Having met 32 cattle at Normanton Farm, it was time to continue my tour of the farm. Walking down the fields toward the river, Steve (Normanton, owner of the farm) showed me where the cattle stay during a storm. As opposed to many farms, the cattle live outdoors and are not kept in a barn at night or during inclement weather. As Steve pointed out, these animals have lived outside for thousands of year and have the ability to survive outside. During a storm they are moved to a grove of trees where they are more protected.
Moving away from the river, we came to an area in which a different type of livestock is housed: pigs. Steve is raising 7 pigs, though currently 3 are on loan, leaving just 4 at his farm. The pigs are housed in a manner similar to the cattle. They are kept within a moveable fence and are relocated on a regular basis like the cattle. Unlike the cattle, the pigs are kept near the trees on the edge of the property. This provides the pigs with many acorns, which they adore eating.
Again these animals are raised on grass, weeds, and the aforementioned acorns. This natural diet provides them with the subsistence they need without having to add hormones or chemicals to their diets. The pigs are able to roam their area and live healthy, normal lives that don’t involve tiny, enclosed pens or horrific conditions. In fact, as we walked to their fenced area, the pigs ran to the fence like a dog would, excited to see their owner. They were more than glad to stick their snouts up and request a little scratch.
Besides cattle and pigs, Steve raises chickens at his farm. He recently butchered the broiler chickens that he raised. He still has a large flock of laying chickens that recently produced their first eggs. These chickens also are kept in a movable pen but do have a tent-like cover to protect them from inclement weather.
All of the animals raised on this farm are done so with the same thinking: keep their environment as natural as possible and give back to the earth instead of taking from it. The animals feed off of the ground, and in return provide nutrients that will help the ground produce more food for them in coming months. In addition to keep the earth and animals healthy, it also seems to keep the animals happy. While I may not be an animal psychologist, none of the animals looked distressed or uncared for. All of them seemed to be happy to graze, root, or peck at the ground.
To learn more about Normanton Farm and the excellent meats and eggs his animals produce, visit their website.