Happy Life Ranch
Happy Life Ranch is a family owned and operated ranch consisting of a family of 5; Gus and Melissa and our children, Frankie, Niko and Angelina and their pets (because kids and pets). We stepped out in faith after years of dreaming of country life and in 2015 we left the suburbs and found 6 ½ lovely acres of partially wooded land in Beecher IL. We started out with a handful of guinea fowl to keep the tick population down while we explored our new lifestyle.
They lived happily in a shed that we adapted for their needs. Next, Melissa wanted to raise chickens to learn and grow and maybe make a couple extra bucks. We chose Freedom Ranger chickens for their steady growth, strong legs and succulent, fabulous tasting meat with more yellow omega 3 fat and less saturated fat than fast growing breeds. They are also great egg layers. We had boxes of chicks in our basement until they were ready to go outside and built them a coop outside from scraps.
Gus, being the super adventurous type, jumped right into wanting pigs. We were so new that we started with 6 piglets in a dog run in our attached garage! They grew really fast and we learned real fast that we needed to work on building homes for all these critters, not attached to our house. We built them a home on the back side of the property, and it gets altered and improved every year.
We met other like-minded folks along the way and found a few multi-generational farmers and ranchers that were willing to help us young ins learn and grow food the old ways. They taught us how to raise pigs, cattle, turkeys and lamb/sheep on clean pastures using rotational grazing and regenerative ranching practices. Everything from feed, care, habitat, safety, and happy lives.
We have always desired to be closer to nature and to know exactly where our food comes from, how it lived and even how it…became our food. Part of our “country dream” was also to have enough food to share with others on a greater scale and to be able to say that everything we grow is humanely raised and naturally fed and cared for. While we have already made many great friendships and business partners on this journey, we’re always praying for the abundance to do more for our community.
Each of the children started as active participants in the everyday chores of caring for animals. It was a culture shock for them at first, but they are each found something that fits their personalities here; Frankie loved the idea of living on a ranch though she was a little afraid of these new creatures, Niko has always been a nature guy, so he feared nothing, Angelina took the fluffy chickens right away.
In late 2017 Frankie (16) was involved in a fatal car accident and that completely rocked our worlds. We are all forever changed, and she will always be “here” with us, but it changed the entire trajectory of our lives. We were inundated with grace and love and support from many new friends/family and for them we are eternally grateful. In a way that tragedy solidified our belief that country living is where we were meant to be. We could not have survived and thrived the way we have without these good-hearted, like-minded folks.
We try to approach every aspect of life on the ranch from a holistic mindset, so we are conscious of what we put into and on our own bodies and what we allow into our animals and the land around them. We even try to reuse and recycle as much as possible. We never use artificial fertilizers, herbicides/pesticides, antibiotics, or GMO feed. We also love to meet new friends and neighbors, or like-minded folks so give us a call with any questions, pop over and say hi on Facebook or you could even come visit some time.
Thank you for taking the time to read our story. We hope that we can make a difference in other’s lives.