About Brambly Farms
A little about Brambly Farms...
The most important thing we can say is that we really like our animals :)
We breed and raise some of the rarest heritage pigs that it is possible to find in New England. Our herd contains Large Blacks, Berkshire, Tamworths and our most recent arrival "Princess" a little GOS gilt. All registered pure bred of course. We breed the Sows (moms) here on the farm and carefully watch them during their gestation. We allow them to farrow (give birth) outside in the woods during the Summer months. It rests the farrowing house, basically a nice way to allow the bugs and bacteria which can build up in the housing a way to die. When the pigs leave and the heat and manure stop - mother nature simply stops growing bad bugs and good ones take over.
And the Sows really like giving birth outside where they prefer making a nest in the most difficult spot to access in the woods. In the colder months we do try to move the farrowing Sows into our barn. The delicate piglets get the benefit of a heat light... 250 Watts. And the comfort of a bale of golden straw. Its normal to see the moms bury the babies inside a cocoon of straw with just noses peaking out in the coldest of winter days. After 6 or 7 weeks we wean the piglets from their moms. We have discovered that most moms are thrilled to escape the feverish sucking from the hungry mouths. As a general rule the Sows with the most piglets are the keenest to be weaned.
Our two boars normally wait for the "ladies" to arrive back into the woods and pasture with longing eyes and slabbering jaws. Because nature seems to hate vaccums it never takes more than a week or two for "Longfellow and Finn" to get to earn their keep. And so the cycle repeats.
The weaned piglets are fed a high protein grain ration for about 8 more weeks and then the protein is reduced as they age. They are always grazing outside and have access to shelter and plenty of water as they grow. FYI it seems that pigs can not sweat. So its very very important that they have a mud hole - wallow -- to flop into in the Summer heat. Those are the days when even a city person can sense that pigs are happiest in mud.
We are a pasture raised farm. That's how our animals are fed but we think its impossible to grow pigs without feeding them a grain ration. They are unable to get enough food value in grass and roots. So they start digging up trees - eating frogs and anything else which passes them by. But when they get the additional food value from the grain they tend to stop bulldozing trees and grow to the full potential of the centuries of agricultural science which have gone into developing these impressive animals. Its also wise to support the farmers who are keeping John Deere grain equipment profitable- helps the ecconomy.
We also pride ourselves on our small herd of grass fed veal calves. We buy week old dairy bull calves from a local dairy farmer who helps us out a lot and raise them here on the farm until they are about 8 months of age. They nurse their moms until they come to us and then we bottle feed them as the Moms return to full milk production. We have found that there is little interest in diary bull calves except for veal meat. (not something we are interested in here on Brambly) So we allow the small numbers of calves we raise to drink milk ( twice a day ) eat grass - as much as they can chew- nibble on some crushed corn ( I like corn falkes myself) and when New Englands fury arrives in the fall they get hay and lots of it. So we really are not raising veal- which should be white or pink in color. We are raising Rose Beef or it could be called -happy teenage beef. And if you've seen the young beef animals running around here in the Fall -- happy is a description which would work.
We are licensed to breed Pheasants... which are always an exotic cullinary treat. We are developing our own line of humanely raised foie gras from our flock of pasture raised muscovy and pekin ducks. We have discovered that if you feed ducks four times a day with wet grain they will eat four times a day. Its a lot of extra work and the livers are not as big as some which can be purchased in the market place but not one duck was forced to eat anything which it didn't want to eat itself. The end result is a compromise between what customers hope to get with liver pate and a duck which enjoyed stuffing itself during the time it spent here on Brambly Farms. What's the old saying about a half a loaf is better than two birds in a bush :) Call and order in advance.