Our primary goal at JNP Ranch is to provide the SE Denver metro area and surrounding communities with a quality, natural product while treating our animals with humanity and dignity. We believe as the stewards of our animals, we have a responsibility to maintain happy, healthy livestock. We do not believe in large-scale “factory farming” or in using hormones, growth additives, or antibiotics.
After many years of research and experience, our quest to bring natural products to our customers has led us to raise heritage breed livestock. We have plans to implement a rotational grazing model and currently supplement with high quality, Colorado-grown, roasted grains. Often times, our animals can be seen in the pasture–sheep, pigs, and chickens–grazing alongside each other.
Heritage breeds are pure breeds with unique genetics that have a long history in the United States. There is not a standard definition for “heritage breed,” however, most heritage breeds are also endangered breeds and appear on the American Livestock Breed Conservancy’s watch list.
What is rotational grazing?
Rotational grazing is a managed grazing system in which pasture is divided into sections or paddocks. Each species of livestock has a “turn” to forage and graze on the paddock before moving onto the next paddock. For example, we will first graze our herd of sheep on the paddock. Then, the sheep will move to the next paddock and the pigs will move to the paddock vacated by the sheep. After the pigs, the chickens are grazed on the paddock while the sheep and pigs move on to other paddocks.
There are many benefits to rotational grazing. Because the pasture is grazed in paddocks, the areas not being actively grazed are allowed to “rest” and recover after the animals forage. Each species of animal prefers different vegetation, and each species has a different “job” on the pasture. The sheep will eat the weeds (and help with eradicating the weeds). The hogs turn the soil and aerate the pasture, and the chickens eat the bugs and grubs and fertilize the soil. The result is a healthier pasture with fewer weeds and pests, natural grasses with a deeper root system, and a more nutrient rich soil.
The animals also benefit. The younger healthier grasses are more succulent and more nutrient rich, the animals have the benefit of sunshine, fresh air, and space, and rotational grazing is an excellent means of eradicating and preventing disease.