Welcome to Painted Hand Farm

Painted Hand Farm is a 20 acre Civil War era farm located in Cumberland county, Pennsylvania. We raise meat goats, veal calves, turkeys and organic vegetables using humane and sustainable agricultural practices.

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Monday, May 19, 2008

What is Browse?

If you can see from one end of your paddock to another, in my opinion, you don't have browse.
These are the yearling open does that have just been turned out on a heavy browse pasture. They get this paddock, as opposed to the pasture-based paddock, for two reasons. First, these girls have been carrying a heavier parasite load than the breeding does herd. They've just been wormed and spent three days on the sacrifice paddock so the number of parasites being shed in their feces should be at it's lowest. Plus, the browse areas are not conducive to parasite retention as it has very little grass and mostly leafy plants. Secondly, they are still maturing and will not be bred until November. That means that they need to have access to good forage to meet their nutritional needs so they will be at optimal health for breeding this fall.
Haemonchus contortus, you can't get to me when I eat way up here!
After a walk around the farm, I stepped off an approximately 650' perimeter (four sections of electric netting) of the thickest browse I could find. Ralph and I have been creating paths through the browse with the Bush Hog over the years so fencing targeted areas has become much easier. This is a portable paddock consisting of four sections of electric netting from Premier One Supplies, a Patriot fence charger and a deep-cycle marine battery. By contrast, this is the grass-based pasture. This is the breeding (and hopefully bred) doe herd. Mr. Red Hot N Ripped gets to have his way with the ladies until August 1st and then it's off to Heartbreak Hotel until November. This year I'll have to keep him holed up in Fort Knox so as not to have any clandestine rendezvouses with the open girls who will then drop kids during the most miserably cold months of the year.

Pax, our young Great Pyrenees, runs through the herd keeping an eye on things. After all, this is new territory for her.
Everyone gets in on the action of the grass pastures--goats, cows and horses. Given the high cost of hay this last winter, I'm thankful to have Mother Nature providing her goodness.
Bango is most happy in her green pastures. It sure beats those old pipe corrals from her days in the west.
And for those of you who shop the Carlisle Central Farmers Market, it won't be long until these fresh Asian greens will be showing up at the stand. Be sure to get there early as we sell out fast.

1 comment:

  1. I prefer to browse at Nordstroms, but they do say the pasture's always greener elsewhere.