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perfect amount of acreage for a hobby farm

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  • #21
    I have 30 acres currently which is more than I need, but that's not a problem for me.

    I will point out you should check the zoning in your area. In my area there are usually limitations on what animals you can have and how many on smaller acreages. At least around me you usually need 10 acres to be able to do what you want.

    That said, part of that can be woods or other land that requires minimal maintenance.


    • #22
      I've got 30 acres, and the best part is that it is bordered all the way around the edges with trees. That takes up about seven acres, but I love having that all around buffer zone. I've got about seven and a half acres of pasture plus plenty of room for my arena, barn, etc. and another six acres fenced for my dog training field. If I could have 300 acres I would.
      "Argue for your limitations and you get to keep them."
      -Richard S. Bach


      • #23
        Originally posted by 2DogsFarm View Post
        I am in the Midwest too.
        My farmette was originally offered at 10ac, but I offered to buy 5 & offer was accepted.

        I am here by myself & up until a year ago mowed both lawns & pastures with a riding mower.
        That meant some sort of major repair to said mower every year, as it was not meant to handle pasture.
        After 15yrs, last year I hired a landscaper to mow the lawn every other week.
        Hay neighbor bushhogs my pastures in return for letting him store loaded haywagons in my indoor over Winter.
        He arranges wagons so I am still able to ride in there.
        Sounds like a terrific arrangement where everyone benefits. That also allows you to enjoy the other aspects of your farm that you really like. Thank you for sharing some pros and cons!

        Cute little farm was also in IL. Most of it was crossed fenced though with teeny tiny little areas - maybe good for goats but it wan't goat fencing. The 4 stall barn was being used as a deluxe chicken coop with very.happy.hens.


        • #24
          Originally posted by Texarkana View Post

          If you don’t have intentions of housing horses, I would look for something with minimal fence line.

          I feel your pain with the market. We’ve been shopping for ages; now is the time of year where it is usually coming to life. COVID has it dead, dead, dead.
          Great advice on the fencing. I'd rather have NO fencing than run down, falling apart fencing. To me that is just a job that needs doing to pull it all out...

          And yes - all that the market is doing here is hanging out. Just when I was ready to put something together....Ah well, bigger problems in the world right now to think about than me getting a little property...


          • #25
            Originally posted by walkinthewalk View Post
            We have 25 acres of useable land. The bulk of it is in pasture, fenced and cross-fenced. We maintain all of it.

            We are early 70’s, so it’s a lot of work but I was raised in a dairy farm, the work here is minimal to me, albeit I’ve slowed down a lot from ten years ago.

            We run our XL and XXL dogs every day on this 25 acres — well — they run and check fences, we sit on the 4-wheelers and watch them

            If I were younger, I would be ecstatic to have 50-100 acres because that’s who I am.

            You have to figure out “who you are” in terms of being a good steward of the land. And FWIW, nothing under ten acres is considered a “farmette, hobby farm, or ranch” where I come from.
            Thank you for the information - your time with the dogs sounds lovely. That is the picture I have in my mind, at least all months except Jan and Feb when it can be brutal around here. I will do some reflection on "who I am" related to land use. My teeny tiny suburban plot is easy to maintain and I enjoy it. Now I need to think what scale I want to do that on multiplied by how much....


            • #26
              Originally posted by DunByMistake View Post

              We are buying a tractor this summer for our 1 year anniversary. Because we have horses at home and I feed very large round bales, we need a big tractor. Salesman said tractor will be overkill for 95% of what we do with it but to lift those bales, you need to have a certain size. I refuse to buy a tractor unless it will lift the bales. If you won’t be doing a lot of heavy lifting, you can get by with a garden tractor or even a good side by side. We borrow side by side from my work on occasion and can get a lot done in a weekend with it.

              I’m guessing you are still riding your boarded horse. One thing to really consider is time management between barn and home. Assuming you ride in evening, you likely won’t have a ton of time to do yard work in evening by the time you get home and see spouse. Which just leaves weekends. You will want or need to get away on occasion so look for a property that doesn’t require being a slave to it!
              Great information on the tractor. I have thought about pasture boarding a few horses but not sure that is a commitment that I want right now. Round bales are so massive. Where do you store them before you put them out for your horses?

              Also you make a great point on my boarded horse. I do go see him 4 days a week - 2 evening and both weekend days. That would definitely divide up my farm time. I used to have two horses at two different boarding barns and that was rather tiresome after awhile. Good things to think about!


