We here at Sugar Feather Farm in Vermont, strive to be continually educated on farming and fowl practices, or any homesteading topics we feel will benefit the farm. We know fowl! We live it daily! Having continuing education in agriculture, attending seminars, classes and workshops regularly. We also read and educate ourselves with the latest poultry science while seeking any natural alternatives that are studied and based on fact. We work with top nutritionists, Poultry Scientists and Master Breeders. We are part of clubs, organizations, and members of top breeding programs in the United States.
We find there is a lot of misinformation out there and a lot of people claiming to be experts so we compile the information and do our best to use what we think will work, if not we go back and try something else. Welcome to farming! We are relatively new farmers so education is important to us.
Educating Our Customers
We love to teach and educate our customers, teachers, children and all who have a desire to learn about these beautiful and unique breeds. We offer the following services:
• Online Consultations
• School presentations or spring incubating and hatching
• Advice at your home
What is a hybrid? – A hybrid chicken is a bird that has been bred mixing different breeds together to produce one that excels at egg laying. They are very hardy, healthy birds. All brown egg laying chickens are based on the Rhode Island Red – All white egg laying chickens are based on the White Leghorn.
PURE BREED CHICKENS
What is a pure breed? – A pure breed chicken is a chicken that is true, meaning the young will always resemble their parents. All pure breeds have their own standards (what the breed is required to look like, i.e. the shape, color and size)
Landraces aren’t really breeds at all, and the poultry species isn’t the only species with landraces. Landraces are groups and types of animals that have been developed over time to adapt to their natural environment. They are generally in better health, adapt quickly, great parents, amazing foragers, and quick on their feet to get away from predators.
If you’re looking for an extremely self-sufficient chicken in every way — foraging, breeding, raising chicks, and protective — landraces are for you.
We suggest reading our blog post “What are Heritage Breeds.” But also here is the Livestock Conservancy definition of a heritage chicken. This would generally apply to many of the fowl we keep here on the farm. Below is their definition:
Heritage Chicken must adhere to all the following:
APA Standard Breed
Heritage Chicken must be from parent and grandparent stock of breeds recognized by the American Poultry Association (APA) prior to the mid-20th century; whose genetic line can be traced back multiple generations; and with traits that meet the APA Standard of Perfection guidelines for the breed. Heritage Chicken must be produced and sired by an APA Standard breed. Heritage eggs must be laid by an APA Standard breed.
Heritage Chicken must be reproduced and genetically maintained through natural mating. Chickens marketed as Heritage must be the result of naturally mating pairs of both grandparent and parent stock.
Long, productive outdoor lifespan
Heritage Chicken must have the genetic ability to live a long, vigorous life and thrive in the rigors of pasture-based, outdoor production systems. Breeding hens should be productive for 5-7 years and roosters for 3-5 years.
Slow growth rate
Heritage Chicken must have a moderate to slow rate of growth, reaching appropriate market weight for the breed in no less than 16 weeks. This gives the chicken time to develop strong skeletal structure and