Sadie in a pond with goats and chickens

1 10 2008

So it turns out that animals are awesome.  Without delay we have added some sweet new additions to our farm. Animals are an integral part of a small farm.  Besides promoting biodiversity, adding to the closed cycle of land stewardship, they also provide heightened vitality to the entire farming experience and to the purposefulness of the land itself.  We combine animals with plants in a crop rotation to ensure that we are responsibly using our soil.  The feeding practices of our animals will provide nutrients through manure, and with keep the land from being overrun by unwanted plants and pests.

We already have chickens as you know.  They provide us and our customers eggs, and are now producing at about capacity.  Their manure, after composting, is the highest in nutrients and most beneficial for our vegetables.  If the are free ranged a little better, they will also consume bugs and weeds.

Well we just upgraded beyond chickens.  Getting meat rabbits and goats.  Their poop that the rabbits provide us are also extremely nutritious for our plants, and it can be added uncomposted.  It is not a hot manure like most others, and added fresh it will not burn our plants.  We just bred them with the help of some local rabbit fanciers, so we can start producing them for meat production.  These same fanciers will return to show us how to humanely process (kill) the rabbits for meat production.   Killing animals brings food consumption in a full circle.  We are no longer alienated from our food, we are the producers and the consumers.

Then we brought in the goats.  Their names are Blossom and Rodeo.  They are Nubian and Boer breed respectively.  We are using them as lawnmowers.  Damn goats eat anything.  So we are allowing them to do their work.  We are overrun by poison oak and blackberries on our property, and the goats are more than happy to clear these away for us.  Besides water and little shelter they do not need much else to happily co-exist with us.  They are actually very friendly and enjoy being petted.

I am also lining our now dry pond with bentonite clay.  This particular type of clay has properties which allow it seal pond bottoms to minimize water drainage.  Our pond is completely dry now, but the rainy season will be soon upon us.  I just got the clay free because it is  tailings left over from a local ceramic company.  Otherwise it would have cost me like 300 dollars.  Now that I have the clay it needs to go into the pond before it starts raining, otherwise it will be very difficult to work with when the pond begins filling again.

Lastly, Sadie continues to excel at living. Check it out.




4 responses

1 10 2008

Hi guys! I’m so jealous of your goats and rabbits (and chickens)–that’s awesome. Would love love to hang out and trade stories–send me a line anytime, my email is (p.s. this is Laura from Dunbar Farms, who does the On Farming blog…)

2 10 2008
Able Oaks Dairy Goats

Your goat pics like like they are bucks? You should consider getting a dairy goat doe to provide your family with milk. Goat milk is so very healthy and more easily digested than cow milk. Please you can make delicious cheese and age it during the summer for winter consumption.

2 10 2008

They still have their horns, but the lighter colored one is a doe. She has a bit of a malformed teat, so not good for dairy purposes. We got these as a test run for eventual dairy goats. Plus, we really need the help doing land clearing!

31 01 2009
Chicago Dave

Yo, what up, Chad and Gaby? Great to see a picture of Sadie. What a cutie! I’m married, still living in Chicago. I hope my wife, April, and I can come visit Mud Puddle Farm soon. If you come to Chicago, call! You are welcome to stay at our house anytime. Peace

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