Animals are an important and integrated part of vineyard life at Bellbird Spring. On Block Eight we have chickens, ducks, quail, (and seasonally graze sheep). On the Home Block we fatten Dexter beef for our own consumption. Raising these animals provides a personal connection with our land.
The sheep graze the vineyard once the nets are off, and again when the spring growth begins. They do an excellent job of tidying up the grass and weeds. This is no effort for us and also saves fuel use and the risk of soil compaction that we would otherwise face if using the tractor. As the sheep move about they also return valuable nutrients back to the vineyard in the form of their excrement. Similarly poultry kept in our orchard cycle nutrients that provide our family with fruit.
From a lifestyle point of view having animals at home is also important in ensuring that as a family we eat healthily and responsibly. Living rurally means we would otherwise have to travel some distance to purchase meat. We have the space to raise the animals so we do, thus ensuring we have quality, homegrown food for the table without having to venture to far from our back door.