CRITTON CREEK FARM


 

Critton Creek Farm (CCF) raises and sells hardy pureblood Spanish goats and dual-purpose Irish Dexter low line cattle. Our herds rotate through rolling pasture and woodland in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains, 30 miles southwest of Berkeley Springs, West Virginia. The goats and cattle feed on a mix of native grasses, legumes, vines, and briars, with hay and grain provided as needed through the winter.

Our primary mission is to support heritage breeds, raising them in an environment as natural and sustainable as possible. Through our breeding program, we aim to produce hardy animals with distinctive breed characteristics who promise to be good mothers or productive sires.

With our Spanish goat herd, we breed composites, blended from Valera, Smoke Ridge, and Weinheimer strains. Our kidding season started in early April this year (2015). If you are interested in purchasing kids, please contact us. Check out the page describing our Spanish goats to learn more about our herd and the photo page to see some of our favorites.

Historically, Dexter cows have been bred for both milk and beef. As small cows that are smart and easy to handle, Dexters fit well into family farms with limited acreage. Our breeding program aims to promote strong mothering and healthy calving. For example, we emphasize unassisted births in pasture or open barns. Check out the page describing our Dexter cows to learn more about our herd and the photo page to see some of its members.

Looking Back, and Ahead

CCF began operations in 2009 with the goal of building a distinctive herd of high-quality Spanish and Savanna pureblood goats who could rotate sustainably through our pastures and be managed selectively using on-farm productivity testing. Beginning in 2011, we focused on developing a strong Spanish composite goat by strategically mixing three strains (Valera, Smoke Ridge, and Weinheimer). The resulting kid crops have demonstrated the benefits of hybrid vigor: Our Spanish newborns consistently exceed our expectations in size, hardiness, and coloration.

In 2014, we made three major changes to our farming operation. First, we decided to sell our herd of Spanish-Savanna crosses to focus solely on heritage breeds. Second, we purchased our first Irish Dexters, a heritage breed. Third, we clear cut sections of our forest to develop new areas for native grasses, browse, and briars, through which we will rotate our goats, cows, horses, and (eventually) hogs. Our goal is twofold: to provide a naturally diversified food source for our livestock and to reap the ecological benefits of rotating multiple species through multiple environments.

In 2015, we will continue to breed and sell pureblood Spanish goats, expand our Dexter herd, and bring two Tamworth sows to our farm. In 2016, we expect to have for sale a new crop of Spanish kids, several registered Dexter calves, and registered Tamworths. If you are interested in any of these wonderful heritage animals, please check this home page later this year, or contact us by telephone (304-947-5229) or email (pireys@earthlink.net).

Photos © 2010-2015. Priscilla Ireys, Henry Ireys or Joe Razes.

 

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Priscilla and Henry Ireys    Critton Creek Farm    319 Critton Creek Trail    Paw Paw, West Virginia 25434

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