We raise Cornish Rock Cross chickens for meat,
and a mix of New Hampshire Red, Rhode Island Red, Barred Rock, and Leghorn chickens for eggs,
All our chickens are free range, which means they get to choose what they eat, and when they eat it. You can taste it in the meat, and especially in the eggs – the yolks are richer, with a bright yellow color and a flavor that you just don’t get in store-bought eggs.
At night they can roost in houses that we provide,
or wherever they want,
We also have some ‘native’ chickens,
[pictures of Drumstick's progeny]
all descended from Drumstick,
the first chicken ever born on the farm.
We raise turkeys for Thanksgiving. Our turkeys are free-range, and they’re some of the most entertaining animals on the farm. They follow you around, gobble (in unison) when you laugh, and have some pretty interesting expressions.
First, we had our Rouen, Mr. Duck, who came to the farm as a pet. We have also raised Muscovies for their delicious high-quality meat. Currently, we have a small flock of Khaki Campbells for eggs and a breeding set of Jumbo Pekins for meat and eggs.
We were given a pair of quail, who were going to remain pets until we found we loved the look and the taste of their eggs. So we got more. We had about 50, then we had about 100, and now we have none. But we look forward more in the Spring.
Each quail egg has its own ‘fingerprint’ of speckles and spots, unique to the female that laid it. So, in theory, we can tell which eggs came from which bird. These tiny eggs may seem too pretty to eat but they are delicious, very rich in favor, and their small size makes them very versatile – they’re perfect for pickling, for Scotch eggs, and so on. We’re always looking for more uses, and happy to share the ones we’ve discovered.
A friend from Grafton brought geese for processing and let us keep some for ourselves so now we have our own geese. We are unsure of the breeds but we think we have some Embden and some Embden/Chinese crosses. Geese are so easy to care for, it’s a wonder we waited so long to get them. They are hardy animals, requiring minimal housing, who prefer to be outside in most weather. During the fair weather months, they can live on grass, water and grit alone. In the winter, salad greens and spent brewers grain make up for the lack of forage.
We harvest the meat birds ourselves,
[pictures of scalding, eviscerating]
so if you make arrangements ahead of time, you can pick up some birds that were walking around less than an hour ago. You can’t get fresher chicken than that!