We have a small hobby farm geared towards Bourbon Red turkeys and several chicken breeds kept for dual purpose. We breed from our own flock and occasionally have spares, though selling is not our main focus. Our set-up includes 6 stalls with outdoor runs attached to each, a seclusion stall and 2 grow out stalls, each with a brooder inside. We do rotational turnout onto pasture to improve and supplement their diet.
We installed weather-proof string over the outdoor runs to deter hawks, the pop doors are closed every night.
The barn was originally built in 1903 and used for cattle and equipment. It's a work in progress to save it. We've expanded the loft to offer better support and security. We're framing and insulating the walls as we work our way around.
Poultry has been a life long hobby for me, starting when I was little. With the support of my husband I've been able to do the hobby some justice. It's a lot of work but we wouldn't do it differently!
We breed towards the standards, if one exists. Otherwise we're breeding towards dual purpose and good table type, with good chick vigor and growth.
We prefer large type Heritage or rare breeds and currently have Marans in Blue, Black, Splash, Birchen and Black Copper, French/American Bresse, Twentse (Kraienkoppe) as well as some fun hybrids.
French Marans, we look for the wide body type and good/better egg color.
Black Coppers are up and coming!
The Bresse are strange birds, outgoing and friendly, intelligent and aware. We have a blended flock from American and the French Greenfire Farms line.
Bourbon Red Turkeys are the favorite! Out of show stock, we're on our 3rd generation with them.
The Twentse chickens have proven to be very hardy and productive with laying. Tall and wide in build, though not as wide as the Bresse. Gorgeous in color!
We've had many other breeds in the past, these are who we've narrowed it down to based on our preferences. We tend to add one new variety a year, by the 1 year anniversary of having them we know if we will pursue them or not. Last year it was Bresse. This year it's Narragansett Turkeys.
We have other chickens as hens only, without the matching male. We have them for layers or to create specific hybrids.
We have a rigid rooster selection process, retaining just 10% of what we hatch. For hens we retain any where from 30%-60% depending on hatch results. Sometimes I only have one male left who made the cut, so we take the utmost care in preserving their health and well being.
Life is too short to keep a mean bird around! Give them a different purpose. From a breeding standpoint, you eat some to preserve the rest. Look towards the next generation for improvement. In a safe coop environment, it falls to the caretaker to handle the selection process, in the absence of natural selection. Maintaining type to protect the breed expectation while keeping good genetic diversity are both important points.
Visit our website to learn more about keeping poultry!