I have just moved into a lifestyle property close to Kaukapakapa, north west of Auckland which has 4 paddocks totalling about 1.3 hectares.
I do not have any animals so planning to get one. I realize nothing is easy but here is what I am looking for.
1 can graze these 4 paddocks (mowing pet)
2 law maintenance
3 low cost
4 relatively small? (I can bury the animal when they die? )
5 beginner friendly
Here is what I am thinking as options.
- Six Wiltshire sheeps
- One cattle (have not dig into which breed would be best suited)
- Two goats
These paddocks are on a modest slope so I would not be able to use a lawnmower but the previous owner had some sheep. I am not sure if the above number of pet mowers would be enough to graze these paddocks.
I appreciate any comment or advise from experienced lifestyle blockers out there.
Whatever you get you will need yards. Shearing, drenching and dagging sheep probably twice a year. 2 smaller breed cattle like dexters once a year for tb checks and drenching, goats for drenching a feet treatment. Different fencing requirements for each animal. As goats may need electric top rail. While your 1.3 h may seem like a lot of grass you mast still need to buy in feed mid winter or if you get drought. We started with 4 lambs and great advice. Good luck whichever you choose but don't rush your decision.
Wow. I did not expect to get any response this quickly. Great forum.
Anyhow, since the previous owner had sheep on the premises the existing fencing might suit them better. I was looking at Wiltshire sheeps. Would 6 sheep work with these four paddocks? or what do you think the minimum number to start with?
Do anyone know where we could get these stocks around here, Auckland region? Trademe?
I know I should consider thoroughly but am thinking I do not have much time when seeing growing glass in the paddock
Growing glass is better than growing plastic!
Taihoa ake! Don't rush in to sheep purchasing without making sure you know what you're wanting. If you're not going to breed them, which is only something to do very deliberately, make sure you get wethers (castrated males). Sheep are ok as long as there are at least about four of them.
If someone convinces you to buy their old ewes, you might end up with lambs too, or they may not have good enough teeth to sustain themselves etc. Old sheep are like old people and can start being unwell and require special care and if you don't know what a well sheep looks like, you may not notice the suffering of an unwell one until it's too late.
We grow our sheep to feed the family so we use minimum chemicals. To reduce worm issues and therefore drenching if you can leave paddocks for a month between grazing you break the cycle. I would wait until summer and get some weaned lambs ( wilthsires will cost more in outlay than it would cost to get a shearer in) if you are not going to breed or eat them go for whethers. At the end of the day you farm the paddocks stock his just part of that,, letting you grass grow will not hurt it. If you are growing for freezer start with a couple of ewe lambs for breeding next year a ram for breeding and a whether for the freezer in 12 months time.
"Breaking the cycle" of worm life in the north of the North Island is not possible. It's never cold or dry enough to do that. The larvae or eggs just wait it out.
I definitely advise approaching ideas of breeding with extreme caution until you have some experience with the ordinary lives of the animals.
The huge problem of "fallowing" in NZ is that we have a very nasty little bug that grows in the pasture litter and causes Facial Eczema. The rest of the world does not have our variety, so fallowing is highly not recommended in the North Island.
With gastro-intestinal worms in NZ, the only way to break the cycle is with chemicals, or removal of the species of animal for at least two years, or plough the paddock in mid- summer and replant in late autumn.
I think that Wiltshire sheep are a rather crazy breed. Dorpers have poor feet. I like Suffolks but they need shearing once per year and the wool is not worth much,
Sheep would make the best "lawn mowers", but are not so easy to care for. Aside from shearing or trimming feet, if you only have sheep, you will need to worm drench from time to time. Goats do not make good lawn mowers. They are browsers, and feed on the tops of the grasses, also trees, if they can reach them. need similar care to sheep minus the shearing unless they are angoras. two mini beasts could be a good choice. Cattle tend to be less trouble to deal with but would need supplementary feed during the winter and depending on the type of soil you have, could also pug the soil. Are you thinking of just "pets" or will you put the animals in the deep freeze for the family?
makarau, I am a newbie as well. Having no experience with cattle, I went for Lowlines as recommended by a mate. I have 4 and they are very easy to manage. You could fit 5 in a hectare compared to 3 for regular sized cattle. Meaning, if you have 1 hectare to spare, you can have 2 lowlines plus some more sheep. They also don't pug the paddock so I don't worry about mud all around. As for handling them, I have and old sheep pen and loading area that I use as cattle crush and it works just fine as they are not very big at all.
We have cattle and sheep and the cattle are way less maintenance.
We have lowline angus cattle - which are 2/3 the size of the 'big' angus and seem to manage on 1/2 the feed. I would think you could sustain 2 lowlines on 1.3 h, particularly if you can source some hay for winter. 1 way of doing the cattle which is popular with small blocks - get yourself a yearling / 15 mth old and a just weaned calf. Next year at this time buy another weaner and sell (or pop in the freezer) the older beast. That way you always have 2 young cattle grazing.