How We Care for Them
All Pasture, All the Time
Our cows are grass-fed year-round on pastures managed using strictly natural practices. (Find out what we mean by that here.)
As for our goats, they live on two acres of wild pasture where they enjoy all the grass and blackberry vines they can eat.
Meet our Cows
We have eight cows at our farm, and they know their names. In fact, one visitor said they’re the friendliest he’d ever seen… they’re always coming up to you for petting.
Ananda (our first, a Jersey) and Gangi (half-Jersey, our breeding heifer) both come when you call. They’re A1/A2 cows. By plucking a hair from the tail and evaluating the follicle, you can determine whether a cow is A1, A2 or a combination. Cows that are classed as A2, like the oldest species of traditional dairy animals (goats, yaks, camels), produce a milk that’s easier for people to digest.
When bred to an A2 bull, there’s a 50/50 chance an A1/A2 cow will bear an A2 calf. Which is why we recently ordered semen from an A2 bull (the formidable “Beledene Dukes Landy of Sedalia” of Mountain Run Farm in Sedalia, VA), who descends from a family of grass-fed, A2 dairy cows in New Zealand.
Moonie, our nurse cow, is an A1 Jersey, so we don’t milk her. Her job, rather, is to feed our baby bulls. We have two Jersey beef bulls at the moment, raised on Jersey milk and grass – a diet said to produce some of the tenderest beef there is.
Then there are the Brown Swiss twins we acquired two years ago, Sophie and Grayson, plus the newest addition, Tex. Sophie and Grayson are sister/ brother twins, so there’s over a 90% chance they won’t be able to reproduce. They’re destined for the table eventually, but for now, they’re having a high old time, living the good life.
Meet Our Goats
Toggenburgs are the oldest known dairy goat: a gentle breed from Switzerland’s Toggenburg Valley. Their milk, relatively low-fat and renowned for cheese-making, has a great flavor.
We have four mother Toggenburgs at Healing Ponds Farm. Sheila and Melody are the originals of the herd, currently in their second lactation. April, our youngest mother, is in her first. We’re happy to say that all four had babies this year: a set of triplets, a set of twins, and two only-kids. Edward is the father, and the only intact adult male of the herd.
SAANEN, BOER, NUBIAN
We have a few wethers as well, one born just last year at home, plus two Boer/ Nubian crosses we were given. We also acquired a couple Saanen goats in 2011, another breed from Switzerland.