What do elk eat?
Primarily grass. Between the pasture and fields of the Velvet Pastures Elk Ranch, we are virtually self-sufficient in feed. We minimize grain feeding (it's expensive and not really what a ruminant should be eating). As you look out on the farm, what you see is what they eat, and most of that is grass.
Where do you get your feed?
We are fairly self-sufficient in terms of feed. Our fenced 20 acres of pasture produces all the grass necessary for the animals during the growing season. We maintain the land, mowing, adding wood ash, lime, and fertilizer during the year as conditions demand. Animals are rotationally grazed from pasture to pasture to minimize over-grazing and damage to the soils.
The remaining open land on the farm (another 22 or 23 acres) generally yields two crops of hay per year. The hay is round baled (but not wrapped with plastic) and stored under tarps for winter use. This land, too, is limed, wood ashed and fertilized. From time to time, open land on the farm (both within and outside of the fence) is disked or plowed and reseeded to improve the grass and clover crop in response to damage caused by insect infestation or other problems.
Where do you get your water?
Water on the farm is provided either via Chesley Brook which flows though one of the fenced areas or by groundwater sources. Currently our domestic well is being used to provide water to the near fenced pastures for the animals, but at some point in the future we will probably drill a dedicated farm well.