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Type of property for living simply

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    Hi everyone! I am looking for some advice and I just knew to ask here. 🙂

    DH and I have been looking at property lately, and we’re confused! See, we want to jump in the deep-end and buy acreage and start a low-intensity chook farm to sell eggs. We’re talking only 50 birds to the acre, paddock rotation system. (I fell in love with the idea and am convinced we can make enough to meet our needs if our needs remain small.)

    So, at the peak of our chookiness, we’re hoping for 10 acres. We plan on starting with one acre (50 chooks) and working up from there, tweaking it as we go. Meaning we need about at least 15 acres or so to be comfortable. Of course, the more the merrier, but we have a tight budget of $100,000 (since that’s what our current home hopefully would sell for, and we still have half the mortgage left.)

    The thing is, I’m not sure what to look for property wise. We were looking at rural residential, but found the restrictions on animal numbers a bit bizarre, even on 20 acres. Given that, it’s easier to build a home on land zoned rural residential..

    Then we started looking at farm zone land, which would help with the chooks, but make life difficult when it comes to building a home. We’re hoping for a bed-sit style place, rather than a full-blown house.. something very eco friendly and not requiring outside services. Something we can build ourselves.

    So, would anyone have any suggestions (at all!) about where I should be looking for this piece of paradise? We found one we fell in love with yesterday but it was a short love-affair, as the council told us they wouldn’t allow building there because of a lack of access roads. *sigh* It would have been perfect otherwise.

    Thanks for reading! 🙂


    ok,so Im not thinking money wise, but did you ask the council if it was possable to put in an acess road? if the place is perfect maybe you just need to ajust to put in the road?? :shrug:

    I only ask, as I would hate to think you missed out on your dream place over one thing that may have been able to fix/change. I say that as I found my perfect place but didn’t try hard enough to find a way around something and have been looking ever since, about two years, and still havnt found anything that comes anywhere close. I still dream about that place 🙁

    if it is your dream place, do try everything you can. :tup: :tup:


    Which state are you looking around or doesn’t matter?


    Dianne, thanks and I had considered that, but the tracks that run through state forest, and the council don’t own them. They go for quite a way and I can’t imagine anyone paying for it. Infact, there is a gold mine about 2.5k’s up the road who havn’t put in roads either, and they are closer to a made road.

    I know what you mean, and it is hard to let it go.. but perhaps it wasn’t meant to be.

    The only other way around it would be to argue with the council about what an all-weather access road would be. I mean, if we could get our little 2wd car in there without hassles (mind you, it wasn’t raining), then emergency vehicles wouldn’t have a problem, would they? Then it’d be off to VCAT I suppose.

    They say the hardest roads are often the most rewarding.. but I know from first hand experience that sometimes they’re just really hard and with no reward at the end at all. 🙁

    Anja – We’ve been looking in Victoria in person and down Tassie online.. but state doesn’t matter too much. The main issue is that we would love to be within an hour or so of a major town so we can go to TAFE to learn additional skills (like wood working or welding) when we can.


    purplehat post=314632 wrote: Infact, there is a gold mine about 2.5k’s up the road who havn’t put in roads either, and they are closer to a made road.

    Personally, I’d let that one go. I wouldn’t want to be that close to a gold mine as they are the most toxic imaginable, and you don’t want to be drinking cyanide-laced water.

    See here:


    That’s what we thought too, until we contacted the mining company. The mine isn’t currently being used – what they call “care and maintenance” mode. When it was being used, (and when it will be in the future) they don’t process the ore there, but 70k’s away.. so reducing the amount of cyanide. Of course, being a gold mining area from the 1800’s, there’s plenty of cyanide to be found anyway I guess. 🙁 I’m sure practices back then didn’t care about the environment or local waterways being contaminated.

    DH works at our local gold mine, and yeh, when we first saw the mine there were were very disheartened. We wanted to get away from gold mines after all! (We’re probably already drinking cyanide-laced water, and the old locals warned me about growing root crops in our soils..)

    You’re right, though. I really don’t think that one was meant to be. We’re doing a huge “farm buy” search and DH’s got his sights on King Island .. I better go put some sense into him. 😉


    Purplehat, best of luck. Have you considered leasing some land? There are quite a few farm owners who would love to lease out some land. If you can find a parcel big enough that the council will allow a future subdivision then you may have the option of buying that land down the track when your enterprise is hot rocking. I know its not the most ideal but it may be of some help in your journey.

