Farm News from August

Jerry Kitt

It was a bash!

The hundredth Annual Ranch BBQ attracted around 120 guests from all over. With a hip of bison in the smoker, a pig on the spit, 100 litres of local beer on tap, lots of side dishes and desserts, fireworks and live music, it was an weekend to remember (or for some, to forget).

Ranch BBQ: the only event where no one is invited, but everyone comes. We’re already planning number 101 (third weekend in August).

Berkshire babies are cute, black with little white specks on their nose and feet. We’ve had a hundred born in the last couple of months. Most of our sows are Berkshires so we are getting fairly used to their cuteness. We have one sow, Brunette, who is not a Berky. She’s a Duroc, solid brown in colour. Crossed with a Berkshire boar the results are spots.

Herding turkeys? The WWOOFers were a little reluctant when I said “just open the door and let half the turkeys go free.” The birds are growing well and the time had come to expand their area. One by one they hopped through the open door and soon there was a mass of curious birds wandering in the open field.

The wild ones could fly a half mile if they chose. “Keep them calm” I said. With cautious persuasion, soon they were all in their new shelter. Our turkeys have 50 times more space than conventional birds and move every week to new pasture.

Where did those bison go? Not too sure but the important thing is they are back. The first group wandered back to the pasture on their own. It was the second group that became a problem.

After roaming for miles along the south edge of the Peace River, eventually they found their way to another bison rancher’s herd. But how to capture them? They will not come to you if you stand by the open gate. If you leave the open gate and go away there’s a good chance the enclosed bison (400 animals) would be attracted to the gate and run out.

It was only luck that the right moves happened at the right time and the bison were in. Even better news was that the bison rancher liked the animals so much that offered to buy them. Sold!

Awhile back Buttercup’s milk had changed flavour, kind of salty. “A sign of imminent birth” said the Internet. I thought “imminent” meant really soon so we kept checking; no change. Finally after a couple of weeks I called the vet.

She had never heard of such a thing. I feel like an expectant parent, anxiously waiting.

Better go check.

C ya!


First Nature Farms is a family farm in the Peace Country. Once a month, First Nature Farms owner Jerry Kitt writes about his experiences on the farm.