We currently have over 15 different heritage breed birds. Heritage breeds are roughly defined as breeds that you would have found on your great-grandparents farm, raised to be hearty, long lived and good reproducers. Unfortunately the age of modern industrial agriculture has pushed breed characteristic aside in favor of hybrids bred for one purpose, prolific layers (up to 350 eggs per year!) or heavy breasted meat birds. Many of our birds are on the American Livestock Breeders Conservancy's (ALBC) Priority List because they are facing extinction. The ALBC produces a Conservation Priority List based on the population of registered animals in the United States. Breeds are classified as:
"Critical - fewer than 500 registered breeding pairs registered in the U.S. and a global population of less than 1,000.
Threatened - Fewer than 1,000 breeding birds in the United States, with seven or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 5,000.
Watch - Fewer than 5,000 breeding birds in the United States, with ten or fewer primary breeding flocks, and estimated global population less than 10,000. Also included are breeds with genetic or numerical concerns or limited geographic distribution.
Recovering - Breeds that were once listed in another category and have exceeded Watch category numbers but are still in need of monitoring.
Study - Breeds that are of interest but either lack definition or lack genetic or historical documentation."
Some of the characteristics we have been using to select our hens include, cold tolerance, good layers, egg color and breed status. While we try to favor high egg production, the average heritage bird lays around 150 eggs per year.
We currently have 120 birds in our flock but production varies from 1 dozen to 4 dozen eggs a day based on breed, the amount of light, molting, etc. Maintaining a flock this size requires a lot of feed, which is certified organic and soy free, that we purchase from Raub Rae Farm in Brown City. Because of the very low eggs to feed ratio, maintaining our flock is very expensive. In 2015 alone Stone Coop Farm paid $2,000 more in feed than we received in payment for eggs. This excludes labor to maintain the flock.
In order to help preserve the genetic diversity of chickens, and continue to provide our members with high quality, nutritious eggs, we will be raising the price of our eggs in January 2016 to $9.00 per dozen. We hope you will help us maintain our flock by continuing to purchase our eggs. For more information on heritage breeds please visit: Livestock Breed Conservancy
Thank you from All the Chickens and the Stone Coop Farmers!
We have lovely chickens at Stone Coop Farm. Most are heritage breedvarieties. We enjoy sharing them with people of all ages. Folks are first amazed with the rainbow color of feathers as well as the beautiful assortment of egg colors from white, cream, tan, brown, green and pale blue. Some people want the full experience of holding them and feeling their incredibly soft feathers. Others want to gather the eggs. And letting them out first thing in the morning for their breakfast is a sight to see!
Demand for our eggs is high and we often struggle to have enough. Our egg price has not gone up in several years, and each year we loose over $2000 in chicken feed alone. So we have two choices, get rid of our chickens or increase the price of our eggs. Let me explain why it costs more to have heritage breed chickens and why Stone Coop Farm has decided to continue raising them.
Hamburg Chicken - Watch List
Beth with a Leghorn Rooster - Recovering List
Joannee with Brahma and Orpington Hens - Watch & Recovering Lists
Muttonchops, our Araucana Rooster and his ladies
Our Australorp Rooster, Chantecler, and a Barrred Rock Hen - both on Recovering List