Thanks so much for all the wonderful folks from here who have been interested in getting chickens to eat. I am working on it, but am still looking for partners. I have some possibilities in Willits and in the 10 Mile Area right now. If you are near there, please email me. I will be doing presentations to farmer groups in those areas soon.
I am getting a lot of requests for a specific BREED of chicken. While I am raising Noyo Naked Necks, Bresse Bragger, Mendo Meatie and Mendostein Pet Chickens, these are VARIETIES, they are not BREEDS. (capitals are because this is confusing).
All Naked Necks are varieties, not true breeds. They can be 3 or 12 pounds. Great layers or not. Bresse are a very distinct breed. However, I am seeking to create a new VARIETY of bresse.
I fully respect what some are doing to preserve heritage breeds. In the 1970s-80s most of humanity essentially walked away from breeds that took millennia to perfect.
Now we are restoring them. Industry had control of many important breeds 1940-now. They downsized them to make them lay more and to live better in confinement. They bred broodiness out. (many old line farmers worked on doing this too)
Industry also didn’t pay much attention to physical vitality, intelligence or foraging ability. Their chickens live miserable confined lives and all traits like energetic and smart can actual work against them (although NOT if you are thinking about their health or the health of those who eat them or their eggs).
I have obtained 25 different breeds from our local feed stores and from friends and neighbors.
Most are weak, especially in the first generation. Mixed with others, they bring out many hidden traits. I cull and eat most that hatch and save the strongest for breeding. This is what breeding for VARIETY and specific new and desired traits like intelligence and vitalitiy accomplishes.
When breeding for BREED you try to match the characteristics against the breed standard. This has its merits but is NOT what I am doing.
I believe many industrial chickens lay too much for their own health, egg taste and quality. I think about 150- 200 eggs per year is right for the health of the hen.
When I tell people this, I don’t sell my hens usually. One reason why my prime objective right now is meat and why intelligence is my other.
At some point I will move my varieties toward the central characteristics of a breed. Until I get there, I guarantee my chickens will be interesting, clever, more energetic, decent layers (except the Mendo Meatie) and all tasty, long lived friends or pets. I can’t separate out the breeds, only the varieties.
Here are the 10 strongest breeds I have
- Copper Maran- Incredibly vital, terrific foragers, too good at mothering, excellent layers and cool dark eggs. Copper Marans are mixed as much as possible into Mendo Meatie, Mendostein and even Turkens. Maybe the Bresse too this year. This stock came from Tahoe, where they were very well developed.
- Malay- Most ancient of breeds along with junglefowl. For centuries old farmers used this bird to bring increased intelligence, vitality and wits to all the breeds. Virtually every breed developed after 1850 has a dash of malay in it, including the grocery store meat chicken. I freshen the pot with them. They are terrible layers but this does not carry to crosses. The cross will either lay 20 eggs a year or 180, not halfway in between. They are not fighters, bullies or mean to people, which is surprising based on how wild they are. My malay came from the feed stores!
- I got full blooded Bresse from two local people. They originated at Greenfire Farms. They lay about right and are the worlds tastiest chicken by all accounts. I have never eaten one as they are so wonderful and strong I don’t want to.
- Speckled Sussex- The finest hen we ever owned was a feed store Sussex. She was in charge of hens and roosters and took no guff from dogs and people. She could escape every door, climb, dig, push, pull and wriggle out. Other chickens imitated her. She raised numerous broods. I tried to stop her and took the eggs away a few times. That made Eagle Boi mad and she hid the eggs somewhere, to this day never found where. Her last brood she taught to escape. She got killed by a hawk sheltering the babies under her, under a tree, against a log way down at the neighbors. No way to keep her in Her genetics are half the origins of the Mendostein.
- Americana- The other half comes from the second smartest chicken eve, our roosterTarquin. Many funny stories with him too. He lives on, doing well. He always finds a way to mate with hens he isn’t supposed to, meaning our breeding program isn’t as pure as I wish. They are penned separate but this cad has to slip in and do his dance for the hens and slip out. His chicks are vital and lay well. We have several chickens who lay lovely green eggs that should not by all accounts and the paperwork!
- Silver Laced Wyandotte-wonderful vital chickens, as energetic as any, fairly smart better layers than most of mine
- Jersey Giant- not smart but strong, vital and both good layers and in SOME combinations great to eat. The JG mixed with RIR, Sussex or Plymouth Rocks make for small breasts on big chickens. Mixed with Brahama, Wyandotte or White Rock, they are fabulous all the way around.
- White Rock
- New Hampshire
- Industrial Leghorn
I have had some leads in Willits and some north of town. I want to have a cluster of farmers doing my varieties and enough to stock the demand I have already.
If we got a 5 acre pasture we could do about 1000 chickens at a time to eat with a regular on site supporting breeder flock.
chickens. Warning- you don’t get wealthy doing chickens but you do get addicted and some you need to harvest you just can’t!
TPP and global free trade wants to kill off any healthy scaled, local
scaled or humane industrial farming, including this woman’s operation in the Philippines. I want to imitate her! Only I want to do it with my own hatched varieties that will some day be breeds.
We have many interested chicken buyers here, including restaurants.
I need to find about 5 acres of good pasture hopefully near Fort Bragg
A partner who wants to work, or second choice, with money to invest
My blog has shows what I have, especially the top entry. Here is one on the