The Organic Farm
The organic cattle and pig farm
In Danco’s family, livestock farming has been handed from one generation to the next over decades. In recent years his farms have become 100% organic, with a focus on quality rather than quantity. In summer, the cows are put out to pasture; when winter comes they are kept in the shed, along with the pigs.
Danco’s farm sits on some 60 hectares of land, so the animals get to spend a lot of time outdoors.
And in 2013 Danco decided that he would let all of the animals move freely around their enclosures, rather than keep them tied up in a shed.
That’s how Danco began getting more into an organic approach to both crops and livestock farming, given his deep-felt respect for nature and his awareness that mankind does not own nature; he knows that trying to change nature is never a good thing and that trying to listen to it and follow its lead is best for everyone.
In the old days, calves would be kept shut up in a pen with a bit of straw, to keep them warm even in the winter. However, Danco observed what happened in nature, and he realised that calves are born – and remain – in the open air. So now, when a calf is born it is placed in a special outdoor pen, making sure that its tail is fully dry, otherwise it could freeze. By doing so, Danco and his family have noticed that the animals are far less prone to lung inflammations, and are therefore far healthier than before.
Danco’s family has always given each and every animal on the farm a name – not just their pets, but their horses and cows too.
With pigs it’s not quite the same; they aren’t individually named because there are more than a hundred of them on the farm, and it would get rather complicated! That said, Danco also has the utmost respect for pigs and considers them extremely intelligent animals: a pig can be taught up to 220 commands, which is remarkable considering that a dog can learn up to 120.
On Danco’s organic farm, the pigs can choose whether to be indoors or out, as they can open the door themselves. Contrary to common belief pigs are very clean animals; they only defecate outside, whereas they eat or sleep inside.
The organic approach used on Danco’s farm speaks for itself: it’s easy to see that his cows live longer and seem more contented. The cattle are not treated with antibiotics unless they are prescribed by the vet in extreme cases, whereas the pigs cannot be given antibiotics at any time.
“Animals must be treated with respect. I felt uneasy leaving them tied up so I’m happy to have changed my system”.