We’re rearing’ some great stock here at Leafhopper Farm! Puppy play includes tug-o-war, branch fetching, fir cone chasing, and even a little goat trailing. Though Valentine is a herding breed, she’s still a little young to fully engage a goat, and we’re not yet taking on sheep, as they have already gone toe to toe with her head on in introduction, we’ll need to train up the sheep too. This little Aussie is also happy around water, even wading in to fetch a stick, but swimming was not happening, yet.
The three doe goats will soon be joined by a new Buck, who we hope to call Falkor’s Dream. He’s a mostly white young buckling, with a pair of brown chaps on his legs. His father looks very harlequin. We’re sticking with Nigerian Dwarf, and hoping to use electric mesh netting to wrangle the herd of smaller animals. The genetics will be a good mix in too, so the farm goal of dairy cross over with smaller body height is back on track.
Goats remain an important part of vegetation management at Leafhopper Farm. Goats are the highest input for return at the farm, and it’s more in the physical maintenance of the land than even meat, milk, and bone. The simple cycle of blackberry and goat preference for bramble make the farm a continued source of sustenance, but as we reforest with young plantings, the blackberry begins to shrink back, and we don’t produce enough pasture on site to cut our own hay or fodder.
The farm will also be investing in more Katahdin sheep, a breed that seems to be handling our climate well, and offers a good meat carcass in the first year. Along with our established ewes, Salt and Pepper, we’ll also be receiving another 3-5 ewes and 1 ram for breeding stock. They are the future of Leafhopper Farm’s four legged vegetation management system. They will be pasture managers, with some forest forage. This breed does forage, like the Barbados sheep I had before. They are also conditioning the land before I put chickens on
Our Ayem Cimani roosters are working hard, and the flock is developing nicely here at Leafhopper Farm. We now have a flock of 40 birds, and at least 10 of them are good breeding stock from our Cemani genetics. We’re going to make two flocks in future, one breeding and one laying. Once we hone in a little more to the good cross breeding, we’ll focus on the best hybrids to replenish the flock genetics and hope to start selling breeding pairs of this rare bird to backyard poultry enthusiasts.
Our current non-breeding rooster will get a chance to mix into the layer flock later this spring, once we establish the two flock system. I’m a little apprehensive about taking this step, as the birds will become twice the work, but the overall payoff for selective breeding will show in the future of our flock. Because Ayam roosters cannot share space, we do have to keep the males apart. At least now the up and coming younger male will have his own ladies to companion with.
These are some of the many animal developments happening at Leafhopper Farm. If you are interested in birds, lambs, kid goats, or home butchering, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’re excited to see the continued development of our livestock honing in on certain breeds, their health, and good meat production on our farm.