Sugar Feather Farm
We are a Vermont based family-run farm founded in 2018. We came from California with a vision to create a farm focused on education and sustainability. We not only care for our impact on the environment, but the welfare of our animals and the quality of our products. We are conveniently available online and right here at the farm with a trustworthy welcoming experience, so you always feel like part of the family.
Why Heritage Breeds?
Heritage breeds are critical to our ever rapidly growing industrial world. When we think of mass production animals they are industrial hybrids with low disease resistance and immunity plus rapid production which is not feasible in the long run. We can see this in our world today. When we think of heritage it reminds us of the past when farms were smaller more diverse and life was slower. These breeds from the past were molded and tailored to fit the specific local environment, type of farming and purpose, carefully selected over hundreds of animal generations and perfected. Heritage breeds have such rich history, it is fascinating to delve into this and find out about the breed, the why and how it became what it is.
Compared to industrial breeds, heritage breeds can have stronger immune systems, are naturally more disease resistant and are more capable of free-ranging and foraging. They were created with a purpose! They can reliably produce superior quality of meat and eggs without chemicals. For example, our chickens typically eat about 1/8 of a pound of feed daily, of their total daily need of about 1/3 of a pound of food. They are explorers! By seeking a heritage breed you are sustaining a breed that would otherwise be a memory and that is so important in todays world.
What is a landrace breed?
A landrace is an animal which has developed largely by natural processes, by adaptation to the natural environment in which it lives. It differs from a formal breed which has been bred deliberately to conform to a particular standard type, and could be APA approved. Some tend to focus on breeds that were primarily created by artificial selection; that is, chicken breeds created as a project with a specific goal in mind. Whereas a landrace basically creates itself over a substantial time span with minimal artificial intervention. When the landrace was created, there were some sort of standards or traits the breeders used – and we go into the past to find these standards.
Our farm has several landrace birds. We love to work with these breeds and see their natural curiosities come out and evolve. We delve into the past in their native country for example, to see what their use was. They were created for a reason. We like to breed to those tendencies while keeping their “wild” landrace attributes. It is fun and challenging at the same time.
Why we try not to use hatcheries
Typically those heritage or rare breeds for sale don’t measure up to the Standards of Breed Perfection of the APA, (American Poultry Association) – or the heritage and/or landrace traits and quality. Where or how they are produced is not small scale, largely unknown and not carefully bred for top immunity and genetic diversity. We have done several trials with purchasing these birds only to find them getting sick more often, dying quickly, while their egg production and looks are not superior to the legacy and heritage breeds we envision. Their principles are based on quantity not quality. For some that might be ok.
We are here to preserve, rescue and maintain these critically endangered animals which are the future of sustainable agriculture and the world. These animals fit well on small scale farms, homesteads, and anywhere you want to keep these breeds because they can match your environments. Let’s together preserve the legacy of our ancestors and get back to our roots!
Check out The Livestock Conservancy who helps preserve these animals.