Tasty Charcuterie



Bresse chicken on platter













Benefits of a Carnivore Diet

It’s no secret that we raise pigs and chickens so that we can eat humanely raised, pastured pork and poultry. Our mantra when we must make tough decisions is “this is a farm, not a zoo.”

A good friend and neighbor in our farming community swears by the carnivore diet. He has lost a ton of weight by following it. So, we wanted to share the benefits he let us know about the carnivore diet.

In a nutshell, the carnivore diet high fat, high protein, and low carb. It consists mainly of animal products. No grains, no vegetables, no fruit, no sugar.

With just a quick Internet search, we learned the carnivore diet may help to:

  • balance the microbiome
  • stop autoimmune reactions
  • lose unneeded fat and gain muscle and lean body mass
  • increase insulin sensitivity and lower blood glucose levels
  • feed our brain and improve our mood

The carnivore diet is made up of easily absorbed, bio-available nutrients.  Following a strict carnivore diet by consuming nose-to-tail (organ meat, not just muscle meat) helps boost the nutrient density.  And our stomach acid is highly acidic and very good at getting the nutrients out of meat. These nutrients flood your body with the building blocks needed to do its own repair of your brain, joints, muscles, and blood cells.

(Plant foods, on the other hand, contain anti-nutrients, as well as nutrients. This is a separate topic which deserves its own blog.)

What About Fiber?

Here’s another myth busted about the no-fiber carnivore diet. Fiber can be bad for people with digestive problems. We were surprised to learn that when a no-fiber diet is consumed, digestion may be improved. Studies of people with IBS, constipation, diarrhea, and other digestive issues show either complete elimination or huge improvement when fiber is greatly reduced or eliminated. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3435786/

Another benefit is the magical state called ketosis which is all the rage these days. Basically, when our body is running on fat, not carbs, we are providing our brain with ketones instead of glucose. Ketosis is the metabolic process of using fat, specifically ketones, as the primary source of energy instead of carbohydrates. This is another topic that requires much more than a paragraph to explain. But the bottom line for most of us is that on the carnivore diet you can lose a lot of weight and gain muscle mass.

As we thought about and researched the carnivore diet, the benefits seemed endless. The main thing we will leave you with is this: It’s far better to consume humanely raised meats, without all the nitrates, arsenic, and other additives, than factory-farmed meats processed at slaughterhouses.

Enjoy a tasty charcuterie platter and a side of chicken breast tonight. 🙂

Contact us if you’re interested in buying charcuterie.


Berkshire pigs messing around



Brent digging trenches



Gopher-proof holes






Busy Weekend on a Small Farm

Running a small farm is a TON of work, but it’s very rewarding.

We always start our day by opening the coops so the chickens can free-range during the day. Then, the pigs get their whole grains (soaked overnight for better absorption). We fill all the watering stations and troughs for our chickens and Berkshire pigs.

Outsmarting the pigs

One of the first projects we had to attend to was securing the watering trough for our 3 younger, female Berkshire pigs. Pigs love to turn over anything that has water in it and roll around in the mud it creates. They are not great at long term thinking — like having no water to drink. Allan secured the watering trough inside a cattle panel turned on its side and secured it to the outer fencing. Then he cut a hole that the pigs can get their head through to drink, but not big enough for them to tip the trough with their nose.

Getting the garden ready

Last year, we dug a trench 90-feet x 30-feet and buried hardware cloth to prevent the gophers from getting into the garden. Unfortunately, because we live in the foothills of some very large granite mountains, the trencher could not always get down a full 2 feet. The gophers capitalized on the spots the hardware cloth didn’t reach!

This year, we are digging holes 2-feet deep — by hand. We line each hole with hardware cloth and then fill the hole back in. We are doing this instead of raised beds for a number of reasons. Have you seen the price of lumber? Crazy expensive! Even if it wasn’t, we’re still busy trying to finish the walk-in cooler/butcher station so we can process our first Berkshire.

