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25-01-2016, 12:38   #76
bradygaz
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New to smallholding the last few months... want to engage more on here as just so much to learn from others... great community on here...

Have 4 acres which was a former tree nursery ten years ago in Delgany Co. Wicklow... 2 good sized polytunnel frames all in place so landed on my feet... although serious clearing up required... think no plastic on tunnels and 40ft ash trees growing in tunnels!!

Pig herd number application gone in... waiting for inspection... hopefully this week or next... made up pig arc with salvaged galvanise and got some ply from a family carpenter... looks the job... have put up 4 strands of electric fence around about 1/5 acre to begin with... can expand when they have ploughed that area...

will be trying to source veg etc to keep feed costs down... any feed tips appreciated. Trying to stay away from meal if possible.

Once pigs settled in will be looking to get 1 tunnel covered and get fruit, veg and salad going... some chickens too.

Exciting year ahead!!
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25-01-2016, 21:37   #77
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New to smallholding the last few months... want to engage more on here as just so much to learn from others... great community on here...

Have 4 acres which was a former tree nursery ten years ago in Delgany Co. Wicklow... 2 good sized polytunnel frames all in place so landed on my feet... although serious clearing up required... think no plastic on tunnels and 40ft ash trees growing in tunnels!!

Pig herd number application gone in... waiting for inspection... hopefully this week or next... made up pig arc with salvaged galvanise and got some ply from a family carpenter... looks the job... have put up 4 strands of electric fence around about 1/5 acre to begin with... can expand when they have ploughed that area...

will be trying to source veg etc to keep feed costs down... any feed tips appreciated. Trying to stay away from meal if possible.

Once pigs settled in will be looking to get 1 tunnel covered and get fruit, veg and salad going... some chickens too.

Exciting year ahead!!
Make sure you have a couple of strands of electric fence around the poly tunnel in case the pigs escape.
I used to breed and rear pigs Tamworth, GOS, Saddleback and commercials. Fed (fattened) them on soaked barely (bought from a local farmer) with some waste veg (mostly spuds) sourced from a local farmer as well as them having a wide area of grassland to graze/root. IMO outdoor pigs (with a proper dry shed/arc) are easy creatures to rear compared to other farm animals and seldom need any interference other than tagging bonhams and dosing breeding sows/boars.
There is lots of info on the smallholding thread regarding poultry but there are other Irish poultry websites that specialise in keeping poultry that you could refer to for advise, here are a few that I know of :
fowl.ie
irishfowl.com
Also http://www.poultryclub.org/
And a informative site for pigs including the only Irish breed - Tamworth (Irish Grazers) http://www.britishpigs.org.uk/
Also don't rule out rearing a couple of pet lambs for the freezer.
Also you need a poultry flock number for your poultry and sheep one if you decide to rear lambs - http://www.agriculture.gov.ie/animal...emisesanimals/

Last edited by Base price; 25-01-2016 at 21:52. Reason: additons
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26-01-2016, 11:12   #78
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Any chance you'd have somewhere else for the polytunnels? Now is the time to think about their best position for you, while you still have no plastic for them. You'll have a right job digging out ash tree roots from 40ft trees, and there's no way you could easily do that without removing the frames anyway.

I don't think you could just cut the trees down and build beds over the roots (but stand to be corrected!) - The stumps will keep shooting until they rot, AFAIK. And you probably know this already, but if you do move the frames, don't relocate them within at least 20m of any trees if you can avoid it!

Ps. Sorry, never even posted here before! I only have hens, one polytunnel and 6 acres of ash. Not sure I'd even call it a smallholding - more just tipping away, low maintenance stuff!
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27-01-2016, 09:54   #79
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Thanks for all the info and tips...

Yeah would be interested in getting a couple of lambs in once get pigs set up first and one tunnel on the go.

Tunnels will be primarily for salad leaves and strawberries so will have it on tables I reckon in trays and bags…. Is space between the frame to get a JCB in at the ash stump in one tunnel if needs be… that tunnel will prob only get going in 2017… Tunnel No1 is tree free so all good to go which ever way I choose….

work full time office hours so not going to over stretch myself this year…

Land is about 5 min drive from house so think chickens are a no go… would be killing myself to try get there morning and night to let them out and in from the coop…(M50 1hr commute each way daily!!)… if I thought there was a fencing set up where wouldn’t have to lock coop each night would love to have hens and the eggs… Any advice on this appreciated
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28-01-2016, 10:49   #80
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Land is about 5 min drive from house so think chickens are a no go… would be killing myself to try get there morning and night to let them out and in from the coop…(M50 1hr commute each way daily!!)… if I thought there was a fencing set up where wouldn’t have to lock coop each night would love to have hens and the eggs… Any advice on this appreciated
I personally don't know of any low-maintenance/low-cost fencing that would work to let the hens do their own thing at night. I know there's some sort of plastic net that can be connected to an electric fence unit, but I'd say it's a horrible price (I think my local gun club uses this in their pheasant raising pen). Also, all electric fencing requires constant maintenance to keep the current from being earthed, to my knowledge. I use 5 foot chain-link, which has been buried to 6 inches at the base and that keeps out foxes alright but won't protect from pine martins/minks (I'm lucky not to have had any of these in the neighbourhood so far).
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09-03-2016, 13:25   #81
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Land is about 5 min drive from house so think chickens are a no go… would be killing myself to try get there morning and night to let them out and in from the coop…(M50 1hr commute each way daily!!)… if I thought there was a fencing set up where wouldn’t have to lock coop each night would love to have hens and the eggs… Any advice on this appreciated
We have poultry netting that can be electrified, the bottom strand is not live to avoid grounding. If you pin cardboard or weed fabric down to the ground under the fence it will help keep weeds from growing and grounding the current.