              • #27
                Originally posted by Lizrd View Post

                Thank you for the information - your time with the dogs sounds lovely. That is the picture I have in my mind, at least all months except Jan and Feb when it can be brutal around here. I will do some reflection on "who I am" related to land use. My teeny tiny suburban plot is easy to maintain and I enjoy it. Now I need to think what scale I want to do that on multiplied by how much....
                One option you have if you are out in the country is turn whatever land you don’t use into a wildlife refuge area that is low/no maintenance. We used the excess acreage in our old place that way and with some thoughtful planning we’ve got acreage that hasn’t been touched other than mowing walking/riding paths.

                The wild rice and other food plants have brought in deer, turkey, quail and I even have a nesting pair of Sandhill crane.


                • #28
                  Originally posted by Cocorona View Post
                  Our property is enough for what we need but I do wish it was set up a little differently. We’re in an HOA neighborhood that favors a pretty front lawn so the house is set halfway back on the property. I wish it was closer to the street so I could add an arena or even an attached indoor.
                  Yes! We have seen just enough places to consider how the layout can be more or less desirable. Sometimes the house is too close to the road, sometimes the front yard is wasted spaces, sometimes there are other funny design decisions that are less than ideal. It has been an interesting experience so far...


                  • #29
                    Originally posted by TheJenners View Post
                    My five year plan is to fence the bottom as fall grazing because that's when everything is dying already, but... it means I'll have to mow and run water down there, so it's not super duper high on my list.
                    Its probably fun to make short term and long term plans for your place! Glad you found it and like you said, it checked all the boxes.


                    • #30
                      Originally posted by Lucassb View Post
                      I have just under 7 acres at my place, almost all of it in cleared, established pasture with traditional four board fencing.

                      That is pretty much the perfect size for what I wanted; it provides ample turnout for my three horses (including room to easily rotate paddocks to keep the grass nice, which was a priority for me.) I also have a decent size (100 x150') arena, a six stall barn, and an equipment barn for all the various mowers and other equipment as well as hay and bedding storage. I would guess we probably use about a half acre or so for the house, pool and "lawn and garden" area.
                      Your place sounds perfect - and in a perfect location! One place I looked at was surrounded by McMansions and I could just picture them being upset about manure and flies... Thank you for your insights~


                      • #31
                        Originally posted by Melissa.Van Doren View Post
                        I've had 4 acres (southcentral PA), 14 acres (northeast IN), 5 acres (southwest PA) and now 8 acres (upstate SC). If the only animals you'll have on the property are goats, chickens, ducks and your dogs, and you'll be doing your own property maintenance, I suggest sticking with 4 acres or less to keep from using up your outdoor time doing chores. Mowing and weed-eating are the big time-suckers (and body beater-uppers), but you'll also gain a new appreciation for picking up sticks and branches, cutting back hedges, fixing fencing, picking up and disposing of poop, scrubbing water tubs, feeding, doing health checks on your flocks, liming/fertilizing/weed prevention for your pasture areas, working in your inevitable flower or vegetable beds, and generally maintaining the adorable place that first caught your eye when you still thought all you'd be doing was sipping a cocktail from a hammock under the big trees.

                        Pro-tip... Since you live in the Land of Winter: really look carefully at where the snow is going to be, and think about how you will manage plowing, de-icing, mud-control, etc. A long, curvy driveway is romantic until you can't find it in the dark under a series of drifts.
                        Thank you for chiming in on your varied land size experiences. You've got some good perspectives.

                        So true about sipping a drink in a hammock... LOL Great point about the snow/ice, too. Simple driveway just got added to my list. Things are flat around here but in the winter that can be a challenge with drifting...It is so much more fun to think of the homestead in the spring with flowers blooming and bumble bees buzzing...rather than wind howling.


                        • #32
                          Originally posted by Mango20 View Post
                          I don't feel like 10 acres would be any harder to maintain than 6.
                          Thank you for that info! It helps to keep perspective since this would be our first farmette. I worked at a boarding barn for 20 years so I get what maintenance is but committing to a specific land size has been challenging to think about...


                          • #33
                            Originally posted by Simkie View Post
                            I had 10 in the Midwest and it was fabulous--for horses. We had about six acres of fenced pasture with beautiful grass.

                            .... If you're looking for that "out in the country" feel, prioritize a place that's surrounded by farmland, instead of a place that's in a neighborhood of 2-3 acre properties. Good chance that you'll be a lot happier with as few neighbors as possible
                            Great point. I do not want to be in a subdivision or anywhere that has HOA restrictions. A farm among farms would be ideal...


                            • #34
                              Originally posted by ladybugsbw View Post
                              We have 3 acres with two minis and an ancient retired pony on it. Recently, with covid-19, I have a arab lesson horse hanging around here while their barn is shut down for lessons (trainer leases stalls and barn is totally shutdown, so it helps her... and I have a precious horse to hack around until this settles and I can begin shopping again).
                              I bet your little herd is adorable! When you say you hack around, is that on your 3 acres or elsewhere? Gotta love a good lesson horse on loan....


