We offer pastured raised lamb, chicken and eggs for sale to Kentuckiana eaters…
The sheep want to eat grass, legumes and forbs so that’s what we let them do! The Katahdin breed was chosen because they are adaptable to cold and heat, resistant to many of the problems that other breeds face, are an excellent meat breed, lamb easily and are good mothers and do not have to be sheared because they are a shedding hair breed. They are entirely out on pasture and the lambs for harvest receive a small ration of feed that is free of antibiotics, steroids and hormones. This ration is really more for behavioural reasons, they love the girl with the feed bucket!
As our herd grows beyond a sustainable size we sell Katahdin and Katahdin x Dorper ewes for breeding stock.
The first batch of broilers we raised in 2012 were Cornish x Rock crosses; we now just raise Freedom Rangers for meat. The broilers share the pasture with the herd of hair sheep and working livestock guardian dogs. The Freedom Rangers range freely inside of electro netting that is moved once a week through the nut grove or other pastures. The birds are supplemented with Brumley’s All-Natural chicken feed that is free of animal by-products and antibiotics. (Steroids and hormones are prohibited by law in chickens so are not a factor.) We average 150 birds per rotation and raise them to 10 weeks. They average about 4 to pounds dressed-out and ready for the freezer.
Raising animals for food is not easy, literally and figuratively. The harvest and processing of animals for food must be done humanely so we harvest quietly under the cover of darkness to reduce stress on the animals. Our processor, Marksbury Farm Market in Lancaster, Kentucky takes it from there where their mission includes the humane and responsible raising and harvesting of animals for food. They are one part of the puzzle that suggested I take on a lifestyle of raising food, small scale, for local eaters.
The very first time we took our birds to be processed it was an open book. We began the harvest of our 75 birds at 4 am. We left the farm at 5:55, anxious that we would not be on time…and we were late by about 10 minutes. Agreeable people still greeted us once we arrived in Lancaster. The transfer of our birds-by us-into Marksbury crates was a learning experience but the fancy crates are still too expensive for this operation! Next time we know to wear long sleeves and gloves!
But, ultimately, humane for the long haul is the concern. What we do is not easy, I keep reminding myself it is not for money (although you may think otherwise because of the price) I want to raise food for people. Marksbury helps me do it, because I butchered 2 chickens in June of 2012 and I would rather leave it to the experts even if it costs $3.25 per bird. Thank you for your expertise, Marksbury.
We have about 80 laying hens that include barred Plymouth Rock,Wyandotte,Leghorn, Maran, Brahma, Rhode Island Red, Australorp and Araucana. We let the chickens run free, and trust me chickens like to run free and carry on in all sorts of manner! They love chasing mayflies, eating grass and snagging an earth worm when we first turn the garden in the spring; their eggs are superior because of it. They roam freely about; at dusk they roost in the barn and we are home to shut the door! Our Great Pyrenees and Maremma are excellent protection for our birds (along with a new perimeter fence). Our friends and family lament that we do not go anywhere in the summer because we have to “close the chickens up” after 9 pm. In the winter closing time is around 6 so invite us for dinner then, please. We keep a radio on at the barn which helps deter daytime predation, so we think? We supplement their foraged diet with a layer ration free of antibiotics. We sell our eggs direct to the consumer through the Community Supported Agriculture model.