Draft Animal Power – Draft animals and sustainable land stewardship › Forums › Draft Animal Power › Oxen › Required Reading?
- November 13, 2013 at 7:52 pm #81588
I’m considering getting my first cow next year. I have 1 season’s experience with sheep (wethers), no other herbivore experience. I like the idea of having handy steers, but the size of animal somewhat intimidates me. I’m doing what I always do when uncertain, and reading a lot.November 14, 2013 at 12:14 pm #81596dominiquer60Moderator
What is your goal? To have a handy family cow or a handy steer? If you want to milk I would certainly do both to start, Les Barden has a booklet and Ray Ludwig also has a nice book that he wrote. All have similarities and differences, pick what fits your needs and gut feelings.November 14, 2013 at 10:00 pm #81599
3. Maybe Milk Someday, but not while I’m working full time.
I just thought the family cow book was aimed at complete newbies keeping micro herds, while the oxen books might assume I know something about the species already. My Small Scale Livestock Farming book is aimed at a much larger scale than I’m thinking.May 22, 2014 at 8:41 am #83413
I finished reading Keeping a Family Cow, and frankly, reading that book makes me more interested in keeping dairy goats than cows. The economics discussion highlights the $4000 worth of milk that you get out of the deal, but I don’t use $4000 worth of milk, cheese, butter, and yogurt combined in a year, and in my state selling the extra is not viable. (One cow is way too small to sell to the guy with the milk trucks and the processing plant, raw milk sales legal with lots of licencing requirements that are such a hassle that very few farmers are willing to do it.) She argues that it takes 5 goats to equal one cow, but for someone that wants 2/5th the output and 2/5th the cost, a couple dairy goats make more sense. Especially if you can breed them in opposing seasons and stay in milk as long as you want to. (Might be nice to schedule a dry period in the depth of winter when no-one wants to be milking anyway.)
On the oxen side, the book does have very good information about nutrition, cattle care, safety around cattle, and training calves to halter.
I also found the general discussion about the human food chain and the history of milk very interesting. I found it less fanatical and more fact-based than other pro raw milk sources I’ve read. I think it is a worthwhile read even if you don’t end up keeping a dairy cow.May 22, 2014 at 8:46 am #83414
Oh, and by the way, the Family Cow book was perfectly good in Kindle edition. Reference books are often a tossup as to how well they go to Kindle. This book was mostly prose, not a lot of tables and diagrams. I read it using the Android app on a tablet.May 22, 2014 at 8:49 am #83415
An interesting note, she despises dairy bulls, but thinks beef bulls can be reasoned with. She hasn’t a lot to say about steers, although she recommends growing them out more than a year for better flavor.July 26, 2014 at 1:46 pm #83813jbpiiiParticipant
Just in case you were wondering, this post is intended to make everyone think. It is not intended just for you.
Think beyond today.
While many people may not believe it, we are living in the end times. There is absolutely no question in my mind that the antichrist is on earth today. (This is not just my opinion. I have had a few experiences I consider to be divinely inspired that made this clear to me as early as middle school and I am 43 now.)
The simple truth of the matter is that in the next few years we will see the worst times in the history of the world, and it will never be as bad again. (Matthew 24:21) In the next few years we will see the collapse of economies all over the world. The food supply system we have come to rely on will fail, so it will be necessary to grow/supply your own. Can each person master everything they will need to know to survive the next several years? I don’t think so. I believe it will take small communities of like minded people depending on each other to survive the next several years. Regardless, if God is not the focus of our hearts, each of us will perish in eternity.
American will be hit especially hard. There has been a push to replace the dollar as the world reserve currency for many years now. WHEN that happens, (not IF but WHEN), you can bet your backside we will be living in a world without fuel, not because we ran out of petroleum reserves, but because the average American will not be able to afford it. Add to that the fact that most Americans have had a pretty cush life, compared to other places in the world. In other words most Americans are spoiled and have been spoiled since right after World War II. (Financially, my parents generation was probably the most prosperous generation in the history of the world, yet they were probably the most Godless generation too.) Americans have no idea what hard work is. Most farmers know what it is to work from dawn to dusk most of the year.
Consider what it will mean when you can no longer go to Walmart and buy jeans for about $20 and shirts for less than $10. Do you know how to make your own clothing. I don’t. Not yet. Do you have the skills to make the tools you will need? I don’t. Not yet. Can you make your own soap? I can’t. Not yet. Do you know how to preserve foods, including meats? I don’t. I have started a library of books to learn the skills, but in reality when SHTF you should already know how to do a lot of these things. You may not find a full sized cow useful, but an 80 year old cousin of mine uses surplus milk from cows to feed pigs. I love pork so that would work for me, but in reality, in the days of no refrigeration, it would be a terrible waste so slaughter a full sized pig / goat / sheep unless it would be consumed in a single day (ie huge feast) or preserved by smoking or canning. Chickens would make a better sized meal for most families.
Religious prophecies indicate that after Jesus Christ returns, there will be no factories to steal mens’ souls. If there are no factories that also means there will be no internal combustion engines and no electricity. That means we will live with pre civil war technology. That means draft animal power, or people power. I don’t know about you, but I have turned over sod to make a garden with a mattox and shovel. It isn’t fun, and it doesn’t go fast at all. I would rather learn to use draft animals. HOWIE’S way of doing things by starting your draft powered life with a team of heifers makes a great deal of sense to me. Have them bred when they are of age, then you have milk and more draft power possible. I currently have steers, but will be buying breeding stock as soon as I can afford it.
Sure, dairy goats are easier to handle. I have heard you can train a goat to work as a draft animal, but they can only handle light loads. (I have oxen for draft power; dairy goats for weed control and milk; and sheep for wool and meat; and chickens for eggs and meat. I have 2 bushel each of various grains stored in a rodent resistant cage Dad and I built.)
