Getting started in goats

I’m tentatively interested in goats. I’m not sure we will own them while we live in inner Brisbane.

Goats eat brush, leaves, rough plants and weeds.

Goats need:

  • shelter, bedding and secure fencing
  • feed bowls
  • dark-coloured buckets or stock tank
  • mineral feeder and hay feeder

Depending on your requirements you will select one of the following breeds:

Fibre: Agnora or Pygora goats produce mohair. Cashmere are a type, not a breed.

Milk: Your goats will need to have kids. Alpine, Guernsey, Kinder, Lamancha, Oberhasli, Nigerian Dwarf, Nubian, Saanen, Sable, Pygmy, Toggenburg.

Meat: Goats meat is low in fat. Boer, Kiko, Savanna, Spanish, Tennessee

Urban: Nigerian Dwarf or Pygmy

Recommended books

Resources

Getting started in chickens

australorp

I’ve been doing some research on keeping chickens in our backyard. We are allowed six fowls according to the Brisbane City Council:

Household premises with a total area of more than 800 square metres can keep up to 20 fowl, including ducks, geese and peacocks without a permit.

If your residential premises has a total area less than 800 square metres you can keep up to six fowl.

Poultry sheds must be set back at least one metre from a dividing fence.

I’m pretty sure we will just keep chickens as Matt says ducks and geese are really messy. I was expecting to see something in the law about not allowing roosters.

I’m tossing up between Australorps which Jackie French raves about – they are good layers and make good eating. They are docile, great mothers and are good if you have children. Better yet, they are an Australian breed so they are adjusted to our climate. Silkies will leave your vegetable beds alone and make excellent pets for kids. They are placid and tolerate being handled. We eventually decided on three Australorps, so that we’ll have enough eggs for ourselves and some extra to sell or give away.

You’ll need:

  • chook house, which includes weatherproof shelter and a perch
  • nest and laying box
  • dummy egg
  • organic feed, eg from Country Heritage Feeds
  • water
  • shell grit and dirt

Jackie French suggests growing the following plants for chooks:

  • Amaranth
  • Avocado trees
  • Carob
  • Chilacayote melons
  • Fruit trees
  • Grains and maize
  • Nuts
  • Potatoes (cooked)
  • Quinoa
  • Sunflowers
  • Tree lucerne
  • as well as sweet potato, pumpkin, arrowroot, chestnuts, honey locust, taro, yams, kumara, jerusalem artichoke, and chokos.

Others have suggested comfrey and herbs to repel lice and intestinal worms, including feverfew, tansy, rue and wormwood. It’s ideal to plant these around the chook house.

Chickens

Chicken coops

Chicken accessories

Books

  • Backyard Poultry Naturally – Alanna Moore
  • Chook Book – Jackie French (excellent)
  • Healthy Free Range hens – Neil Christensen
  • How to Care for Your Poultry – New Zealand Lifestyle Block
  • Keeping Chickens – An Australian Guide

Resources

Getting started growing Bananas in Queensland

bananas3-new

Unfortunately due to an overwhelming demand since Cyclone Yasi, there is a six month waiting list for banana plants! So I’m going to have to put my banana growing plans on hold. Here’s some of the information I discovered while conducting research.

Bananas require full sunlight for most of the day. They do best is a sheltered area where the roots will not become flooded. The best time to plant is from September to mid-December.

They require a large amount of plant nutrients to grow and fruit. (800 grams of lime, 240 gram of urea, 30 grams of super

Residential growers in south Queensland require a permit to grow a maximum of 10 plants. Permits are free of charge and made to Biosecurity (currently part of the Department of Primary Industries and Fisheries).

The only permitted varieties are:

  • Blue Java – Silvery wax bloom, white flesh, dessert and cooking
  • Bluggoe (plantain or cooking banana) – angular fruit
  • Kluai Namwa Khom (Dwarf Ducasse) – fragrant sweet flavour, dessert and cooking, very vigorous. Referred to as sugar banana.
  • Goldfinger – tangy tasting, doesn’t turn brown when cut
  • Ladyfinger – drought hardy, long shelf life, dessert type, sweet creamy flesh
  • Pissang Ceylan -pinkish midribs on leaves, agreeably sweet acid

There is currently only ONE supplier in Queensland – Blue Sky Backyard Bananas – each plant costs $30 each including postage.

Further information

Agrilink produce a Tropical banana information kit as a series of PDFs. The kit provides information on all aspects of growing tropical bananas in Queensland.

Jerry Coleby-Williams has written a Fact Sheet: Growing Bananas for the ABC Gardening website.