Confining Goats and Free Range Pigs - Advice Needed Please!
by Terry Heinemann
(St Johns, Arizona, USA)
I have 7 goats (3 does, 1 buck, and 3 wethers) and 6 hens. All of which were given to me by neighbors who needed to get rid of them for one reason or another, and all of decent stock (at least from what I have read and my best judgement based on those readings). I am also currently awaiting the delivery of an additional 10 chickens from a neighbor who has simply decided against raising anymore.
But come next year I hope to purchase a few pigs, rabbits, and additional poultry (such as geese and ducks), as well as installing a small aquaponics system which I intend to stock with a select variety of fish.
I live in the White Mountains of Arizona, USA. And have just moved to this semi arid paradise from Maryland, and before that Illinois. So I know little of what I can expect from the area. But I have no intention of changing locales again and intend to install my homestead and grow old here. It is the first place I have ever felt I belong. I have never before lived on a farm, but have some experience tending to bulls and horses through the jobs I have held, and some gardening experience thanks mainly to my mother in law.
But when I received the goats I had little idea the problems they would cause. This is a free range territory, so I did not bother to fence them in, but my wife has grown tired of them lounging on our deck and covering it in their wastes. In response to this issue, I have begun construction on a woven stick fence. Does anyone know if such a fence will manage to keep the goats away from our porch and gardens? Or am I simply wasting my time?
In addition, the thought has occurred to me that I should investigate the issue of pigs before I purchase them. I intend to use them to clear the areas I hope to grow grain crops. And in doing so intend to move them in a rotation every year between 0.25 to 0.5 acre plots. I hope to breed them to produce meat and sale stock. But can anyone tell me how many I should purchase?
Would it be unwise to purchase a sow and boar for such a small area? I have many juniper trees (a hard wood) on my property, and hope for them to tear them out for me. But I do not wish to overpopulate the area. Please help. Any advice would be appreciated.