Smaller homesteads...how many acres??

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by desertshi, Nov 30, 2009.

  1. desertshi

    desertshi Well-Known Member

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    I wanna know how many acres people with smaller homesteaders are working with. How you make use of your space, what kind of critters you have...etc. I am thinking like under 20 acres. Hubby and I are looking at how many acres we need to make a good homestead! Thanks for your information!!! :)
     
  2. madness

    madness Well-Known Member

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    We have two homesteads. Our city homestead is 1.3 acres. We have 2 beehives and have had as many as 25 chickens. Our garden is bigger than I can really take care of properly (about 1000 sq ft of intensive beds). We have pecan trees and are planning on more fruit trees. We could easily add a few miniature dairy goats but aren't sure about the commitment. Rabbits would also be an easy addition. Essentially, we could add more stuff here than I could possibly deal with.

    We also have a family farm with 17 acres. Dairy goats, fiber and dairy sheep, and a 1/3 acre garden. We only utilize about 6 of those acres. We are planning on adding dairy cows, llamas and possibly pigs. Again, plenty of room to do more than my family can handle!
     

  3. Michele of MI

    Michele of MI Well-Known Member

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    We have about one and a half acres. We are stuck in the suburbs, probably for a long time to come, so we work with what we have. Our garden takes up about 1/4 of what land we have. We have chickens, but can't have larger animals. We keep bees too. How many people are you planning to feed? That will affect how much land you need. What do you plan to use your land for? That will also make a difference. If you want to raise large animals you will need more land than if you are only raising a garden. Good luck!:)
     
  4. Wendy

    Wendy Well-Known Member

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    We have 3.5 acres. I have chickens, rabbits, geese, goats, 2 mini cows, 16 fruit trees, berries, grapes, & a garden that is 100' x 50'. We raise the majority of our food. I buy hay & feed for the animals. I also raise around 100 broilers every year to butcher.
     
  5. Freeholder

    Freeholder Well-Known Member

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    Climate also matters. We have 1.1 acres (one point one), and have a garden, a few fruit trees, about two dozen chickens, three goats (two milkers and a buck) and a few meat rabbits. Eventually I hope to add some bee hives. We could have more fruit trees and such than we have; we still buy most of the feed for the animals, but I hope to improve on that next year and the years after. In a cold climate, ideally you'd have enough land for a woodlot for your firewood. In a warm climate, you may be able to completely heat your house with passive solar, and wouldn't need the woodlot. If you can also do most of your cooking with solar energy, that would help (and water heating).

    So it boils down to what are your goals? Do you want to grow all your food? For how many people? How long is your growing season? And so on.

    Kathleen
     
  6. Wags

    Wags Well-Known Member Supporter

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    4.8 acres here. Currently have 16 Nigerian Dwarf goats and a dozen chickens and about as many fruit trees. Garden size will change next year as we are going to the Square Foot gardening method. We are no where near utilizing the space we have. But dh isn't interested in steading so do it all myself with a 5 yr old and 3 yr old in tow. I discovered this past summer that I had reached my limit at least until the kids are a little older.

    If you have good neighbors, climate and topography I think that 3-5 acres would make for a pretty good small homestead. I know there are folks producing a lot on an acre or less, and a few even making a living off of that small space. Personally I like the extra elbow room.
     
  7. Dexter

    Dexter Well-Known Member

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    I once had just under an acre. I kept all the poultry, had large nut trees, a full orchard (12 -15 trees), grapes and berries, a massive veggie garden, some shade trees, and STILL had about 45 minutes of ride-on grass mowing per week (as in I could have easily had a goat or two with barely any additional summer feed).

    We have great soil and enough rain to keep plants vigorous and that has to be considered big time.
     
  8. francismilker

    francismilker Udderly Happy! Supporter

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    I own 80 acres but still consider myself a hobby farm. The reason is: I only utilize about 5 acres for homesteading. The other 75 is a real work in progress. It's going to take lots of clearing, leveling, and sprigging to be able to utilize it for much anything.

    On the five that I actively use I have a garden, chickens, milk cows, milk goat, sheep, and a good old australian shepherd.
     
