Choosing chickens

Red Dorking Rooster

Heritage Breed chickens fit our farm model.  Hardy with the ability to reproduce.   Over the past 5 years, we have kept Wyandottes, Barred Rocks, Plymouth Rocks, Dominiques, and Americaunas.  Each of them worthy of keeping.   However, we decided to become the steward of a more threatened foundational type breed and so we  narrowed our poultry choice to the Dorking,  and a breed not foundational but threatened,  Delawares for meat and eggs.

Some folks enjoy keeping a  diversity of chicken breeds for the color of the eggs, and the beautiful palette of feather colors walking the grounds!  We began this way, too:  to learn more about different types of breeds and to share this wondrous diversity with farm visitors.

Then we came across the writing of  Yellow House Farm in New Hampshire.  Transforming our view of Hedgerow Farm and our role as stewards.   Moving from pleasure grounds and hobby farm to a farm with both a view and a purpose.  The transformation has been two years or more in the making because rare breeds like the Dorking are in fact, rare.

A sample of the Yellow House Farm writing below:

Choose one breed and do it well.  Buying a hodgepodge of this, that, and the other thing, might be fun, but it does nothing for the good of the breeds selected.  It’s always disheartening to hear someone announce that they raise heritage fowl only to find that they have one of this, three of that, four of the other, and a Silkie rooster because he’s so cute.  Such flocks might amuse the owner, but that is the end of the benefit derived therefrom.

so moving from amusement to stewardship has been difficult, demanding, with setbacks, and no instant gratification to be found. Also, engaging, and rewarding.  Thank you Yellow House Farm for thinking deeply about this subject of heritage poultry and stewardship.