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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
How much land would it take to have a garden big enough for 6 people to eat on and preserve, a cow, some goats, a pair of pigs, a mule/horse or 2 and some chickens? Not to mention housing for them and storage for their food, and a home of about 1000 SQ (or so) for an adult and 4 children? I haven't the slightest!
 

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Problem is, that strongly depends on the quality of the soil, the amount of rain you get, etc.
 

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You should talk to your county extension agent. Here in sw mo we had a small farms specialist and he would come out to your proprety and advise you or help you decide which is the best practice for you, your animals, and your land. I found out from him that here it takes 4 acres to support one cow/calf unit. That means that without supplemental feeding, other than hay in the winter, I could put a bred cow on 4 acres and she would raise her calf. Every animal will have different requirements just like every person will have a different opinion. Some people around here will cut back on acreage per unit and say those cows are fit. Some people have fat cows because they run one unit per 6 or 8 acres. It will also depend on your land. If you can't grow grass you can't support livestock. I would definately talk to you extension agent because you never know what government programs you might qualify for. Just my pennys.
 

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SurvivalFemme07 said:
How much land would it take to have a garden big enough for 6 people to eat on and preserve, a cow, some goats, a pair of pigs, a mule/horse or 2 and some chickens? Not to mention housing for them and storage for their food, and a home of about 1000 SQ (or so) for an adult and 4 children? I haven't the slightest!

have you heard about the Square foot gardening technique?

http://www.squarefootgardening.com/


Im trying it out. If it works, its a great way to garden in minimal space. The most expensive part is the soil make up that he has you make. But if you get it at landscaping outlets you shouldn't have to pay as much as I did for one box.

from Home depot/lowes it cost me $80 a box, wood to make the box, soil and grid.

From a landscaping outlet it should be cheaper.

As for the animals, (In Ga) I have 1.5 acres, They said I could have 2 cows, OR 2 horses, Or 2 Pigs, or 4 Sheep or Goats, . They didn't limit the numbers of chickens, but there is a noise ordinance in my area.. so I have to keep them somewhat quiet.

so by that.. if you lived in Ga. 5 acres? (Im guessing)
 

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In central MN, with the exception of the goats I'm doing exactly what you want on 12 acres with enough hay left over for my neighbor to use for his beef cows. I do have to buy a little feed for the pigs and chickens though, but not the ponies or cows.
 

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It would take more of the right kind of land than most would imagine to accomplish your stated goals in a sustainable manner. Livestock is really destructive and needs to be dispersed and rotated over large areas. Gardening/farming as well in my opinion should be conducted on a rotating basis moving from one sizable plot to another every few years or generations. A sustainable farm might take generations to reach its optimum condition.

Sure, a smaller plot might yield your desired output but only with great inputs from off the plot and the plot would likely rapidly degrade from overuse.

So, how much? Maybe 24 to 96 acres (16 acres per person) depending on many factors (assuming no input of synthetic fertilizer, little or no use of motorized equipment and forget the draught animals, they would cost you more than they can ever make for you. An axe, a bowsaw, a shovel and a hoe can work wonders over time).
 

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SurvivalFemme07 said:
How much land would it take to have a garden big enough for 6 people to eat on and preserve, a cow, some goats, a pair of pigs, a mule/horse or 2 and some chickens? Not to mention housing for them and storage for their food, and a home of about 1000 SQ (or so) for an adult and 4 children? I haven't the slightest!
The first big factor is where? Land is not all equal and what you can accomplish on an acre in one place might take much more somewhere else. Also consider what you will need beside the land. It takes equipment and power to work land, power could be mules or horses but is usually a tractor and equipment. This also changes by where you are.
 

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I'm with Ezrandi. With good soil in a temperate climate and the necessary knowledge, I'd say about five acres. You may want to take a look at the book The Self-Sufficient Life And How To Live It by John Seymour. He discusses the five acre farm in detail.
 

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in my part of the country the animals would take 40+ acres, so with all you want to do I would say 40 to 80 acres, if you would choose to do it in some parts of the west,

we figure it takes 20 acres for cow calf, and the same for a horse, the goats and other would take less of course, the garden (if you have irrigation not much but if you depending on nature you may not have a garden)

in other parts of the country a 5 to 10 acres could do, on a normal year,

like said it depends on the soil and WATER.

in 2002 I had two horses on 50 acres of grass and they ran out do to drought in mid summer,
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
bill in oh said:
I think you've lost your mind LOL - 5 (or 6?) people in 1000 sq ft?....