  9. willow_girl

    willow_girl Very Dairy

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    A little over 4 acres at present, and most of that is wooded! The rest sure keeps me busy, though.

    Don't let a lack of land stop you. :)
     
  10. Wisconsin Ann

    Wisconsin Ann Happy Scrounger

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    A lot depends on the type of land, the climate, access to fresh water for watering plants (and critters). We OWN 12 acres, but 70% of that is hardwoods (hickory, maple, walnut, oak with some poplar and aspen thrown in) and that part is slopped enough to be untillable, but it's great for goats and pigs (heavy underbrush).

    We actually use only 2 acres at the moment (other than harvesting wood for heat). 1/2 acre garden. 50 freerange chickens supply more eggs and meat than we can use, room for a dozen turkeys, a colony of rabbits, and beehives. There's room for pigs or a cow on those 2 acres if I give them only a small pasture and supplement with grain and hay. (pigs and cow will actually go on the sloped area and down to the bottom of the hillside where it flattens into a nice pasture, when we finally get around to buying pigs and cow :) )

    We have excellent weather for growning 5 months of the year. The rest of the year is non-growing, so we need to buy hay/feed then for critters. BUT we have great growing soil and good water supply.
     
  11. Terri

    Terri Singletree Moderator Staff Member

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    We are on 1 acre, with a 7 month frost free period.

    We have 4-6 chickens, Christmas trees for our own use, a dozen fruit trees, 2 rows of blackberries, a 60x60 garden that gives our family of 4 fresh produce and a little to store for the winter, a home made green house, and bee hives.

    This uses half of it, but, we are not zoned for 4 legged farm critters.
     
  12. ET1 SS

    ET1 SS zone 5 - riverfrontage Supporter

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    We have 150 acres.

    I see folks who can earn a living producing veggies on 5 to 10 acres. But I would not want anything less than 40.
     
  13. CountryWannabe

    CountryWannabe Well-Known Member

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    I have (officially) 3.5 acres. Some of that is across the creek and not really accessible easily so we use somewhere around 3 give or take. I have half a dozen hair sheep for meat, about ten goats (Nubians and Boers) for meat and milk, about a half dozen chickens for eggs and currently a few cockerels running around that will be meat plus I raise around 25 or so meat chickens a year in late spring and/or early fall. I have a few ducks for meat and eggs, and raised a couple of turkeys this year for meat. I have one Dexter heifer who is currently taking a honeymoon vacation. I raise two pigs per year from spring to late fall, then put them in the freezer

    I have a small, 10' x 20' unheated hoophouse that I can grow *something* in pretty well year round and just this fall I cleared a 40' x 40' area for a summer garden. I usually grow a few potatoes in trash barrels. I have great plans, but I am not a good gardener, so we will see how that works out. I am just starting on my fruit trees. I have two apples, and have on order peach, pear and plum trees. I would like to also have cherries and some soft fruits - they may or may not come next year. That will depend on the cash flow.

    Mary
     
  14. Ezekiel's Garde

    Ezekiel's Garde Well-Known Member

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    We have just under 2 acres. We have a bunch of chickens, 4 bred dairy goats who live in an 80' x 80' pasture, a medium size garden (maybe 60' x 40', but we're going to expand it in the spring), 6 blueberry bushes, a strawberry patch, and a work-in-progress orchard (1 white peach tree, 2 dying apple trees). Our set up isn't very conducive to homesteading, really, but we're trying. If we had it to do all over again, dh would listen to me and we'd get something that's set up better for what we want to do.
     
  15. KIT.S

    KIT.S Well-Known Member Supporter

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    Hi. We have 5.34 acres with 2 year-around irrigation creeks - one down one side, one across the middle. The land beyond the horizontal creek is undeveloped, and it's on the 5-year plan. We raise chickens, lots of ducks, rabbits, weaner pigs (we have 2 sows), and 6 bred ewes and 2 wethers and the ram to go into the freezer asap. The garden is about 110 x 60, the land came with some old, uncared-for apple and pear trees, and I've started an orchard and berry patch. There is lots and lots of work to be done, but we grow more food than we can eat. There are 8 of us, 3 under 6 years. I have to buy basic food for the pigs and sheep, but we also get quite a bit of free food for them. The land isn't ready for "pasture" yet, so until we get it cleared and planted, I have to suppliment the blackberries and browse. Potentially, this acreage would feed all my sheep and most of the pigs, but it's just not set up right yet.

