If I’m Buying Land for Sale in Harlingen, How Much Would I Need for Livestock?

To make sure you make the most profit for your ranch business, you must be sure to focus on the needs of your livestock and how much land they may all need. As such, SRC Land would like to share the amount of land required for all your different animals that roam at your ranch!

Amount of Land Needed for Livestock By Type

The Texas Parks and Wildlife Department has various recommendations on what your cows, pigs, goats, chickens, and more will need to thrive, and what they recommend might surprise you.

Let’s check them out below:

1. Cows

Raising cattle has been a big part of America’s past, present, and future. There are various moderate to light stocking rates for pastures. One animal unit (a cow with a calf) usually needs around:

  • 8-15 acres on native grass
  • 3-6 acres on bermudagrass or bahiagrass
  • 50-75 acres on wooded areas

2. Pigs

A good rule of thumb to follow when thinking about owning pigs is buying about 30 pigs per acre of land. However, pig size, forage availability, and your overall goals for your ranch (or pig farm) will affect how many pigs will be able to occupy space there.

Another way to gauge how many pigs to keep on your land is by using the stocking rate, i.e. counting the pigs in pounds. Generally, a reasonable stocking rate for pigs is about 3,000 to 6,000 pounds of pigs per acre!

3. Sheep or Goats

Goats are a popular type of livestock that are grown in the Rio Grande Valley, while sheep tend to be less popular. You can have about six to eight goats per acre of land! Keep in mind that one goat or sheep may require about 250 square feet of space, whereas two will require double!

4. Chickens

Chickens are by far the most popular type of livestock that is bred in the RGV, Texas, and the world! If you are ready to start a chicken coop, here are a few tips for raising chickens on your land:

  • Do not crowd your chickens. Doing so can lead to disease.
  • Buy your chicks from a local hatchery.
  • Choose the best chicken breeds that suit your needs.
  • Build a spacious coop for your chickens.
  • One nest box is big enough for three hens.
  • Each chicken should have 3-4 square feet inside the coop. Be sure to give them extra space outside the coop.
  • Chickens usually like about a 20 ft by 5 ft area for running (or much more depending on the number of chickens you wish to have).

5. Horses
Horses need a lot of space. In fact, a rule of thumb for Texas ranches is using one full acre for every one horse! However, as you are starting, it’s good to have 2 acres for your very first horse to allow them enough space to graze and stretch their legs. Add 1 acre for each additional horse. Ideally, you will want a minimum of 5-6 acres for three horses, and an area for a barn.

An excellent tip to keep in mind when raising livestock on your ranch is to be sure to rotate them through your pastures. via @SRCLand

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Rotational Grazing Tips

Rotating your livestock in multiple pastures is critical to allow for a period of regrowth in between grazing periods. This method will help grasses to grow sufficiently for all your livestock.

Some systems that you can use for rotational grazing include:

  • 2 Pasture System: You will essentially allow your livestock to graze the first pasture for 3 months and the second for 6 months. Switch it up and let your livestock graze the first pasture for the next 6 months and the second for 3 months.
  • 3 Pasture, 1 Herd System: With this system, make sure to rotate your livestock every 3 months. This gives each pasture 6 months of rest before being grazed on again.
  • 4 Pasture, 3 Herd System: Allow 3 herds of your livestock to graze in 3 of your 4 pastures. One of the herds is moved every four months. This helps one of the pastures to be used for a whole year and rest for four months.
  • 4 Pasture, 1 Herd System: This system allows your livestock to graze on one pasture for two months and move on over to the adjacent pasture right after.
  • HILF (High Frequency, Low Frequency) System: A large number of cattle (high frequency) will graze through multiple pastures, and each pasture is given a long time to rest (low frequency).

Reach Out to SRC Land for Affordable Properties for Sale!

Be sure to check out our current property listings at SRC Land and stay on the lookout for the best property to begin your perfect ranch. Keep the number of acres in mind to properly give your animals space to roam and graze freely on your grass!

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