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Discussion in 'Back to Basics' started by Clyde, Jan 12, 2007.

  1. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    This is an interesting article from the survivalblog...

    Horse Power, The Real McCoy, by S.N. - SurvivalBlog.com

    Horse Power, The Real McCoy, by S.N. - SurvivalBlog.com follow the link for the rest of the article.
  2. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba


    some good info with a lota not so good. Draft horse wil eat alot more than two smaller horses. Can't work a draft every day all day switch the two and get more work. Ever priced horsedrawn equipment? Got mules and horses, been around them since I was in short pants. A little knowledge can be dangerus. snowbyrd
    PM me for more info, don't wanna write a book but will ans Q.s
  3. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    For working around the farm and maybe pull a cart from time to time what I would consider the best solution would be to have some Scotish Highland cattle. They can be and have been broken to the yoke and used as oxen able to do more work than horses even if slower. Add to that that they eat less and can thrive on types of food that horses would starve to death on, they have long hair that can be sheered and spun, produce milk very high in butter fat (similat to Jersey cattle) and also produce excelent meat and to me seems to more than outweigh the fact that they wouldnt be as good for rideing and general/quick/convenient transportation.
  4. melbo

    melbo Hunter Gatherer Administrator Founding Member

    Horses are on my last though towards the end.
    If there is no gas, and the hostilities have calmed down, I can't think of a more cool way to head into town
  5. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    Personally I would rather have donkeys. You can work them, they are hardier and more sure footed than horses. They eat like goats, and do better in dry weather than horses. You can breed them unlike mules. My Grandfather said that donkeys milk tasted like condensed milk. [2c]

  6. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba


    milk a donk? I worked on a scotty ranch, one of the biggest in the nation at the time, (Bow/Edison) washington. Look it up. Oxen are a good choice, as said less feed, poorer feed and that is why the Pioneers used them more that other animals. la la la snowbyrd
  7. phishi

    phishi Psy-Ops Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    Snowbyrd I like your style.

    I question, like many above, if horses are worth the expense. My take has been that big animals (horses, cows, oxen, even donkeys and mules) are not worth the extra expense of land, food for them, and work to keep healthy. The argument could be made that cows and oxen are dual use animals in that they can be two sorces of food, or food and draft animal, respectively. However the amount of land and hay you need to feed them and the time to ensure such a crop may not work out to be benificial.

    LLamas and Alpacas might be another story however. They are also dual use (wool source as well as pack animal) and are rather self sufficient in nature. They need about an acre for a herd of 5-10, deal well with their own security, and can stay outdoors almost all year long. They need little hay in the winter months and can use the same pasture year after year unlike cattle that must be rotated. They are high on my list of what I would want if I was to stock a homestead.

    Just my .02

  8. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder

    This is true but oxen have to be worked all the time or they become real problems. We had a team of oxen at one time that I trained, but ended up eating them to get rid of the problems. They did anything I wanted them to untill I started working out of town and couldn't work them every day. I'll not likely have another team of oxen again. Donkeys can be ridden to keep them in shape and work off any unneeded energy, Riding an oxen can be done but is not at all comfortable. Also donkeys could be used for meat just like cows, it's done in other countries, people in the USA just seem to have hang-ups over it. To me meats meat.[stirpot]

  9. Clyde

    Clyde Jet Set Tourer Administrator Founding Member

    I often think back to the american indians. They let the horses naturally graze. If it worked well for them as well as the mongolians, I have to think it would be beneficial in the proper climate and location.

    I had 2 quarter horses when I was a younger and we had a 22 acre "gentlemens" farm in Michigan. Due to our seasons, we had to put up a 4-5 months of hay, but if we lived in KY or TN or further south, this would be far less necessary. I wouldn't want a large number of horses, but a few quarter horses would be great for traveling.

    A BMW motorcycle wouldn't be bad either.....other than the price, this one would do for scouting and transportion. http://www.bmwmotorcycles.com/bikes/bike.jsp?b=r1200gsa
  10. ghrit

    ghrit Ambulatory anachronism Administrator Founding Member

    Too much bike, far better a 650 GS. Much lighter, easier to control in dirt situations. The 1200 is one heavy dual sport, (top heavy, too) and not well adapted to slow dirt going. Prolly OK on logging roads that are scraped now and then.[booze]
  11. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    The Indians also moved around all the time and were able to graze the horses over large areas wherever they were. I think if it was like most of us would be likely to be, limited to at best maybe 40 acres beyond what our own feed is growing on, that most of the modern horses would starve since they tend to have to have high quality graze and the 'good stuff' would most likely be gone through pretty quick especialy in the winter.

