What better way to be sustainable then to use draft animals. We are in the process of training some oxen. Oxen were used well before horses, are more docile and can pull more.
Until about 1850 Oxen were the main source of power on farms around the World. At that time horses were starting to be used. Oxen are still used in parts of North America including South Western Nova Scotia. Oxen are used more worldwide than any other draft animal including horses.
Oxen have many advantages over horses and tractors. They are calm and docile, cheaper than both a horse and tractor, and can start working at any age. Oxen can stand idle for relatively long periods, and can be trained to do almost anything a horse can do.
Oxen do of course have their disadvantages, which include a slower pace.
Oxen are normally worked in pairs.
We will be using Holstein as our oxen. With the amount of dairy farms on the Island it made finding some calves to train a lot easier. A Holstein is a larger breed but can dominate in pulling.
With using the tractor as little as needed and using the draft animals it helps Olde MacKenzie Farm to reduce our carbon footprint, and growing even healthier vegetables that are not exposed to emissions. Using the draft animals can be a lot of fun as well.
Draft animals may also be used on the fields earlier in the year when it is still too wet for equipment, and do not compress the earth like equipment would either.
Our first Oxen is Jack. We are still waiting on our second one to arrive. Feel free to say “hi” to them if you seem them out. They may be relaxing out in pasture, or hard at work/in training. They each have their own personalities and are rewarding to work with.