Our approach to farming is to have diversity and integration as much as possible. Livestock on the farm provide fertility for our crops, and the crops in turn feed the livestock and people. We like to raise our livestock outside as much as possible. This is better for the animals as they are allowed to act naturally by roaming and rooting in the soil.
Over the years we have tried several ways of raising our birds. We have settled on a shed on wheels. We start the birds in the top of the shed near the electric pole which provides heat to our Ohio Brooders. When they are old enough we move the shed to another part of the farm and let them go outside. They take shelter underneath the shed for the rest of their lives while the top of the shed airs out for the next flock. Outside the birds can roam the pasture and scratch and peck as they will.
Our pigs are raised outside in the woods. We've tried to provide housing for them, but they mostly ignore it choosing instead to build a nest in the woods. One even built a nest with a roof.
Our practice of raising livestock outdoors not only produces meat that tastes better, but it's also better for you. Grass fed beef tests higher in CLAs and have a better balance of omega fatty acids. And we believe that raising animals outdoors in their natural environments is more humane and right by the animals. We don't provide hormones or medications to our birds, as these can lead to many unnatural health problems for the livestock and for you.
Our current property does not allow for row cropping, but soon we hope to have land that is suitable for raising crops. In the meantime, the chickens, pigs, and horses are helping with this process by clearing land overgrown with brush and scrubby oaks.
Other practices we want to implement on the farm are silvopasture and rotational grazing of cattle.
Within a few years, we may be able to grow some vegetables commercially too. But we have a lot of work until that is an option.