Heritage Breed Chickens

In March, we hatched our first batch of heritage breed chickens. Then two weeks ago we hatched another batch. Araucanas, Javas, Buff Orpingtons, White Crested Black Polish, Buff Cochins, Black Cochins, Blue Cochins, Plymouth Barred Rocks, and Silver Laced Wyandottes. All were pre-ordered and all went to great homes.
Here are some photos from the hatch:
Buff Orpington
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White Crested Black Polish
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Araucana
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Blue Cochin
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Silver Laced Wyandotte
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Why are we starting to hatch these specialty breeds, and why call them heritage breeds?
Diversity, it seems, is revealing itself to be a key to balance in our lives and for our planet. Diversity in our diets, diversity in the gardens and farms, diversity in our community.
Diversity is the goal of farmers and horticulturists who have been on a decades long effort to create seed banks. Thousands of varieties of seeds of plants that have taken thousands of years to evolve into something strong and nutritious, are being collected and preserved by organizations hoping to perpetuate public access to seeds that are not genetically modified or patented by corporations.
Along those same lines is an effort to preserve particular breeds of chickens, once heralded as great farm or show breeds, great layers or gardeners, many of them dwindling to a few hundred over the last decades due to corporate food industry’s need to homogenize. This homogenization, this translation of plants and animals into units, have forced farmers into using only one or two particular breeds in order to stay in business.
Things are changing. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (link http://www.albc-usa.org/) is bringing this concern into focus by organizing lists of breeds that are in need of some care. The idea is that if we start growing them, as pets, as layers, on farms, they will flourish once more and our futures won’t hold just three kinds of chickens.
People talk about preserving our heritages. We think this also involves our heritage as an agrarian society, one that knows how to cultivate and care for, as well as create or construct.
Most of the breeder farms use summer and fall as a resting time for their flocks. Our next big hatch of heritage breeds will happen in January. We’ve been talking with one source who may be able to supply us with certain breeds in September, but we are still working on it.
Things to keep in mind when ordering heritage chickens:
– You should be willing and able to accept them as male or female, for these breeds we can’t tell the difference until they are months old. This is good for you if you are serious about helping the preservation efforts, since you will be able to let your chickens multiply.
– If you plan raise a mix, don’t worry about the breeds getting along, they will. They will still establish a pecking order, but that is natural to them, and the order helps them to live together.
– Like all chicks we sell, we source the eggs from professional farms, the eggs are also inspected several times by the time we receive them. The chicks are vaccinated before you get them as well, so you know you are getting healthy chicks.
If you are interested in ordering heritage breed chicks, please email us. I’m already collecting orders for the next hatches.
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