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Pioneer Farms: Farm Perun

23/11/2012

Farm Perun is located nearby the beautiful town of Kresna in Kresna Gorge, Bulgaria. The farm is founded in the summer of 2008 by Todor Georgiev. He is a stock breeder, chief ranger at National Park Pirin, bachelor in Ecology and Nature Preservation and a lifetime shepherd. He comes from a bloodline of Macedonian shepherds that have raised sheep and goats for centuries. Farm Perun’s main goal is to restore and protect the Karakachanian sheep, the Mountain Longhaired goat and the Karakachanian dog. These unique and indigenous animals have been bred in the Balkan region since ancient times by the Karakachan nomadic tribes. In 1959 the communist regime decided to extinguish the Karakachanian sheep and the Mountain Longhaired goat and these unique breeds were almost lost. Now in Bulgaria there are no more than 600 pureblooded Karakachanian sheep and this breed is listed in the Bulgarian Red Book for endangered species.

blogpost Farm Perun and his owner also have a mission to keep and maintain those animals’ traditional way of travelling to breed. Farm Perun is operating on three different cattle pens depending on the season. The base one is in the region called Solunsko dere, in the outskirts of Kresna at an altitude of 150m, where the animals spend the winter months, from the end of December till June. The sheep begin giving birth in February, the goats in March-April. In May the sheep are being fleeced and the animals are prepared to move to the second pen, which is the most strategic. It is situated in the Polena region at an altitude of 800m, where there are fresh green grasslands for the stock. A month later the flock is moved to the third pen at an altitude of 1850m just below peak Vihren, in the region called Chernata Voda. A small pen is built from wood and stone alongside a small hut for the shepherds. Todor must keep the flock in the Polena pen as he is allowed to herd only sheep in the alpine parts of the mountain. In the beginning of autumn the sheep are moved back to Polena, where they stay with the goats. When the mating season is over and the animals get prepared for the winter, just before New Year, the flock is moved down to the base pen for the cold part of the year. This cycle is a tradition dating back in the centuries; it is carried through every year and is essential for preserving the valuable breeds of the Karakachanian sheep and the Long Haired Mountain goat.

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Other important members of farm Perun are the mighty fearless shepherd dogs which help to protect the animals from bears and wolves. Every year the farm is being attacked by hungry predators and the dogs are the only effective method for protection without destroying the delicate balance in nature. Farm Perun has also horses, a donkey, a pig and a few hens. The sheep and the goat give milk that is used for making fresh cottage cheese, feta cheese and other local delicatessens. By joining farmhopping you can become part of farm Perun’s life, to visit the farm and to help protecting these valuable breeds. Happy farmhopping!