The Critters

The Critters

 

This is Mattie

Our animals are an important part of our farm.  Animal impact is essential to holistic agriculture (or permaculture)- they keep land clear, help cultivate land, and deposit and spread their wonderful fertilizer.  We attempt to mimic nature in our grazing rotations and choice of grazing/foraging locations.  We always ask ourselves what that particular species would eat if it were still wild.  When supplementing animals with foods for winter or convalescence, we choose the types of foods they would normally eat.  For instance, sheep and goats eat mainly top growth (including woody stems and bark).  On the other hand, swine eat roots in equal or greater proportion to top growth.  We figure that God made it that way for a reason and we try to stick with that as much as possible.

Another guiding principle here at the farm is the preservation and promotion of heritage breeds.  We carefully select breeds whose native habitat is similar to conditions on our New England farm.  We need critters suited to cold, wet, winters and mild summers, as well as animals who are comfortable grazing and browsing scrubby hillsides, lush meadows, and thick woodland – all of which are present here on our farm.  Choosing breeds suited to your climate and conditions tends to decrease stress and disease, and increase productivity – for both farmer and animal.  And that makes everybody happy.

Some of the breeds we have, or have had here on our farm include:

Shetland Sheep

Icelandic Sheep

Oberhasli Goats

Hereford Hogs

Orpington Chickens

American Buff Geese

Blue Slate Turkeys

We also graze a herd of Red Devon beef cattle for Rotokawa Beef.