Goat Rescue Pushes Oxford County Couple to Open Good Nature Eco Farm
Jon and Vicki Siebring had a dream of owning their own farm, and something that happened in 2017 only sped up the process of creating Good Nature Eco Farm located just outside of Thamesford in Zorra Township.
Jon, who grew up on a farm in Perth County, came across an unhealthy baby goat and brought him home to Vicki. “It could barely stand and was blind in one eye, but we were able to nurse it back to health. There were times when we thought he might not make it, but he did, and we decided to name him Willy,” she said. Willy and the couple’s dog became close friends, but the goat eventually became too big for the house. “We were living in Dorchester at the time so couldn’t keep him outside and he eventually wound up at a friend’s goat farm. Once we purchased the land, we brought him back,” added Vicki.
The pair purchased the 23-acre farm in 2019 with the goal of supplying themselves and others with healthy food. “We wanted to grow our own food by having a large vegetable garden and the ability to grow our own meat. If we could share our abundance with our community, that would be even better.”
The term ‘eco farm’ is not in itself a certification like organic, but it is a commitment to good food and healthy farming. “It’s more to show we are committed to growing healthy food and using traditional methods of farming. We are creating the best possible environment for our animals,” said Vicki. Two such farmers have been a great inspiration to the couple, Justin Rhodes and Joel Salatin, both being well-known YouTube celebrities. “They use a chicken style tractor and the pasture raise system. When they started their farms, the land was not good but using rotational grazing their land, and as a result their pasture, came back better than ever. This type of farming is a lot of work because animals must be moved daily. You need a lot of pasture to be able to raise animals and with the rotational grazing, we are moving them to a new pasture every few days. We let the pasture rest and the chickens come back in about 60 days,” she added.
The pair have about 70 free-range layer hens right now and have about five dozen eggs for sale every day. Vicki said one of the biggest differences is you can really see the distinction in the yolk. “I don’t know how many people have told me how orange the yolk is. You can see the chickens have been eating bugs and grass and the nutritional value is much better.” The farm also boasts about 250 baby chicks who will be ready for harvesting in early July with two other batches of 250 ready in August and October. “Just like the laying hens, they are fed a non-GMO feed and have access to all the bugs, worms and green pasture their hearts desire,” said Vicki. The birds range from 4 to 6 pounds, but people are also able to select pieces.
What is next for their operation? Three pigs are coming soon which will eventually be harvested and sold and cows will also be coming soon. Both Jon and Vicki work full-time outside of the farm, at least for now. Vicki is at Victoria Hospital in London as a decision supports analyst for their cancer program while Jon has started a landscape and lawn care business called ‘Good Lookin’ Lawn Care’. The couple is also expecting their first child in November.
When no lockdowns are in effect the farm is open to the public and Vicki encourages people to visit and see just how unique an operation they have. For more information go to www.goodnatureecofarm.ca.