ALTERNATIVE LIVESTOCK

There is considerable scope for setting up alternative animal enterprises, these can replace existing systems or be run as a complement to them. Landowning Initiatives can provide information on the suitability and setting up of such enterprises, we are able to advise on a wide range of alternatives, some of which are detailed below. If there are any further ideas you require assistance feel free to contact us.

Bison

Bison or buffalo in America have been making a slow but steady comeback, having been hunted to near extinction in the 1800's by white settlers in America. Today they are considered to provide an alternative red meat, which is healthier than beef with approximately half the calories of beef. These animals are very hardy and can withstand extremes of temperature much better than cattle. Although these animals may seem cumbersome and slow they can jump, run and outrun horses when provoked. Like many of the alternative breeds they have a high novelty value and would enhance visitor centres and tourist attractions.

Deer

There are a number of markets that may be available for venison and other products associated with deer production. Although there are no subsidies available for deer it may be possible to achieve a good price return on capital with a good marketing strategy. Venison has a low level of cholesterol, which makes it a healthier alternative for those that suffer from health problems or those who wish to have an improved diet without reducing their red meat intake.

Llamas & Alpaca

Llamas are strong, intelligent, hardy animals that have a potential for earning an income in some areas. They have a gentle temperament and inquisitive nature, which can make them a popular attraction at visitor centres. They are also strong animals that can be taught quite easily and can therefore be trained quite easily to do trekking and rides for visitors. Alpacas are smaller and tend to be produced for their fleece. This may be a suitable animal for those who have sheep or ponies as part of a tourist attraction.

Ostriches

Ostriches can still be considered to be a novelty product, which means that they are increasing in popularity with the consumer. There are a number of saleable products from ostriches which all add to the potential income. They may be a useful source of income from marginal or unused areas of land. Ostriches have great potential both as an agricultural system and for their amenity value on farm tourist attractions.

Snails

Snails are still considered to be a gourmet product from France, but France imports 80% of its requirements. This means that there is potential for developing a product that not only satisfies the requirements of an export market but also may create a new market in this country. Snails can be farmed relatively simply either indoors or outdoors and the system may fit well into present systems.

Water Buffalo

Some people may not expect Water Buffalo to be suitable for production in this country. The number of animals is increasing and with the problems being faced by both the beef and dairy industries at the moment there is scope to build on some of the niche markets. Water Buffalo have a low level of cholesterol and high mineralised protein level in their milk and they have a good ability to turn poor quality forage into meat and milk. Landowning Initiatives consider export markets can be established for these products.

Wild Boar

This enterprise provides an opportunity to produce alternative meat at a premium price for a rapidly expanding market. Wild boar are omnivores, existing on field crops, acorns, roots and berries. The provision of an ideal habitat may not be in a domestic situation, but the breed has shown it's adaptability and are extremely hardy and can become quite tame. There is still a good opportunity in this area and as the current pig industry is suffering problems with the swine fever outbreak, it is possible to research a number of new markets for this different meat. Wild Boar can be imported or purchased from the Wild Boar Association in the UK.