Home of free range happy animals

Just launched a kickstarter campaign to raise money to fund scientific research around the nutritional break down of fodder at various stages of growth for our book on Fodder. Please check it out!

Welcome to Friendly Pastures, an Elgin Texas based, family owned, pasture-raised, better than organic farm, and sustainable farming educator. We look forward to providing your family with wonderful farm fresh produce, grass fed meat, or breeding stock to get you started producing for yourself.

Currently available on the farm

We have several red wattle piglets on the ground. If you are interested in a piglet to feed out, a whole hog for slaughter, or a little girl or boy for breeding - let us know quickly! We have 100 broiler chickens that are ready for your freezer, barbecue, or stove, December 7th. Contact us now.

Interested in butchering your own animals? We certainly are. And while researching the topic (more to come on that) we stumbled across these great old school style butchering techniques! Take a look at them on our butchering page.

Recent stories from the farm

We have lots of plans for our farm.  Big green house.  Pump on the well.  Tall high volume water tower.  Then a sprinkler system out to the fields with the critters so that we can irrigate.  But once all that is done we want to surround the fence line with various fruit and nut trees.  Partially so that we can have these wonderful things in our diet and to sell at the farmers market.  But also so that the dropping can feed the critters that graze under the trees.  Watching youtube and then searching about for texas information and apples I found this great post.  Figured I would keep it here for later.
We have 20 red wattle feeders at a reduced rate ($150) that are available to head over to your property today.  They are 3 months old.  These guys are easy to raise and depending on how you feed them convert well.  If you are following a traditional feeding regimen you can expect a 3:1 feed conversion.  We have found that feeding them out on pasture as their primary feed source means a much slower conversion (longer growth time).
As some of you may already know I recently started a kickstarter campaign and was successfully funded (read more about the campaign)!  My campaign was to raise money for a research project I needed to have someone a scientific lab do as part of the Fodder book I am writing.  Once the campaign was funded and the money was collected I immediately ordered a bunch of different seeds.  Some of the common seeds.  And some not so common.  The whole point of my research is to build up a nutrition profile for each seed type so that we can formulate a proper diet based mostly on fodder by mixing and matching seeds for a given type of animal.   Well the seeds showed up so I built the counter top fodder system and started the sprouting process!
I am very happy to report that the seeds for the research in my fodder book have been ordered.  I ordered a large variety of various seeds.  I of course got the regular common seeds.  And I got a few other interesting seeds.  With any luck these will get here soon and I can start growing the samples straight away in the small home system I have planned for the book (a kitchen sink style system).
You are probably first wondering what kickstarter is.  And secondly, why would I do it again, whatever it is.  Kickstarter is there to help all sorts of people with great ideas share their passions with the masses in the hopes that you can crowd fund what it is you are trying to do.  In our case, I decided to write a book about fodder.  How to build a system for growing fodder.  The metrics involved in growing fodder.  The different types of fodder to be grown.  How to maintain the system.  How to scale the system as you take on more animals.  And most importantly how to formulate the proper diet for your animals with fodder.  In my case, I am doing the research for my farm.  So it made sense to put those findings into book form and share it with the world.  But as it pertains to the hard science on this topic - I was curious if others would share in the cost to determine the nutritional breakdown of the various components to fodder.  A task I planned to outsource to the local college Texas A&M.  I received 31 backers and $1,150 in 30 days.
While we have not yet taken on the challenge of maintaining a dairy animal on our farm just yet, we did have a chance to help a neighboring farmer build a stanchion this weekend.  A stanchion is basically a clean and safe place to milk your animal.  It keeps the animal in a controlled environment where they won’t feel terribly stressed (which impacts the milk that is delivered).  It is semi confined to keep the animal from moving about too much.  And it takes them up off the dirty ground which helps control the quality of the milk that is collected in that it helps keep dust from being kicked up during the milking process. 
Not too long ago we built a fodder system for one of our neighbors.  We built it in the same manner that we built our first MVP fodder system.  But it was built as any version two product is - based on the learning's from the first system.  Since then the system has had some further improvements applied to it.  Specifically it was ported from a sump based system to a fresh water system.  It is now fully automated short of filling the trays with seeds.
We recently had the opportunity to be a part of processing the first pig from our farm.  This in and of itself was exciting.  But getting the opportunity to taste some Red Wattle was what we were really looking forward too.  Up to this point we have had faith that the meat will taste better than corporate pork.  We did lots of research prior to buying into this breed.  And Red Wattle shows up at the top of every list put out by top chefs all over.  But now we can answer the question “what does it taste like” with confidence.  It is awesome!
We have had one freeze after another here in Texas.  As well as a series of rains.  This has forced us to keep our fairly new born piglets up at the barn to do everything in our power to keep them alive through the nasty weather of late.  Unfortunately this is bad for a couple of reasons.  1) There is nothing friendly about keeping critters in the barn and not on pasture.  2) The barn is now destroyed with mud soup all over the place.  Time to haul the mamas and their babies out to the paddocks.
If you have been following us in our journey as fledgling pig farmers you would know that we started by reaching out to our friends for investments to purchase our first breeding pigs.  With that money and our own we purchased a boar and two sows.  We then also inherited a friends boar and three more sows.  This quickly brought our sounder up to 7 breeding animals.  As soon as the pigs were of age they got right too it and started breeding like rabbits (oddly enough none of our rabbits have made babies yet!!!).  Out of the first batch of piglets, each of our investors was too receive a full size pig (2-300lbs) that they could take to a butcher to be processed as payment for their initial funding.  We also had some friends purchase a baby to be raised out on their property.  This pig great much faster than our other piglets.  And so…it went to processing first!

Friendly Pastures is a first generation family run farm in Elgin Texas (just east of Austin). Everyone from my youngest daughter to the wife and I help with the daily duties in taking care of our facilities, animals, and plants. In this photo Drake and McKayla are helping to run wire for a new electrified fence on one of our permanent pig paddocks.

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