If we want any garden at all, we figured we have to resort to holes and hardware cloth as the next best option. Digging through hard, dry clay is not easy and it’s a slow process. So far we have 5 holes and have planted 4-5 varieties of squash, 4 varieties of cantaloupe, 4 varieties of watermelon, snap peas, slicing and pickling cucumbers.

Only one variety of squash and cantaloupe sprouted so far. We suspect the squash seeds might not be viable, so we replanted them as an experiment. If they don’t sprout the second time, we’ll know it was the seeds and not the gardener!

We started 2 more gopher-proof holes this weekend. They are 10-feet long and 4-feet wide. These are going to take a bit longer to complete. We will plant carrots and peppers (companion plants) in one, and probably beets and another companion vegetable in the second one.

We ran out of time to start tomatoes from seeds last year and we didn’t enjoy the varieties we had anyway. But because we’re getting a late start on our vegetable garden, we’ve got some growing in pots.

Chickens earning their keep

Another advantage to creating these gopher-proof beds instead of raised beds is that we can continue our companion farming philosophy. For the Mechelens (aka Malines), we’re going to create a coop and chicken run off the garden area. In the winter, once the growing season has come to an end, we’ll let the Mechelens forage through it. They’ll clear out all of the remaining plants and weeds, scratch and till the soil, and fertilize the soil with their poop. This will save us a ton of work come late winter/early spring when it’s time to plant our vegetables.

And we’re finishing 4 Bresse roosters that hatched about 12 weeks ago. We are adhering as closely as possible to the traditional Bresse method — corn/grains and milk. However, we are not stuffing them into small boxes (referred to as the Spruce by the French). They are in a small coop with some light and a little room to move around. We’re not willing to compromise our happy, healthy farm philosophy for a chicken dinner.

A wonderful weekend is coming to a close. A friend brought us fresh cherries from a roadside stand on the highway to Kings Canyon National Park, picked by the Mennonites. We’re looking forward to eating a scrumptious, homemade cherry pie for dinner to celebrate Memorial Day!

Contact us if you’re interested in buying Berkshire breeder piglets or heritage breed Bresse chicken hatching eggs.











Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator 9-12 Eggs Poultry Hatcher








HovaBator Advanced Egg Incubator Combo Kit







Eggs in Brinsea incubator






Wine cooler with eggs

Finding the Right Egg Incubation Equipment

Over the last couple of years, we’ve tried various pieces of equipment to improve our egg hatching rate. Here’s the story of what that entailed.

  1. Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator 9-12 Eggs Poultry Hatcher
  2. HovaBator Advanced Egg Incubator Combo Kit
  3. Brinsea Ovation 56 EX Fully Automatic Digital Egg Incubator
  4. Wine Enthusiast 6-Bottle Wine Cooler

Magicfly Digital Mini Fully Automatic Egg Incubator 9-12 Eggs Poultry Hatcher

Our Guinea Hen abandoned her nest after a predator removed all of the eggs, one-by-one, over the course of a week. Once we finally clued into what was happening, there was only one egg left. We borrowed a friend’s incubator and hatched the single Guinea Hen.

This incubator is very easy to use and we would definitely recommend it for first time hatchers. It has a no-fuss, simple set-up. Regulating the temperature is easy and it turns the eggs sufficiently.

Unfortunately, you can’t accurately control humidity. Humidity is critical at hatch time. If the egg membrane gets too dry, the hatchling could become trapped. If there’s too much humidity, the hatchling could *drown*. So you have to monitor and add or subtract water daily. This means removing and replacing the lid over and over and that’s not great for a high hatch rate.

Bottom line: It’s an economical way to get started with hatching eggs.

HovaBator Advanced Egg Incubator Combo Kit

After hatching the Guinea Hen in the borrowed incubator, we decided to invest in our own. Turns out this unit is used a lot for school hatching activities.

