Formerly,Bar None Ranch, of Berlin, NY, we are now Climbing Tree Farm, of New Lebanon. We raise PASTURED POULTRY, LAMB, GRASS-FED BEEF, and WOODLAND/PASTURE-RAISED, MILK-FED PORK. We keep our animals true to their instincts- letting our pigs dig, our chickens range, our sheep graze. We feed rotationally graze on pasture and silvo-pasture (in the woods). We work with a local dairy to feed our pigs Jersey milk. We are conscientious stewards of the land, and our animals.

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Thursday, May 1, 2014

Meremma on the Job

We welcome Kapugen to our farm!

Kapugen is a four month old Maremma livestock guardian dog. The breed originates from Italy, and, unlike many working breeds, has not been mainstreamed as a pet. Kapugen will be kept as a working dog. He was born on a working farm to working parents. Kapugen and his litter mates were born in a barn in December. They have never been inside a human house, but instead snuggled up with the pigs while their parents were working.  He will feel right at home at our place with plenty of pigs to visit with. At our farm Kapugen's main task will be guarding poultry (chickens, geese and turkeys) from predators. We have a particular problem with aerial predators, like hawks, on our farm. The year before last we consistently lost a bird or two per day to predation. Last year we reduced that by adding a flock of geese, but we raise geese for meat, so they come and go as youngsters. We're hoping our new dog learns to look up into the sky! Kapugen was introduced to the young meat chickens this week, and has been on the job ever since. We were expecting a rambunctious, rascally puppy, but Kapugen takes his job seriously. He mostly sits and watches the birds and every once in a while gets up to circle the birds to make sure all is well. At four months old he has chased the birds exactly once. When corrected he stopped and hasn't done it again. I wish our children were so easy to teach!
Kapugen got his name from a character in the children's book Julie of the Wolves, by Jean Craighead George. Our family read the book aloud this winter and loved it. It is about an Inuit girl, Julie, who gets lost on the Alaskan tundra, and assimilates into a wolf pack to survive. In the book Kapugen is the main character's father. He combines old and new ways of living to help his people survive. Our farming methods are very much a mix of new and old techniques, and animal husbandry. Julie names the wolf pup, who eventually saves her life, Kapu, after her father. Our little Kapugen will be a "lifesaver" for the poultry. It is important for Maremmas to bond with their charges, and having a dog become part of the chicken flock reminded us of how the wolves bonded across species with Julie.
Kapugen is shy with people. He will grow to be a great, big, fluffy dog, and while we are hoping
 he does a good job deterring predators, another part of hos job description is being petted a LOT by kids-
 our own and visitors to the farm.


New chicken sunshades- free materials, easy to move, and fun to climb on!


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