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This Month's Events

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The Critters of Blue Rock Station:

Changing your lifestyle to one of Green Living is a bit like working your way through the layers of an onion (to over use an metaphor).  But at its heart - it is always about food and how we interact with the earth (and life) around you.  When we first began this adventure - we decided we would raise only those animals that had a purpose - and would not kill the animals we raised.

And in that, we began to run into the Omnivore's Dilemma.  While we do not eat a lot of meat, we are not vegans or vegetarians (Annie says she is in her heart and by most folks standards she is).  And neither are our cats and dogs.  We soon found two conflicting issues - when raising animals you eventually have to get rid of some, or you become over run with critters.  Those who purchase them will likely kill them.  Or... you can do it yourself.

Also, if we (or our animals) eat meat - shouldn't we eat meat that we know was raised in a healthy and humane way?  And how better to assure that than to raise it ourselves?  It is a constant struggle.

But here is how we approach the care and feeding of our various critters:


Llamas: Baxter, Rita, Sgt. Pepper, Jude, Maxwell

Such gentle creatures, the llamas provide protection for other livestock, manure fertilizer for gardens and to sell, plus accompany scores of visitors on llama treks along the woodland trails of Blue Rock Station.  They eat hay and a tiny amount of commercially produced 12% sweet feed in order to feed them herbal wormer on a regular basis.

Rare Breed Chickens:

Our flock of free-range rare breed chickens provide healthy eggs, help manage parasites, provide compost for gardens, plus supply meat for our family, cats and dogs.  They are given fresh raw food - apples, greens, leftovers from the kitchen, plus commercially produced scratch.  They dig year round in the garden, and given us adorable chicks in the spring and summer.

Goats: Eleonore Rigby, Tuti, Tillie, Lane, Ashley, Lilly, Agnes

Our small herd of milk goats (we call them the goddesses) provide not only healthy milk, but cheese, companionship, kids, manure, aggravation and much much more.

They are fed fresh apples, dried leaves, first-cut hay, sunflower seeds, herbal goat tonic, and the appropriate protein level of commercially produced goat feed.  I would really like to be smarter about their nutritional needs so I could produce all of their food here at BRS.

Pigs:

Probably the smartest of farm animals - pigs are amazing at assisting in pasture management.  But they also present quite a number of challenges, in feeding, housing and watering.  We only raised these adorable creatures one summer - using them to root up every inch of pasture to disrupt the parasite population.  Our visitors loved them so they sent us fresh food regularly - apples, squash, food from a big wedding (organic, no less), and much more.  These guys ate healthy and had a terrific life.  I'm sorry to report they are in pig heaven today.

Dogs: Cadeau, Sophie

No homestead would be complete without the companionship and affection of a good dog or two.  But how do you keep them healthy in a world that tries to feed them commercial food designed to kill them?  They receive a mixture of high end dry food and raw meat and eggs.  They also manage to eat chicken feed and bread that is fed to the chickens.

Cats: Ralph, Chica, Reenie, Nikki, Christopher, Carolyn

Rodent control, and the occasional snuggle in front of a warm fire - cats are a constant reminder that we exist only to serve the needs of animals.  As with dogs, the challenge is to keep them healthy.  It all comes down to food.  When we've rescued kittens (they all came to us rescued and very near death) we feed only raw food with herbs and garlic.  But over time we've transitioned to a high end dry food (for when Annie is gone from the farm), but mostly raw food - meat and eggs.  They also manage to eat chicken feed and bread that is fed to the chickens.