Our animals are raised on entirely pasture and are rotated regularly to new pasture for both animal health and soil health. We feed our pigs and our ducks a no-corn, no-soy feed from Union Mills in addition to what they forage in our fields. When it is available to us, we feed spent brewers grains and seasonal produce.
We make rich, nutrient dense bone broth and duck liver pate in a certified commercial kitchen, using products from our farm.
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Grazing, Pasture and Nutrient Management Practices
Our pasture management begins in early September, when we mow any standing vegetation, then lightly disc the surface of the soil to incorporate plant matter and manure from the previous season’s hogs and ducks.
We then plant a mix of annual winter crops that protect the soil from compaction via rainfall and prevent erosion. These crops will be forage and protect the soil from wind erosion and traffic compaction from our pigs and ducks the following season. Usually we plant a mix of cereals (oats, rye, wheat, triticale) and legumes (peas, fava, clover, vetch).
During our production season, we manage our pasture by moving our animals quickly and denying them access to the area that they were previously on. With pigs this is at least once per week, ducks once every 1-2 days. We provide areas that are appropriate size for the number of animals in the group and their stage of growth. A group of ten weaned piglets might get an area around 1000 square feet, while fifteen market weight hogs will get an area closer to 10,000 square feet. Due to heavy predator pressure, we raise ducks in Salatin-style chicken tractors and move them every 1-2 days. We let the pasture rest for at least a year before putting animals back onto it, and build in longer (two year) rest periods after three consecutive years of production in a given paddock.
We are restoring our pastures to a dynamic silvopasture after having been in Christmas tree production for decades. We rotate our animals quickly to minimize compaction and spread their manure, which increases soil fertility. We have planted fruit and nut trees to reduce erosion, create shade and provide additional forage for our animals.