- Pathogens & Predators
Although remedial treatment is needed when an animal becomes sick due to pathogens, animal health largely depends on healthy conditions and nutrition. Much of animal ill-health can be prevented by proper flock or herd density and proper diet.
Density is important to monitor. Not only does crowding increase animal frustration and harassment, but it also promotes pathogens. Ample space allows the animals freedom to exercise, to be curious and playful, to move around, including away from their own waste. We give our animals plenty of space, and move them frequently to fresh green pasture.
Diet is also very important. The animal’s nutritional needs must be met. Beyond that, though, if an animal is not matched to its natural food, problems arise. For example: cows stomachs are not designed to process corn in large amounts. It raises their acidity levels, which then increases their vulnerability to bacterial infections (such as E. coli). This also increases their risk for dehydration, gut damage, and liver problems. In your typical feedlot model, this is where the routine and systematic use of antibiotics enters. We are careful to match our animals to their natural diets: grass for cows, forest roots and forage for pigs, custom grains and grass for poultry. We also carefully monitor the nutritional intake of our animals so that we can supplement where necessary.
What are some of the natural supplements and methods we use to promote animal health and combat disease? One of them is oregano: we use it in our poultry feed to promote gut health. Oregano is antibacterial, antiviral, and anti-parasitic, and helps fight against bacterial outbreaks in the intestines.
We also use food grade diatomaceous earth (DE) in our chickens’ dust baths. Made from the fossilized remains of plankton, DE penetrates under the shells of mites and fleas and punctures their bodies. The bugs then dehydrate and die. DE is not a toxin (it kills insects physically) so there is no danger of pests’ developing an immunity to it. You can buy DE in any organic gardening store and use it for your own bug control.
The pasture setting and rest & rotational model in itself produces a healthier animal, eliminating the need for high-power drugs.
When you buy a piece of Champoeg Farm meat, you are getting meat from an animal:
- Raised outdoors in ample space
- Moved reguarly to fresh water and forage
- Monitored for nutritional balance
- Fed on immunity-boosting forage crops
- Nurtured with natural supplements
- No growth hormones in our meat cows (hormone use is illegal in poultry, pigs, and dairy cows)
- No antibiotics