Livestock & Gardens

Purposeful.  Practical.  Preservation.

Why that name?

Barakah Heritage Farm believes in preserving the heritage livestock breeds and heirloom plants whenever possible.   These old time-tested genetics are uniquely suited to small farms and local markets.  What we look for in a plant:  hardy, low maintenance, easy to save seeds or cuttings and propagate.  What we look for in livestock:  Good mothering ability, parasite resistance, low input (needs little or no supplemental feed), hardy, foraging ability, gentle and easy to handle.  Poultry should go broody and successfully raise offspring.

What we have and what we are planning:

Muscovy ducks

These are not a heritage breed.  However, these muscovies come from bloodlines selected for foraging ability and large size.  These are known as meat ducks but also decent egg layers.  They are quiet, do not require a pond, roost high, raise several batches of ducklings annually (usually 10+ ducklings per nest) and the adults will eat up to a pound of flies daily – each.  Ducks are generally more gentle to garden plants (except greens) and will not uproot or eat plantings the way chickens will.  The meat is dark, more like roast beef, and lean.  These ducks have large claws for tree climbing, and they know how to use them.  Between the claws and the large size, they are more resistant to the smaller predators.  We keep our muscovies for insect control and eggs.

Chickens

We have tried many breeds.  Buckeyes are a favorite heritage breed that meet all our requirements of dual-purpose, good brooding and chick rearing, and good foragers.  We hope to add some Jersey Giants and Transylvanian Naked Necks (Naked Necks have bare necks and heads like turkeys) for their larger size to discourage predators.

Goats

We currently raise Fainting Goats, also called Tennessee Goats, Myotonic Goats, or Nervous Goats.  Technically this breed is classified as a meat breed.  However, the original heritage myotonics were a dual and triple purpose goat.  Myotonic milk is very rich, more like half-n-half than milk.  Does produce up to a pint daily.  Myotonics also excel as a low-input meat goat, with some slaughtering at a 4:1 meat:bone ratio.  Myotonics grow more slowly, but that is offset by their low or no input diet, making their per meat pound production cost lower overall.  Some myotonics also produce a cashmere.  This cashmere is fine but shorter, and must be blended with a longer fiber for spinning.    They are a quiet breed, and also less likely to climb or challenge fences as adults.

Donkeys

We added donkey Josephine as additional protection for the goats  and for possible muscle power or mule production in the future.  So far, Josephine shows no interest in goat guarding but does alert us to visitors.  We hope she will eventually be trained for a pack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horses

Teacher horses for conscious horsemanship lessons Rare Arabian preservation program

The gardens

The gardens after double digging and before planting.

 

We have restored about a third of the original raised-bed gardens at the new farm.   On the design board are restoration of the remaining beds plus adding a couple more gardens in other areas, to keep crops separated for heirloom seed production.

 

It became clear right away that Hugelkultur beds would not work with our unusual high rainfall and the number of springs.  As there were already raised beds on site, we started with that.  We may add Eden Gardening at some point.  Right now the raised beds are working really well for our climate and soil.

Early summer and the gardens are just starting to produce.
Lush August garden. Only a few bare spots where new herbs and greens are seeded.

Also planned is a cut flower garden, to attract bees and hummingbirds and also provide a possible new income stream.

 

 

 

 

 

We are also planning a mowed-grass labyrinth large enough to walk or enjoy with the horses.  Here is a simple page showing how to create your own grass labyrinth.  Our labyrinth will be less complex with much wider paths and turns, and a bigger center to accommodate a standing horse.

Stay tuned for diagrams and photos.

Finally, we are designing our hybrid system of intensive rotational grazing, exercise runways and permaculture borders.  Stay tuned for drawing, diagrams and photos.

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