Posted: February 24th, 2021- Michele, the Farm Artist
Beneficial Farm Animals
We have 4 roosters and they are fascinating creatures, strutting around with their magnificent multicolored feathers sparkling in the sun. They were lucky enough to inherit the best qualities from their mixed breed heritage. Three are Brahma/Cochin crosses and one is a Copper Maran cross. Striking, intricate feather patterns and brilliant color combinations of purple, green, blue, yellow, black and white lend elegance to their distinctive appearance. Long narrow feathers lay like a stylish necklace around their neck and lengthy, flashy tail feathers are displayed proudly. A memorable characteristic of the Brahma/Cochin cross is the prominence of feathers on their legs and feet. They stride around boldly doing their work with flair and panache.
Regenerative Animal Practices
Our regenerative farming practices already include the rotation of horses, cows and pigs through our fields and forests. Most recently sister pigs, Tubby and Wubby, were contributing to soil health on the high hill, digging up unwanted root systems (wild blackberries) and rooting around for grubs and nuts. Of course they are also leaving behind another important element - poop. Now it was time to add poultry.
Some Reasons for Roosters
When my son, Nathan first brought the roosters from the Hidden Springs farm to our farm, I was completely mesmerized by their physical appearance. After a while though I began to notice that their movement was very purposeful. The characteristic scratching behavior loosens compacted soil and spreads around manure deposited by the pigs, horses and cows. They also reduce the livestock parasite load by finding and eating said parasites in other animal’s ordure. All the while contributing their own nitrogen rich poop to the mix. They wander around pecking and eating insects and in so doing help balance the arthropod to plant ratio. Gosh, that sounds like a day full of housekeeping chores.
I continue to appreciate the beauty, unique behaviors and entertaining moments our animal family bring us, all the while acknowledging their value as an integral part of our farming system. The roosters are an ever constant reminder of how the most mundane of tasks can be performed with purpose, pride and panache.