For the past fifteen years we have raised high production utility chickens. In 2011 we decided to change the focus of our poultry operation from purchasing hatchery bred chickens to breeding and raising our own. To us this was a natural progression in sustainable farming.
We expect a lot from our chickens above and beyond representing their breeds accurately... they need to be excellent foragers, efficient on feed, produce good quality egg color, and have appropriate, non-aggressive temperaments. We have spent months researching and contacting breeders in search of true representatives of each of our chosen breeds, those being evaluated based on the Standards of Perfection (SOP's) as well as being true to the original purpose of the breed.
Although our list of breeds is still a work in progress our main focus will be on those that thrive on pasture, are productive and efficient egg layers, can handle the stress of Virginia's hot, humid summers and cold winters, and who can get along well with the rest of our mixed flock. Aside from breeding time, our flock of 150+ birds live together in a rotational grazing system.
Currently we are specializing in large fowl Rhode Island Reds, Light Sussex, Ameraucanas, Welsummers, and French Black Copper Marans. For now our White Leghorns will continue as a utility breed as we have access to free birds every spring from our local school embryolgy program.
We are also creating a small flock of New Hampshires, Delawares, and Chanteclers, all of which are on the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy’s list as being threatened by modern food production. We plan on working with all three of these breeds selecting towards true dual purpose chickens that produce not only eggs, but a meaty, tender and flavorful carcass. Somewhere in here we believe is a viable alternative to the flavorless Cornish-Rock Cross broiler that has taken over the commercial industry.
In addition to our wonderful two legged friends, our farm host a wide variety of meat species including Suffolk, Hampshire, and Southdown sheep, British Cross and Shorthorn Cattle, Full Blood Boer Goats, Californian Meat Rabbits, and an occassional Hampshire or Yorkshire Pig. We also grow out and sell over 1000 broilers a year.
On most weekends you can find us at Northern Virginia and Washington DC farmers markets selling our naturally and humanely raised meats, sausages, and prepared entrees, soups, and stews.
Inquiries and questions are always welcome. You will find that we thoroughly enjoy talking about.... raising livestock, ag marketing, and cooking!
Thanks for stopping by,
Chef | Sustainable Farmer | Locavore | Entrepreneur
Find me on twitter @janchilds @valamb
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