We’re thinking that a You-Pick/You-cut operation might be a way to market the output from the farm. Our decisions are, therefore, influenced by the possibility of the public coming onto the property. That aspect of the decision making process manifests itself as considerations of “cute” and “friendly”. Friendly is especially important when it comes to the choice of guard dogs (see below).
At this point we are driven by the need to protect the orchard from the bears and the Christmas trees form the elk and deer. We’ve considered fencing — both conventional and electric and decided that we do not want to recreate the movie set for Stalag 13. Livestock Guard Dogs seem the way to go. We can run some kind of livestock amongst the trees and get the dogs to guard the livestock (and the trees as an added bonus).
Ducks in the Orchard, Sheep in the Christmas trees, and two Livestock Guard Dogs.
Indian Runner Ducks because they look cute and are good egg producers. Penciled Indian Runner Ducks are the most interesting in terms of coloration. Emery Penciled Indian Runner Ducks have the additional characteristic of laying blue eggs. We still have to decide if we want to try to market blue duck eggs. Hmmmm.
Shetland sheep are small and hardy, being one of the more primitive breeds of sheep.
Of all the Livestock Guard Dogs, Maremmas seem to be the most tolerant of strangers.
We’ll be refining our decisions over the next couple of months.