Heritage Narragansett Turkeys
We chose the Narragansett breed after exploring several other breeds. They are one of the higher rated meats, and are very beautiful birds with a traditional turkey look. Their disposition is calm and are great foragers.
When we first moved into this house, the place seemed overrun with spiders and crawling things. It was dangerous to drink from a cup at night without checking it first! But... after just two flocks of turkeys (and probably some help from the chickens) we are virtually spider free! They have successfully de-bugged the farm. The only insect posts we have left is wasps, which apparently the birds do not eat. Surely something does!
|These Toms are always competing to see who's best|
|The Hens are incurably curious|
Heritage and Rare Breed Chickens
We have about a half dozen different breeds of egg laying chickens, all of them rare or endangered. When I get time I'll post the names of the breeds.
We use our chickens exclusively for eggs today. They are the most like pets of all the animals. These little ladies follow me around where ever I go on the farm, waiting for a quick easy snack if I kick up some dirt to expose a few earthworms, or drop them a extra apple core on break time. During all but full summer or full winter we don't feed them commercial feed. They get all their nutrition from grazing the grass, the garden, the pasture, and supplemented by some throw bird seed, kitchen scraps, or the occasional sack of crickets.
This egg only use may change soon, as the market for broiler chickens raised on pasture is exploding! It seems that farms simply can not produce enough chickens for the demand.
|Grey Dorking... affectionately called "Grandma Birds"|
|Our main rooster, a Golden Sex Link.|
|This fuzzy foot chicken is camera shy!|
|One of our favorites. Her name is Goldie because she is a nearly white Americana Chicken that lays colored eggs. She is also the most persistent and creative of all the chickens, a born leader.|
|This rooster is a Kraienkoppe, a funny little breed from Germany with long legs similar to a road runner|
|Here is what the Americanas normally look like. They lay green, blue, and pink eggs.|
Red Wattle Pigs
This is a very interesting breed of pig native to America. Their story is a fascinating one. The meat is hailed as one of the best pork eating experiences available. Nevertheless this breed is quite rare and in fact listed as critically endangered. To get our breeding pair we had to fly them in from two different farms on the east coast. There are few enough blood lines of this breed to make further breeding difficult. But we love them! They are calm, playful, clean, rugged and healthy animals.
We do feed commercial organic soy free hog food today as a supplement. Their primary diet is leftovers when available, collected "waste" such as acorns or dropped fruit, or foraging in the pasture or garden. These guys do a great job of post and pre-season tilling in the garden, and we are starting to use them to keep the compost piles turned to save my back!
|Red Wattle Pigs are incredibly smart and expressive.|
|This little one loves attention! She's posing for the camera!|
|Youngsters getting an evening snack from mom|
|Notice the muddy nose!|
|These guys went for a stroll in the pasture in search of goodies.|
|Ok, time to quit when they cant hold their head up anymore.|
We chose this breed for the historical interest. Legend has it that this is the same breed of sheep that Jacob of the Bible raised on the hillsides in his day. They are spotted and horned in creative ways, each sheep is like a fingerprint in its unique appearance. They will be utilized for their meat and fleece.
|Our RAM, Riddle. Impressive horns!|
The guard Llama is named Rainey. He is expert at protecting his sheep from predators, unknown dogs, and even people he doesn't trust. He is very gentle most of the time but jumps into action when necessary.
Nigerian Dwarf Goats
These smaller sized goats are very friendly, clean, and produce one to two quarts of very rich milk per day. We introduced milking goats to the farm in early 2011 after a long debate about the overhead of daily milking. Fortunately we chose to add them and today we wouldn't go without! There is truly not many things finer than farm fresh raw milk from a Nigerian Dwarf goat.
Indian Runner Ducks
This breed of duck was too cute to pass up. These two are officially pets, but now that they are laying fertilized eggs, we will likely offer the babies for sale soon. The yellow one is Jill and the black one is Jack.
We have officially added honeybees to the list. We purchased three starter Top Bar Hives this year and are looking to populate those hives this summer. Next spring we should have some honey for sale
We have two horses on the farm: Samson (palomino) and Callie (brown). They are more part of the family than they are part of the farm. Samson is a real fun loving goofball, but he is also king of his domain.
|The happy couple having a snack together|
Apparently the meat rabbit market is another undiscovered treasure. Rabbit is about the only meat that is virtually fat free, since rabbits naturally do not deposit fat within their muscle. That makes rabbit the leanest meat available. I have not tried it yet, but it is supposedly very tasty as well as healthy. We are considering this as another income source. If we do, you won't see rows of tiny cages of rabbits, we will find a way to produce a natural rabbit environment where they can be free to live out their lifespan in comfortable, healthy, spacious conditions with their peers.