Heritage breeds of poultry such as the Plymouth Rock Chicken, Dominique Chicken and the Bourbon Red Turkey can all be found here. These breeds were once an important part of the American homestead but found themselves pushed out in favor of more industrialized breeds. Both breeds can still serve the modern homestead or backyard flock keeper well.
Both the Bourbon Red Turkey and the Dominique are on the Livestock Conservancy's Watch list. The Plymouth Rock is on the Recovery list, as its numbers have improved.
The Dominique and the Plymouth Rock are considered a dual-purpose bird. The hens will produce 250 eggs a year. Young roosters when butchered around 18 weeks provide a nice meaty carcass for the table. Both breeds are relatively easy keepers. 2 Plymouth Rock hens and 1 Dominique hen raised clutches of chicks this year. Sustainability in the flock at its finest!
The Bourbon Red Turkey hen can lay between 150-180 eggs a year! She will brood her own eggs if given the opportunity. I have found this breed to be very robust and feeds itself well. Toms will weigh around 20-23# with hens around 15#. Both my hens went broody this year, although sadly one did not return from her second nest that she chose to make in the woods.
While the turkey Tom likes to strut and be the boss, the roosters on the other hand have never tried to challenge me. They are calm and give me no issues. I believe this the result of me handling them early as chicks and acting in a calm manner around them as much as possible.
Currently I’m working to develop a feed recipe that will keep up production but remove soy and as much GMO product as possible. I’m doing this to continue to provide a good healthy diet for my birds as well as myself and my customers, without the fear of negative side effects.
Friday, December 9, 2022