OUR CHICKENS

We are searching for a chicken breed that performs well in an organic pasture-based production system. Currently we have Welsummers, Australorps, Amerauanas, blue laced red wyandottes, and columbian wyandottes. 

AMERAUCANAS

Our Ameraucanas are friendly, docile, and a joy to be around. The toddler has tamed the hens who are happy to be carried around by a kid, take a ride in the wagon or stroller, or eat grain out of a child's hand. The roosters have all been well-behaved, with not a single one of them ever displaying any aggression toward people.

They lay beautiful blue eggs that look like Easter eggs. They forage actively, obtaining the majority of their diet from the lawn and pasture, even in the dead of winter. They have also managed not to get themselves eaten even though they wander far from the barn in search of food.

Our Ameraucana rooster is very respectful of people and polite with the hens. Because of his good behavior, we've chosen him to lead the flock that lives in our yard. 

The chicken pictured here escaped from the jaws of a fox, made an astounding recovery, and is still laying eggs regularly. 

WELSUMMERS

These attractive brown chickens are beautiful and look like they came straight out of a children's story book.

 

They lay intensely dark brown eggs covered with even darker dots. They are active foragers. The young roosters are delicious as roast chicken. These are tough chickens, living in our wildest pasture with the heaviest predator pressure. Our Welsummer rooster is alert, takes good care of his hens, and has shown no aggression to humans. 

 BLACK AUSTRALORPS

 

Black Australorps are a solid black chicken with a beautiful blue-green iridescence. They lay light-brown eggs. The hens are calm and spend their days scratching in the straw in the barn. Some of the roosters have been aggressive, an we are culling relentlessly to get rid of the aggressive roosters and keep the docile ones to pass on their genes. Black Australorps are listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a rare breed of chicken that is currently recovering in numbers. 

THEIR DIET

Our chickens are on pasture every day, unless there is so much snow that they choose to stay inside the barn. They eat grass and insects that they collect themselves from the pasture. We supplement them with organic soy-free layer feed. During the growing season, we estimate that they obtain at least 90% of their food from foraging.

BREEDING PROGRAM

We are breeding our chickens for the following characteristics:

  • Obtain most or all of their food from foraging
  • Exceptionally hardy and disease-resistant (we use no antibiotics or other medicines)
  • Produce flavorful, premium meat
  • Produce flavorful, premium eggs
  • Gentle disposition and tendency to get along well with people 
  • Thrive on a multi-species farm and interact favorably with diverse livestock
  • Winter-hardy, requiring no supplemental heat or lights in the winter
  • Avoid being eaten by predators, especially by birds of prey

 

We are currently breeding purebred Black Australorps, Ameraucanas, and Welsummers, working to improve each flock individually, as we continue to compare the three. 

 

THEIR JOB ON OUR ECOFARM

The chickens eat insect pests that would otherwise bother both the livestock and the garden. The chickens also provide us with rich manure to improve the fertility of our soils. They spread out cow pies in the pastures so that the manure breaks down faster, returning its nutrients to the soil without providing an opportunity for insect pests to grow in it. In the barn, the chickens entertain themselves all winter scratching through the straw looking for wheat seeds to eat. The wheat seeds are not wasted and the scratching helps to turn the top layer of straw in our deep bedding system.