Here at Macdougall Meadows, we believe in creating symbiotic relations between our animals and the land. Everything has a job on the farm.
We section our land into equal parts. A five-year course for one section plays out like this:
- Year 1: Chickens.
- Year 2: We pasture pigs, which turn in the chicken manure and prep the land for year 3.
- Year 3: The section is put into garden, absorbing the nutrients left behind by both pig and chickens, and the added compost spread by the horses and made by the pigs.
- Year 4: Rest year for this section. We seed it with a pasture mix which the horses will graze in late fall.
- Year 5: The section is back to chickens.
Our chickens are raised in 12×12 portable floor-less coupes, often called chicken tractors, 50 birds to a tractor. The tractors are moved daily to a fresh salad bar that has been previously mowed a few weeks beforehand by the horses. Chickens have the luxury of dining on the freshly-sprouted tender grass shoots to encourage as much green foliage consumption as possible. The chickens are also fed a mix of grains at free choice. Not only do we do the chickens a favour by providing fresh grass, sunshine and fresh air daily, they do us a favour by leaving a perfectly spread 12×12 patch of manure daily.
Turkeys are raised much in the same manner as our chickens, except we raise them in the section under garden that year. The chickens take up more room than the garden, so we utilize the extra space for turkeys. We plant a mix of clover and oats for them to forage on along with their grain supplement. Turkeys take shelter in a range shelter which is moved every few days and are enclosed and protected by 1600sq/ft of elctro-netting.
No boundaries here for our ducks! We provide them with a pond and shelter. Ducks roam the property as they wish, but do not venture too far from their beloved pond. We provide them with free choice grain supplement and fresh water.
Our pork is born and raised here on the farm from our purebred heritage breed Berkshire pigs. After weaning, we put the pigs out on pasture. They are free to put their noses down and plow soil like their momma taught them. They get a lot of their nutrients from roots and grubs found in the soil but are also fed a grain mix ration as a free choice supplement.
Our vegetables are not certified organic but we believe they far exceed this standard. We are 100% spray and chemical free. Ground prep that has not already been done by the pigs is done by the use of team of horses, from spreading manure, ground leveling cultivating and bed prep. No tractor goes up and down our rows. What can’t be done with the horses is done by hand.
Supporting local farmers helps protect food security for all of Nova Scotia!