Becoming a vendor at the Westchase District Farmers Market in 2014, Patrick Bierschwale distinguished his business, Katerra Exotics, as the place in West Houston to buy pasture-raised bison. Eighteen months later, he’s expanded his meat offerings to include goat, lamb, wild boar, venison and chicken.
Mix & Match
“It’s been a time of expansion,” Bierschwale said. “I’ve been figuring out what does and doesn’t work.” For example, he learned that his sheep and bison cannot share the same pastures, nor can they even share common fence lines. “The sheep, who are otherwise healthy and pose no threat to humans, carry a parasite in their saliva which can be fatal to the bison,” he explained.
Fortunately, bison and goats make great pasture neighbors. “The bison eat the grass and the goats eat everything else that grows, like weeds, brush and flowers, so they complement each other well,” he said. Bierschwale personally traps the wild boar and venison (“Pigs are much easier to catch than deer,” he said.), from a variety of ranches around Texas.
Bierschwale recently began selling Cornish/Rock hybrid broiler chickens pasture-raised on his farms. The fast-developing, broad-breasted chickens are ready to dress in about eight weeks. “My egg layers are often getting eaten by coyotes, but my meat providers are doing well,” he said. For now, Bierschwale is selling both whole chickens and breasts.
Open House March 18
You can get a close-up look at all the animals when Katerra Exotics hosts a free open house farm visit from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday March 18. For more information, call 281-222-4958 or visit www.katerraexotics.com.