We are located in South Carolina about an hour south of Greenville and an hour north of Augusta, Ga. Abbeville, SC is a classic small town full of history and charm and we are glad to call it home.
Melissa and I have four children. Our oldest is married and living in Greenwood and our younger three are still here at home with us. Noah is our youngest and he is in charge of taking care of the animals. Savannah is in charge of all of our vegetables. And me and Meredith work on the honeybees.
We have been living on this property for nearly 25 years but have only been attempting to farm it for about 10 years
We keep layers all the time and raise several batches of meat chickens throughout the warmer months. We keep layers for two or more years but meat chickens are ready to be processes at 7 weeks so they come and go fairly quickly. Our layers right now are an older flock of 30 mis-matched breeds and a new flock of Golden Comets.
Pigs have recently been added to our farm. We got our first one in a trade for a horse (the best deal I've ever made!) Since then we raise two or more at a time and sell some and eat some.
And then there are our cattle. We are currently reassessing our cattle program and looking at some different genetics for our herd. It takes almost two years to grow out a steer just on grass as we do but the taste of the meat is so much better that it is worth the wait. We also do not use any growth hormones or antibiotics on our cattle which is, of course, healthier but adds to the time it takes to get them to the proper size for processing.
We added sheep to our farm in 2013. They are Katahdin sheep which are raised for meat. They have hair instead of wool so no sheering is required. After many shenanigans we finally have sheep and sheep dogs in the fence living happily together. So now on to breeding. Hopefully we will have lambs soon.
Honey Bees are not animals but we have about 10 bee hives. This is another venture that takes time to get right. Much of that time is deciding what is "right" for the bees and you and how to manage them so that they stay healthy and produce the most honey without putting chemicals in the hive.
On our farm we maintain excellent Animal Welfare and raise clean natural vegetables. That means no hormones or antibiotics for our animals and no herbisides or pesticides for the plant life.
The Twenty-Eight Eleven
Matthew Durham © 2013