Stuck in suburbia...need help planning homestead

Discussion in 'Pigs' started by PACrofter, Jul 26, 2006.

  1. PACrofter

    PACrofter Well-Known Member

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    Oct 11, 2002
    Location:
    MD / PA
    OK, so it looks like I'm not going to have much luck moving away from the city. At least not any time soon. The compromise I've worked out with DW is to find a couple of acres near enough to our jobs that we can continue to work but still have somewhat of the homestead I crave.

    I'm trying to figure out how to set up a rotation that includes PBPs and chickens on 1 to 2 acres. If I have one acre available for this rotation (that is, excluding the area occupied by the house, driveway, etc.) and I have six fields/paddocks/whatever you want to call them, how many PBPs could I reasonably support? How about if I have two acres available?

    This would give me an area of 7,200 square feet (for one acre) which seems to be more than enough for a pen (depending on the number of pigs, of course) but not enough for a pasture; I'm also not sure how many PBPs I would need to effectively root up that much area.

    Any thoughts on how many pigs to plan on? Any other suggestions? I've already looked into the zoning issues and there are ways to handle the legalities involved, unless I try to sell the meat (which I wouldn't). Thanks in advance!

    Donal
     
  2. Firefly

    Firefly Well-Known Member

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    Dec 7, 2005
    Location:
    Keene-Green-Bratt Triangle
    Isn't an acre 204x204? That's 4900 sq ft. Not sure PBP's would do any rooting but regular pigs sure will! I have an acre total, including buildings, and keep 2 pigs and many poultry just fine, although I have to purchase feed. No pasture but I'm going to try to plant part of the lawn with clover and alfalfa next spring. The best confinement method I've found for pigs (and I am not real experienced) is electric tape. Cheap and easy to install and can be used to rotate.

    I retired last fall. One thing I'd caution is that this can be a lot of extra work and stress if working full time. Probably less so for a man, since you are stronger and know how to build things and have buddies that can help when needed. And since you're still working you can afford to hire help and buy things like tractors to make the work easier. But still, think about easing into it slowly. Like you I was craving a homestead and jumped in faster than I should have and it's been a very steep learning curve! I don't regret any of it though, especially the pigs. They are so much fun!
     

  3. PACrofter

    PACrofter Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    257
    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2002
    Location:
    MD / PA
    Actually I think an acre is 208 X 208, or about 43,000 square feet. I wasn't clear in my original post - when I referred to 7,200 square feet, I meant for each of the six fields (43,000 square feet divided by six fields is about 7,200 square feet each). Sorry for the ambiguity. I would also see building tight fences for each field so that I don't have to worry too much about escape artists.

    What I'd like to do is rotate chickens and pigs among those six fields and also work in vegetables, root crops, grains, and some down time for the soil to rest - sort of model it on John Seymour's rotation in his 'farming for self-sufficiency' book. I just need to know how many pigs I could expect to stock on that one-sixth acre so that there's an incentive for them to dig up the soil but not so much that I can't feed them or that they'd be overcrowded.

    Also, I'd like to grow as much of the feed for the animals as possible, and as much of the food for my family as possible too. (I don't ask for much...) That's why I'm trying to figure out how far I can go in that direction with just one or two acres.

    Firefly, what kind of pigs do you raise - PBPs or full-size breeds? And I appreciate the advice on easing into the project - I'll definitely be doing that! (In fact, I would see dealing with animals as a welcome break from dealing with people at work!)

    Thanks again...