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Farm Journal: Farm Animals of Los Poblanos

old black and white photo of cow

Our mission is to preserve the historic Los Poblanos Ranch by cultivating a dynamic business dedicated to sustainable agriculture, hospitality, historic preservation and community. As such, we perpetuate the agricultural history by maintaining an active organic farm. And what would a working farm be without animals? The presence of animals on our farm adds a lovely element of surprise and delight to anyone who comes across them, and they are a nod to the long agricultural history of the property. From the original Indigenous farmers who likely had animals to help support their needs long ago, to the Simms family's model experimental farm of the 1930s and 1940s, there's no doubt animals have been an integral part of Los Poblanos agricultural history.

photo set of farmer Wes and alpacas

Today, each of our farm animals have a place and purpose; from the comical and raucous audacity of our lavender guinea fowl flock as they dart noisily through the fields, and the cheerful crowing of our roosters and soft clucking of our hens, to the gentle calmness of the alpacas and Churro sheep. Churro sheep arrived in this area hundreds of years ago and quickly became a way of life for desert peoples. Our Churros represent that history, and the history of the farmers that followed, including the Simms and Rembe families who both raised Churro sheep on this property.

Not just because they are absolutely adorable, alpacas were introduced as potential weed eaters who won't eat lavender. The gentle grazing and light soil disturbance these animals bring help improve soil tilth and porosity, and the droppings add nutrients to the soil. The sheep and alpacas are a source of wool which is saved to be cleaned, carded and spun into yarn. And the bedding and manure are collected from their pen as important ingredients of our composting practice.

photo set of hens and ducks

Bedding materials and manure are also gathered from the henhouse, home to the chickens and guineas, for compost. The birds serve as a natural form of pest control, as they eat insects that might harm herbs and vegetables and snack on weed seeds and seedlings. Their scratching and droppings help to build the soil. The beautiful tan, brown, green and blue eggs are shared with our Los Poblanos family.

Los Poblanos is delighted to be registered as a Certified Wildlife Habitat through the Friends of the Valle de Oro Urban Wildlife Refuge in the South Valley. Currently, we have migrating Canada geese stopping by. Several pairs have selected our farm to stay the winter, and they will likely rear goslings come spring. We enjoy watching the goose families raise their fluffy goslings through their gawky stage until their wings fully feather and they join their parents in the eternal ritual of migration.

Several family groups of Sandhill cranes also call our fields home for the winter, poking through the fields and warming their feet in the steaming compost piles while searching for tidbits. As a haven for resident wildlife, as well as migratory species, all animals play an important role in the health of our organic farm.

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Filed Under: Farm Life