Thursday, September 16, 2010

(Heritage) chickens and turkeys and ducks.... oh,my!

Here at Canyon Creek Farms, we love our heritage-breed poultry! If you're even a little bit into eating locally-produced and/or organic food, you've probably heard about "heritage" turkeys. And if I have my way (wink), you'll soon be hearing even more about heritage turkeys... and chickens.... and ducks.

So what does "heritage" mean, as far as poultry goes? It's really another way of describing a purebred bird, as distinct from a hybrid. Most hybrid poultry breeds were developed relatively recently, so actually referring to purebreds as heritage breeds is entirely appropriate. The commercial poultry industry overwhelmingly favors hybrids, mainly due to their comparatively fast growth. However, a growing population of poultry lovers (and other thoughtful consumers) in America is turning back to the future: discovering the pleasures of raising hardy, disease-resistant birds that forage much of their own food.

Historically, in times of war as well as in tough economic times, we have turned to the small family farm to provide our food. Today there is much less arable land per capita than there was 100 or even 50 years ago. So where is your food coming from? Increasingly, you are choosing to take up the challenge of producing some of your own food. Besides the obvious benefits of eating the freshest food at a lower cost, you're discovering the joy and satisfaction of providing for yourselves and your families.

You are probably already familiar with gardening, whether it's a few pots on your apartment's deck, or a 3-acre hobby farm. Ever thought about going to another level of self-sufficiency by raising some chickens or turkeys? If you have (or even if you haven't, but are intrigued by the idea), keep an eye on this blog. I will be regularly posting my thoughts (from my well-upholstered soapbox seat), sharing our experiences, and attempting to answer your questions.

I'd also love to hear about your experiences, so take a few minutes while the pot pie's in the oven, and share your memories... and plans for the future.

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