All of our poultry are certified organic by MOFGA. We run about 200 laying hens on pasture using a day-range system. The hens are housed in a coop built onto a flatbed trailer, and this coop is moved to a new stretch of pasture grass every two days. The hens are allowed to range freely, but because they imprint onto a roosting location they never stray far from their “home base” trailer. We are able to move them easily through a pasture in this way, always giving them access to new grass and insects, and spreading their manure very effectively. The combination of exercise, fresh pasture, and organic grain gives us an incredibly delicious and nutritious egg.
Our broiler (meat) chickens and meat ducks are raised in Salatin-style pasture pens. These are 6’x6’ open-bottom screen pens with attached feeders and waterers that are moved to fresh grass twice daily. This gives the birds access to continuous new pasture and concentrates their manure where we want it! We raise Freedom Ranger chickens, which are a French red breed known for being active, healthy birds suited to a pasture system. Our ducks are the classic, delicious meat breed Peking. We raise about 600 chickens and 300 ducks for meat annually, all between April and September.
In 2012 we built an on-farm poultry processing facility, which allows us to slaughter all of our poultry at the farm. Slaughtering on-farm minimizes the stress that the birds experience, and it allows us to offer a particularly high-quality product since the birds are with us through the entire process.
Our pigs come to us in the spring as 8-week old piglets, very cute and small enough to hold in your arms (which we do, at least on the first day). They leave in late fall as 200 lb. porkers that come back to us as incredible bacon, chops, sausage, and roasts. In the time in between the pigs live what appears to be a riotous life – they live mostly in the woods, in very large fenced enclosures, which they gallop across at surprising speeds, aggressively root up, and seem to enjoy immensely. We are at this time using the pigs as our vanguard species – we move them through sections of woods and scrub that we plan to convert into pasture in the future. They are very effective land-clearers, and have helped us to open up quite a bit of the current farmland. We raise primarily Tamworth pigs, a heritage breed which come to us from Mandala Farm in Gouldsboro. Our pigs are fed certified organic grain from Green Mountain Feeds, as well as ‘seconds’ vegetables from our packing shed and whey from our creamery.
We raise a limited number of Belted Galloway cattle each season, beautiful animals which we buy as yearlings from Aldermere Farm in Rockport. The young cattle are raised on pasture with a grain ration before they come to us; we finish them in the six-month season on only hay and grass. Because we are committed to a grass-fed system for our cattle, we raise only what our pastures can support, which is currently 4-6 animals each season. Thanks to the efforts of the pigs and our winter chainsaw work we anticipate steadily growing the beef herd as our pastures increase.