From our website: At Lilac Hill Farm we raise grass-fed lamb, goose, and organic-grain fed chicken. Our meat, eggs, and honey are delicious thanks to the time our animals live on our central Pennsylvania pastures.
In the summer of 2018, our goals remain the same, but how we manage the farm is evolving as our family life and interests change.
To better fit our schedule, we are transitioning to fall lambing. Katahdins can naturally lamb in the fall so we will select ewes that are successful fall mothers to build our flock. With fall lambing we hope to serve the December and spring holiday markets. Our home tastings of garlic and hot Italian sausage and lightly smoked ham are delicious so we will be offering both, as well as the regular cuts of meat.
I like geese. I still like geese in spite of a less than stellar breeding season. This winter, overnighting the geese in that barn has kept them safe and their nests accessible. Next year I need to gather eggs daily, buy an incubator better suited to hatching goose eggs and allow the geese to set near the end of the season when they become “aggressively” protective and broody.
Late this spring I bought 6 more Pilgrims and 10 Toulouse goslings. Our geese did hatch five goslings. My plan is to keep them in the barn on wood chips until they are mostly feathered and then to house them in our move-able pasture pens. Once grown they will graze in our fenced pasture. This fall I will select the Pilgrims to keep and the rest will be available for your table. Contact the farm if you want to preorder a holiday goose.
Except for extending the chicks’ time in the protection of the barn, our husbandry remained the same this year. The 10 week grow out of Red Rangers, finishing the third week of June on local organic feed and pasture works well. We will keep the same pattern next year and will take preorders of meat in late winter.
Eventhough egg sales are a small part of the farm’s financial picture, the hens’ value as compost turners and manure makers and the incredible flavor of their eggs at our table, keep them on the farm. The late fall 2017 hatch worked well and our pullets were ready to lay as daylength increased this spring. The Dominique breed is calm, wintered well, and thrifty so we will repeat fall hatching to raise our own replacement hens. I would like to selectively breed to improve this heritage chicken, but need to keep winter housing simple so I’m looking for unrelated roosters and maybe some local people interested in keeping a few Dominiques. Contact the farm for eggs and we can arrange delivery.
After loosing all our hives in the winter, we have restarted two hives. I will delay any hoped for honey harvesting until fall. Let me know if you want pints or quarts of honey and I will let you know when it is available.
I still make soap and have added lemongrass and lavender scents to our offerings. Our citrus-y farm soap is still my favorite. If you would like some soap or want to recommend a new scent, let me know.