Welcome!

Welcome to HighTail Farms, LLC! We're a small farm located in Hammond, Louisiana. We are dedicated to providing people with ethically raised and humanely processed pastured poultry and sheep, fresh eggs, and raw meat for pet food.

Please follow the links in the top bar for more information on our products and their availability. Continue reading below for our blog where we detail the adventures of raisin' animals and whatnot.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Sweet Meats

A couple of months ago, our local feed store got in some turkeys, just the commercial broad breasted white variety. We picked up 5 to see how we like raising these bigger birds. Around the same time, we got 6 guineas, and since they take the same food, we decided to raise them together.

I should have know it was going to be all downhill from day one. The little poults would run toward us instead of away when the brooder was opened. More than once I had one fall right out into my lap. 


Later, when they were moved to a larger pen they mourned the loss of their duckling neighbors, letting out these sad little three note calls for days afterwards.


 Eventually, they got moved to a larger outside pen with their guinea friends, and we started the usual transition to free ranging which involved opening their pen and putting temporary fencing up so that they learn where their pen is and how to go in and out. 


The next step was letting them loose during the day. Big Onion and I were worried about them taking off over the fence or trying to roost in tree at night, but they found a much better survival strategy. They follow us everywhere. They like giant, ugly, white feathered puppies. No matter what I do, they are with me. At the end of the day, I don't have to call Sheltie to herd them into their pen. I just call out, "Turkeys! Turkeys!" and they and their guinea buddies come a-runnin and happily follow me around buildings and into their enclosure. One day, I bent to straighten one of the next boxes, a damn turkey actually hopped up into my lap and settled down for a nap. It's ridiculous.



It's actually really sad too. I've tried my best not to get attached, but it's hard not to form a fondness for creatures that come running the minute they catch site of you. The sad part is, these are broad breasted whites. Meat birds. We actually can't just keep them. Commercial meat birds, chickens and turkeys alike, were bred to get as big as possible as fast as possible. They just keep growing until their hearts give out, and they keel over dead. Keeping them alive would not be a kindness to them in the long run.

Big Onion swears he can do the deed when the time comes. Until then, I'll enjoy the company of my big white puppies.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Luna brag


Luna just picked up my dropped stock stick and handed it to me!!

We were letting the goats graze the backyard and after weeks of running, yelling, and waving a stick to keep the girls from eating our blueberry bushes, I finally got smart and parked Luna under them. Now, Luna may seem like a sweet, love-bug of a dog to you and me, but to livestock, she is a scary, scary wolf out to get you. I've seen this Sheltie move stock with just a look. 

Well, it worked like a charm. One look at that  blueberry guarding wolf and Josie and Jenni steered very clear. The goat gals grazed on various things for a while then headed back to their pen. Luna and I closed them in and as we were walking back to the house, I dropped my stock stick. 


Without a word, Luna scooped it up and handed it to me. We had a giant party with lots of "LUNA WHAT A GOOD GIRL!!!" and pets, and I actually got her to do it a couple more times. I didn't even care about the teeth marks that my iron jawed beast was putting in the stick. 

This is a really big deal considering the dog is 6 years old, and I have been trying to teach this behavior since day one. The other dogs can do it. She just seems to have a mental block about this one thing. Hopefully she has finally got it. 


Friday, April 20, 2012

Fancy That!

I would like to introduce you to our first lamb....

Fancy 
(a.k.a. Miss Fancy Pants)

She was born last Wednesday without any help from us. In fact, we got home from work to find her already dried off and on her feet, and since then there has been no stopping her. 


We had a feeling she was coming very soon. Her momma, Patch, has been in milk almost since she arrived and the last couple days before she gave birth she was laying down an awful lot. 

Poor thing had a rather rough introduction to the shelties when she was just a couple days old. 

Since the lamb was born, I have been using Sonny, our older sheltie, in the evenings to put the poultry away for the night since he is my good obedient boy and won't chase sheep unless I ask. On this particular day, Nova was the first to volunteer for evening duties so I let her come out to help put away the ducks, geese, turkeys, and guineas that had been out doing their free range pasture thing all day. Nova is younger than Sonny and even though she SHOULD have more herding training time under her belt (she was living and working on a small farm before we got her), she is a bit of a goof ball.

Nova walked very nicely out the back gate and down to the poultry pens with me. I asked her to go out and get the first set of ducks to be put away. Well, Nova took a look at those ducks, then at the sheep farther down the field and decided that sheep would be WAY more fun to chase around. She took off straight for the sheep   before I could stop her. I tried yelling a couple times but found that I was wasting my breath. That crazy girl was dead set on herding her some sheeps!

Seeing a tiny black and white wolf heading for them, the sheep took off for the safety of the poultry yard with Nova hot on their heels. Poor Fancy just wasn't up for a full speed chase and soon fell behind the flock. Nova, being the utter ding bat that she is, ran over the poor 2 day old lamb in pursuit of the rest of the flock.

At this point, I was finally able to call Nova off and have her come back to me. Fancy, in the meantime, got back up disoriented and took off at top speed in completely the wrong direction and straight for the last pile of scrap metal I hadn't trucked off to the scrap yard and the creek beyond it!

Now our creek is about 20ft below the level of the pasture and has a rather steep embankment. Fancy heading straight for it had the potential to be a serious problem. Thank heavens our friend A. happened to be visiting. She saw the problem and took off after the lamb while I got the misbehaving sheltie under control.

Fancy ran straight into the scrap pile with a bang and disappeared on the other side. By the time I got there, A. was in full lamb rescue mode trying to head off a very frightened and confused baby right on the edge of the embankment. I called out, "Just grab her!" and A. made a lunge and caught the baby just in time.

We checked her over and found that the poor gal was very frightened but otherwise unharmed. Momma Patch was very very relieved to have her baby returned to her in one piece.




Sunday, April 8, 2012

Hoppy Easter!


From all of us -- feathered and furry -- here at HighTail Farms, we hope you've had a very happy Easter holiday.


Monday, April 2, 2012

Spring


When I was a child I used to adore summer. It was the time of rest -- no school, lots of playing outside (although most kids today have no clue what that means), and a time to gear up for the new school year in the Fall. However, as I've gotten older the heat of summer isn't something that I exactly look forward to anymore. As my agricultural activities have grown, so has my fondness for spring.

Spring is a time of renewal. Althought winters in Louisiana aren't quite the same as some of our friends up north (snow? what is that?) things do die down a bit. Trees are bare, the grass is low, and there is very little activity. But spring hits, our clocks change and suddenly the grass is growing, trees and bushes are flowering, fruit is budding, vegetables are sprouting, bees are buzzing, and birds are hatching.

When we first moved to the property we had an idea of what some of the flora was, but couldn't know for sure until things started to grow. As K has said before about this property always giving us what we need, we're finding that there are many fruits growing all around the house. Here's some of our finds that made us extremely happy.