The Dickinson College Farm raises three types of livestock: beef cattle, sheep, and laying hens. We are proud to provide high quality, humanely raised, and sustainable grass-fed meat and eggs to our community.
Our efforts to provide the highest quality of life to our livestock have been recognized by A Greener World certifications. Our cattle, sheep, and chickens are certified Animal Welfare Approved and our cattle and sheep are certified Grass-Fed, meaning that they do not consume any grain in their lifetime.
Our cattle are a mix of purebred Black Angus and Angus-Hereford Crosses. Both breeds do well on pasture with no supplemental grain, hormones, or medications. We have ten breeding cows (female cattle) and raise a fresh group of calves every year.
Our cattle are raised for beef production. Calves are born on pasture and are raised two to three years before they become beef or join the breeding herd. Currently we have 24 beef animals on the farm.
The cattle are outside on pasture from April to November. In winter we feed them hay in a sheltered area or let them exercise on a winter pasture when the conditions permit. Winter manure is collected and composted for use in the organic vegetable farming operation.
Our sheep are a cross between Dorsets, Leicester Longwool, Cheviots, and East Fresians. These wool sheep are easy to raise and size up well on pasture with no supplemental grain. Lambs are born from March through May.
Our sheep are raised for both wool products and meat. Male lambs are harvested for meat at 6 to 12 months of age. Females may be used for meat or as replacement ewes to build the herd. We have recently begun using mature sheep for mutton products (sausage, cubes, chops, and roasts). Our sheep are shorn at the beginning of the summer and their wool is used to make yarn, angel ornaments, dryer balls, and other value-added products.
The farm’s sheep herd is naturally parasite resistant requiring very little use of deworming products. We also practice integrated parasite management (rotational grazing and regular health screenings) to keep the flock healthy naturally.
Health and Welfare
Raising our own cattle and sheep from breeding animals who stay on the farm for numerous years allows us to form human-dog-livestock relationships with the herds. Our oldest beef cows have been on the farm since 2012 and our oldest ewes since 2013. Many of the students and Apprentices know particular animals by markings and numbers, and form friendly bonds with our long-term breeding ewes and cows. Our low stress, respectful livestock management system keeps the animals healthy, safe and cooperative.
We practice rotational grazing, which means that animals are moved to fresh pasture almost every day. This keeps them happy and well fed, distributes manure naturally, and builds the health of the soil in pastures and resting vegetable fields.
Our livestock are observed every day by students and farm staff in order to catch any health problems early. We care for our animals under the guidance of Dr. Ben Rhodes of Burnt Mill Veterinary Services. Medications are used only for sick or injured animals to bring them back to health. No subtheraputic antibiotics or growth hormones are ever used. Our focus is on prevention of health problems by maintaining healthy, low stress living conditions whenever possible.
Beef and Lamb
All meats sold by the farm are custom butchered from College Farm animals at Warrington Farm Meats in Dillsburg, PA. This butcher is USDA-certified for quality and safety and Animal Welfare Approved for humane handling.
After butchering, meat is dry-aged and then vacuum sealed and frozen. We aim for good marbling of steaks. The fat of grass-fed animals has a pleasant flavor in both beef and lamb.
We believe that raising our cattle and sheep in a low stress, natural pasture based system results in better tasting, tender meats. Why not test it for yourself? All meat products sold are 100% satisfaction guaranteed – if you are not completely satisfied with your order we will refund or replace it at your request.