Logging acres of century old trees and bulldozing over intact, undisturbed eco systems only for the sake of establishing conventional pasture land is not an option. Nor is it necessary. We log trees very selectively to open up a dense canopy of leaves to allow sufficient sunlight to grow Silvo Pastures. Any tree is evaluated before it is being logged. Specie, age, height, health and the nutrients it provides to the forest’s flora and fauna are taken into account before it is removed.
At And-Hof Animal we strive to manage the animals, the forest, the people as close to zero waste as possible and to hold the carbon foot print to a minimum! Whether it is the trees we mill onsite for construction wood, fence posts and mulch, or the rocks in the ground we use among foundations, retaining walls, dry wells, to only name a few applications. The endless wheel barrel caravan of animal manure is turned into rich, fertile soil while the heat generated in the composting process can be used to keep a Chicken coop well temperatured and imbedded water storage tanks from freezing during the cold winter months. Rainwater is channeled into large water reservoir ponds to the delight of our Water Fowl and Pigs alike. Even many of the human-made products on the farm that have outlived their original purpose, will often find a new life by being re-purposed.
We maintain the forest with heavy equipment indeed, but not the kind you need a driver’s license for. Our Goats nourish on the undergrowth of the forest, removing brush and invasive growth that cut the sunlight and shade the forest floor. Our 7 Pig strong rototiller/bulldozer force is most proficient in ground preparation for seeding. With the greatest delight their noses till acres of land, thereby aerating the soil, digging under the nutrient rich top soil layer and in the process kill the roots the Goats overlooked or didn’t get to. Imbedded rocks get dislodged, which saves us a lot effort when pulling them out of the ground and collecting them.
All day long countless Chickens, Turkeys, Ducks and Geese drill their beaks into the forest floor and rotting logs, extracting insects, as well as all the beetles and slugs they can find. They are an invaluable health insurance provider for flora, fauna and humans alike, as they feed on organisms that can constitute potential health risks. And what better way to stay healthy than feeding of an organic diet?!
Our animals are the most relevant stewards of our land. Supplanting them into an environment that is closely resembling that of their native forebears, they restore and sustain an ecosystem, within which a more diverse and balanced ecology of native plants can re-establish itself.