Also, it is just my opinion, but I think that because I know what (but not exactly when) this stuff will happen, I have an obligation to share as much knowledge and as much food as I can. I am not advocating a liberal agenda-I believe if you don’t work you don’t eat. (2 Thessalonians 3:10)
Having been a police officer for 13.5 years, I know that when all of this begins, you must flee the cities as fast as you can if you wish to surive. If you stay, you will perish. Too much crime and not 10 % of the police officers you would need to handle anything like economic collapse. In addition, I have talked to many police officers who have said they wouldn’t come to work, they would flee with their families. Also, when all this begins, the powers that be will start eliminating the population by any means necessary.
My plan: Flee into the wilderness with my family and live as simply as possible. If it isn’t necessary for survival, it doesn’t go on my oxen powered wagon. (Machabees 2:28-30)
Hope this helps.
The George Guidestones
Conspiracy Theory by Jesse Ventura
The Three Days of Darkness (prophecy-beware of false versions)
A plan for the future can be found in the Bible:July 27, 2014 at 2:43 pm #83815near horseParticipant
Leave the apocalyptic preaching for your FB page please. The OP IS in the appropriate place for his/her query. Add to the discussion or leave it be.
September 8, 2014 at 10:56 am #83997
- This reply was modified 5 years, 8 months ago by near horse.
Although a bit long and not entirely right, I don’t mind the topic. I usually stay quiet, but this man claims to be my brother so I must try to gently correct him.
If you are prepping for biblical reasons, I suggest you re-read Matthew 24.
15 “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’[a] spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house. 18 Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.
No wagon full of survival goods there, not even your coat, just run. That’s the only end times prep instruction I know of in the bible, and it doesn’t even necessarily apply to anyone outside of that region. The people fleeing Judea have to go somewhere.
If you look through Revelations, you’ll see that those refusing the mark of the beast won’t be able to own property, buy, or sell. If you can’t pay taxes your land will be taken from you. With the increasing surveillance in our world, you really think you can successfully hide in the woods if they really want to find you? You start shooting down drones and they’ll know right where you’ve been. Even if you succeed, you’re just surviving, you have no ministry left in the world.
I do aim for independence for my own reasons, but I am not sacrificing the good I can do today to save my neck tomorrow. Heaven ain’t so scary that I want to stick through the end times to avoid going there. Revelations serves as a warning, and when those times come it will be a comfort to those that believe (even if the rapture is pre-tribulation, there will be some that come to believe afterwards) that there will be an end to it, but I don’t think it should affect how we live out love for God and people before those times come.
The first commandment is to love God, the second is to love your neighbors. If I have an extra $100 and I have a choice of using it to prep or sending it to orphans in Haiti who are hungry and uneducated today, I don’t think prepping is the Christian thing to do. What you do is between you and God, but don’t be judgmental of those that do not prep.September 8, 2014 at 11:00 am #83998
I logged in today because I’ve had issues with hay contractors and am seriously considering converting those 10 acres to goat or cow pasture. (To try to get back on topic here.)October 10, 2014 at 8:09 pm #84134
Someone has offered trained oxen available in spring time. Serious reading and spousal negotiation to go on this winter. (Hubby is probably right that I need a better handle on my health issues before I take on something new, but I’ve got some leads and a new doc, might have things worked out by spring.)October 12, 2014 at 2:54 pm #84136CharlyBonifazMember
if the oxen are in training now, could you take part in that? would help you a lot …October 12, 2014 at 3:28 pm #84137
A) They are already trained, just in need of a new place.
B) Too long of a drive to visit regularly.
I hope I can get a workshop out of the old owner before just loading up and going home.
I don’t know at this point if it’s happening or not…September 15, 2015 at 10:42 am #86106
Spousal negotiations didn’t go well in winter of 2014, didn’t get the trained pair, but making incremental progress. Got an upgraded truck, even at the current farm state we need bigger truck to handle large loads of hay and pumpkins. I have consent to buy a 16′ trailer when I can come up with the cash, and perhaps maybe next year a pair of beef calves. There’s a Brown Swiss place near me, I hear those are mild tempered and easy for beginners to work with despite their size.
I got the “Oxen, a Teamster’s Guide” book, reading spouse bits on our daily drive… Joined the “All Things Oxen” group on Facebook, showing spouse pictures…
I really do need either a tractor or an ox to harvest my own hay to improve matters on my farm. I can’t get a baler for hire, the guys that want to do it on shares are harvesting for quantity over quality. I need to spread my manure and some lime to bring up fertility (although I’m getting a good pumpkin crop out of my manure pile, it can’t go on piling like that forever…).September 29, 2015 at 12:30 am #86173MajorFordsonParticipant
As far as trying to make a quality product is concerned Have you looked into biochar? I tried to cook some pine resin out of pine branches yesterday, ended up making proper charcoal, which my uncle commented was being used (at least here in Aus) as a legit improvement for soil health, water and nutrient retention as well as assisting the soil microbes over out dry summer. Apparently a great way of doing is sweetening up biochar for cattle to consume, who then fix it to the soil via their rear ends.
As far as oxen go, I simply imported a copy of the Teamsters Guide, which is packed with great info that even a beginner can consume, in terms of animal care and rearing as well as training. (some very basic farm knowlegde is assumed, so it’s not a commplete For Dummies package) And even though a lot of it is aimed at the North US, most of it is very useful for us in Aus!
(things like stabling over winter and the types of fodder aren’t very handy to Australians, where our beasts simply graze on pasture year round, supplemented with hay as required!)
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