginners. Instead of planting specialized forages, he uses the grass already growing in the ditch out front. Instead of building complicated infrastructure, he uses a corral, some portable fencing, and a hay shed. How easy is that?
Although Salatin prefers to take a more philosophical approach to his books rather than dictate all of the how-tos, Salad Bar Beef still offers plenty of practical advice on most aspects of cattle care, as well as some information on direct marketing and cooking grassfed beef. For those of you who struggle with cow-days (a versatile estimate of the amount of feed a pasture will provide) and other principles of rotational grazing, charts and explanations are included.
Upbeat, humorous, and thought-provoking, Salad Bar Beef challenges conventional operating procedures from beginning to end. Prepare to be inspired!
Permanent fencing is sometimes necessary, but it can also be costly. However, with a little time and effort (and a few Osage orange trees) you can make your own fence posts and save some money.
Why Osage orange? It lasts. Once the wood dries, it’s iron tough. Just watch out for the thorns….
You will notice that the instructions below are not terribly specific. They were not intended to be. Since you are cutting the fence posts yourself, you will have the flexibility to make them as long or short or thick or thin as you want.
You Will Need
- Osage orange trees
- Select a suitable Osage orange tree. It must have a relatively straight trunk or branches and be a suitable length and diameter for a fence post. Thicker branches make good corner posts, while thinner branches will do for line posts.
- Cut down the trunk or branch.
- Cut to the desired length. (Just remember that part of the post will be underground.)
- Carefully carve one end of the post into a point with the chainsaw. You may need a helper to hold or stand on the other end of the post.
- Repeat this whole procedure until you have as many fence posts as you need.
Using the Fence Posts
The method you use to drive in one of your new Osage orange fence posts will depend on the diameter of the post. Thin line posts can be pounded into the ground with a sledgehammer. Thick corner posts are easier to handle when the post hole is dug or augered out first.
Attaching hardware to an Osage orange fence post can sometimes be a little tricky because the wood is so hard. If you need to screw in an insulator for electric fencing, you probably want to pre-drill the hole first. If you’re hammering in staples, well, you’ll just have to work at it. Comfort yourself with the reminder that your fence posts will last for quite a few years.