We sell a variety of other meats besides pastured pork and chicken. We have ducks, geese, turkeys, guineas, rabbits, sheep, goats, and cattle.
We pasture-raise Pekin ducks growing up in the same Plamondon-style mobile hoop coops as our broiler chickens. They get moved to fresh pasture daily.
We raise New Zealand rabbits and sell them whole, but they not currently pasture-raised. We are working on getting rabbit tractors built as soon as we can, so we can get them out on the grass.
We raise British White Cattle, Boer and Kiko goats, and a variety of sheep, all grazing on pasture or in woods. These animals are all ruminants, and they have a special place on our farm.
“Ruminants are mammals that are able to acquire nutrients from plant-based food by fermenting it in a specialized stomach prior to digestion, principally through microbial actions. The process typically requires the fermented ingesta (known as cud) to be regurgitated and chewed again. The process of rechewing the cud to further break down plant matter and stimulate digestion is called rumination.” – Wikipedia has a nice definition here with a lot to chew over!
Poultry are nature’s fastest fertilizers. Ruminants are nature’s best soil creators. Together they make a powerful force. The pigs do a great job creating havoc in the soil structure, which serves to make more diversity. It’s wild, and we love it.
If we were to have only two species of animals on our farm, one would definitely be a ruminant. The reason is simple. They turn grass, forbs, and forages into meat and dairy. The grass turns the sun into energy. Some of that energy is exchanged with living creatures in the soil. Those microbes in the soil help the grasses and other plants get the macro- and micro-nutrients they need out of the rocks deep in the ground. This symbiosis is what creates nutrient-dense food. Some of those living creatures in the soil are fungi. This is why you will never see a fungicide–organic or not–used on our farm.
As our farm grows, our systems of animal husbandry improve. In the short number of years we have been on our land, we have seen vast improvements in the soil health. As we complete our fencing this year, we will be able to move to a much better animal rotation, which should dramatically improve our ability to use ruminants to improve the soil.
Currently we have small supplies of lamb and goat available in retail cuts at our markets. We carry another farm’s beef (Hurricane Branch Farm in Elmore County, AL uses the same breed and grass-fed standards as we do) at the market and in our Pastured Meats CSA.
We have a donkey there to protect our cattle that we got around Christmas 2015, and we named him Krampus (he seems grumpy). He should keep coyotes out of the cow pasture to keep our boys and girl safe (we currently don’t have a dog to help with protection).