Responsible Management of the Land
We are a small family farm in King William Virginia. Our journey began as an effort to develop pasture naturally, and has evolved into a passion for rejuvenating the land while providing for ourselves and others.
This land was purchased as unimproved commercial pine forest. Clear-cutting some areas and
strategic thinning of others revealed poor quality, acidic soil in dire need of organic content, pH correction, and nutrient revitalization. We were and continue to be dedicated to achieving this using natural means only and no chemical fertilizer, herbicide or pesticide use.
Our animals live as close to their wild state as can be managed, which means free access to shelter (but no stall-bound animals), unlimited forage, and a minimum of grain and chemical interventions.
The chickens, goats, pigs, rabbits, turkeys and horses are intensively rotationally grazed on fresh pasture and woodland to maximize benefits to both animal and land.
The pigs are sourced locally, trained to electric fences, and moved regularly to new forested locations, where they root through the soil, crunch on hickory nuts and acorns, and browse through blackberry thickets and on pasture. They are supplemented with goat milk and whey from cheesemaking, along with bread and produce donated in excess to a local food bank.
The egg-laying chickens are our "cleanup crew", following behind the horses and goats to forage for insects and grains. They spread the horse leavings and leave behind some nitrogen to feed the grass. The laying hens are fed free-choice non-GMO grains from Sunrise Farms, and crushed oyster shell is always available, making strong eggs.
The pastured broilers and are kept on pasture for approximately 7-10 weeks, and are moved daily in their safe enclosures that provide feed, shelter, protection, and plenty of room to move. Heritage turkeys are brought in as day-old chicks in July, and moved across the pastures in electric nets. Both broilers and turkeys are also fed free-choice non-GMO grains from Sunrise Farms, but they get about 40% of their nutrition from the grass and bugs. In exchange, they strengthen the soil by scratching away dead thatch and depositing nitrogen-rich manure onto the soil.
Dairy Goat management
The goats are our pasture development crew; they don't particularly care for grass, but rather prefer tree leaves, blackberry and blueberry brambles, poison ivy and pine trees. They are moved to new paddocks weekly between March and October both for the benefit of the pasture, as well as natural parasite control. In just 3 months, 5 young goats cleared 1.5 acres of bramble into growing pasture! With 20 acres of brambly pine forest cutover left to go, we have plenty to keep them going for years to come!
We pasture a mix of rabbits - Harlequin, Silver Fox, and American Chinchilla rabbits. We raise 2-3 litters a year from each doe, for a total of 40-50 kits. All young rabbits go on pasture at 6 weeks of age, and are moved daily to new grass until they are 12-14 weeks old. They eat the grass and give back fertilizer.