The thing that came first for us was educating ourselves to the conditions in which much of the food in North America is produced. This led us to the desire to get as much of our food from Known, local sources as possible.
How animals, used for our food, are treated and how that food is produced is increasingly important to us in light of much of the information in the media regarding our food safety, food additives (such as pink slime), and poor animal treatment and conditions.
Films such as Food Inc. have helped open our eyes and turn our stomachs.
So the decision to start raising our own chickens, for egg production, was an easy one.
You can't get any more known or more local than your own back yard !
Raising your own chickens is easy and rewarding, and you can rest assured that you know exactly what your chickens are eating and exactly how they are being treated.
You don't have to live in the country to produce your own eggs. Many urban jurisdictions are allowing residents to have a limited number of hens on their property. Check some of them out HERE
Some breeds of chicken have been developed over the years to lay an egg every day, however, as a trade-off you get a chicken so specifically bred that it only lives and produces for 2 - 3 years.
Heritage breed chickens have been around for hundreds of years and are generally good dual purpose birds, (meaning they can be used for their eggs and they also produce a decent dressed carcase). A heritage breed chicken can produce an egg every second or third day for up to 10 - 15 years !
We decided to get a few heritage breed chickens for our own egg production, then branched out to producing fresh free-run farm egg for sale.
Having several different breeds gives us eggs in many shades of pastel green and blue as well as shades of cream to brown.
These are not your typical grocery store eggs !
We started with a few select heritage breeds of chicken.
This is Cogburn, our first rooster.
The Araucana originated in Chile and are frequently confused with other fowl, such as the Ameraucana and Easter Egger chickens.
The Araucana has several unusual characteristics which distinguish it including the fact that they are rumpless, in that they have no distinct tail.
They also have distinct ear-tufts, feathers that grow out from near the birds ears.
Large fowl cocks weigh 6½ pounds and large fowl hens weigh 5½ pounds.
Araucana hens lay blue eggs. We are breeding Cogburn to our Ameraucana hens to produce wonderful Easter Egger Hens that will lay light blue or green eggs.
The Ameraucana was developed in the United States. Its name is a blend of two words: American and Araucana (a related breed). Ameraucanas come in both a large and bantam variety.
The Ameraucana comes in a variety of colours including Black, Blue, Blue Wheaten, Brown Red, Buff, Silver, Wheaten, White and even Lavender. The Ameraucana has muffs and a beard, (rather than the ear tufts of the Araucana), and a full tail. They also have slate colour or black legs depending on the variety. They are very cold hardy. Large fowl cocks weigh 6½ pounds and large fowl hens weigh 5½ pounds. Ameraucanas are occasionally brooders and lay eggs in various shades of green and blue.
We used our original Araucana rooster, crossed with our Ameraucana hens to get
"Easter Egger" chickens.
An Easter Egger is any chicken that possesses the "blue egg" gene, but doesn't fully meet any breed description. The name derives from the resemblance of their colorful eggs, which can be pastel shades of green or blue, to Easter eggs.
Hens and roosters come in a variety of colours, shapes and sizes, depending on the breeds that have been crossed to produce them.
This is Perry, the first egg to hatch on the farm, our first Easter Egger chicken and now our "Pet" Rooster. Below are a few of our Easter Egger hens.
Now we hatch our own chicks and sell the pullets to other
backyard chicken enthusiasts.
We can help you set up your own back yard chicken project.
We specialize in Easter Egger chicken breeding, but have had other heritage breeds in the past. They have included:
This was our breeding pair of Cochins. Originally known as Chinese Shanghai fowl, Cochins were introduced to England and America in the 19th century.
The most distinctive feature of the Cochin is the excessive plumage that covers the legs and feet. This feature created a bit of a craze among poultry lovers in the English-speaking world, which effectively launched “Fancy” poultry as we know it today. The American Poultry Association recognizes Buff, Partridge, White, Black, Silver-laced, Golden-laced, Blue, Brown and Barred varieties. Although bred mostly for exhibition, they make a good meat bird. Cochins are usually very calm birds and easily made into pets. They are also excellent brooders.
Standard cock weight in at 11 pounds and hens weigh 8 ½ pounds.
Cochins lay brown, medium size eggs.
Transylvania Naked Neck:
This is our initial breeding pair, Edward and Bella.
The Transylvania Naked Neck originated in Hungary and was largely developed in Germany.
It is also know simply as the Naked Neck or as the Turken, a name that arose from the mistaken idea that the bird was a hybrid of a chicken and the domestic Turkey.
The Naked Neck is naturally missing feathers on its neck and vent. One reason for their development is that with fewer feathers, they are much easier to pluck than the average table fowl. A Naked Neck has less than half the number of feathers possessed by other breeds of their size. They are quite hardy in cold weather, and due to their light feathering also take heat better than most breeds. Colour varieties include: black, white, cuckoo, buff, and red.
Birds weigh in at 6 - 7 pounds.
They can be broodie and are very good layers of creamy light brown eggs.
Barnevelder, named after the Dutch town of Barneveld, was developed in the 19th century by crossing Dutch landrace chickens with Asian breeds such as the Brahma and Cochin.
Barnevelders are a medium heavy dual-purpose chicken that also lay a good number of eggs and have a quiet disposition. The original and most well known Barnevelder is the “double laced” variety but white, black, brown, partridge, blue and double laced blue varieties also exist.
Cocks can weigh 7 ½ pounds and hen 5 ½ pounds.
They are good winter layers of dark brown to brown eggs.
Sussex chickens are believed to have been first bred in Britain (in the area that was to become England), around the time of the Roman invasion of AD 43, making them one of the oldest known breeds. The Sussex has become a good dual-purpose bird, working for both meat and egg production.
Sussex chickens are: Brown, Buff, Light, Red, Speckled, Silver, White and Coronation. The Sussex chicken, whatever color, has a long, broad, flat back and a rectangular build, with its tail at a 45 degree angle from the body.
Cocks will weigh in at 9 pounds, and the hens can reach 7 pounds.
Hens are fair setters (the Speckled variety are more likely to go broodie) and they lay a light brown egg.