The incubator has an automatic turner which rolls the eggs six times per day. The eggs just sit on top of the plastic mesh floor above the water tray. The humidity is created by filling the plastic tray on the bottom. The temperature is controlled by swiveling a metal bar on the top of the unit.

The top and bottom of the unit is styrofoam which helps to maintain temperature and humidity. But you still have to monitor both. With some trial and error, it works reasonably well.

We hatched some turkeys in this unit with moderate success. This was likely due to a number of variables, including fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Now we use this unit for hatching when we have staggered hatch dates.

Bottom line: Easy to use, decent value for money.

Brinsea Ovation 56 EX Fully Automatic Digital Egg Incubator

After we hatched the Bronze turkeys, we were hooked on the hatching egg process. We wanted a reliable way to hatch our heritage breed Bresse chicken eggs. We found the Brinsea unit at Tractor Supply Co.

The unit keeps near perfect temperature and humidity levels. Before placing the eggs, I turn on the incubator and closely monitor it for a day or so until the levels are ideal. I’ve found that it only needs minimal adjustments during the hatching cycle. The water container only needs to be filled every other week. The only negative is the replacement evaporating blocks can only be ordered through Brinsea and the shipping is expensive.

This unit was pricey, but results speak for themselves. As mentioned in a previous blog, I had a nearly 100% hatch rate using the Brinsea with my Bresse/Bresse, Bresse/Sex Links trial.

These units are available in various sizes and we strongly recommend them for any hatching enthusiast.

Bottom line: Worth every penny. I love this incubator!

Wine Enthusiast 6-Bottle Wine Cooler

I needed a place to store our eggs before putting them in the incubator. Brinsea suggests they should be kept at 53-59 degrees F. I tried a cooler and an unplugged freezer, but the temperature wouldn’t stay in the range.

My sister (who drinks a lot of wine) suggested a wine fridge. This unit was reasonably inexpensive and was set-and-forget. We set the temperature at 53 degrees and it fluctuates between 53 and 55 degrees, depending on ambient room temperature. A small dish of water in the unit helps keep the humidity up near 65-70%. Problem solved!

Bottom line: This is one of my favorite pieces of equipment.

Note: I am not receiving any compensation for mentioning these units. Just passing along our experience with them.

Mechelen chick

Mechelen chicks feeding

European Meat Birds Arrived Today

During the course of our research into a breeding program for the Bresse, we stumbled across the Mechelen. They are another dual purpose heritage breed chicken with European roots. Mechelen are classics of the heritage meat bird trend, stocky and large.

As novice farmers, we began our adventure in animal husbandry with our Sex Links laying hens. Raising laying hens was another perfect addition to our five acres. We love having farm fresh eggs to eat and share with the community.

After learning how easy it is to keep chickens, we wanted to begin raising our own poultry for meat, instead of buying factory-farmed meat at the grocery stores. We first tried raising Cornish crosses. These are the chickens you buy at your local grocery store. (Even the chicken labeled *organic* is probably a Cornish cross.) Their claim to fame is “6 pounds in 6 weeks” – and sometimes less than 6 weeks. We elected to adhere to our healthy, happy philosophy and free-range our Cornish crosses. The birds are calm and docile which is great. But these birds are a genetic mess! (I’ll post separately about the challenges we faced.)

We also raised Freedom Rangers (or red broilers), but these are just the Cornish cross mixed with another breed (I believe it is the Rhode Island Red). These chickens were okay to raise, but nothing special in terms of taste.

Ultimately, we decided to raise heritage breeds exclusively. One day, while researching our options, we came across the Mechelen (often called Coucou de Malines).

The Mechelen will reach sizes of 7.5 to 11 pounds. Like most heritage breeds, they are slow growing. It will take about 5-6 months to attain these weights. Because of their large size, they don’t fly. As a dual purpose bird, they are good egg layers. But their primary purpose on our farm will be for meat production. The Mechelen have a calm and balanced disposition which is perfect for our happy farm. The chicks have arrived and we’re on our way!

Contact us if you’re interested in buying hatching eggs.