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Predators Big and Small

As humans we seem to see ourselves as separate or removed from nature and the natural world. We are taught to see it as something that we can gain control over. We forget that we are a part of and not separate from the natural world. That goes for farming as well. Fences to keep wildlife out, sprays to kill unwanted weeds, etcetera. We are taking a different approach and working with rather than against nature. 


Birds

One big change we have noticed over the last few years on the farm has been the increase of birds including barn swallows. It is so much fun to watch them swoop and dive catching bugs throughout the day. We now have 4 nests in the barn. Pigeons congregate on the roof and upper portion of the barn now and have been multiplying as well. They have a bad reputation but they have been beneficial to us. Hawks target the pigeons and not our chickens. After watching this take place over the last few years we have decided to expand on the idea.


Rabbits

We have been setting up brush piles to promote and grow our wild rabbit population and the coyote and fox are happy. We have watched them and caught them on our trail cameras hunting, happily bounding after a rabbit. It's fun to watch them and not have the panic that they are going for our chickens but enjoying a wild rabbit chase instead. We hope to expand more wildlife habitat into our back acreage this year as well. We are working to put in a food plot for the deer and opening up the woods and creating more habitat for rabbits, deer, possums, porcupines, turkey and skunks.


Skunks and Opossum

We set live traps around the chicken barn as we always have pressure from skunks and possums in spring and fall. We relocate them to a more suitable habitat further back on our property. We know they are beneficial but they get in trouble in the chicken coop. Eating eggs and chickens is not beneficial to the environment or helping keep things like tick populations in check.


Smaller Critters

We have also been working with smaller creatures including putting in a bee pollinator habitat as well as promoting milkweed growth for monarch butterflies. We also participate in No mow May. But a big one we did this year was add nematodes to our soil in the garden area. These are fun little beneficial bugs. We also have made the choice to keep poop in the loop and yes composting down all of our animals bedding and manure maybe a longer route but it has lead to some very nice healthy soil. 


Many people ask us if we plan to farm all of our acreage. The answer is no, realistically not all of our land is farmable. We will slowly grow and expand. At most we will farm the front half of our farm and look forward to stewarding a maple sugar bush and wildlife habitat on the other half. Working to share and co-exist within our space rather than dictate and rule.


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Unknown member
May 29

Don't the rabbits eat your veggies?

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Unknown member
May 30
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So far we have really not had that issue, we have more problems with smaller rodents. Though with both rabbits and deer we work to have habitat and food for them to eat. We do see deer pressure in fall. We are hoping the hoop house helps hold some of that off.

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