Well I said "or so" LOL
Only 1 adult, and 4 kids, 2 of which aren't going to be there fulltime anyway.
I'm in Ohio BTW. SW area. I would be loking for land more in the East, south, or SE of my State. ALthough to move away from here would be a dream!LOL
 

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Here in SW WI we have 7 people in about a 2000 sq ft home and 10 acres. We have started with 6 raised bed gardens that have done well in supplementing our veggie needs, its about a 1/3 of the size I ultimately want it, its a 3 year plan. We just sent 4 pigs to butcher, their former pen will be my corn & squash & green bean garden next year. Where I planted corn this year will be a pig pen next. We have 7 goats (4 adults, 3 kids), 60 laying hens that free range, about 100 roosters that are slowly being butchered. 20 ducks. 8 turkeys, 2 guineas, a miniature donkey and 18 rabbits. We planted oats and a pasture on about 5 acres this year and harvested the oats (and straw) about a month ago to add to our purchased animal feed. Next year we will have an alfalfa & bromegrass pasture that we will split into thirds. At least 1/3 we will hay from the other 1/3 to 2/3 will be for the animals to graze on. We have about 1.5 to 2 acres of woods so we rotate the goats quite a bit right now and they eat brush etc. Next year when we hope to get a cow and calf, they will have the pasture almost entirely to themselves, so for us 1.5 acres will really be enough for them. We also planted about 300 nut trees this spring, about 200 are doing very well. We will be practicing some permaculture in the future and the trees were the first step for us. The woods are full of mulberry trees, grapes, & raspberries so we harvested those while in season to add to our food.

We put our bagged food in a chest freezer, we put our non-bagged bulk food that we get from a farmer down the road in the old milk cooler. It could hold about 1000 lbs. It fed the pigs and everything here and would last about 2 months when filled. (about $100 worth)

We have an old hog house that we are slowly turning completely into a chicken coop. We have a pretty substantial barn that is our brooder pen, where we keep our rabbits, and nighttime pens for our donkey & goats. The upstairs barn is a "play area" storage for hay, oats, & straw, and slowly becoming the work shop for the place.

We don't need this much land right now. But we figure we will grow into it. We haven't even been her for a year yet.
 

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Here is another thought regarding homesteads (whatever the size) and generations.

Whether large or small in acreage, I feel the entire tract would well remain intact from one generation to the next meaning the entire place goes to one heir (assuming at least one heir wants the place, alternatively, the entire place can be sold intact and the proceeds split among the heirs).

I am in the business of dividing land and its a shame to see places (that are just large enough for a family) get divided among all the heirs so that none of them have a place that is large enough.
 

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In Tennessee-which has a longer growing season- my MIL's family had a 1 acre garden for their veggies. This provided veggies for a family of 5. Their storage veggies were pumpkins, potatos, and turnips. They might have had other storage veggies but those three are what she once told me. This was during the depression, and they were self-sufficient.

Here in Kansas, you need to figure on 2 acres of good grazing for a horse or cow, with the same for hay for the winter. I expect the carrying capacity for livestock where you live would be different.
 

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Terri said:
Here in Kansas, you need to figure on 2 acres of good grazing for a horse or cow, with the same for hay for the winter. I expect the carrying capacity for livestock where you live would be different.
You must be in the wet part of Kansas, here at the top of the flint hills, we figure 7 acres per animal unit.
 

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Why would you need a cow? Or a horse for that matter.

I'm not a farmer but I grew up on one.

Locate near enough to a farm area where you can trade for these items.

Meat, wheat/grains, other needs.

Grow your own garden and way too much of it. Use it as trade goods. Find a nitch market product that would also be a good trade resource. Raise small meat animals. Chickens, rabbits.

As to 1000, sq for 6 people. That's not bad. You'll still have a small barn or outbuildings, hopefully.

JMO TIFWIW
 

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QuiltingLady2 said:
Why would you need a cow? Or a horse for that matter?
Meat? Milk? Work? Transportation? :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

The whole idea of self sufficiency is that you provide for your self, not depend on others for your goods.

A good cow can provide enough milk for the family, plus enough to supplement a hog, chickens, or to make cheese and butter.
 

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If done properly it is amazing at what you can grow in a relatively small area. Most people have no clue how much can be grown in such a small space.
Theres a CSA near me that has 3 acres of land and feeds 65 members they want to expand to 5 acres and are trying to acquire more land. There are plenty of small biointensive farming strategies online.
http://www.spinfarming.com/
http://journeytoforever.org/farm_library.html
And there was another family somewhere in California that grew most of their food in a neighborhood I cant remember the name of their little farm/garden. But they have a website as well as videos online about what they do.
 
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