About our Livestock or Lifestyle Matters!!
Chestnut Farms cattle are primarily Hereford and Angus crossed with a Beef Master Bull. These breeds are all known for great beef and are animals that grow well on grass and are suited to a New England Climate. Our cattle run in a single herd of about 100 at any given time and have free choice hay, pasture water and a mineral licks. Our cows breed in the old fashioned way – with a bull! Calves are born year round on pasture and we allow the calves to nurse for six months or longer. This ensures a great start in life for our new little ones and helps them grow well throughout their lives. We do NOT ever use any growth hormones (all legal and widely used in commercial feedlots) not do we give antibiotics to our cows unless they are really sick. In fifteen years, we have used antibiotics three times for pneumonia. We do vaccinate, we do worm and we do castrate our young bulls (to make steers).
Our cows have the run of five different pastures and twenty acres of fenced woodland for their pleasure. In the spring, summer and fall they may be found all over the farm. During the winter the cattle have barn access and tend to congregate on the south side of our livestock barn. One of our favorite past times is watching bovine daycare – it is true – moms will watch each others’ calves while they go off grazing. Typically we see five to eight calves being watched over by one mom at a time.
We LOVE our hogs!! There is nothing sweeter than a newborn pig unless it is a large sow dancing with delight at being sprayed down by our hose in the summer. Pigs are really smart, inquisitive and full of personality. Their nature varies a bit by breed. We raise Hampshires, Durocs, Gloustershire Old Spots and Yorkshire Pigs. Like our cattle, we will cross breed and typically have only one or two boars on site. Pigs are very social creatures and love to play, root and frolic together – thus we usually raise them in groups. During the spring, summer and fall our hogs live in very large pens outdoors in the woods with field adjacent to them. This allows for rooting, rolling and relaxing.
Pigs are very neat and clean animals. They will have a bedding area and will not soil it – rather they will pick a potty corner. Many people don’t know that pigs do not have sweat glands. Thus the way they stay cool is to cover themselves with mud and they are cooled by the evaporation of the water as the mud dries. We do move our sows into the barn and give them a spa (single pen) when they are due to farrow (give birth). Pigs are naturally great mothers and we do not ever use farrowing crates. After nearly two decades our morality with open pen birthing is nearly identical to the industry average for farrowing crates.
We raise meat birds, layer hens and turkeys. Our meat birds are a broad breasted white and they are raised from June through October in hoop houses on our farm. They have free choice of feed and water and grass. We do use an all natural, no animal by-product grain to feed our meat birds. The grain does contain corn and rye and is not organic.