The American Guinea Hog is a landrace breed unique to the United States; it is the once-popular homestead hog or yard pig. As the habit of keeping homestead hogs disappeared, Guinea Hogs became increasingly uncommon. The breed has been saved from extinction through the efforts of a handful of farmers, but is still extremely rare. The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy conservation status of the American Guinea Hog is currently listed as “critical.”
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I can’t even begin to express how much I love our Bourbon Red Turkeys. They are vicious little things when they’re babies (if you don’t believe me, watch one baby turkey drag another baby around by it’s little toothpick leg) and then they turn into funny, proud, beautiful birds as adults. It’s hard for me to say what my favorite animal is on the ranch, but our Bourbon Red Turkeys are really up there.
Bourbon red turkeys are what finally took us from city people to country people. We had raised a few birds and butchering them was hard. That is until we tasted how good the bourbon red was. After that thanksgiving, we never bought turkey (or any meat) from a store again and we were on board with truly farming. You absolutely can’t compare store bought from farm fresh and grass fed.
These birds proportionally have much smaller breasts, darker leg meat and are generally gamier in flavor than broad-breasted whites raised on large, modern poultry farms. Heritage birds are also typically older than faster-growing, broad-breasted birds at the age of processing — 26 to 28 weeks compared to 14 to 18 weeks — which can result in a more textured or flavorful meat.
Cotton Patch geese are extremely rare and hard to find. Our geese are wonderful! I love these guys. They follow you around everywhere, they climb into your lap to take a nap and best of all they AREN’T AGGRESSIVE!! Our geese don’t bite and rarely hiss. Geese that show ANY aggression are culled from the flock. We breed our geese for friendliness, meat production and weeding abilities (they were originally used to weed the cotton fields of the south until chemicals were brought in and made them “useless”). No more locking your geese up and never interacting with them. No more running from a flock of honking terrorists. No more bruises or broken skin. Help preserve this endangered goose and enjoy doing it!!
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The dorking is both large bodied and fine boned. Because of this, it has a better meat to offal ratio.
The history of chickens revolve around the Dorking. The Dorking chicken is one of the oldest breeds dating back to ancient rome. When America was being colonized, the Dorking was hugely popular as a meat bird until the development of the Plymouth Rock, which…was bred from a cross of Dorking and Black Cochin hens (J. Robinson, 1921). The Plymouth Rock was shown in the Dorking class for many years. It is the cross of the Plymouth Rock and Cornish chicken, what is called the Cornish Cross chicken, that is today’s modern meat chicken. Point being that if you are looking for a heritage meat breed, you couldn’t choose better than the Dorking.
“It is also common cited as a point in favor of the Dorking that it has an extraordinary proportion of its meat on the breast and body, which furnish the “white meat,” and correspondingly less on the legs, the meat of which is dark in color. This point is of more importance in fowls sold to market…as between any two poultry carcasses that are fairly well heated that which has the better developed breast will be the most attractive.”
“Unless it is the Dorking….there is no breed of which it can be said that it is generally of superior table quality.”
“The English Dorkings at its best is perfection in meat type–considering quantity, distribution and quality of flesh. It has, with the maximum of flesh, the minimum of bones and offal.”
At the end of the day, chickens are bred for the table. All poultry, even most exhibition breeds in our opinion, should be bred with the ideal of whether it will make a good meal. Obviously this doesn’t mean that we should ignore breed standard, looks, feather quality and egg production. These are all very important too and good looks usually implies a healthy, quality table bird. It is simply that most breeders focus on these qualities rather than what we believe is the primary importance: does it make a good dinner. A beautiful bird can be an inferior meat bird.
Form is the first consideration in selecting dorking for table poultry as the form determines the amount and distribution of meat.
We are breeding for a bird that develops a bit faster (our goal is butcher ready by 4 months) with a bigger breast.
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