We believe good livestock husbandry is holistic in nature, striving to promote and enhance the health of our whole environment. This would include not only the animals’ health, but also the health of people, their land, and their water. Good health relies on respect for individual differences and the complexity of nature. To this end, keen observation and monitoring of environmental conditions is an important part of what we do on the farm. We accept that we cannot control our environment (if we ever start believing that, we’re making a big mistake!), but we simply strive to work with it for better. Leaving it better and richer than when we received it is our goal.
Strength In Diversity
People often ask us why we produce so many different meat products, from beef to pork to chicken. Why don't we just focus on one species for one central product? We believe a diversity of species in the landscape is natural and healthy. When that diversity is removed, problems will arise. Research has shown that the effect of producing vast quantities of one crop in the same field year in and year out will leach nutrients, destroy the soil structure, and result in a poor, nutritionally deficient food. The natural sugar content of the produce of these monoculture fields has been found to be measurably lower than that of organic fields. In contrast, West Wind Farms fields yield a sweet and varied mix of grasses, herbs, and produce. This sweet bounty nourishes a diversity of animal species - domestic and wild – which, in turn, nourish it.
Instead of ridding our farm of pests using synthetic chemicals and poisons that can harm domestic animals and wildlife, pests are held at bay by our barn kitty and other natural predators living in the trees, hedges, and wild patches of West Wind Farms.
On West Wind Farms, we select our breeding stock for natural parasite resistance. Then we graze our stock in rotation on our pastures, breaking the life cycles of parasitic organisms. Gently working with, not against, our animals’ environment in this way, and closely monitoring them for their health and parasite resistance, we’ve had success overcoming parasite burdens in our livestock. Our animals are not injected or dosed with synthetic parasiticides, or wormers. Where you have a choice, this is your best choice for healthy, residue-free food.
Our animals are never reared in crowded unhealthy conditions, so they do not suffer from many of the ailments commonly associated with intensive livestock units. Thus, we avoid the need for sub-therapeutic medication, insecticidal ear tags, sprays and dips. If an animal does become sick (a very rare occasion), it is treated by herbal, homeopathic, or other natural methods first. We never withhold treatment from a sick animal. If synthetic treatments are necessary for the welfare of the animal, the animal is never sold for meat.
The inclusion of growth promoting substances such as hormones, antibiotics, and heavy metals in livestock feed rations and the use of all kinds of strange and unnatural feed items (newspaper, sawdust, poultry litter, and meat and bone meal) have become acceptable practices for some farmers. Other farmers may simply not realize the livestock feeds they purchase contain these, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), and other, non-organic substances. Studies indicate even the best grass fed animals may be compromised if they are grazed on pastures laden with pesticides, herbicides, and chemical fertilizers. Because genetically modified organisms (GMOs) occur in the innoculated seed of nearly ALL commercially available alfalfa, clover, and other legumes, even the grass grazed by grass fed livestock may contain GMOs! What a shame! We at West Wind Farms do not allow our animals access to these synthetic growth enhancers, medications, or chemicals, or any unnatural feedstuffs. West Wind Farms' livestock thrive on a rich variety of grasses and forbes, free of chemical residues and GMOs.
When certain species of livestock such as poultry and pigs require, by nature, grain in addition to grass to be healthy, their rations are milled on our farm from locally grown grain and never include animal by-products, GMOs, or herbicide- or pesticide-laden grain. And they always have access to chemically untreated grass pastures as well. Because we do not use concentrated commercial rations or growth enhancers, our animals have a natural, slower rate of growth. For example, where conventionally grown chickens take only 5 ½ weeks to grow to harvest size, ours take between 9 and 12 weeks, depending on the time of year and the weather.
Rest assured, we never buy in animals from the sale barn. We never use electrical wands to frighten the animals into moving, nor do we withhold food or water. Knowledge of the animals’ origin, and attention to the animals’ well-being, assures you of the integrity, quality, and purity of the meat you eat.
Our animals are able to indulge their natural instincts, to stretch wings, dust bathe, build nests, and give birth unrestrained. They are reared outdoors in small groups, with airy shelter for protection and plenty of dry bedding, and are provided with reasonable protection from predators. They are able to peck in the hedges and holes for insects and seeds, to nibble browse, and to farrow in freedom. In these conditions they do not suffer from aggressive behavior, so there is no need for tail clipping, beak snipping, or other physical mutilations to protect them from each other. They commune together in harmony.