The March Farm Update 2018

Mar 04, 2018

As the promise of snow keeps us all in an excited suspense this week, the cooler temperatures bring a mix bag of both opportunities and challenges for us up at Chagfarm.

The frozen ground makes it much easier for us to do our twice-daily feed to our pigs and chickens up in the woodland paddocks, which until recently were pretty muddy! Equally, the cold spell has made it possible to get on with mucking out the goat shed after what feels like an unusually wet winter. Less conveniently, Jack Frost has currently got a firm grasp on our water supply which is keeping us on or toes in terms of trying to ensure that there is enough un-frozen water for the livestock to drink.

Over the last month we’ve been busy spreading a little muck on our fields and carting any leftover manure down to our neighbours at Chagfood for use on the market garden. It was time once again to wean a littler of piglets, which always brings a little sadness, but this soon seems justified when it is evident that our sow gets a welcome break from a rapidly growing litter that is constantly hassling their mum for milk, which is drying up equally fast. 

We are also pleased to have found another Devonshire organic farm that is now supplying us with crimped barley, which we are feeding primarily to our pigs, although the goats are also enjoying a daily scoop or two of this local delicacy. Interestingly, the process of crimping cereals (such as the barley we feed) was developed in Finland as a method of preserving the full feed value of grains in a manner that reduces environmental impact, principally because the grain does not need to be dried. Instead it is ensiled in an airtight clamp with a little added lactobacillus acidophilus natural bacteria, which ironically is also the probiotic bacteria that you can enjoy in our goats milk kefir before too long!

If you were wondering who is currently living up at the farm: up in the woods; we have our two sows Cassandra and Sally, a litter of piglets and small group of gilts (young female pigs). Indoors we have our herd of nanny goats, waiting somewhat friskily to give birth, and also in the goat barn last year's female kids which are approaching their 1st birthday very soon. It will be another 6 months at least before these young goats are ready for a visit from Bolt – the resident billy goat - who is housed next door with two young male kids as company.

Last month we were also delighted to have finished our butchery facility, however on the day we had planned for our first on farm butchering, Sylvan and Katherine became proud parents to a baby girl: Rafaella Rose! We are all very excited about this latest addition to the farm.