Do local breeders help you out?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by moonwolf, Jan 30, 2005.

  1. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I'm wondering if you obtain local livestock, if those people selling to you are willing to come to have a look at your pasture and help with getting you started with the animals?
    I'm thinking something like goats or sheep or other ruminants, pigse, and such...and they might have a walk about helping you identify any problem areas, such as the right set up in putting up paddocks, fencing, and feeding? Housing? identifying hazards like toxic weeds? suggesting the best vaccination programs, when they use a vet, and things like that?
    I think that would be a good way to get good stewardship of the animals they might sell you, as well as knowing best how to farmstead those animals for optimal potential.

    Any thoughts on this, pro or con? Any personal positive experiences that anyone has had in getting started with animals you may not have had before?
     
  2. kesoaps

    kesoaps Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    4,108
    Joined:
    Dec 18, 2004
    Location:
    Washington State
    Any decent person would help you out, Moonwolf. There are those that are afraid of 'competition', but my personal experience has been positive both in the dog world and now in sheep.

    Right at the moment, I'm into the sheep thing. I bought my girls from someone who just raised pasture pets. They were knowledgable enough regarding worming and vaccinations, and they loved their sheep. But they didn't raise for meat or show (kids 4-H), so we needed to find other sources of information. My daughter went to the fair last year and was buddied up with an experienced club and they were wonderful! In fact, the project leader is who we bought our two latest lambs from. She couldn't be easier to talk to and learn from.

    I think most homestead types are more than willing to exchange valuable information with you regarding the upkeep, maintenance, and time you'll need to invest.
     

  3. MorrisonCorner

    MorrisonCorner Mansfield, VT for 200 yrs

    Messages:
    3,736
    Joined:
    Jul 27, 2004
    Location:
    VT
    The woman I bought my Icelandic sheep from didn't come from one or two towns over to give advice... she came from two states away! I still rely incredibly heavily on her advice and council (can you say 3 am phone call?).

    However... this did not come cheap. I paid top dollar (and I'd do it again in a heartbeat) to buy my sheep from an incredibly reputable breeder who was willing to do follow up with me to make sure that not only were my sheep healthy and successful, but I was happy and successful with my sheep. She even took back a ram lamb when it didn't work out (he scared me) and delivered another (who I adore) in his place.

    I say in an article on one of my websites, and this has been picked up and repeated in several articles which have appeared in glossy mags with nationwide reach: Cheap sheep (cheap anything) aren't. You can buy at an auction, buy from your local ag rag, whatever... but when you pay top dollar, you get not only outstanding animals with fewer problems, you get a farm willing to help you and who genuinely want you to succeed. Because if you do, you reflect well on them.

    Let's see... where is my "flock on a shoestring" article... try www.frelsifarm.com and look at the lower part of the page. You're looking for "flock on a shoestring" which is an article on how to build a flock of champagne sheep when you've got a beer budget.
     
  4. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    One of the breeders I bought rabbits from is helpful...and two hours away. I have one neighbor who would like to be helpful, but but gives me suggestions that make me cringe...he thinks goats don't need shelter, for one thing. Aside from that, the only other person I know here that has any livestock is kinda like Elmira..."I wanna hug 'em and sqeeze 'em and love 'em, and...." She loves her animals, but doesn't research...didn't even know her goats could get worms, or could be vaccinated.

    I'm prretty much on my own...with you guys as support.
    Meg
     
  5. Jen H

    Jen H Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    2,832
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2004
    Location:
    Washington
    The farmer I've purchased my cashmere goats from has been really helpful. Sent me home with all sorts of photocopied pages full of info from worming to hoof trimming to common illnesses. He even had pictures showing how to build cheap mineral and hay feeders.

    The farmer I got the sheep from has also been very helpful and approachable with "stupid" questions.

    If you think about it, responsible breeders of any stripe want to make sure the animals they are selling won't be mistreated. Being helpful to new people buying these animals ensures that when the time comes to buy more goats (or sheep, or...) you're going to buy from them again.
     
