Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Heritage Breed shortage in Canada

This is our first turkey egg, from our naraganset hen. We're very excited about. Our happiness is mixed with sadness though... We've recently discovered that the 2 Canadian hatcheries can't supply the older "broad breasted bronzes" that was the closest ones to heritage available. Wow! Major wrench in our plans. We can still get broad breasted bronzes, but it will be a new, faster growing type. Not what we're going for. This means 2 things to us.

Firstly, we'll be working so much harder to get where Daniel and I want to be. It's always been our goal to have our own breeding stock and have our very own chicklings (a very technical word, for cute baby birds) of heritage breeds. Now it'll just need to happen so much sooner than we expected. Remember that first, beautiful egg from our hen? We're going to need a lot more of those.

Secondly, it is a sobering reminder of how today's food production system relies so heavily on commercialization. Many of these awesome birds are getting much more difficult to obtain. Rochester just doesn't have them because of a salmonella outbreak, but, the fact of the matter is that fewer and fewer hatcheries are carrying heritage varieties.

A lot of the heritage breeds are disappearing because they're not considered commercially viable. As in, they don't grow fast enough. That scares me.

Here are some reasons why we need to give a damn about heritage creatures from chickens, ducks and turkeys to pigs and goats:

1) have a good balance of flavor, and growth ( slower growth is much better for the animal)

2) they're self-sufficient, meaning they are willing and able to go out and about and forage (for ex, commercial meat birds are bred to grow so fast they actually out grow their skeletons)

3) they can naturally mate ( especially apparent in turkeys, commercial turkeys have such large chests they are physically unable to mount a hen, that sucks!)

4) have more genetic diversity

If you're interested in learning more about heritage breeds, check out the following links:




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