I have finally gotten around to putting together a list of the products we use on the farm.
  • We raise Katahdin Sheep with rotational grazing/holistic management.
  • We raise mixed heritage breed pigs on pasture.
  • We raise free-range, mixed heritage breed laying chickens.
  • We raise Cornish Rock Cross broiler chickens on pasture in Salatin-style “chicken tractors”.
  • We raise Broad Breasted White Turkeys on pasture.
The following are the products we actually use every day/season.
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Power Flex Fencing PolyBraid 1320’:  This is the perfect length to use with the O’Briens reels (see below). Very good conductivity mixed with the strength of braided line. We’ve had to cut it a few times (we got tangles… our fault); all we did was tie it back together with a couple square knots, and it worked like new. Very good product.
Kencove Step-In Posts: 8 hooks on one side, 4 clips on the other. The clips are for electric tape, but we use them to secure our polybraid (above) when we run our lines. The ones with only 2 clips are not as versatile. When really cold, the plastic can snap, but otherwise, these are very durable.
O’Briens Single Reel Geared sold by Kencove: This product was recommended to my by master grazier Greg Judy, and it is a great product. O’Briens is a New Zealand company, and the Kiwis are at the forefront in the world of sheep and cattle grazing. The geared reels spin 3 times for each 1 time you spin the handle. This is a huge time and energy saver.
Premier 1 Portable Solar Charger:  The Premier PRS 100 (small, 1 Joule) and 200 (large, 2 Joule) Solar Energizers are an extremely useful product. They are very easy to use. We have used them almost exclusively for almost 3 years now. They work well, but they are not without some drawbacks. If there is a moderate amount of grass or pushed up earth (from rooting pigs, for instance) on the bottom lines, these charges ground out easily. Also, I don’t think the batteries like subfreezing temperatures. The battery life seems to drop significantly after subfreezing temperatures. We have had to remove the battery and use a trickle charger to get it up and running again. If this occurs too many times, the battery fails. I still think this is a great product, and I don’t think there is a better one like in on the market. If you don’t have the ability to run a permanent system, this is a wonderful solution. We are still using them with our sheep every day.
Gallagher M60 Electric Fence Charger: This is a permanent charger (110 V) that plugs into a typical home receptacle. Our pigs have routinely walked right through the polybraid wire with the above-mentioned Premier 1 Portable Solar Charger when the battery would cut out or when the pigs rooted up earth and piled it on the lowest line. We are now keeping our pigs in an area about 1 acre (0.4 hectares) in size with subdivided paddocks that we rotate every few days. We ran this charger from the nearby house to the paddocks, and it was been working great. We will eventually get our entire fence running on a permanent charger, but this smaller unit is working great right now.
Premier 1 Poultry Netting: We use the PoultryNet Plus 12/42/3  from Premier 1. I prefer using the above-mentioned step-in posts and polybraid from our sheep and pigs, but we regularly use the Poultry Netting with our ducks and geese. We use them temporarily with our laying chickens when we move them a far distance and want them to reestablish their home base. We also use this Poultry Netting with our ram lambs who occasionally These work great when the ground is flat and not rocky. They don’t do great on hills or uneven ground… there are too many gaps that animals can climb under or the netting bunches up and grounds out. We use extra posts to pull the netting down to cover the gaps. We also have disconnected the bottom 2 or three electric lines to keep the entire netting from grounding out. One of our WOOFERs taught us this trick (Jacob!), and it has worked beautifully.

 

Plasson Bell Waterers: We bought these from Cornerstone Farm Ventures. These are wonderful waterers that we use with our laying chickens, our broiler chickens, and our turkeys. We connect ours to a 5-gallon bucket. I wrote an article about setting up the Plasson Bell Waterer. They can occasionally clog up, but the entire unit can be easily broken down and cleaned. We’ve had to do this about once a year, but it is not hard. In freezing temps, the water will freeze and the water will not flow. But we’ve never had a part break due to freezing. Once the temps warm up, everything starts flowing again. If a part does break, and there is one part (the handle hook) that has broken on us a few times, you can buy just the individual part to replace. I highly recommend this product.
Plasson Bell Waterers

48” Galvanized Poultry Feeder: We bought these from Cornerstone Farm Ventures. These high volume feeders are fantastic in the Salatin-Style Chicken Tractors. We used other, smaller ones in the past, and we had to refill them way too often. These have been durable and have reduced our work.
48” Galvanized Poultry Feeder

New Country Organics Feed: For our chickens, turkeys, and sheep mineral, we exclusively use New Country Organics. I have not found a poultry feed that has a better nutrient profile, and if I was designing a poultry feed, this would be almost identical to what I would want.
New Country Organics

Prairie Moon Nursery Seeds: This amazing company only sells native (to North America) wildflower/prairie seeds. We have added small amounts of their mixes to our other re-seeding mixes for our pastures. We have also recently planted some larger portions of our lawn to wildflowers… we want to get rid of as much mowing as possible and attract native pollinators/beneficial insects. Their products are high quality, but can be expensive, so pick the mix that best suits your site and finances.
Prairie Moon Nursery

Walnut Creek Seeds: This company provides multiple seed mixes for pastures. We have used the Super Soil Builder mix after frost through the Summer. We use the Nitro Soil Builder mix in late Summer through Autumn. And we use the Winter Grazing Mix starting in October. We have been very pleased with their seed mixes. We will often add other cold-weather pasture grasses to these mixes or a small percentage of wildflower seeds (above) to theses mixes.
Walnut Creek Seeds Agricultural Mixes
Walnut Creek Seeds Grazing Mixes

Murray McMurray Hatchery: Every year, we raise broilers for ourselves and for sale. We raise Broiler Chickens (Jumbo Cornish X Rocks) in Salatin-style chicken tractors on pasture. We have used other hatcheries, but McMurray has consistently provided the highest quality chicks. We also raise a wide variety of laying hens, and most have been purchased from McMurray. In addition, we raise Broad-Breasted Giant White Turkeys each year.
McMurray Cornish Rock Cross Chicks
McMurray Layer Chicks
McMurray Turkeys

 

 

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