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Discussion Starter #1
Hey, All.

I've finally gotten good enough at my schedule that I'm quite spare for time. So, I'm looking for a new, small animal for my homestead.

So far, I have:
  • Ducks
  • Chicken
  • Quail
  • Rabbits
  • Koi
  • Bees
  • Worms (and Mealworms)
  • Dwarf Goats
  • Barn Cats
  • Dog
However, it has to be small. See, I raise all the food for my animals myself, and I don't have enough ground to grow (and store) hay, grass, etc. for large animals, nor do I have a large enough area to provide the adequate grazing area and structure for a cow, pig, horse, etc., or a large herd/pack.

I'm also reluctant to grow animals who are pretty much just for meat. None of my animals are meat animals. The only meat we get is when one of my animals dies from old age, or when one of my community's huntsmen brings home too much meat to store. Even then, it usually gets stored for winter cat food. It's part of what took me so long to get my rabbits, who mostly just give me more manure for better crops.

Finally, I don't want more birds. There's only so many eggs you can eat, or sell, or store, or give away before you start going crazy and I am teetering on the precipices.

So: No birds, no meat-only/dwarf pigs, nothing bigger than a mid-sized dog, and nothing that needs more than 4 animals.

Recommendations?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
If you don't use them as meat, why bother having anything besides dogs, cats, bee's and a few chickens for eggs?
Of course, because the only reason to have animals is to eat them.
My birds I use for eggs. The goats give me milk (and cheese. And butter.) and work as pack animals. I have to have a pond, because I can't legally put water back into the canal after it's taken out, so my fish keep the mosquito population down, as well as provide me with great fertilizer for our watering system. The rabbits, besides giving me more fertilizer, are fiber rabbits and produce hairs I can either use for yarn or sell.
Would you consider eating your dog? Would you consider eating your horse? What society decide gets eaten vs. what is a pet is arbitrary nonsense that has nothing to do with other uses or intelligence. I'm not going to eat animals which have been routinely proven to be intelligent creatures when I have absolutely no need. I can get more nutrients, protein, calories, etc. from ground I spend on my own food rather than the ground I spend on animals I'd otherwise eat.
 

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You could always go with miniature horses or cattle. They require the same amount of care as their full sized brethren but require less space and food.
 

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Joie de vivre!
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I adored my little raised-from-tadpoles tree frogs! They gave me endless hours of entertainment until they passed away. They lived in a tall terrarium (purchased at Petco) that looked like a beautiful tropical jungle and was quite a conversation piece in my home. Their personalities were a hoot! I may even write a children's book based on their antics.

In captivity tree frogs live about 5 or 6 years, but mine lasted only two years. Ricky choked to death on a tiny stick that he accidentally snagged along with his cricket meal. Not long after, his girlfriend Lucy apparently grieved herself to death. She refused to eat and slowly faded away.

Next spring, I plan on raising more wild-caught tadpoles (and frog foods such as crickets, fruit flies and mealworms).

Ah well, I guess I will always be a reluctant adult. More fun that way.


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Sheep
Particularly a purebred so you can sell the lambs for more breeding
You also get fiber and milk if you don't like to eat them.

I suggest finnsheep for the numbers of lambs and colored fiber and their apatite for brush.
But there may be breeds better for milking and fiber.
 

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@Kotamicha - interesting thread. I'm intrigued by your comment, "I can get more nutrients, protein, calories, etc. from ground I spend on my own food rather than the ground I spend on animals I'd otherwise eat." Sounds like you have quite a successful food production going on. To avoid hijacking this thread -- would you be willing to share what you're growing for food in a separate thread ? I'd be interested.
 

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Joie de vivre!
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Yes, please! It is always interesting to see what others are doing to achieve the same ends. (And if that ever happens, please post a link to it in this thread so we can find it easily.)


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Discussion Starter #16
@karenp, the problem with teacup pigs is that they're only small to begin with. Since I'm not eating them, they'll continue to grow to at least 50 pounds, though 100-200 is more likely.
@PlayingInDirt, I would be a little worried about their dietary restrictions. From what I've read about them, the recommended diets don't seem to be things I could provide without a good deal of money and shopping. I really prefer to make all of my animals' feeds, and I'm not sure how to substitute some of the ingredients. Maybe in a few more years, when they've gained more popularity and we have more information.
@CajunSunshine, tree frogs are an interesting idea. I'm not anywhere that has wild frogs regularly, but I could certainly buy one or two from a pet store. Is there a reason, other than entertainment, why you kept them? I would put them out by my pond in the summer, but if I'm not careful, my koi might eat them!
@mzgarden, https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/hey-all.566418/
 

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We have done frogs also, actually they were fire bellied toads. We just had them for entertainment, their call is quite pleasant. If you do get frogs/ toads make sure to get a locking terrarium, we didn't at first and had some males escape (and subsequently die). I've always wanted poison dart frogs but they are quite expensive ($50+ for certain varieties, versus $7 for the fire bellied toads).
 

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@karenp, the problem with teacup pigs is that they're only small to begin with. Since I'm not eating them, they'll continue to grow to at least 50 pounds, though 100-200 is more likely.
@PlayingInDirt, I would be a little worried about their dietary restrictions. From what I've read about them, the recommended diets don't seem to be things I could provide without a good deal of money and shopping. I really prefer to make all of my animals' feeds, and I'm not sure how to substitute some of the ingredients. Maybe in a few more years, when they've gained more popularity and we have more information.
@CajunSunshine, tree frogs are an interesting idea. I'm not anywhere that has wild frogs regularly, but I could certainly buy one or two from a pet store. Is there a reason, other than entertainment, why you kept them? I would put them out by my pond in the summer, but if I'm not careful, my koi might eat them!
@mzgarden, https://www.homesteadingtoday.com/threads/hey-all.566418/
https://www.google.com/search?q=mimi+julian+pigs&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en-us&client=safari
 

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Discussion Starter #19
@karenp,
First, Julianas aren't an actual breed. The registry is a trap for money; there's no breed smaller than a potbelly. There's no standards on what breeding is, so claiming "50lbs" is just that - a claim, which is often proven false. Sometimes, they stay this small...


Sometimes, they don't.


The above pig is the smallest known pig on the planet, a "Gottingen Minipig." There are very few in existence, and they're very expensive. Even with an extremely restricted diet, these pigs aren't less than 65lbs. Generally, if a pig is less than this, it's a physical abnormality due to congenital conditions or because they aren't fed enough. Unless you've gotten a pig which is lab-bred, it shouldn't be less than 70lbs, and probably won't be less than 100lbs when full-grown. On average, "mini" pigs end up in the 100-200 range which, admittedly, isn't large, because a great deal of it is muscle. But they do require the same amount of food that a full-grown pig needs, 5% bodyweight until full-grown and 2.5% after full-grown. That means I'd be feeding some 900lbs every year, on the slighter size. For the average feed, I'd be looking at growing another four acres of intensive gardening to grow that kind of fodder.
 

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Nothing is really a breed until someone decides it is. It's not like God handed Adam a stack of registration papers. I agree they are over priced.
 
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