July sees everything ramp up at Root Down! The dynamic crew has hit their groove after a few months of working hard together. Everyone understands the rhythm of the farm and the needs of the creatures, so now it is time for more hard work with a good balance of fun too.
Our four packs of pigs are getting big and happy, feeding on delicious organic veggies and laying out in the shade. One of their favorite parts of the day is the hot day hose down. They hear you coming and run out of their houses, ears flapping over their eyes, rushing to get sprayed with water to keep them cool. It’s pretty great watching them with their chins up, eyes closed, as they try to catch water in their mouths.
The turkeys are the veterans of the pasture; they’ve been outside for over a month and have really got the swing of life outdoors. They love to watch what you doing when you are near their coop and run to the fence to have a look and make heaps of noise. Their two favorite things are gobbling along to motorcycles that ride along Cloverdale Road and trying to see what is happening on the other side of the fence. This curiosity to see if the grass really is greener will keep us busy as the season progresses!
The next flock to move out to the pasture was our Saxony and Appleyard ducks. Raising them is a Root Down first and there is so much to learn about their personalities, behavior, and growth. It took a bit of courage for them to explore outside their coop, but now they love to forage in the grass and enjoy the sunshine. They love having access to water so a bright pink kiddie pool was a welcome addition for them to swim and splash around.
In addition to the turkeys and ducks, we have three coops of chickens that are growing slow and steady. A great crew project last week had us fixing up an old coop so new chicks could be introduced to the outdoor life. We chose about the windiest day to try and wrestle a tarp over the frame, but managed to get it in place and rustled up a door from corrugated metal to finish it off and keep the chickens safe at night. The new residents moved in the very next day and are enjoying foraging around for grubs and insects to supplement their diet. We also have two brooders for the newest Delaware chicks, the latest are just a week old, and they’ll be on the farm now for another slow growing 15 weeks.
Two really wonderful additions to the Root Down family this year are our 5-month-old livestock guardian dogs, Bunny and Mamie. They are a mixture of Great Pyrenees, Akbash, Anatolian and Maremma and will work hard to guard our precious livestock out in the pasture. They are bonding with our various livestock species while getting regular obedience training, and learning about electric fence. After 6000 years of protecting livestock, these breeds know what they are doing without much human influence. Even at their young age, they naturally bark at nighttime predators, allowing us all a little comfort at night, with earplugs.
The sun is finally shining and a full and wonderful season is underway. Check back later in the year for more tales of life at Root Down!