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Discussion Starter #1
Hello,

I'm looking into possibly starting a farm once I'm done with high school (I'm a junior currently, so a little under two years from now) in the New Hampshire-Maine-Vermont area, but most likely New Hampshire.

The one thing that may really delay this is if I decide to go to college - my mother and the high school guidance people believe that everyone should go to college, and that if I want to run a farm, I should go and be veterinarian. Depending on the next couple of years, I may or may not decide to go to college and learn how to be a vet and be licensed (it may be easier than finding a large animal vet here in NH, most vets here won't even look at small goats, but that may have something to do with the fact that I currently reside in central/southern NH).

The other thing that may delay this is if I decide to go to college to learn about (agricultural) business/equine/dairy management, a lot of which are offered in-state, and if not, I would get New England Regional Tuition.
I honestly don't know if this is a good idea or not, and would like some input on this college-farm thing.

I am also having a lot of debates over what types and breeds of animals I would want on my farm.

I am quite certain that I will want chickens (my family has had chickens since I was about 7 years old, and I wouldn't feel right having a farm without them, although I may just do meat birds instead of hens for eggs), so this isn't really a problem for me. I know how to take care of them and everything (even process them, I learned a couple of years ago). I won't go into the story of chickens that my family has, it's way too long. Short version is: we named the roosters. And some of the hens that we got. And all the chickens except for the meat birds we started getting and processing shortly thereafter became our pets.

But beyond that, I tend to get into debates with myself.

My family got goats this past spring, and I absolutely love them. We're planning on using the does for milk (one is able to be milked currently, the other females are too young to breed, although there is a somewhat decent chance that one of them is pregnant). We also have 3 whethers (I believe that's what the male goats are called when they're unable to reproduce anymore). All of them are our family pets, and there are currently 6 or 7 of them. I sometimes get confused about the number because we originally bought two Lamanchas (Haru and Nomiki), one of which (Nomiki) died over the summer about 4 months after we got it. Later on, my mom bought almost the entirety of someone's herd who could no longer take care of them and wanted most of them to go together (Ziggy, Pepper, Angel, and Mae-Mae). Angel, the eldest, died maybe two months after we got them, but the rest are all fine. And after this, my grandfather (who lives next door) decided that he was going to get Willy, a goat that he fell in love with when we were looking for a companion for Haru following Nomiki's death. When he went to buy Willy, he also ended up buying Rascal, a slightly larger goat from Willy's age group. My sister, mother, and I all help our grandparents take care of their two goats, mostly by helping clean up the goats' house and carrying the hay and grain into storage for our grandparents, and helping give the goats their medicine. Beyond that, my grandparents are able to take care of their two goats quite well, it's mostly just the heavy lifting that they can't due, mostly because of their age.

I love the goats. But, in all honesty, I don't know if I want goats or not in the future on my farm. They're sweet and playful and everything. Yet, if I had a farm, I would possibly be doing something for meat other than chickens. And because of this, I don't think I'd be able to handle doing goats for meat.

On the other hand, I think having a few cattle could work. I mean, maybe not the really big breeds, but maybe Dexters. I like to think that if I had a farm, I'd be more willing to part with a cow versus a goat (mostly because a cow would out-weigh me not matter what, goats are a bit more debatable with the out-weighing thing).

Anyways, I'm hoping that here on this website, I may be able to get some input on this sort of issue of cows versus goats for meat and dairy, I suppose.
I'm also hoping to find out more about different breeds and whether or not they'd do well in New Hampshire. The climate varies a lot from winter to summer, and I know that for at least half the year, we don't have any access to fresh grass due to snow, but I'm willing to buy hay and grain for whatever animals I have.

I'm also looking into how much land is needed per animal. My family lives on about 3 acres currently, and the goats do get fed a lot of hay (we go through about two bales a week), in addition to them still eating some of the shrubs in their yards. Chickens don't need much area, I know that - we've always had around 20-40 chickens, and they do fine in a coop that maybe 10 feet by 15 feet, in addition to a yard that's maybe 1.5 times that. We have, at the highest amount of grain, gone through nearly two 50lbs bags a week for them (this was when we had nearly 50 birds, my mom sold at least 20 of them quite quickly. We had originally thought that we'd be losing more of the winter than we actually did). The current number we have goes through a bag 50-lbs in maybe a week. There's around 20 birds, and it's fall.

Anyways, if anyone has some useful input of this information here, it'd be
nice to know. I'm mostly going to be reading through other's posts here, seeing what they say.

Also, a small piece of additional information - I most likely would not be processing my own cows/goats/etc if I did do them for meat, I'd probably find someplace/somebody to hire to do this (chickens, on the other hand, I'd probably do on my own. They're easy enough). If anyone knows someplace/someone that would do this in the New Hampshire area, that'd be nice to know, so that I could start keeping a list of these types of places in the area in case I do decide to do them for meat.

I'd like to have everything planned out when I do finally start my farm, just so that I'm not mistreating the animals I have or anything of the sort. I want to be certain that whatever animals I have, I can take care of them properly.
 
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