                              • #35
                                Originally posted by Ponycatraz View Post
                                I had 11 acres and thought that was perfect. 5 acres of pasture 2 for the house and the rest left natural for riding and wildlife... Then I went crazy and bought 144 acres in Ohio of fantastic riding property (all foot hills, creeks, and mix of pasture) and I can’t imagine having any less!

                                the 10 acres were fine until the midlife crisis though.
                                OMG this is just amazing....that sounds just massive! Good for you and your midlife crisis! What an incredible outcome.


                                • #36
                                  Originally posted by secuono View Post
                                  5 acres would be plenty.
                                  we're on 4 useable, fenced acres with 4 ponies, 20 breeding sheep & lambs. Had ducks, chickens and rabbits. Those three take up an acre, if that. Ponies were on a track, so took up almost no land. Rest is for the sheep to rotate through.
                                  we bought 26 acres, with only about 18-20acres fenced and useable. It's used for winter grazing and pony track was moved out there. More paddocks will go up over there, too, as I have 30+ breeding sheep now.
                                  NOTE my sheep are a miniature breed. Larger sheep/goats will need more land or less animals for the amount of land.


                                  Keeping a horse at home is cheap and easy, unless you have a problem horse or a high maintenance horse. I couldn't imagine wasting thousands a month on boarding when I can do it at home.
                                  Tell me more about your sheep! They sound interesting. As far as my horse goes, he is moderate in maintenance, I really enjoy the amenities where I board and I don't think I could afford to replicate them in my purchase nor would it be practical on my scale (indoor, outdoor, jumps, hot water wash rack, etc.). I also kinda like the slightly social aspect of the barn and what that entails. My work is rather high stress and it is nice to go somewhere to decompress with other like minded adults. I think I'd miss that if it was just me and my gelding puttering around a grass pasture. Maybe I would adjust but for now my position is that he'd stay put. Another option I've thought about is boarding him Nov-April and having him home when it is nice out.


                                  • #37
                                    Originally posted by B and B View Post
                                    I'm thinking 5 is a nice amount. .... Bigger than that, and you start to need to be one of a few things: into wildlife management (I wish more were), wealthy, completely careless, or dedicated to working the land.
                                    Most of my 70 plus acres is left to do its own thing,.... I wouldn't have it any other way, and it is a unique property that historically and plant wise deserves it, but that isn't for everyone. Too big a property can destroy marriages, it did for my parents.
                                    70 acres! Wow! Tell me more about how you are doing your wildlife management? If I got something larger than 5 acres I'd like to let some of it be more natural/conservation area.


                                    • #38
                                      Originally posted by S1969 View Post

                                      20 is a lot unless you aren't going to maintain some of it - which is what I do. I have a big open field that I mow at max once a year; instead I mow paths to walk my dogs along.

                                      If you do have horses, 5 is pretty small....I'd want something like 7-8 minimum because it's nice to have a place for some of the farm "ugly" things - like manure piles, a place to store equipment/implements if you don' have an indoor space large enough; tractor, etc.
                                      The mowed paths and dog walking is kind of what I have been thinking about. We'd all enjoy that! Great points about the "ugly" things, too. I will have to keep that in mind...Plus the cost of acquiring said ugly things.


                                      • #39
                                        Originally posted by back_in_the_saddle View Post
                                        We've got 5 acres in Northern Virginia with 2 horses on it. Most of it is useable, but on small acreage, sometimes you have to be creative and spaces have to be multi-use. My land is divided into about 2.5 acres of pasture with very good grass, plus about another 1.5 acres with my 3-stall barn, bluestone paddocks, and a separate sacrifice field for winter. I also have a small arena, and of course, my house.

                                        In an ideal world, I would have another acre or two. My arena with footing is not big enough for jumping, so I have jumps set up in a flat area of the pasture. The horses graze around them and don't really mess with them (except for the silk flowers in the flower boxes), but I'd love to have a big jump arena with all-weather footing. Luckily my trainer is only 12 miles away, so we trailer there for weekly jumping lesson.
                                        What is bluestone? perhaps a Virginia thing? do you like hauling out for lessons? I have thought about that setup, too. Do you find much time to ride between lessons or is most of your time spent on chores and not riding?


                                        • #40
                                          Originally posted by TMares View Post
                                          I love my privacy and visual space. My ideal farm size isn't going to involve much in the way of neighbors or grass that the horses can't eat AKA I hate mowing. So my answer is 30+ wooded acres
                                          Right on!