Apple Creek Farm is made up of both leased and owned land located throughout Bowdoinham. The majority of the farming operations take place at the 135 acre “home farm” comprised of 35 acres of pasture, 10-15 acres in silvopasture or mixed use forest and the remainder in woods. We have also purchased an abutting 70 acre property they call “North Ridge” that is primarily woodlot and is grazed seasonally. Our pastures are quite spread out and so we rely primarily on good, hot fencing to ensure the animals stay safe. We also lease an off-farm field of 12 acres where we pasture our lambs along with goats and yearling beef cows during the growing season. This pasture is a ten-minute drive from the farm.
We raise diverse organic livestock. The farm has both breedstock and finishing groups of cows, sheep and goats and a variety of poultry including broilers, laying hens, geese and turkeys. Cows are predominantly Angus Hereford cross and include five brood cows. We keep a British white bull half the year that we share with another farm. Sheep breeds include North Country cheviot, Oxford, Dorset, and Romney crosses and the farm keeps about 35 breeding ewes. North American cashmere goats are raised for meat and fiber with a dozen breeding does producing more than 15 kids each year.
We have a variety of carnivores on the farm, the most frequent of which are coyotes, fox and owls.
We have three dogs on the farm including a guardian Maremma – Pyrennees cross, a border collie and terrier. Their presence is our primary approach to preventing coyote and fox attacks. All of the dogs were purchased as puppies except the terrier who was adopted at 6 months of age.
We also use geese to protect our broiler chickens and turkeys. We keep 2-3 geese along with a gander year round. The geese are primarily to prevent owl attacks and in the 2015 growing season, they proved themselves very effective. We had an owl that was taking a single broiler each night. After putting the geese into the pasture at dusk the attacks stopped. We used a similar approach with our turkeys as well as laying hens ensuring that our geese have a year-round job.
Our farm is fenced with a variety of different fencing types including high-tensile, page wire, poly wire and flexinet for pasture divisions. We purchase most of our poly wire and flexinet from Premier One out of Iowa. Our animals learn to respect all the different types of fence, but well maintained and hot high-tensile is important as our sheep do challenge it. We fence train all of our young stock to flexinet as this is what we use in pretty much every pasture. We introduce this type of fence at 10 days to 2 weeks of age and make sure it is very hot. Over time we have learned to correctly install these fences, making sure they are properly stretched, grounded and clear of debris.
Apple Creek Farm Bowdoinham, Maine
Abby Sadauckas & Jake Galle