Heirloom Seeds & Poultry
1878 230th Street, Calamus, IA 52729
We will be using this page to provide information about things such as breeding philosophy, productivity and all poultry related items
I. Poultry Breeding Philosophy
With all of the issues in the poultry industry the past few years we feel this is a good time to explain how we operate. We want to explain our breeding philosophy to make sure each of our potential and returning customers understands our goals, philosophy, and mission. It is not our intent to criticize or challenge any particular group for their practices; we simply want to explain our driving forces (reasons) behind our passion.
We respect the large scale operations for their purpose though we feel there are more sustainable options. We appreciate their ability to produce large amounts of food at low cost regardless of season. We also respect the strict poultry fancier whose main goal is to create a show winner. We also understand the large scale hatchery which chooses to offer breeds with a steady chick supply. We are unique in what we are doing and do not fit into any of these categories. We want you to understand this prior to ordering. The following are the guidelines we use to maintain our flocks and breeding programs:
1. All breeds within the APA standard are selected to those standards. We do, however, do not discard a bird from our breeding program for minor flaws, such as an extra point on a comb or a slightly off color eye, if the bird has other desirable traits. Our goal is to maintain genetic diversity and all defining characteristics.
2.We do not replace all of our breeders every year. We prefer to check the longevity and long productivity of a breed . We feel this is important to see how sustainable a breed is. Our goal is to produce long lived, productive birds.
3. We do not have climate controlled pens and, therefore, our birds are subjected to the true rigors of the environment. They are provided dry, fresh bedding and, of course are always provided with fresh water and food. We firmly believe it is important that survival of a breed is based on how it can handle the real world. Our goal is to produce birds that can withstand many different environments. We believe our birds are healthier when they are subjected to real world conditions and not isolated from the outside environment. Therefore, our birds are exposed to the outside world, soil, fresh grass, rain, sunshine, and all that is out there. Our goal is to produce birds that will thrive for many generations to come.
4. We do not vaccinate day-old poultry. We do not have a serious Mareks problem here and do not wish to bring the vaccine on the farm. Our goal is to produce birds that can withstand common environmental stresses.We do annual tests on the breeders for pullorum-typhoid and Avian Influenza. Our goal is to send you the healthiest birds we can.
5. Our replacement breeders, during their youth, get to run free range in a large orchard and are gathered and selected as Winter nears for the desired traits for their particular breed. We do not believe it is proper to raise them in a “plastic bubble” where they do not have access to fresh grass, insects, and contact with the outside world. The Avian Flu outbreak kept issuing more and more information that it is unsafe to raise your birds in contact with nature. I do not think it is realistic or proper to isolate poultry from the world. We cannot kill every wild bird to protect our poultry, nor should we. We instead should select our breeders from the survivors of exposure to the outside world. Our goal is to let nature run its course and only use birds of superior genetics as our brood stock.
6. We always select to maintain the unique traits for the breeds such as broodiness, foraging ability, etc. We feel color patterns are not the only thing, a breed has many things to consider when selecting the ideal specimen. Our goal is to continue the genetic diversity that was established generations ago.
7. Many of the birds obtained from us can go on to win at shows and many will become excellent layers or producers of meat. However, we do not guarantee show quality as even the best parents can produce offspring with disqualifications. Our goal is that you would cull out the less desirable individuals.
8. We do not sell sexed chicks because we believe, to promote genetic conservation, we want to encourage others to adopt a breed, if possible, and you need both genders. It is also not fair to sex out extra females and leave another person with more males or be forced to “dispose of” the unwanted males. Our goal is that YOU would start to raise these wonderful breeds.
9. We do not sell hatching eggs as our experience, both sending and receiving, has not been favorable enough to warrant the loss of genetic material through damaged eggs. Our goal is that you would be pleased with your purchase.
10. We do not allow visitors to the farm, both to comply with NPIP regulations and to prevent biosecurity issues. Our goal is to keep our birds safe from outside diseases that could close our facility.
We are hopeful the above information can answer many of the questions we get about our practices here. We want everyone to know in advance exactly what our goals and mission are. We have no hidden agenda and have no other facilities that we drop ship from. When you order birds from us the parents were grown and are taken care of here on our farm each and every day. The eggs were gathered here, washed, set in the incubators, and are shipped to you from our farm. We are just as likely to tell you of the faults of a breed as well as its strengths. There are no sales pitches or glossy enhanced photos. We attempt to take careful data and maintain each of the breeds we have in our care.
II. POULTRY GLOSSARY
1. Comb Descriptions
Buttercup - A cup shaped crown with evenly spaced points surrounding the rim.
Cushion - Low, compact, smooth, with no spikes.
Pea - Medium low with three lengthwise ridges, center ridge is slightly higher.
Rose - Solid, broad, flat, low and fleshy, terminating in a spike. Top of comb should have small protuberances.
Single - Thin, fleshy, extending full length of the head.
Walnut - Comb resembles a half of a walnut.
