Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Whispering Dove Goat Farm

We visited a local farm with our attachment parenting playgroup. The tour was better paced for the adults than the children, but we all had a good time and learned a lot.

The farm is on 13 acres, and they have 50 some goats, 3 dozen chickens, a handful of potbellied pigs, an eight hole rabbitry, guinea hens and bees!

The primary breeding buck. Doesn't he look regal?

Several young goats.

Hannah chatting up a goat.

The farmers sell animals, eggs, meat (goat, rabbit, and chicken), honey, and soaps made from goat milk.

I was interested to learn about several laws that hamper their ability to sell their products and make a livelihood from their farm. They cannot process their own meat, but have to send the animals that are to be butchered to a USDA approved facility for processing. Of course, this is expensive and increases the cost they must charge their customers for chevon. They said they are allowed to process a certain amount of rabbit and chicken. They cannot sell goat milk without a full scale approved dairy in a separate building. They used to be able to sell pet milk, but there is a new law that requires them to add charcoal to any pet milk, discouraging human consumption. Milk shares are also not legal in North Carolina.

They also disparaged the notion that honey can harbor botulism, praising the antibacterial nature of raw honey. They surmised that the botulism warnings were a product of an anti-honey lobby. I still won't feed honey to a baby under one, but the botulism issue wasn't one that I'd questioned before.

Speaking of bees, I asked about the "Colony Collapse Disorder" that has been plaguing the bee world and was surprised to learn that they weren't much concerned about CCD, but there is a new threat from a hive beetle that they are very worried about. They are hopeful that their chickens will be able to keep the pest under control, should it appear on their farm. Apparently the insects hatch out of the ground. See the final picture above for a view of the chickens foraging in front of the apiary.

When we got home Hannah looked out at her slide in the back yard and told me we should move it to the front so we'll have room for our animals and so they don't hurt her slide. She even wants bees on our farm now, since her little friend told her that if one stings her she can just rub it to make it feel better.

The farmers told us they got their start after the wife clandestinely bought some chickens and pigs. Maybe I'll have to follow her lead and get some chickens while Michael is deployed.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a wonderful day! You should get some me, it'll lead into more!! :)