Spring is here! (Maybe…)

The snow is gone and things are trying to grow…plants, babies, and our ponds! We’ve traded snows for rains. We are fortunate to have enough rain to fill our ponds and make things a little soggy, we are not flooding like so many others.

Our pond has turned into an infinity pool.

We have 3 more Ewes to deliver lambs this year. While our crop of lambs is a bit smaller than we’d hoped the lambs on the ground are happy and bouncing.

Achilles (aka Lambikins) one of the c-section twins getting his bottle by a good friend.
Aren’t I cute?
Newest twins: girl on the left, boy on the right.

Our 2019 piglets have all found new homes and will be headed to them in the next 3 weeks. We do still have 2 breeding quality gilts from 2018 available. These girls will be ready to breed in the fall for spring 2020 litters (new photos coming soon).

We start the pigs in the vineyard early!

We hope the change of the seasons is treating everyone well! One of my favorite part of living on a farm is really seeing the small changes of each season. The changes in the colors of green, the cycle of a season in a plants life, and the change in light. All remind us of the passing of time and the constant state of change. Farm life is a busy and often hard life; but also a good one.

Babies!

It’s been a busy and weather weird February and beginning of March! At the start of February we had a winters worth of snow fall in 2 days! 3.5 feet fell burying the farm and the animals!

Nora wondering about the sudden change in weather.

Just prior to the worst of the snow – we had a surprise lambing – via c-section! One of our most seasoned ewe’s went into labor and was unable to progress. We took her to our veterinary who was able to perform a successful c-section.

Thumbelina and the first lamb via c-section.

Unfortunately, we did loose one of the twins, but the remaining lamb is thriving! We are supplementing with milk replacer as Thumbelina was not producing enough milk.

Achilles (aka: Lambikins) killin’ another bottle!

The last week of February and first week of March, our sows delivered their litters of piglets! When this was planned at the end of last year – we were thinking the time of year would be more ‘Spring’ like…oops!

The magnificent 8. We did struggle with some piglet loss due to weather, but these 8 vigorous piglets are nursing of two sows!

We will begin the rest of our lambing season in the next two weeks – here’s hoping for some grass to be poking through!

Ready for lambing?

If you are interested in pigs, piglet, and/or lambs – please reach out and get on our lists!

Highland Cattle Herd Reduction:

Significant herd reduction! We are going a different direction with livestock and will be selling off most of our small herd. Great opportunity to pick up some exposed females for potential calfs starting in June. All cattle are unregistered.

On offer:
1 – small bull. This guys is a pretty sweet little guy coming 2 years old (March 15th 2017). He was purchased to service our cattle, but is NOT a full sized bull. Would be an awesome mini sire or companion or meat. Dark blond/light red in coloring. $1000

1 – exposed coming 3 year old (April 1st, 2016) cow. This cow delivered and raised a calf unaided last year. Exposed to a proven bull for earliest delivery ~June 4th, 2019. Deep red/brindle undertones. Possibly willing to sell with 2018 heifer calf. $1200 along, $1700 with heifer calf.

1 – exposed coming 2 year old heifer (April 12th, 2017). This heifer is a sister of the above cow. She is out of a cow that consistently delivers and raises her calfs without intervention. No breeding witnessed on her, but behavior and size indicate potential breeding. Deep red/brindle undertones. $1200

Our cattle are fully raised on pasture. We do not force wean. We utilize management intensive, multi-species grazing to keep parasite loads low.

Winter is Upon us

Winter is upon us and in the Pacific Northwest (this year) that means days of cold rains, freezing overnight temperatures, and occasional snow on the farm.  This makes chores a little more interesting some mornings as we slip-slid around our feeding rounds and have to make sure all animals have unfrozen water containers!

Winter also means more snuggling inside with good books and planning time for next year!

Poco Says: do we have to go outside? 

We were able to rent a bull to live cover our cows this year and are hopeful for two calfs arriving late May to early June.  The girls are certainly eating as if for two!

