Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
[ Member listing ]

Meet the Goats

I thought it was high time I introduce you to the goats! Meet  Milkyway and Lucy.

Oberhasli Goats 

They are Purebred Oberhasli dairy goats. I decided some time ago after researching dairy goats that we would go with the Oberhasli breed.

There are several reasons I decided on Oberhasli but at the top of the list is they are listed on the ALBC website as "recovering".

Although as a whole, the breed is recovering in the US, these numbers include the American Oberhasli which is a Purebred Oberhasli buck bred to an Alpine doe. (American Oberhasli look exactly the same so the paperwork is the only way to tell.)

Then the offspring is bred to a Purebred Oberhasli. This continues for I believe three generations and then that generation can be registered as an American Oberhasli.

Purebred Oberhasli on the other hand, can be traced back to Switzerland with no Alpine influence.

Purebreds are actually in decline in the US since American Oberhasli are readily available to breeders and the Purebreds are harder to find.

We are currently milking two does and have purchased a buck so next Spring should find us with more Purebred Oberhasli goats!

Another reason I went with Oberhasli is they have a good reputation for milk that is very close to cows milk in taste. My family can't tell a difference in the goat milk and whole cows milk from the store.

Two milking does provide way more milk than we can drink so the pigs and chickens are enjoying the milk as well. The whole farm is enjoying all the health benefits of raw milk!

 
 

Pastured Poultry - Fresh Grass Daily

Folks often ask me "what's the difference in pastured poultry and free range?"

Well for the most part it depends on who is defining it! Grocery stores would want you to believe that "free range" or "pastured"  means the birds are free to roam around outside and range for bugs and grass and live the life every chicken dreams of.

But most of the time it means in the industrial setting, they have a minimum amount of access to the outside.

It might be dirt and completely devoid of bugs or grass but they met the requirements to advertise free range.

To the small farmer it can mean different things as well. I've seen birds turned out in the day and locked back into the coop at night.

I know farmers who have a chicken "run" that lets the bird outside but unless moved frequently to another area it quickly becomes not only devoid of bugs and grass, but becomes a breeding ground for pathogens.

What do we do here at Spring Hill Farms with our pastured poultry?

We use movable, floor-less, pens. These pens are moved daily and depending on the age of the bird, could be moved twice a day.

We also think that electrified poultry netting is a very good option as well. Provided the birds are moved to fresh pasture as needed.

Why don't we let our birds roam around? The number one reason is predators.

With the decline in hunting and trapping of fur bearing animals and varmints, the farmer is over run with Raccoons, Fox, Coyotes, Weasels, Mink, Opossum, and who knows what I forgot.

These are all dangers to your poultry flock.

We work in co operation with nature and wildlife but there is no sense in tempting animals to get a free, easy meal by leaving our pastured poultry or laying hens completely exposed to danger.  

Another reason we prefer movable pens and poultry netting is we can control the birds access to harmful pathogens.

Birds that free range or roam about freely tend to roost in the same places night after night. Farmers tend to feed them in the same place day after day.

Both of these practices can lead to a build up of pathogens in those feeding/sleeping areas.

At Spring Hill Farms we strive to raise animals with the least amount of inputs to keep them happy healthy and robust. Reducing harmful pathogen loads is the first step in that journey.

This is done through intensive management not medicating. On the surface it seems easier to drop some chemical wormers or antibiotics into the animal and fore go the moving pens everyday.

But it is actually easier to avoid health problems than try to fix them.

From the health standpoint for the consumer we believe it gives us a superior product in taste, texture and health.

Let's look at the idea of moving pens daily.

First of all this automatically reduces pathogen loads by moving away from yesterdays lounging area and providing new ground for the birds.

Secondly, it provides fresh grass of our choosing not the birds. When birds free range roam about you'll find they lounge in the same areas, (pathogen problem) and range fairly close to the lounging area.

Animals are lazy by nature. They will not go long distances just because the grass is better. And at some point if the area gets poor enough and large enough, the birds will have played out the range they are used to and need more grain and are really no different than a grocery store chicken at that point.

We work hard to mimic nature when raising livestock, wether it's chickens, pigs, or goats we think as natural as possible is best.

The Freedom Rangers birds we use are aggressive foragers by nature. Unlike the industry standard Cornish Cross or Cornish X, which is lazy and fast growing by nature.

We have raised them in the past and found them to be undesirable in a system such as ours.  

I actually blogged about the problems with Cornish Cross Chickens. You can read it here.
   
Watch the video below to see these birds going after forage. They consume forage like a heritage breed bird because they are derived from heritage breed genetics.

Aggressive foragers means more CLA's and Omega 3's in your poultry.

Watch the video here to see what Professor Crawford of Britain has to say after 30 years of studying the nutritional value of chicken.

He is very concerned with the levels of Omega 3 fatty acids being almost nonexistent in chicken. He even says it could cause mental illness to skyrocket in the years ahead.

Here's an excerpt from Paris Reidhead's article:

CLAs & Omega-3s: Pasture Health Benefits Passed Transferred to People.

...In laboratory animals, a very small percentage of CLA—a mere 0.1 percent of total calories—greatly reduced tumor growth. CLA may also reduce cancer risk in humans. In a Finnish study, women who had the highest levels of CLA in their diet, had a 60 percent lower risk of breast cancer than those with the lowest levels. Similarly, French researchers measured CLA levels in the breast tissues of 360 women. In fact, the women with the most CLA had a staggering 74% lower risk of breast cancer than the women with the least CLA.

