Having trouble with invasives? Try goats as your extractor

CN-MR-3-TroubleWithInvasives2by Laura Rodley

Rosa Multiflora, European Buckthorn, honeysuckle, Japanese Barberry — invasives, all. And goats find them delicious.

A herd of 18 goats was introduced at Pine Cobble School, in Williamstown, MA, as part of their newly instated Goats in the Woods Project (GIW). The project is devoted to introducing meat goats into wooded areas to eat invasives as a source of forest management called agroforestry. Another goal is to help teach kids where food originates. [Read more…]

Poisonous plants: those that are and those that can become

CM-CN-MR-2-PoisonousPlantsby George Looby, DVM

Now the snow is gone, and most of us are waiting impatiently for spring to arrive. The first harbingers of the season have blossomed, but for every group of early bloomers there are a few plants that pose potential threats to livestock and pets. After a winter on dry forage and silage, the natural inclination of animals turned out to pasture is to seek out greenery. Unfortunately, all that is green is not healthy, nutritious or beneficial. [Read more…]

Controlled predators are crowd-pleasers

CM-MR-2-Controlled predators716by Sally Colby

The predator approaches his prey quickly, then slows down and calculates his next move. He crouches and waits until the prey settle down. The predator is patient, but is quick to act as soon there’s an opportunity for a capture. As the prey start to move, the predator moves too; in perfect harmony with the prey, and always ready to change plans in the blink of an eye. [Read more…]

The future of rare breed farms

CN-MR-3-RareBreedsby Sanne Kure-Jensen

In 1992, surrounded by English Cotswold sheep, a city girl found her calling. Dr. Robyn Metcalfe did not grow up on a farm, but found her passion was preserving heritage livestock. She shared the story of her family’s efforts at Kelmscott Rare Animal Farm as part of the ongoing lecture series at Swiss Village Foundation in Newport, RI.

A few hundred years ago, farms across England raised Cotswold sheep for wool, Gloucestershire Old Spots pigs for meat and lard, Black Jersey Giant chickens for eggs and meat and Kerry cows for butter, cheese and milk. Before tractors, every farm had at least one English Shire horse for plowing, cultivation and transportation. These days, most farmers seek more efficient and cost-effective livestock, and many heritage breeds are nearing extinction. [Read more…]