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Small Scale Farming - We Eat What We Grow!
We originated as a 2 generation from in Mill Bay, Vancouver Island (B.C. Canada), roughly in 2006 when we transitioned to poultry from horses and goats. Over time we have become a 3 generation operation that has our original farm in Mill Bay, as well as a second farm (Briarwood Acres) just outside of Sherwood Park, Alberta. We work together between the 2 farms, particularly on projects or "rare" breeds where we would hate to see all of our hard work wiped out by an unfortunate event on one farm (such as predators, etc). We share 1 email address and do make trips every few months from one farm to the other, which enables us to provide customers in both locations with chicks and hatching eggs, as available.
We are very dedicated to preserving rare heritage breeds of chickens, while improving quality and type of the breed and sharing them with fellow enthusiasts.
Part of our philosophy is to eat what we grow. How can we promote a bird as dual purpose if we never process them and find out how they dress out for the table? Our extra dual purpose cockerels are raised for the table if they don't cut it for the breeding pen.
We really believe in and promote small scale, sustainable farming. Our birds are raised in a way that best benefits the land and the well being of the animal. Tractors are moved to till and fertilize different areas of the soil, and the hens aren't stressed by high pressure to lay with constant artificial lights and super high protein feed. They moult when they need to, naturally!
We raise chickens that are beautiful and serve a purpose. All of our breeds are classed as dual purpose, meaning they are suitable to lay a decent amount of eggs yet they are still suitable as a table bird. There is one exception to this - our bantams are not terribly suitable for meat as they are quite small (ranging from 3-5lbs).
So, you may ask "Why is there so much variation from bird to bird within one breed?" Well, many breeds have a breed standard, found in the Standard of Perfection published by the APA or American Poultry Association. We select our breeding flocks to conform as closely to the standard as possible. This means that we source out our poultry from small scale heritage breeders all across Canada, and use some lines that have been brought in from the USA, Australia or England.
Our set up at both farms is very similar. Our poultry is raised on a small hobby farm that is made up of several different pens. We also have a large field area that we allow birds to free range in. We have several smaller tractors (moveable chicken pens) that we use to keep breeding groups in. Each day, a different group is let out to free range in the field, and we alternate groups so everyone gets a turn to stretch their legs and wings in a big way, and scratch around in the different scenery of the field. This way, our birds are eating fresh greens daily, as well as getting the exercise and socialization they need.
Our flocks are fed a breeder/free range crumbled ration, as well as hen scratch, grain, and other veggies and treats. As mentioned, they free range as much as possible in each situation, and they never live in groups smaller then 3 as they are social creatures! We are hormone free and use limited antibiotics. We do use medicated chick starter as it seems to help our chicks thrive and get a healthy start. We do use vitamins and minerals, diatomaceous earth, and apple cider vinegar to help keep our poultry healthy!
Please let us know if you have any questions or comments. We enjoy our chickens - they give us unlimited entertainment in addition to providing us with healthy, wholesome eggs and meat.