Rare heritage breeds of livestock embody valuable genetic resources that can only be preserved through the continued stewardship of their kinds. We have a passion for preserving these living pieces of history.
In an era when it has become common practice for farms to rely completely on industrialized systems to supply livestock, we are striving to maintain small healthy breeding populations of a few rare breeds to keep them available as a resource for farmers and homesteaders. Breeding on the farm presents its own set of challenges that contribute to our production costs. However, we feel the effort is worthwhile so that these breeds can continue to exist and so that our animals can meet the highest level of quality.
Animals from our farm can be seen at living history museums including the Claude Moore Colonial Farm at Turkey Run, the Frontier Culture Museum and the Yorktown Victory Center. We would like to thank Claude Moore Farm for our Ossabaw Island pigs and for the eggs that yielded our first flock of Cotton Patch geese.
We would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all of our customers who purchased Thanksgiving turkeys in 2013. You played a vital roll in preserving rare breeds by provided the funds necessary to carry our breeding animals through the winter.
Our farm is home to the following rare breeds:
The classic American Thanksgiving turkey, this breed dates to the colonial period and was the pre-curser to the commercialized Broad-breasted Bronze turkey. Unlike the Broad-breasted variety, the Standard Bronze is long-lived, hardy and can reproduce naturally. They are voracious foragers and will keep a field mowed and de-bugged. Because they grow at a natural rate, taking at least six to eight months to reach butcher weight, these turkeys are the best you will ever taste. It closely resembles its ancestor, the Eastern Wild turkey, in conformation, but has a more domesticated personality. Standard Bronze turkeys also make great pets that will live for many years. We are actively engaged in the preservation of this breed through our breeding program. Read more…
Purchasing Live Turkeys:
If you are interested in purchasing live turkeys for breeding stock or pets, we usually have some available in the Fall. Mature turkeys are $75 each for toms and hens. Poults are available in limited quantity in the Spring for $10 each, straight run. All birds must be picked up on the farm. We do not ship birds. Contact us for availability.
These pigs are descended from stock brought to the New World by Spanish explorers in the sixteenth-century. These pigs sharply contrast the large, industrialized breeds, more closely resembling wild pigs and are also considered a good representation of the domestic pigs of the colonial period. They boast incredible flavor and are gaining popularity once more among sustainable pastured pork producers, although they are still listed as critically endangered by the ALBC. We use our pigs as living “bush hoggers” for cleaning up overgrown areas and removing invasive species, as well as for turning compost. Read more…
Purchasing Live Pigs:
We have weaned pigs available every few months. Contact us for availability.
It was through the efforts of Mark See, Phil Sponnenberg, Dr. Tom Walker and the ALBC that this breed was saved from the brink of extinction, and they are still listed as critically endangered by the ALBC. Believed to be descended from stock brought to America from England in the seventeenth-century, these geese were used for meat, eggs, grease and weeding cotton and cornfields on farms throughout the southeast until about the 1950s. Their numbers began to decline as farms became more mechanized, and by the 1980s only a few isolated populations could be found. One of the few auto-sexing breeds of geese (males and females can be identified by color, even at hatch), Cotton Patch geese are docile and retain the ability to fly. We use our geese as weeders in the garden and are actively engaged in the preservation of the breed through our breeding program. Read more…
Purchasing Live Geese:
Goslings are available each Spring. They are $50 each and sold in pairs or trios. We try to match unrelated pairs that can be raised for breeding since Cotton Patch Geese can be sexed at hatch by color. Mature breeding pairs are occasionally available and are $250 each. Sorry, we do not ship geese, they must be picked up on the farm. Contact us to be placed on our waiting list for goslings.
Dorking chickens are an ancient breed originating from England. They were very common on early American farms, but have now become exceptionally rare. They are of a heavy build with short legs and have traditionally been esteemed as an exceptional table fowl. Dorkings are cold hardy, and retain natural mothering instincts. Exactly when Dorking chickens arrived in America is a bit of a mystery. We do know they were well distributed here before 1840, and were even shown at the first poultry show in America in 1849. By 1904 they were the most popular breed in their native England. We are actively engaged in the preservation of this breed through our breeding program. Read more…
Purchasing Live Chickens:
We have limited numbers of Dorkings available for sale during the year. Chicks are $6 each. Older birds are priced according to their age. All birds must be picked up on the farm. We do not ship birds. Contact us for availability.
The only breed of sheep to originate from Virginia, and one of the few feral populations found in the world, these are descended from sheep brought to Hog Island during the colonial period. The population remained isolated for centuries and was shaped through natural selection rather than human intervention. They are considered a good representation of historic sheep of the colonial period. The breed is listed as critically endangered by the ALBC. We are actively engaged in the preservation of this breed through our breeding program. Read more…
We are a member of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, the pioneer, non-profit organization in the U.S. organization working to conserve historic breeds and genetic diversity in livestock.