There are people that promote looking at land management as more of a whole system. In particular I am interested in how grazing animals can help the land. See http://managingwholes.com/grazing-heals-land.htm
However the challenge for me is how to apply this on just a few acres. I have read about Dexter Cattle, which is a smaller breed and thought of getting one. But even if I could create 3 acres of good pasture, I don’t think it would be enough to feed it for the winter so I would have to buy feed.
I’ve also considered a pig or a couple of goats. Goats would be ideal because they eat such a variety of plants, however fencing costs would be higher. It is jokingly said that if a fence can’t hold water it wont hold a goat. I understand that the problem can be reduced by moving the goats frequently to a new area.
Pigs tend to dig around which could be a good thing, creating areas for water to seep into the ground. The conventional wisdom is that pigs don’t eat grass, but there are those that have tried raising pigs in a pasture that contest this claim. Plus a piglet would be cheaper to buy than a Dexter calf.
I don’t think I will be able to put animals on this land until spring of 2012, so I have time to read up on things before I make a decision.