    The climate here is excellent, the soil is good, we have lots of animals to provide fertilizer and when we get the greenhouse set up, we should be able to produce greens year around.

    Now if we just had all the money necessary for all the things we would like to build, and the time do do it all, it would be heaven!! I really covet the 10 acres next door - old pasture that's been unused for years, with semi-fencing... sigh, not unless the lottery comes through!
    Kit
     
  16. desertshi

    desertshi Well-Known Member

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    Well, as it is right now, I have a half acre in town. I have a bred sow, three weaner pigs, a horse, a 3 month old holstein steer, 3 bred dairy goats, about 18 chickens, 5 ducks, 5 turkeys, a mouser and a blue heeler!! We had a garden last year that was about 25x25 feet. It didn't give us enough to say the least! We are a family of 5 but one is only 5 months old. I have been told that it is impossible to raise this many animals on this small lot but though I spend alot of money on feed, the total price we pay, peace of mind and love I feel for my animals outweighs this!!! We get ALOT of free feed and we buy alot too but it all works out. My animals are loved, loved, loved and get tons of human contact. We want more land to be able to seed a small pasture of alfalfa and sorguhm for the chickens. We live in mexico and will seed jalepeno peppers for a profit. Just a small amount that we can work ourselves. We have been waiting for a long time to buy a piece of land around 25 acres. But it is looking more and more like we will have to buy around an acre or two first and then buy lots around them of the same size....slowly building up our amount of land. We'll see! Wish us luck!!!
     
  17. firegirl969

    firegirl969 Well-Known Member

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    Good wishes are being sent out to you Desertshi for that added land! That sounds like a good plan if the land indeed becomes available.

    We have 18 acres with a nice size stocked pond, woodlot, grape vines, blueberry bushes, two producing pecan trees, two producing apple trees, newly planted cherry, pear, and plum trees, 30 chickens, 3 rabbits, 1 duck, 2 horses, seven 3 X 8 raised beds, a 25 X 100 traditional garden, and we feed out a pig and a steer each year. We live on DH's family estate, so we didn't have to buy it. If I did have to buy land, I would get what I can afford so that it will always be yours. A little land, free and clear, is better than no land at all. You can make any amount of land a homestead. JMO!
     
  18. Tonya

    Tonya Guest

    We have 4.75 acres. About 2 acres of that is pasture for 4 goats. They don't need that much, but it's what we have to put on it for now. We have a large barn, a goat/horse barn, a long shed, a feed store (yes, a real old fashioned feed store-now DH's office), a garage and a house. The garden is about a quarter acre and once I get to it like I should it'll do us nicely.

    I do wish we had the rest of the side pasture. I'd LOVE to make it into an orchard.
     
  19. cfabe

    cfabe Well-Known Member

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    We have 20 acres but most of it is wooded and not used for homesteading (except for firewood). In the 3-4 acres near the house we have our garden, 18 chickens, and 3 goats. I think you could do quite a bit on a 5 acre homestead if you used all the property. Just be sure you're in an area where it would be okay to have animals up agianst the property line and where your neighbors wouldn't hassle you. In my opinion larger parcels are mostly for privacy / autonomy than for homesteading use.
     
  20. sgl42

    sgl42 Well-Known Member

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    someone above mentioned the Dervaes, who have an urban homestead in CA.

    see www.pathtofreedom.com

    another source is Robert Hart, who created a forest garden on 1/8 acre in england. he was vegetarian, and got almost all his food from the garden. some links:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Hart_(horticulturist)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Forest_gardening

    http://www.spiralseed.co.uk/forestgarden/

    http://www.pfaf.org/leaflets/gdlovene.php

    a video of him in his garden:
    [ame]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O7f8NCh3s8c[/ame]

    --sgl