    One of the great things with the Scotish Highland cattle is that they have not been altered much from their primal form other than temperment to be human friendly. They can still not just live but thrive on graze where most cattle and certianly most if not all horses would starve. They are kind of like buffalo in that they are the same critters that lived wild. I havent managed to get any yet but plan to when I can get set up for it and have some money.

    OGM, How much and how heavily do you have to work oxen to keep them ready to work and what kind of 'problems' other than being less responsive to comands arise when they are not worked enouph?
  12. duanet

    duanet Monkey+++

    Quick comment, the Lakota reffered to one of the moons in the late winter as the moon the ponies starved, so it looks like even the indian horses didn't fare all that well without supplemental feeding. Also one of the problems the US Army faced with hunting the indian warriers was that they rode their horses and ate the weakest for food. The army had better fed horses, but had to have grain for the horses and food and supplies for the soldiers and were thus limited to staying near the forts. My grandad farmed with horses and we still had some when I was a kid. The horsebarns used in the 1920's for a farm of 300 acres were huge. Dad had a picture of the horses on the farm about 1925. There were 38 of them. They used a 6 horse team to pull the grain binder and had to change them about once an hour and let them rest. As a kid, we used to haul manure with the horses and have them pull a sled through the snow in order to condition them for spring work.

    In colonial times they said tht most farm work was done with oxen and they used them in the winter to haul wood and the majority of the heavy goods were moved by oxen after the ground froze hard. That said some horses are much better suited to survival than others. The mustang of the west, the Apaloosa and the Morgan will get fat on the same amount of feed that a large Percheron or Belgin will starve on.
  13. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Beyond maintenance costs of horses (they are very expensive pets), if I were to depend on one to get me out of any area, my main concern would be endurance. They, like any athlete, need conditioning. They react to altitude and weather conditions as we would and their performance responds accordingly.

    Though I love riding and working them, I wouldn't think it a smart use of resources to depend on a horse, lest you have a long-term plan and ability to prepare them as well as yourself and family.

    For instance; took mine (worked daily) to higher elevation for trail riding. Took her there 2 weeks early to acclimate and prepare before the ride and even with that; she was looking forward to day's end. Being used to lush valley grasses, the food source there had to be supplemented substantially for her upkeep.
  14. ozarkgoatman

    ozarkgoatman Resident goat herder


    They need to be worked several times a week. As far as using highland cattle for oxen you might want to rethink that. They are from Scotland where the temps are cool and it is moist. Those are not the conditions that we have here in Missouri. I have heard that they have trouble in the heat due to their fiber, which can be spun into yarn if you didn't know. If your going to use them for cutting hay and such you won't get much work out of them because you will have to rest them often. We had holstiens and I had to be careful with them in the summer. You can kill a team by over working them. If I were to start another team I would likely go with milking shorthorns, from what I've read about them they sound like they would be good. If you raelly want oxen I highly recomend a book by Drew Conroy "Oxen a teamsters guide"

  15. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    Keep your eyes open if you're truly interested. There are 2 llamas listed in our local Craigslist for FREE
  16. jim

    jim Monkey+++ Founding Member

    Texas Longhorns have all the attributes that the Scottish cattle have except high butter fat in their milk, and weaving their hair. Contrary to what you hear, they are not wild dangerous cattle any more than other breeds.

    Donkeys and Mustangs were used in the Southwest and other places for centuries and work well. A mule from a donkey and Mustang cross will work well for most applications and are a bit smaller and even more food effecient. Mules can be left unused and unattended for at least a year and pick up work where they left off.

    All of these animals protect themselves and their offspring from preditors better than almost all other types.

  17. monkeyman

    monkeyman Monkey+++ Moderator Emeritus Founding Member

    I wasnt sure, I had figured a couple of times a week or so would keep them reasonably ready to work and that if you sheered the highlands in the spring so you would have the warmer months to turn the fiber into clothes that they would do ok with working in the heat, especialy since the times they would be most needed to do heavy work would be spring and fall to plow the garden/fields and to harvest. There would also be a couple times through the summer for the second and maybe third cuttings on hay, but figured that it could be broken up some or taken at a more reasonable pace as needed.

    The bigest reason why I look at the highlands is their ability to fill several needs with milk high in butter fat good for butter and milk and cheeses, spinable fiber, good meat, aptitude (from what I had heard) toward being used as oxen all from the same animal, and from what I had heard also did REAL well at protecting themselves and youg from predators while still being very dosil to people and easy to work with for both the cows AND bulls.
  18. snowbyrd

    snowbyrd Latet anguis in herba

    Good site Oxen and

    just spent quite a bit of time there, cool site map, IMHO and a lot of good info.[tinfoil101] HUH, them 'chem trails' do they eat your hat??:oops:
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