by Danielle McGrew
After retiring from an accounting position at Southern Illinois University Carbondale, Mary Swindell of Cobden began raising ducks, geese, chicken and sheep. She trains her border collies, Meg and Kate, to herd them.
“I love animals . . . and I really like the idea that I’m doing some good somehow for different breeds, especially rare breeds,” says Swindell, who raises a rare breed of geese along with her other animals. “[I also like to] provide the kind of environment where I
can raise quality breeding stock.”
She collects eggs for both incubation and consumption, but focuses the livestock production on breeding rather than market quality.
Her cottonpatch geese, though endangered, are well cared for and breeding, as are all the animals in her little menagerie,from the fowl to the ewes.