Some of our fall colors this year!

Our Babydoll Southdown ram: Thunder, joined his girls after Halloween and promptly went to work! We are fortunate to be able to keep our entire flock of sheep together, even through lambing, with the exception of about 8 weeks from September to November.  We have 10 ewes we are hoping are bred this year and hope for 12-20 lambs to be dropping in March!  

A few of the girls we are hoping for lambs from. 

Tabor, our wonderful KuneKune boar, was so heart broken to be away from his herd we finally let him back in with the group for breeding the end of October.  We are hoping he bred both Ophelia and Nora for piglets arriving the end of February-beginning of March.  

Tabor (foreground) enjoying a pumpkin and Nora (background). 

So, while we enjoy the slower pace of winter, the animals are busy doing their thing – grazing, sleeping, gestating (we hope!), and enjoying the cooler weather!  These heritage breed animals are so resilient and the cooler weather never seems to phase them.  

Happy Holidays!!

If you would like to reserve you place in line for live animals or meat, please reach out as we are starting waiting lists for it all!

New Pigs Posted For Sale!

Check out our Sales page of information on the current crop of piglets available.

We only sell 100% purebred, registered KuneKune piglets.  While the breed in gaining in popularity, the ONLY way to make sure you have a true KuneKune is to buy registered animals.  Registered animals are DNA tested to ensure parentage and permanently identified with a microchip.  If temperament, grazing ability, easy keeping, and size are important to you make sure to do your research.  These pigs make great land managers, companion animals, or meat animals.

Slower growing means easier on the land and the human managers!  These pigs are ALWAYS worth the wait – no matter what their end purpose is.

Nora’s litter is 8 weeks old and ready to rumble!  These piglets are sturdy, curious and feisty pigs!

Ophelia’s litter is about 10 days old and growing well!  They are pig wrestling, trying to stay cool, and starting to explore more  and more!

A limited number of breeding pairs will be available by purchasing piglets from Nora’s litter to combine with a piglet from Ophelia’s litter.

These piglets are 100% pasture raised.  They are farrowed in a secure pen in the field and raised with the sow for the first few weeks and then integrated into the herd.  Our pigs are used in our management intensive rotational grazing program along with cattle and sheep.  They are around dogs and other animals from very early.

New piglets (again)!

We are so happy to see one of our home bred pigs deliver her first litter of healthy babies!  Ophelia delivered seven piglets this morning completely on her own.  With our hot temperatures we’ve been worried about her, but with all our checking she decided to deliver in the cool part of the day.  The quick initial count is 4 boys and 3 girls, 5 with double wattles, 1 without, 1 with one wattle.  Mix of colors: 2 agouti (brown/white, white/brown), 1 solid ginger, 4 ginger and blacks/tri.

UPDATE: 4 females: 2 brown/white both double wattled, 1 ginger with light black spots no wattles, 1 ginger and black tri double wattled (asymmetrical); 3 males: 1 ginger with light black spots double wattled, 1 ginger and black double wattled , 1 ginger and black tri double wattled.

We tried to be quick with her new brood as she is being protective and aware.  She’s doing great for a first timer and I don’t want to interrupt her desire to take care of the piglets!

We will be offering some of sale for breeding, meet, and companions.

With our previous litter of Nora’s we will now be able to offer a limited number of breeding pairs.  Contact us for details!

Spring time = running!

It’s been a busy two months since the last update!  The lambs are all doing amazingly well and are growing well on the lush grass!  Our milder winter, early warm weather, and then moderating temperatures over the last few weeks have led to thick, nutritious pastures.  Hard to tell the lambs from the adults! This years crop of meat lambs are going to be big, lean, and ready in the fall!  Reserve your share today!

Unfortunately, farming isn’t all happy news.  Bossy our herd lead, lost her calf.  There were no apparent deformities, but he was premature and unable to survive.  She’s a great cow and we are hopeful she will breed back this year.  (Bossy, mugging for the camera in the winter of 2017).

