Crazy About Chickens
We keep a flock of 90 – 100 laying hens year round. Our girls have lots of room to free range and in the summer are moved out to the orchard to eat bugs and grass. They still have access to the outdoors in winter but prefer to stay inside their cozy coop as they don’t like putting their feet in the snow! Hens lay less eggs in the winter. We always have fresh farm eggs available at our Farm Gate in large, extra large and jumbo sizes.
We offer pasture raised meat birds in the late summer and fall. Our meat birds also live in the orchard in the spring and summer and help keep the bug population at bay, especially the dreaded Plum Curculio pest which attacks apples and plums with a vengeance. If you would like meat birds for your freezer, contact us in advance.
The Purpose of Pigs
We have THE cutest pigs on the planet! KuneKune (pronounced kooney kooney) pigs are a rare and once endangered breed originally from New Zealand. They are small field grazers and are perfect in orchards to keep the grass clipped and small apples off the ground. They keep the orchard floor clear of fallen fruitlets and apples which may contain hidden bug eggs and larvae! The pigs eat the apples thereby breaking the bug cycle.
KuneKunes are easy keepers – they live happily outdoors even winter and only need a shelter to keep the rain and snow off. They grow long shaggy coats to keep them warm and dry for the winter months, and shed this coat when it warms up in the spring.
Our girls are Ginger, Oreo and Double Stuff. If you visit, bring vegetable scraps as treats—they will love you!
Happy With Horses
The horses on our property also serve as grass grazers but more importantly, as part of our disease management program. A not very well known fact is that horse urine, which contains urea, is highly effective at controlling apple scab and other fungal diseases.
Our horses also eat fallen apples at the end of the season, thus keeping the orchard floor clean and tidy. And by using our horses to munch on the orchard grass instead of mowing it, we reduce our carbon footprint and use of fossil fuels. Our four guys and one gal are very friendly and will eye you up hoping for a carrot or apple treat when you visit!
NOTE – the pigs and horses are removed from the orchards a month before harvest to ensure that there is no fresh manure on the ground at harvest time. They go right back in to do all the fall clean up when the harvest is over at the end of October.