Loving our Animals
Our free ranging pigs, chickens and sheep are raised on pasture, as all animals once were. This means they are constantly moving to fresh, open ground, where they have the space and freedom to exhibit their natural instincts. Free from the stress created by overcrowding and un-natural habitats. The rotational farming methods we employ allows us to be chemical free and our produce to be pure, healthy and happy.
With 300 heritage breed pigs and 30 sows, 250 self-shedding sheep, 800 laying hens. Our two families pride ourselves on raising happy healthy animals. Our animals are moved around the farms grazing natural pasture, followed by our chickens who scratch, aerate and fertilise the land, gobbling up any parasites left behind. Because we rear our animals this way we do not need to use chemicals, hormones, antibiotics or pesticides.
Free Ranging Pigs
Our free ranging pigs are a mixture of heritage breeds selected specifically for their individual characteristics – not the number of piglets they produce. This includes Berkshire, Duroc, Landrace and Saddle Back.
We have found that cross breeding the heritage breeds, we have a ‘super’ pig. This has given us great marbling with the right amount of fat coverage.
Moving our pigs regularly has a significant impact on the health of both the pigs themselves, and our soils also. Regular rotation ensures they have access to the minerals and nutrients available from fresh pasture, as well as keeping them away from their manure.
Importantly, providing them with fresh water and muddy wallows to exercise in every day, allows them to express their “pigginess”. And this in turn, makes a huge difference in the flavour and nutrition of their meat. Producing a well marbled, natural flavoured, juicy, bold and hearty meat. You really can taste the difference.
Pasture Raised Eggs
Our pasture raised eggs are produced by 800 hens who live in mobile homes, which are rotated across the farm every couple of days. This is equivalent to approximately 30 hens per acre – as opposed to commercial free range where they run approx. 4,000 hens per acre.
Our hens lay into roll away nest boxes to ensure clean eggs. The eggs are collected twice daily, sorted, candled and packed here on the farm.
We provide lots of fresh watering points and feed bins to supplement the grasses and bugs our hens feast upon. When collecting the eggs, we always throw around some grain to encourage natural feeding and foraging behaviours.
We never cease to be amazed by the rich thick regrowth achieved by our pasture raised chickens as they are moved around the farm. The space available to our hens, ability to behave instinctively and the variation in diet definitely provides for happy, healthy chickens and great tasting eggs.
Oddy, the most affectionate of our Maremma’s, watches over his hens studiously. Guarding against predators like hawks and eagles, foxes and wild dogs.
Grass Fed Lamb
We breed Dorper sheep which are pasture raised, free range and 100% grass fed. This breed produces a mild, sweet flavoured lamb that makes for great eating.
Dorper sheep are naturally self-shedding. They birth once a year and commonly produce twins with no need for birthing assistance.
Living in a low stress environment, our sheep follow our cattle through the pasture, eating down the grass ahead of the chickens. Like all of our livestock, our sheep help manage the native and seasonal grasses, fertilising and ensuring stronger, more abundant regrowth.
Jack, another of our trusty Maremmas, is the friend and guardian of our paddock raised sheep.
Guarding Our Animals
The Maremma sheepdog is a breed of livestock guardian dog indigenous to central Italy, particularly the Maremma region of Tuscany. They are a loyal, dignified, intelligent, determined, good looking and friendly dog. Friendly as long as you don’t attempt to harm their livestock that is. Maremmas live with the flock that they are assigned to protect, guarding them against all predators primarily hawks and eagles, foxes and wild dogs.
We have five Maremma dogs all quite different in nature, all excellent guardians, and all essential to effective livestock management. Oddy, lives with our laying hens and is quite affectionate.
Jack oversees the sheep, and whilst a happy dog, prefers little human contact. Ralph is our junior Maremma, tasked with minding the meat chooks. He takes his job very seriously and prefers the company of his feathered friends. Diesel has an efficient, managerial manner and is always on guard while Sammy is friendly and always ready for some fun. The kids are tasked with feeding our watch dogs who eat a combination of offal, meat and bones from the butcher house ensuring nothing goes to waste.
Farm life demands are endless and it always seems there is more to do than there is time in the day. So sometimes we just can’t do everything we’d like to! Piggy In The Middle has teamed up with a number of other farmers who share our philosophies to bring you the best quality meats, including chicken, beef and sometimes lamb when our supply is short. For more details please contact us.
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