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Wind Dancer Ranch
City: Capay Valley, CA,
Email Address: purchasing@thefarmersmarketplace.com
About Us
Our farm grew from a desire to raise happy and healthy animals for ourselves in order to continue being able to eat meat and not condone the horrible treatment of factory farm raised animals. Our animals are raised with respect and care for their mental as well as physical health. They are totally free range or in large pastures where they can do what comes naturally. They live with others of their kind and have busy social lives. Mothers raise their babies and social groups are maintained when animals need to be segregated.

Heritage livestock breeds are the type of livestock bred on farms before industrial agriculture started putting animals in CAFOs. Heritage breeds were localized and bred to develop traits that fit their specific environment. They exhibit desirable traits in smaller sustainable farms such as grazing and foraging on the local plants, ease of breeding and birthing, mothering instinct, and disease and parasite resistance. Some breeds were developed for cold climates while others were developed for hot climates. Matching an animal's bred-in nature to the environment begets a happier and healthier animal. And a lot less work, stress and cost for a farmer.
Each species evolved to eat a certain type of food and are happiest and healthiest eating that food. Animals should never be forced to eat contrived mixtures that contain ingredients their bodies were not intended to digest. A natural diet includes a lot of grass and legumes, grains for some non-ruminent species (like pigs and poultry), and no GMOs. It means no subtherapeutic anti-biotics and no growth hormones.

When we decided to get sheep we wanted a heritage breed that was well adapted to our climate here in Northern California - cool, wet and green winters and very hot, dry and brown summers. We also wanted a sheep that could be milked so we could make Manchego cheese! Investigation led us to Spanish livestock and poultry breeds because they were developed in a climate similar to ours. From there we found the Navajo-Churro which had been further adapted to have traits we find highly desirable - excellent mothering instincts, easy lambing, great self preservation skills and an ability to survive on a variety of forage. Plus they are beautiful and can be quite personable!
Practices
As stewards of the land we should leave it in better condition than we found it. Balance, not optimization, is the goal. We work with the natural biological systems of our unique climate and environment.

Our land provides a major component of our animal's diets. In some cases it is the vast majority of their diet and as such the care of our land and the grasses and crops grown on it are vitally important. We do not use chemicals of any type on our land - no pesticides, no herbicides and no chemical fertilizers. Our animals provide all the bug and weed control we need and pay the land back with their manure.

Animals deserve our devoted care, kindness and appreciation. They should experience a happy life. Even that "one bad day" should be free from fear and pain.

We believe in local fiber, local dyes and local labor and are a Fibershed Certified producer.