(This article was published in the January 2014 issue of TrevEchoes - written by Logan Newkirk.)
Goats and pigs are the newest residents of the Trevecca Urban Farm.
The farm, a teaching lab for the J.V. Morsch Center for Social Justice, now has six goats, five pigs, two dogs and 20 chickens according to Jason Adkins, environmental project coordinator.
The animals came from Falling Star Farm, a local sustainable farm that focuses on rare breed preservation.
The goats are Tennessee miniature fainting goats that can be milked, but “their milk is not as high of quality as goats that are bred to be milked,” Adkins said.
Adkins plans to trade one of the male buck goats that the urban farm currently has for a dairy buck goat in order to breed more dairy goats that can be milked.
Adkins said that anyone who wishes to go see the animals may do so through the fence. Those that work with the animals do not want others to go through the fence to the animals for a few reasons, mainly to keep the animals from getting too stressed.
“Stressed animals leads to sick animals,” Adkins said.
The pigs are Juliana pigs, which are used mostly as pets, Adkins said.
“They are good for clearing garden beds as well as great composters. However, they are not used for meat.”
The farm also obtained a “surprise pig” that turned up January 24.
“We showed up Friday and it was just here,” Adkins said. “New animals can sometimes carry disease that the others are not used to.”
Due to this, the surprise addition has been set apart from the rest of the animals.
The two dogs that are new to the farm are both Great Pyrenees.
“They’re bred to protect the animals,” David Caldwell, vice president for finance and administration said.
They do just that.
One of the dogs constantly scans the skies, mostly for hawks, to protect the chickens, goats and pigs, Caldwell said. The other dog watches the ground for anything that could come around.
Last year the farm lost six to 12 chickens to hawks or neighborhood dogs. The Great Pyrenees should help keep that number down.
The final newcomers to the livestock are the new chickens.
“These are all unique breeds, including the chickens” which are referred to as “Rockstar Chickens,” Caldwell says.
Trevecca’s Urban Farm is increasingly working with high school and middle school age children mainly to teach them.
Adkins welcomed any who wished to volunteer with the animals. Adkins and others work on the farm from morning to lunch five days a week and would accept students who want to see the animals.
“The animals will be as social as we let them,” Adkins said. “Chickens rest on peoples’ shoulders, pigs fist bump with their snouts and goats let people carry them.”
Adkins and his team of students and workers are using their knowledge to serve the church internationally as well.
“The Nazarene Church has asked us to do some work teaching, or agriculture advising, around the world,” Adkins said.