    One of the things that organic retailers are concerned about is continuity of supply. If you can offer retailers eggs direct from the farm, rather than via wholesalers, then you have a more secure market. As you can offer retailers a cheaper price your margin and the retailers margin is higher thus securing a more stable and healthier income stream. In addition I suggest that you dont limit yourself to just eggs. Consider diversifying a bit. Growing other F & V widens your product range, ensures some produce if a crop/batch fails, helps use up the mountain of chook manure you will generate and assist in there food supply. Just a thought.


    Thanks Porgey – I hadn’t considered the leasing idea, so thank you. As for the diversifying, I agree 100%. I got the inspiration for our plan from this website:

    I noticed a similar plan in Backyard Poultry Naturally, but he explains it well and explains to move them every 7 to 10 days. Also he incorporates permaculture into the design – using human food in the chook runs too. Imagine if each run had a couple of apple trees and pear trees.. as well as the usual chooky-type plants! And other crops such as corn.. I can’t see the chooks destroying corn in 1 week.

    The difference in my plan is to have a static house so I can collect the night-time manure. I think it’s too valuable to just leave on the ground. Whatever we don’t use we could sell, I’m sure (after it’s aged a bit. 😉 )

    DH and I have all these ideas about design and we’re feeling quite positive about it all.. it’s the first time we’ve felt this excited about a project for a long time.

    We’ve found a few properties in NSW that look very interesting.. considering taking a look next week sometime. Sure, they’re not 100 acres surrounded by state forest, but they look pretty good all the same. 🙂


    If youare looking anywhere around Albury/Wodonga we have some great TAFE courses here including Permaculture, Organic Farming and Sustainability which could suit you.


    If you’re looking at rotational chook yards, you should try to catch Joel Salatin while he’s here in Australia doing workshops.




    Thank you both. Yes, not discounting any areas! Sonya, Joel Salatin sounds worthwhile. I will keep the NSW talk in mind, but it is quite a way from where I live right now.

    Mind you, we’ve started looking seriously around the Cowra area in NSW.. an area called Woodstock seems to have been opened up to 25-40 acre blocks. We’re considering taking the long trek up there to see some of these blocks. Has anyone got any experience with the area?

    There were cheaper blocks around here, but the gold mining (one block even had historic tailings!) and the low average rainfall here makes us think about going a little further north. The only proviso is that we would dearly love to still grow apple and pear trees – since they’re one of the few fruit we eat. (The other fruit is banana, so I guess if we stray too far north, we’d at least have those.. :cheer: )

    Thanks again!!



    We are also currently looking for a property (in NSW). Instead of going it alone our family is considering sharing a rural property with other like minded people and families. We are hoping to live more simply, minimising our environmental footprint. It is very hard in the modern day to do that on you own so we are looking into a cooperative model where we can share resources. At the moment I am seriously investigating initiating and participating in building a new multiple occupancy community within 30 mins of a fairly major town (with a highschool).

    We are planning to utilise renewable resources like solar and wind and hope to aim for a level of energy self-sufficiency. A shared community farm could develop orchards, chickens, organic veggies etc. More people, more support, more ideas …

    Basically we are concerned about building resiliance in the face of the looming climate, environmental, energy, economice crisis.

    Hoping to find other interested people???


    Well, we’re STILL looking for property.. so I thought I’d ask for a little more advice on the back of my own thread. 😆

    I’ve read (some of) You Can Farm, (Joel Salatin) and have a good idea of what we’re looking for, so concentrated around a large population centre. So, for example, we’re interested in a 15 acre property 35-40 minutes north of Bendigo. Sounds ideal.. except that the whole “town” is zoned farming.

    Farming is what we want to do, clearly, so it makes sense to buy land within that zone. However, we really would like to build a small house on there eventually (but not within the first year or so, so we can get the farming venture up and running before stressing about building). DH called the council and they said that there has been more rejections than not when it comes to permission lately. He didn’t sound positive. He also said we may need a permit to keep poultry or rabbits because it may be considered intensive animal husbandry. Urgh.

    So, I’m wondering.. A) Has anyone here successfully built on farm land and can offer some advice? B) Should we consider another state (such as NSW) who seem to have slightly more sane laws about building? C) How do these posh houses near the land we’re looking at, each with a couple of horses out front, get to do it?


    Best od luck with your search purplehat. Loddon shire, where we are is making it difficult to do any thing on 20 acres. They have a new catergory concervation something or other.


    I think as good as the chances get is if the planning department folk accept that a dwelling is required for onsite 24/7 management of whatever your farming endeavours are going to be.

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