Thursday, January 20, 2011

Feed, Seed, and Breeds

Winter on the farm has been a challenge for us and for the chickens, but we are making it work. We have eggs in the fridge (about 2 dozen a day from 42 hens - not bad, not great), and meat in the freezer as well as two broiler coops full of birds out on the winter pasture.

It's time to start ordering some chicks for the spring, but we are excited about a new level of animal husbandry here on the farm with our participation in the International Center for Poultry's Heritage Poultry Breeding Project 2011 -- we'll be getting coaching, guidance, and access to top-quality genetics to start our own breeding program for heritage breed chickens -- Black Australorps to be exact -- as well as flock of Naragansett turkey poults to raise for meat and future breeding!

One of the key goals of our small, experimental farm is to develop regionally-adapted varieties of both plants and animals, and to reduce our reliance on off-farm sources of livestock and seed. We are also developing a plan to grow at least a portion of our feed on farm (we do have some growing space and fertility limitations right now) and to save seed from these farm-adapted grains and legumes while we continue to build pasture and forage for our birds.

Stay tuned and stay in touch with your agrarian roots, America!