On the farm everyone has a job. Houston takes care of the animals and is responsible for the development and maintenance of the property. I manage our social media accounts, bookings, the maintenance of the glamping tent and most recently the hydroponic towers. We often fill in for each other. The animals don’t have this luxury. They each must pull their weight in order to live on the farm.
Our Kunekune pigs clean up the land, much like goats do. They eat weeds, poison ivy and other undesirable plants. They’re also part of our breeding program. We’ve recently put the boar in the same pen with our two gilts (female pigs who have not yet had a litter). He has a job to do, as do they, and fingers crossed, they’ve done their jobs well. We should know soon if piglets are on the way. We will sell the piglets to other Kunekune farmers for breeding and to folks wanting a super sweet and gentle pet. (Yes, some people actually have them in their homes.) They’ll also be a sustainable meat source for our farm to table dinners, for nearby restaurants and private customers.
Our recently acquired Rouen ducks are also a part of our breeding program. As the females begin to lay eggs, we may eat a few of the eggs, but our primary use will be to incubate them to raise baby ducks. Again, we’ll either sell the ducks to other breeders or process them for a meat source for our farm and others.
The Red Sex Link chickens are laying hens. We chose this breed because each hen should lay an average of 200-250 eggs per year. They are also heat tolerant, making them a good choice for our climate.
Our donkeys are guard animals. We initially chose donkeys because they were rescues; they intuitively guard their territory and we could leave them at the farm between our twice daily visits.
Initially, we didn’t get a Livestock Guardian Dog (LGD) because we knew we wouldn’t be living at the farm for a while. But as we began to prepare for a move to the farm full time, we became open to the idea. And when we got a call from a nearby rescue regarding a Great Pyrenees puppy they’d found, we were interested. We’ve welcomed Samson into our hearts and he’s already making the transition to living at the farm before we move there. After all, that’s what LGDs do. They instinctively want to guard the herd. It’s important that he considers the pigs and other livestock his herd, especially as the Kunekune pigs begin having litters.
We all operate better on the farm when we know what our roles are. And the longer we’ve been doing those jobs, the better we perform. How about you? Have you noticed this in your job and other parts of your life? I’ll bet you have.
Originally published in the Corsicana Daily Sun, October 10, 2020