  6. fordson major

    fordson major construction and Garden b Supporter

    Messages:
    7,380
    Joined:
    Jul 12, 2003
    Location:
    east ont canada
    well we are the other end of the stick .often sell animals to small homesteaders and we often bring the animals to the homestead. brother and i are always willing to lend council even if the animals were not bought from us. haveing been brought up in the '60s by dog breeders the dog breeder of today leaves me with a bad taste in the mouth. have very little to do with dog breeders for awhile so maybe thats changed. but cattle sheepand other animal breeders are for the most part super people.find a mentor you can work with is like finding gold! at least with the internet it brings folks together . shareing knowledge and ideas is very easy. only stupid question is an unasked one .
     
  7. Maura

    Maura Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    15,980
    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2004
    Location:
    Michigan's thumb
    What are you planning on doing with your flock? If you are interesting in spinning and/or weaving, find a local group of spinners/weavers (knitters). Some of those people will have flocks of their own and will probably be very friendly in helping you sort your farm out. They will be able to tell you what kind of sheep would work out for you and where to find them. I have two cheap sheep, but that is because they are from a knitting friend of mine who wants me to do well. (Okay, they aren't really cheap sheep, they were cheap to me :) ) People in this type of group can help you find sheep with good confirmation and personalities.

    Of course, you will have to do your own research. I have small sheep, some of my friends have big meat sheep. To each her own ;)
     
  8. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    I guess to clarify somewhat my original questions and thoughts.
    First, I don't have either sheep or goats, but I do have pasture.
    My thoughts were if someone locally identified the potential and hazards involved with livestock and which might better to consider. I don't know what breed would be specific best for the homestead, so it seems that specific purpose breeders would point out what's best for their animals and pass this on. Things such as where locally to get fencing and how to keep that animal best situated. Things in the pasture I may not be aware of, such as potential bad weeds is another factor. This is where a local person could point out.

    In my experience with birds, I raised Muskovy ducks and visited a beef farm where the people bought ducklings from me for fly control. It was interesting to see how they wanted to make use of that, and I helped with pointers on them keeping their ducks. I even learned some things from seeing them kept there with different nest/brooder ideas I hadn't considered. So, this kind of thing is mutually helpful.
    Breeding dogs of a specific breed also was with great help of a mentor in that field in my past experience, so I understand the great value of building that kind of relationship, though it was distant and periodic visits.

    Of course, this forum has exceptional wisdom for information as best it can be passed on in words or pictures. thanks for all your input.
     
  9. Meg Z

    Meg Z winding down

    Messages:
    3,471
    Joined:
    Jun 8, 2004
    Location:
    NC
    You might try your county agricultural agent. He/she could either come give you pointers, or hook you up with locals willing to share their knowledge of what works in your area. It's worth a shot.

    Meg
     
  10. Corgitails

    Corgitails Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    960
    Joined:
    Jun 2, 2003
    Moon, out of curiosity, what's your breed?
     
  11. moonwolf

    moonwolf Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    7,576
    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2004
    Location:
    Canada
    You mean the dogs? That would be Westies. I just love them.
     
  12. Christiaan

    Christiaan Dutch Highlands Farm

    Messages:
    1,642
    Joined:
    Mar 12, 2004
    Location:
    Along the Stillaquamish, Washington
    We met the folks we bought our Highland cow from two years before we even had a place for a cow. (We bought meat from them) When we got our place they came and had a look around and pronounced it fit. Then they brought Beth and a steer, and helped them settle in. They are always available for advice and never laugh at my stupid questions. They also come and get Beth and her calf every summer to spend time with thier bull. While there Beth gets her feet trimmed and any vaccinations she might need. After four to six weeks they bring them back home. All this for about $150. Beth gets what she needs, the year old steer gets the pasture all to himself and I don't have to hassel with breeding. Win, win.