Livestock Farming by
Carol Ekarius contains some handy tidbits, but I don't really recommend
the book for backyard hobbyists. While Ekarius takes a holistic
approach, she focuses more page-space on making a living than on
understanding the pasture ecosystem, so you'll have to do a lot of
skimming to find the gems.
I was also turned off by
the way the book was written at a sixth-grade level. Not only are
the sentences short and choppy, the whole thing reads like a textbook,
rather than like an inspiring and excited rendition of the author's own
experience. In addition, Ekarius includes a lot of basic
information, and some of it's just plain wrong. For example: "The
beneficial bacteria are known as saprophytes, and include bacteria that
regularly live in the digestive tract." Um, no. Saprophytes
are fungi that live on decomposing organic matter; that's not a general
term for beneficial bacteria.
On the other hand, if
you want to start up a farming business raising pastured cows for meat,
this book will probably come in handy. I could also see it being
useful for high-school-agriculture classes or clubs. And the
top-notch tables will keep Small-Scale
on my shelf for a while, so all is not lost. Stay tuned for the
eye-openers I teased out of the book in later posts.
Our chicken waterer is perfect for pastured
operations since it never spills on uneven terrain or fills with mud.
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