Miss Piggy had her first Littler of Piglets. Momma and babies are all perfect.
Congratulations Miss Piggy!
We are constantly looking for ways to improve our farm and often our "improvement" leads to expansion. Our goal is sustainable, on a small farm everything and everybody must have a purpose. Our Pasture is no exception. Not only do the Livestock provide us protein in meat and eggs, The Cattle Supply manure for compost, The Chickens help with insects, The Sheep keep weeds at bay, and The Pigs insure that nothing from the garden goes to waste.
Like everything on the farm our pasture started small when a neighbors heifer wouldn't stay inside her own fence. She would come to visit following me around the yard grazing while I did yard work. Before long she had a name "Betsy" . You can't help but be fond of an animal that not only mows but fertilizes. Before long our farm was a little bigger to accommodate Betsy and her friends., Not long after they became an ever growing beef herd of nearly 50. Betsy isn't with us anymore but I will always fondly give her credit for being the beginning of our herd.
Todays herd is sired by a quality angus bull "BIG DADDY" and divide between pastures and leases. Grass fed and supplemented with hay we raise. Our Steer are brought to weight at pasture over a period of 2 years rather than 14 month's commercial feedlot style. We raise a grass fed, not organic herd. As with everything we raise the animals health an well being is our primary concern, so all our cattle receive immunizations, and though we don't use steroids or antibiotics for weight gain, we would also never allow animal to suffer by withholding penicilicin if needed either.
Though some of our herd are kept on nearby leases you always find some in pasture by the house.
Three staples of the farm are the horses. They came to be namely cause as I had once told my husband I always wanted one as a child. Soon after we had cattle we had a logical reason to get them. Thus our name sake Big, Blue and Sky, Big and Blue are two cutting bred quarter horse 1/2 brothers . They are often referred to as the Boys around here. They came to us as young colts and before long we realized that while their short cutting stature was a perfect fit for me, Charles being over six foot needed a bigger horse. So Along Came Sky A beautiful paint that has lived up to his name at well over 16 hands. In fact he had to be taught to lay down for me to get on. Thus there is always a "Big Blue Sky" on the Farm.
When we got "the Boys" they had always run with sheep. So when they made the move they brought a couple lambs with them. That small flock of Dorper Cross Ewe's still run with them , along with a Sulfolk Cross Ram. We have had great success with easy births, and strong twins. Blessed with strong healthy mommas lambs are left for 90+ days, and always unaltered. (Lambs hit processing weight just before or at the onset of puberty so castration is not really nessecary and while it has become the norm we have never had a problem with any undocked ewe setting) . When it comes to sheep I am a firm believer the it works as well on the farm as it does in nature.
I always say sheep are the easiest keepers on the farm.
Our flock consists of primarily laying hens, and can be found running about the garden, barn and pasture surrounding it. We keep a rooster with each flock. (there is no better protection) . I tell people the 2000lb bull is nothing to worry about but..... keep an eye on the rooster. More info on How our Chickens are kept can be found on Our Coup Page.
Pigs came to our farm for the simple reason that everything tastes better with bacon. Our first pig came to us at slaughter weight and was supposed to be with us for mere days. When the processor was backed up he ended up staying with us for a couple month's. By that time he had his own housing and had become part of the daily routine. Since we were already equipped we decided to raise a couple for breeding. I am not the biggest fan of Commercial breeding practices so we raise a heritage breed of "Large Black Hogs". Before Commercial processing became the norm in the early 1900's the "large black hog was the breed of choice. They are Heat tolerant, docile pigs that fair well kept out doors in their natural state with floppy ears covering their eyes and long tails curled. They also insure that there is never waste from the garden.
Though not seen in the pasture they are an important part of the farm.