We got our netting from Farm Fowl in Wicklow. We have a leisure battery which is charged by a solar panel when we want to electrify the fence.

We still close up the chickens at night, but this fencing should be effective against predators if you couldn't close them every night.
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05-12-2018, 12:40   #82
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Just came across this thread - was a nice read

Anyone on here still following it? How is everyone getting on with their small holdings?

Im in my house about 2 years now and have about half acre to play around with - 2019 is the year I get cracking!! Thinking of starting with a few hens or ducks and an area for veggies. What veggies are the easiest to start with for a novice?

Be nice to get this thread going again :0
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06-12-2018, 07:38   #83
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We have an acre of land a mile from our house. We have had animals on it in the past but for the last couple of years, have opted to only grow there to allow more freedom to travel. We have about a quarter acre actually under cultivation which includes about 15 orchard trees, two tunnels, a large outdoor vegetable area, and a pond. The rest is native woodland which encourages biodiversity - and really, being in full time employment it would be difficult to cultivate more area than we have.

We're near the sea in the east so relatively mild and less wet. There is excellent shelter all around the land. Our acre is low-lying so we have a system of drainage to carry away flooding in winter. This has worked very well and now even after a heavy rain the outside raised beds and tunnel are easy to work. We have had less success with open cultivation outside of raised beds - the soil is too wet in spring and easily damaged. Raised beds have allowed much earlier cultivation in the season and made weeding manageable.

When we came to the land it was wild and had been for decades. This was useful in the sense that we saw which native plants grew where, and could assess the moisture and quality of the soil based on what was already growing. We have also left many areas wild including the paths (no strimming or mowing). Easier to do when it's not at a house where you want a more manicured look, but I would encourage you to leave some areas alone and see what life brings to them. The diversity of species and the number of insects and pollinators is something I really enjoy observing.
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06-12-2018, 12:33   #84
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Yea the area is all around my house so would need it half manicured looking
I have an area that's kind of hidden and not in view from any of the windows so might leave that a little wild and maybe scatter some wildflower seeds.

Planning on starting with raised beds first for the veg to see if I can get the hang of it. What are the easiest veg to start with?

Have a nice gravelly area that will be perfect for hens & ducks - just need to build a good secure pen.

In the 2 years of living here im yet to see a fox or mink. Last summer we had loads of hares visiting our garden...would this be a good sign that there isn't many foxes around?
There does be a good bit of shooting & hunting in the forestry behind us also.
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06-12-2018, 16:31   #85
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I think the easiest vegetables for beginners are: potatoes, kale, climbing beans, courgettes squash & pumpkins. But really try anything you like to eat.

Be aware that hens and especially ducks leave a lot of droppings (and in the case of ducks, they are very wet). I have always found it much easier to keep them on soil or grass, than on gravel. With any kind of hard or mostly hard surface you will have to scrape off the droppings periodically. With soil you can just add wood chips or move them to another area. The area treated this way becomes a source of compost over time.

Foxes are common all over Ireland and like other dogs they can smell your poultry from miles away. If you have birds you will have predators.

Good luck, it really is a very enjoyable way to spend time and I hope you enjoy growing.
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06-12-2018, 19:22   #86
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Originally Posted by LouD2016 View Post
Just came across this thread - was a nice read

Anyone on here still following it? How is everyone getting on with their small holdings?

Im in my house about 2 years now and have about half acre to play around with - 2019 is the year I get cracking!! Thinking of starting with a few hens or ducks and an area for veggies. What veggies are the easiest to start with for a novice?

Be nice to get this thread going again :0
I would suggest that you set up a hen house with a permanent fox proof run or make/buy a portable coop. Get yourself a few pol pullets in Spring and they can be bought in most farmers markets throughout the Country.

I would stay away from ducks until you have a proper set up for keeping them. Ducks require a depth of water to submerge their heads into in order to keep their nostrils clear and this leads to messy/dirty pens.

If you want to keep poultry then I would suggest that you treat yourself this Christmas and buy Chris Graham's book "choosing and keeping chickens". It covers all the basics.
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06-12-2018, 20:20   #87
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BTW if you want to keep poultry irrespective of how many you intend to rear there is a legal responsibility to obtain a flock number from DAFM - Department of Agriculture Food and the Marine.

Here is a link to the DAFM website
https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/anima...emisesanimals/

https://www.agriculture.gov.ie/media...ents160511.pdf

Last edited by Base price; 06-12-2018 at 20:27.
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