Upon arriving at Tallwood, my husband and I soon realized that the property, originally a horse farm, would be, not only the ideal place to raise our three young boys, but also perfectly suited to the sweet menagerie of farm pets that now call the grounds and small stable home. Each serves a unique purpose in “keeping Tallwood,” and it has been quite gratifying to observe our boys come into the understanding that the Lord has given both people and animals fulfilling work on this earth to do.
"Let's Start at the very BE-Ginn-ING"
We first brought French Guinea hens to Tallwood because of their appetite for ticks. The property had been neglected and was overrun with these pests, and Lyme disease was a true concern. It is estimated that French Guinea hens eat upwards of 4,000-5,000 ticks a day — Now that’s my kind of natural pest control. I should also note, while we’re on the subject, that we LOVE our French Guinea hens, contrary to what the internet predicted, lol.
Next, I was inspired by Brooke Giannetti of Velvet & Linen to consider the beautiful Pekin duck. Ducks are known generally for their high rising eggs (known as “cake eggs” in Europe), which are the very best for baking; what’s more, they do not eat gardens like chickens, AND we happened to have a lovely pond which we hoped would serve as the perfect habitat.
Other farm pets soon followed: kittens to help with the mice; additional pups to help with security, (and to be our boys’ best friends); goats to help clear the woods; rabbits to, well…be adorable and eat our discarded vegetables? Lol.
why not horses?
It’s a bit of a sad story, but, as a girl growing up in Virginia’s horse country, several serious accidents occurred within the community, not the least of which was Christopher Reeve’s accident in Culpepper, after which my parents decided that riding would be a definite no for their children. So, we admire, but from a distance, and I say, alongside Lady Catherine de Bourgh of Pride and Prejudice, “If I had ever learnt, I should have been a great proficient.” Lol!!!
No regrets, only gratitude for the joy we have found in our sweet (albeit smaller) farm pets these few short years and looking forward to future additions to our sweet menagerie!!!