Bossy’s daughter – Heffa (out of our former bull – Arturo) – did successfully calf a little heifer of her own.  She did what our Highlands have always done, found a secluded spot and delivered in the bushes.  Fiona, had a little bit of a difficult time figuring out life at first, but Heffa was patient and the pair are doing well.  As hoped Heffa has her dam’s mothering instincts!

Believe it or not – there is a baby cow in all that grass!

Last, but certainly not least on the baby front: PIGLETS!  Sweet Nora delivered 6 healthy KuneKune piglets on June 7th.  4 boars, 2 gilts – all are double wattled and cute as can be.  They will be DNA’d in ~3 weeks.  Expected parentage: Nora (wilsons gina) x Tabor (boris).

 

Spring Time is here!

After our VERY long and snowy winter last year, we held off all breedings to plan for late March – May babies! We are very happy to say that the lambing this year has been great and so far we have 5 lovely little Babydoll Southdown lambs romping around the property!  All the Ewe’s and their babies are doing great!  We are now into a rainy period and it doesn’t seem to phase these healthy critters.  

Betty and her twins (girl/boy)Aurora with her ram lamb
Emmie with her boy(black)/girl(white) twins

 

Next up is our lovely KuneKune sow Panama who is due in the next week or so with our first 2018 litter of piglets.  She’s always a solid mom and was bred to Chester, a goofy fun smaller sized boar.  Panama’s daughter, Ophelia, is hopefully recently bred for a June litter – also to Chester.  And we are hoping Nora may also be pregnant.  

Panama – expecting in the next 1-2 weeks

Finally, the cattle – We know that we have at least one calf on the way and potentially two – due anytime in the next 4-6 weeks.  It will be a fun time in the next month!  Grass is growing, rotational grazing has started and soon it will be time to put the gardens in. 

Bossy the cow and last years heifer calf

Each season offers something different – spring is definitely an awakening!

 

 

2018 Live animal and meat requests

As a light dusting of snow falls outside, we are forced indoors to work on planning!  As a result we have been able to start our 2018 animal request spreadsheets!  Doesn’t that sound like fun!!

 

If you have been looking to add Babydoll Sheep, KuneKune Pigs, or Scottish Highland cattle to your life, let me know. We anticipate lambing to start in mid to late March, piglets should start early April, and calves will drop April or May.  

 

We will also start meat share lists for lamb, pork, and potentially beef. What is available depends on animals being retained or sold for breeding.  If you prefer to raise your own meat, we can accommodate that as well.

 

Feel free to reach out with which list(s) you’d like be on and any questions you may have! As always thank you for your support of us and all small farmers!

Oh, how time flies!

I am not sure where the rest of the fall went after August, but here we are in Winter and 2018!  Our lovely Scottish Highland bull Arturo, did find a lovely new pasture to make beautiful babies!  We trust he is doing well in Yakima, Washington.  The farm is doing well this winter and the animals are enjoying not being in 3 feet of snow! We did get one storm come through, but only produced about 6 inches of lovely light, fluffy snow!

We also added a few more pigs to our mix – a breeding pair Nora and Chester; acquired a new breeding ram for our sheep and reduced the number of ewes this year; We also gained a foster cat – Muffles (shown checking out Nora below and snuggling with his buddy Poco)! Whew!  


Ophelia (Jenny x Mahia Love) – born in 2017, will be growing up at Balanced Earth Farm for potential breeding 2018 or 2019!

Finally, we also had a hen decide that October was the perfect time to hatch out that clutch of chicks she’d been wanting all year!  On the night of a predicted 4″ of rain – she came out with her babies, proud as can be!

Life is always an adventure here and sometimes we are too tired to post, but please always feel free to email us!  Looking to get on prospective lamb, pork, beef, piglet or live lamb lists – drop us a line at dana@balancedearthfarm.com!