Switching from grain-fed to grass-fed meat and dairy products places women in this lowest risk category. Researcher Tilak Dhiman, PhD., from Utah State University estimates that persons may be able to lower their risk of cancer simply by eating the following grass-fed products each day: one glass of whole milk, one ounce of cheese, and one serving of meat. One must consume five times that amount of grain-fed meat and dairy products to get the same level of protection.


Omega-3s are polyunsaturated fatty acids found in leafy green vegetables, vegetable oils, and fish such as salmon and mackerel. Omega-3s reduce serum cholesterol levels and are anticoagulants. Grazing livestock also yield abundant omega-3s in their meat and dairy products, almost as much as the oils from the above-cited fish. (Such claims cannot be made for non-grazing livestock.)....

....It has been estimated that only 40 percent of Americans consume an adequate supply of Omega-3 fatty acids. Twenty percent of U.S. citizens have blood levels so low in Omega-3s as to be undetectable. Switching to the meat, milk, and dairy products of grass-fed animals is one way to restore this vital nutrient to their diet.

It is increasingly evident that eating pasture-based animal products greatly benefits human health. This fact spotlights the need for producers to stress elements of animal husbandry, specifically pasture management, which maximize the intake, by grazing animals, of CLAs, Omega-3s, and natural vitamins. More and more, informed consumers expect and demand these health elements in their animal products. Dairy and livestock people who meet those demands should be rewarded accordingly.
.....

If you're in central Ohio and looking for grass-fed meats give us a call or email, we'd be glad to help you out.

 Watch our Freedom Rangers Here


 
 

Spring Hill Farms Holiday Ham

As the Holiday season draws near I start thinking about ham. Well actually I start getting calls and emails asking about ham so it starts me to thinking about ham!

I began offering holiday hams in 2004 and it has grown into a big part of what we do at Spring Hill Farms.

I knew our ham was good, but I think sometimes farmers get used to eating their own products and end up taking it for granted that everyone eats this way.

 A beautiful hickory smoked ham has been part of our dinner table for a long time not only at the holidays, but several other times through out the year when the mood strikes me.

So...when we started offering them to the public I was surprised at how many people raved about them. I guess maybe I shouldn't have been but hey I try to be modest!

What makes our hickory smoked ham so special? I wish I could take all the credit and say it's all about the pork. And a large part of it is the product you start with.

 

HOWEVER.....

 

You can have the best product in the world and if it isn't handled properly as in the case of curing and smoking hams, you can end up with a product that is horrible at the worst, and average to good on the other end of ham-o-meter.

You realize we have a ham-o-meter right? Yea it's a very sophisticated feed back system that some people would refer to as a customer.

Easy....I'm not calling you a ham-o-meter!

The first time we officially took a reading from a ham-o-meter was in 2004 and it was off the chart!

It wasn't just good it was the best ever.

 


Our Ham was the most delicious ham we have ever eaten. A very fresh taste, full of flavor! Our family loves pork but do not really eat ham very often... - Randolph and Teresa K Granville, Ohio

 

I've never tried to keep it a secret that Rittberger Meats does all of our processing of pork and beef. The reason we use them....

They are the best of the best when it comes to processing and especially curing and smoking pork. There is something about knowing they have been doing this since 1910 in the same smokehouse that makes me feel like we have something special, almost elite.

Do you know of any other butcher shop that has been in business, and family owned, for 100 years in central Ohio?

Here's an excerpt from their website.

"Carl Rittberger Sr., Grandpa was born in Lorch Germany in 1881. He went to meat trade school in Germany, before coming to the United States in the late 1800's.

From a small retail trade acquired at the Zanesville City Market, he expanded into the wholesale business at his farm on Lutz Lane, where he started September 22,1910.

In the early days, Grandpa rode on horseback throughout the county. He purchased livestock along the way and drove the livestock back to the plant on horseback.

As his business grew, he purchased some 800 acres and raised some of his own livestock to stay up with the demand. Today we still raise cattle on over 450 acres.

Quality was always Grandpa's number one goal even through tough times, and is still ours today! We are still family owned and ran by the 2nd, 3rd and 4th generations. We are even starting to get some input from the 5th generation."

The Rittberger family are experts when it comes to producing a ham that stands alone in taste, texture, and quality.

 

The Christmas ham was really wonderful- very tender, lean and full of flavor. I'm not much of a "ham person" generally, but I loved this. The left over bone helped make an outstanding bean and farro soup as well - Tim & Emily H. Columbus Ohio

 

I invite you to try a holiday ham from Spring Hill Farms complete with the Rittberger touch. You'll be glad you did when all the ham-o-meters start going off around your holiday dinner table... I guarantee it.

 


David T. Fogle

 

 

 
 

Everything but the squeal

Everything but the squeal - Margie Wuebker

Copyright October 2010 Country Living Magazine

To read the article on their website click here 

The driveway at Dean and Marilyn Wyler's Coshocton  County farm fills with cars and pickup trucks as friends and relatives arrive for butchering day with visions of pork chops, sausage, ribs, roasts bacon, and ham dancing in their heads.

 The Saturday after Thanksgiving is butchering time in these parts, and ambitious workers are needed to process 11 hogs in assembly line fashion and then share the fruits - or rather the meat of their labor.

 The Wyler's, who live near [more] go to page 44

 
 
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