What does the future hold for the livestock here? Well of course some will end up being the guest of honor at somebody's dinner table, but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm mean, will more livestock be added? Will some be eliminated? Will breeding programs be instituted? Will their purpose on the farm change?
Current future farm plan............
I'm finding that 50 is a number that the farm can comfortably sustain. But I'll gradually cut back to around 25-30 as time goes by because less birds would be easier to care for as I get older.
Right now replacement chicks are being purchased from the mainland. So I'd like to see more brooding being done right here on the farm in order to raise my own replacement birds.
Another change I'd like to make is to eliminate the need for commercial chicken mash. Presently I use the mash to soak up the cooking juices when I make the chicken food. Once I am growing grains, I could use that juice to cook the grains in, thus soaking it up into the grains themselves.
So the goal will be to gradually cutback on the number of resident hens, aiming for a number that is easy for me to tend go as time goes along. Since the number one reason for them being on the farm is for fertilizer, I don't foresee totally eliminating chickens until such time that I opt to stop farming.
Status quo. I am presently happy with the level of rabbit activity on the farm. The only change I'm anticipating is eliminating the buying of commercial grains once I'm growing my own.
As with the chickens, their primary purpose is to produce fertilizer. And because of their easy care requirements, I foresee them being a part of the homestead up until the time I retire from farming.
The only significant change I see coming is that their grain ration will be produced right here on the farm. Presently I buy mash for them.
I'd like to see more sheep. More lambs. Adding more would result in only a minimum of added expense, but would increase pasture fertility and farm income significantly. In order to add more, I need to increase the productivity of the pastures. I'm taking the first steps now. I need to open up the pastures by removing brush, inedible ferns, and trashy trees. More edible grazing needs to be introduced and grown. More shelters need building so that each pasture had its own shelter and water trough. A rain catchment system needs to be created to harvest rain water for those water troughs. New stock needs to be acquired, sheep that fit into my husbandry method, meaning hair sheep hardy enough to be parasite resistant and thrive without grain supplements.
Once my homegrown grains are successful, I plan to eliminate the commercial sweet c.o.b. that I'm now purchasing.
While I've very much enjoyed raising the pigs, I don't foresee me continuing to have pigs on a regular basis. I have no desire to breed them, in that full grown pigs are too much of a handful for me. But raising a piglet to 4-5 months of age is something that I can handle. I might be able to do this for a few more years, but I realize that there will come a time when pigs no longer have a place on this farm. Will it be next year, 5 years from now? I don't know, but the time will come.
Status quo. Not looking to add anymore donkeys, nor eliminate this one. She has proven to be suitable farm resident that I can handle.
The future might see a couple of Nigerian milking does added to the farm. Perhaps it's just a dream, but I wouldn't be adverse to having a couple of little milkers. Several decade ago I once had alpine dairy goats, so I'm aware of what I'd be in for. But I still would enjoy have a couple of little dairy goats around.
The farm could use another muscovy duck or two, or three, or four, but females only. I'm not interested in hosting a drake. I'm not currently searching for ducks, but when some come available I'm willing to add a few.
I hope to add more tilapia. A future project will be to breed them. Since the homestead farm is too cool for active breeding, I'm looking into creating a set up down at my seed farm. Much warmer there. I currently know very little about breeding tilapia, so I have a lot to learn.
Learning to be a better beekeeper is definitely in the plan. I still have lots and lots to learn. If I can get better at it, I'd like to add numI'm open to the possibility of adding a Border Collie pup. Plus in a few years, three of the farm guard dogs will be elderly. So I'm also willing to welcome another dog or two for farm protection purposes once the seniors pass on.
I'm open to the possibility of adding a Border Collie pup. I really miss the zest of one around the farm. Since Colliewobble died, this has been the longest time period where I haven't had a Border Collie underfoot. Plus another thing, in a few years three of the farm guard dogs will be elderly. So I'm also willing to welcome another dog or two for farm protection purposes once the senior dogs pass on.
Status quo. But around here, status quo doesn't usually happen when it comes to cats. There are always new strays and drop-offs in need of homes. So let's just say that I'm not looking for new cats.
While not adverse to taking in retired horse/pony or alpaca, I'm not looking for one. But I surely wouldn't rule out the possibility of one or two showing up here. Too often a hard luck animal comes along that really needs a helping hand. So the future farm plan doesn't call for an assortment of new additions, but one never knows what the future really holds. It's just not in the plans, that's all.