S and I have been doing a lot of talking about the farm and the general operation of it.  One of the big topics we have been discussing is the animals we will be raising on it.  We have very limited grazing, but lots of brush and forrested area.  Of course, we also have preferences with anything we do, and like to research and find the best options possible.  For example, we want our animals to be as low maintence as possible.  This means efficient feed converters, good breeders, good mothers, naturally gentle and easily handled with some training (we do have a number of children after all!), able to thrive in our farm environment, and so forth.  As we got further into research, we also developed an interest in heritage breeds.  These are breeds of animals that were raised traditionally.  In fact, many contributed to our modern day breeds.  Because breed quality and health traits were more desirable than appearance and such was (like today), the animals tended to be a great deal lower maintenance and much hardier than modern day breeds.  Unfortunately, many of these fascinating breeds are quickly going extinct or are endangered in most of the world.  For more information, check out http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/wtchlist.html .  You may be surprised to find some breeds on the list there.

In any case, while we have not made any final decisions, we are getting closer all the time.  I love the fact we are planning so far in advance.  For example, we have changed our minds on goat breeds several times, as we find out about how noisy, messy, or other undesirable qualities that might be involved.  So, just for fun, I thought I would post photos about some of the animals we are currently considering, all of which happen to be heritage breeds, meaning we would be contributing to the continuance of a traditional breed as well as farming.

The Arapawa goat. I am still learning about this breed, but like what I've learned so far, and there happens to be a breeder not far from us.

American Chincilla Rabbit. Don't you just want to run your fingers through that fur?

Naturally- polled black Dexter cow. We chose this cow strictly because of the convenience we have in acquiring one, however, it seems to be a great, dual-purpose cow to learn from. We have already planned it with the rancher such that she will begin watching for good heifer for us, and have it bred the year before we buy it. It will be a little risky, since the heifer will likely be a first-freshener, but a good learning experience nonetheless.

The Large Black Hog. As its name implies, this heritage breed is a gigantic black hog. However, it is also known for its gentleness, low rooting tendencies, and hardiness in a pasture environment. I'm not sure when the hogs will be added to our farm, as this is the one species I know NOTHING about. My experience is limited to working with a few Vietnames Pot-Bellied pigs at a zoo for a few years.

So there you have it.  Of course, there will be a few other critters, but these are the biggies for now.  Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.  BTW, if any of you readers knows a good source of info or where I could acquire these critters, let me know!

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