The Beefalo is the Buffalo's kissing cousin! And because they have those incredible Buffalo genetics, you get the best of both worlds - low cholesterol, low fat, and high protein, and all that great taste that you love about buffalo!
The breed known as Beefalo, is genetically 3/8 buffalo and 5/8 beef cattle. Due to their genetic make-up, their meat is higher in protein and lower in both cholesterol and fat than standard beef products. These attributes coupled with their great flavor and the fact that Meyer Beefalo Farm raises them on pasture in the spring, summer and fall and on good quality hay in the winter, make them an excellent choice for the health-conscious individual. An added benefit is that we do NOT use any antibiotics or growth hormones and do not feed grain.
What makes beefalo so special? These animals are very gentle and easy to handle. The cows calve easily and all do extremely well on grass, finishing in about 18-22 months. Their meat is every bit as good as buffalo meat; health wise and taste wise.
In 2015, we began raising Lamb meat. We picked a "hair" sheep breed, called the Katahdin (kah-TAH-din) which originated in the state of Maine between the 1950's and 1970's. Hair sheep naturally shed their winter coats in the spring. We chose the Katahdin breed of sheep because it was specifically bred to be a meat animal as opposed to a dairy or dual purpose animal, thereby allowing us to concentrate on raising them solely for their meat qualities.
When we began raising them, we found that this breed is amazingly friendly, tame and even seeks out human contact. They are easily handled and develop strong bonds with their care-givers, making them a delight to raise!
The Katahdin breed has a very thick hair coat with an undercoat of wooly fibers that grows to a few inches in length in the fall and then sheds out in the spring. Shearing is not required. This hair/wool coat is not suitable for wool spinning.
Katahdins display a resistance to internal and external parasites and require no treatment if raised on pasture and fed no grain. Most Katahdin sheep are naturally polled although a small number may be born with scurs or horns.
Katahdins are easy to care for, being adaptable to varying climates, feed and management systems. Mature ewes are easy lambers with strong maternal instincts and produce a good amount of milk. They most often will have twins, but triplets or quadruplets are also sometimes possible. Their lambs grow quickly and produce a lean, well-muscled carcass when raised on pasture, with a mild flavor.
Mature ewes can weigh 125 to 185 lbs. Mature rams can weigh between 180 and 250 lbs. The average birth weight of twins is about 8 lbs. Ewe and ram lambs become fertile at about 8 months of age, but to avoid birthing problems, ewes should not be bred until they are at least 18 months old. Rams are aggressive breeders and are generally fertile all year long. Ewes have good mothering instincts and very rarely reject an offspring. Little or no lambing assistance is needed.
Ewe nursing one of her lambs. Notice she is beginning to shed her winter wool.
The Kune Kune Pig (pronounced cooney cooney) is a small sized pig that was known and used by the Maori people on the islands off New Zealand. They nearly became extinct but for the efforts of two gentlemen from New Zealand in the 1970's who began a conservation program from a base stock of 3 boars and 6 sows. Their numbers grew slowly and from 1996 - 2012 there were 5 importations into the U.S.
Kune Kune Pigs are extremely docile and easy to handle. They are a true grazing pig and their preference is to eat grasses, vegetables and fruits. Their diet can be supplemented with a very small amount of grain, but if fed too much grain, such as corn or soy, they will become overly fat quite quickly. They need no more than 16 percent protein to stay fit. They have short upturned snouts, making them less likely to root up pastures. They do love to bathe, especially in warmer climates, so a mud wallow or wading pool is always welcome. One acre of good pasture can support up to 12 Kunes.
These small sized pigs are perfect for homesteaders, producing an average of 6 piglets per litter, and can farrow twice per year. Sows mature at 200-300 lbs. and boars at 250-400 lbs. They generally grow to 24-30" tall and mature at 12-16 months.
Their meat is dark, rich, and nicely marbled. The lard can be rendered down to use in cooking. They also make great sausage! They are not prone to wandering too far from their home and keep well within minimal fencing. "Talkative" and friendly, many people like having them as pets.
This Kune Kune boar is just 1 year old.
The Idaho Pasture Pig (IPP), is another breed of pig known for it's ability to forage and graze on grasses and eat vegetables and fruit. They are a medium sized pig, larger than the Kune Kune, but smaller than most heritage breed pigs such as the Red Wattle pig.
The IPP breed was developed in Idaho using three different breeds of pig; Kune Kune, Duroc and Old Berkshire. Distribution of the breeding stock began in 2006. Like the Kune Kune pig, they have calm dispositions and are friendly and easy to handle. The sows mature at 250-350 lbs. and the boars at 350-450 lbs.
The IPP's reach a market weight of about 250 lbs. at about 9 – 10 months eating mainly grass and other vegetation such as vegetables. Requiring less grain than the average meat hog does, is a plus when trying to keep costs down. They have shorter, upturned noses similar to the Kune breed and are less likely to root, provided they get the nutrition they need. Mineral supplements are generally encouraged to help with their nutritional needs.
IPP Boar, Schmidt