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Innsmouth Nov 19th 2014 09:55 AM



I'm planning a 65 acre elk farm and I'm looking for input from seasoned elk farmers. I'm planning for a strong breeding program to get some of the best possible genetics. I'm still in the planning phase but I have a very clear image of what I believe my farm will look like. I have a few thoughts and I'd love to get some feedback on them.


If I'm breeding for the best possible genetics do I select my bull elk through the size of their antlers alone or do I also factor in body size and dominance towards the other elk? What factors do I decide to be important with my breeding program? Would I want all of my bulls together so they can establish dominance between each other? Would I need to observe the bull elk closely to find the dominant male and its reaction to newly introduced males?


Do I want several smaller pens (4+ acres each) or would it be better to have fewer, larger pens to accomodate more elk? I would similarly be able to find the dominant males and females among the calves if there were a group of them, compared to 1-2 calves per pen if I went with the smaller pen option.


I have an old barn, 50'x30' that I'm planning on converting into my handling area. I plan on visiting several farms in Wisconsin and Minnesota, but every farm visited is just one approach to farming with one person's input on how he would have done things different. I'm hoping to get several approaches to farming and the accompanying input on what would have been done differently from the members of this site. What does every handling area need? What did you wrongly think you needed for your handling area? What did you forget about that had to be brought in later?


I've been doing a lot of research and I still have a lot of researching to go. I appreciate any helpful information and I thank you for your time for reading this.

sharkey Nov 19th 2014 01:13 PM

There was a book published about 20 years ago in NZ for red deer farmers wanting to start raising elk. "wapiti behind Wire" by David Yerex. Not a large book but it did have lots of useful info which would still be relevant. No doubt there would be some copies on the interweb for sale.


Wild Rivers Whitetails Nov 19th 2014 04:23 PM

There are elk farming organizations where you can find other elk farmers to talk to.

Jack Nov 19th 2014 05:54 PM

Antler size and configuration are number one on my ranch.* Dominance would mean nothing as far as his status in the bull herd as I choose for antler size and looks.* I keep all my bulls in one pen which is 60 acres.* I keep my birthing cow herd in one pen which is 60 acres.* I keep my calves and yearlings in a pen by themselves for better feed for growth.* We AI our cow herd with the antler size that I like and then back them up with my best bull.

All my pens enter an ally way that leads to the handling facility.I use bulls for service that are 500 plus inches every year and are typical.

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