We started the year with an idea of what animals we wanted to raise on the farm. Boy has that changed. This year we spent much of the summer working on infrastructure; irrigation, outbuildings and fencing. It is a balance keeping out the wildlife that makes living in the Animas River valley so special. Our gardens were a little on the experimental side but we built 30 raised beds and look forward to growing heirloom crops in 2018.
Kunekune Pigs are from New Zealand. The quality of meat is excellent and their friendly, easy going nature make them a pleasure to raise. They are economical to feed and very hardy, feeding primarily on grass. They grow to be about 200-250 pounds and are integral to our rotational grazing land improvement plan. They are also very easygoing and love a good scratch behind the ears. Oscar and Meyer (above) are considered part of the family and we look forward to our first litter of piglets in the spring.
Navajo Churro Sheep: This breed was brought over to North America by the Spanish over 400 years ago. Despite the US government’s efforts, this hardy animal has survived, but is still considered a rare breed. The gene pool is presently large enough to maintain the breed type with the diversity of available unrelated lines. Fortunately for breeders, a well established network of registered stock is available, scattered throughout the US and Canada.
These sheep with their long staple of protective top coat and soft undercoat are well suited to extremes of climate. Some rams have four fully developed horns, a trait shared by few other breeds of the world. The Navajo-Churro is highly resistant to disease, and although it responds to individual attention, it needs no pampering to survive and prosper. The ewes lamb easily and are fiercely protective. Twins and triplets are not uncommon. The flavor of the meat is incomparably superior, with a surprisingly low fat content.