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Frequently Asked Questions

About our farm, animals, meat & more

Animal Care at Lilac Hedge Farm

With Regard to Animal Nutrition:

Our Ruminants: (Our Cows & Sheep)

We're proud to share that our ruminants are grass-fed for nearly their entire lives.  The bulk of their nutrition is based on their pasture-grazing during the warmer months and from dry hay bales and haylage throughout the cold months.  We are proud to grow our own feed on untreated pastures, with the exception of our own manure for fertilization as well as local hay bales we purchase to ensure we have enough forage nutrition for our animals all year-round. 

Our pasture management utilizes a regenerative approach in collaboration with the Natural Resource Conservation Service to ensure we are enhancing the land as well as both water and air quality.  Our grazing program is designed to support the humane, happy, and healthy treatment of our animals for the entirety of their lives. 

We are a cow-calf farm (where babies are born on the farm and live with their mothers) and the nutrition profiles of some of our animals are different from others. During specific stages of life including pregnancy, nursing, and during cold New England weather conditions, we make sure our animals have adequate nutrition. This is connected specifically to protein and overall calories to sustain their body's needs during transitional times. We are proud to partner with a local brewery to pick up their spent grain to supplement our animal's nutrition along with our dry hay, haylage (chopped fermented grasses), and silage (chopped fermented corn stalks) for feed. This is much different than a “grain finish” that some farmers choose for their herds; that is not a standard practice at our pasture-based grass-centered farm. Being able to feed our cattle and sheep locally spent brewer’s grain aids in the mitigation of local feed waste is a win/win for both us and the breweries.

Because we do not grain finish our animals, you'll find it to be less fatty than beef that is provided grain in the higher ration in their final months. However, thanks to our selective breeding and fine attention to genetics, we are very proud of the marbling that our beef contains.

Our other animals: (Poultry & Hogs) 

Our poultry and hogs (non-ruminants that cannot sustain a healthy diet on grasses) are fed free choice grains that we purchase locally grown and milled from all around New England.  

The grain mix changes between life stages and animal types depending on recommendations from our farm nutritionists.  Frequent animal assessments help us adjust feed mixes and portions with the appropriate levels of proteins and nutrients necessary.  

With our carbon footprint at the forefront of the majority of our decisions, we purchase feed that is as local as possible.  The less feed trucked from miles away means less effect on the environment.  Grain mixes change seasonally and can have everything from sorghum and oats to barley, corn, soybeans, and wheat, etc. 

We do not purchase certified organic grain for these animals so it is possible that along with naturally grown grains there would be genetically modified portions in the ration as well.  There is not a large enough supply of locally-grown certified organic grain available to deliver in bulk to our area, so that isn't an option for us to fill our feed bins.  While we do understand some folks are concerned with genetically engineered crops; we have decided that the distance that the feed travels (carbon footprint) supersedes the organic certification for our animals' nutrition.  We are confident the feed we provide our animals is safe and nutritious. 

With Regard to Animal Care & Processing:

Do you give your animals antibiotics or vaccines?

Our careful production practices eliminate the need for preventative doses of antibiotic medications (called sub therapeutic, a daily low-level dose) that are used in other production methods.

However, we believe that animals deserve responsible care and in cases to prevent animals from death or suffering we do allow the use of therapeutic (spot treatment) medications. For example, if a mother cow is suffering with mastitis and is struggling to feed her calf, we will vaccinate to ease the pain and return her nursing capabilities to normal. In such cases all medications are precisely administered and the prescribed withdrawal period is adhered to before the animal is ever harvested. We believe in ethical treatment of our livestock and this exception is the most responsible and practical way to care for our animals.  

We do not administer the mRNA vaccine to our animals and are very particular with the vaccines that we utilize. The vaccines we choose to use are ones we feel are necessary for the long-term health of our animals. For example, because our animals live outdoors within fence lines we vaccinate for tetanus.  We make decisions to protect our animals to minimize antibiotic use later in life and keep them protected and healthy, just like we do with our own children. 

Do you give your animals hormones or steroids? 

We do not administer hormones or steroids to any of our animals.  The FDA does not allow the use of any hormones when raising pigs or poultry.

Do you process your own animals? 

In accordance with USDA processing standards, we do not process any animals on the farm.  To adhere to the standards that are required for us to sell our meat across state lines and to official wholesale customers, we utilize the best USDA-inspected processing facilities within the states around us.  All our meat is federally inspected from the moment it reaches the processing plant, through every step, and all the way through to final packaging. 

Ordering From Lilac Hedge Farm 

Are all locations eligible for Subscribe & Save? Are there minimums and fees? 

In-depth details covering all of these questions can be found on our Subscribe & Save page here.

What is your home delivery schedule? 

You can see our map, order deadlines, and home delivery schedule here

What about in-person shopping? 

For details about our seasonal farmers markets please go here.  For all pickup locations you can see details here

Our Farm Stand is also available for in-person shopping and up-to-date hours and details can be found here.

Can I change my “location” for pickup or delivery? 

You sure can!  The caveat is that you need to change your location at the top of the screen BEFORE you add anything to your cart.  Once you select a location and add items to the cart, delivery, and pricing details will appear.  If you need a location change after items are already in your cart, please email us at and we'll be glad to help!