2. Blue Genetics - Basic Mendelian genetics lack of dominance. A blue to blue mating will result in 50% blue offspring, 25% black, and 25% of what is called splash. Splash can be various shade but is basically a “dirty” bluish white with darker bluish black splotches. Do not expect 100% blue chicks from us when ordering a blue breed. It is best to keep blues, blacks, and splashes together in the same pen. A black to splash mating produces blue.
3. Frizzle Gene - This is the gene which makes the feathers curl up instead of lie flat. Not all babies are frizzled. A double expression of the gene presents a pleiotropic condition where the birds have almost no feathers and several other conditions that retard growth and immune system problems. Remember when making a breeding pen that a 100% Frizzle rooster with a 100% Frizzle hen will produce some chicks with problems. You need to keep both non-frizzled and frizzled birds in the same breeding pen.
4. Broody - A hen which is allowed to set on a clutch of eggs for the purpose of hatching them out as chicks. Or the term “go broody” means when a hen gets the desire to set on a clutch of eggs and quits producing eggs.
5. Free-Range - To allow poultry to roam around unconfined by pens and search for their own food. Some supplemental food may be given and still be able to call them free range.
III. VISITS AND OTHER INFORMATION
We appreciate the interest folks have in viewing our operation. However, we must inform you that as part of the NPIP certification we must operate a closed facility to prevent the introduction of disease. For that reason, we are no longer allowing visitors to our poultry operation. We are not trying to hide anything, but just have to be careful to maintain a reasonable level of bio-security.
ABSOLUTELY NO VISITS WILL BE ALLOWED
We are members of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP # 42-278). Therefore, all of our breeding stock is blood tested annually for pullorum-typhoid. We also test bi-annually for Avian Influenza.
We are a breed preservation facility. We do not drop ship. Poultry is priced according to the difficulty of obtaining the product, not the rarity of the breed. The more expensive it is, the fewer of that item we are able to produce.
We are also a no kill chick facility. We adjust our hatches accordingly to hatch numbers of day-olds within reason. This means we do not have many extras with no homes to go to. It also means we can not usually meet last minute orders wanting immediate delivery. This does not mean that we do not cull out defective birds. It simply means that we do not “overhatch” to have extras with no home that have to be disposed of. All extras that we hatch are distributed through our various assortments.
IV. NEW BOOKS
STOREY’S GUIDE TO RAISING POULTRY 4th Edition was released in 2012. It is 454 pages chocked full of information any poultry raiser can use. I wrote this book to help answer many of the common questions a beginner would have when it comes to raising any of the many types of poultry. This book is a great place to start when you are considering starting an adventure with poultry. $20.00
Storey released my second book, a small information manual for youth showing poultry. This book is a good beginners guide for anyone wanting to help a young person show poultry for a county or state fair. It comes from over 25 years experience as a county fair poultry judge with the many questions and issues I have dealt with over the years. The book entitled SHOWING POULTRY was released in February 2016. $9.00
The Society for the Preservation of Poultry Antiquities is an organization which works with, and recognizes, all breeds of domestic poultry (chickens, bantams, ducks, geese, and guineas). Their objectives are to perpetuate and improve rare breeds of poultry; to sponsor awards and shows to encourage more exhibiting and better breeding; and to help each other locate rare stock. If you wish to join the SPPA, please contact Dr. Charles R. H. Everett, 1057 Nick Watts Road, Lugoff, SC 29078
VI. EGG WEIGHTS BY BREED
This is a multi-year data. We take this data at the end of July. There is nothing truly scientific about it, so please don’t read too much into the numbers. A random dozen eggs is weighed from each breed. No attempt to select any size specimens is made. The more years we have had a breed, the more data is used in the average. PLEASE USE THIS INFORMATION AS A GUIDE ONLY!!
I. Jumbo (30+ oz./doz eggs)
Wheaten Maran, Blue Copper Maran
II. Extra Large (27-30 oz./doz eggs)
Welsummer, White Minorca, Black Copper Maran, Delaware, Erminette, Black Australorp, Black Orpington, Partridge Barnevelder, Buff Catalana, Partridge Penedescenca, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Blue Jersey Giant, Black Langshan, White Jersey Giant, Blue Langshan, Cuckoo Maran
III. Large (24-27 oz./doz eggs)
New Hampshire, Blue Andalusian, Colored Dorking, Red Dorking, White Orpington, Auburn Sumatra, Black Minorca, La Fleche, Ancona, Black Jersey Giant, Blue Orpington, Manx Rumpie, Rhode Island Red, Buckeye, Buff Minorca, Blue Ameraucana, Salmon Faverolle, Ameraucana, Blue Wyandotte, Black Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, Rose Comb Rhode Island Red, Rose Comb Red Dorking, Golden Lakenvelder, Rose Comb Colored Dorking, Dark Grey Dorking, Flame Jaerhon, Partridge Rock, Crevecoeur, White Dorking, Black Dorking, Black Penedescenca, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Mottled Java, Rose Comb Rhode Island White
IV. Medium (21-24 oz./doz eggs)
Dominique, Exchequer Leghorn, Lakenvelder, Speckled Sussex, Mahogany Faverolle, Buff Laced Polish, Barred Holland, Partridge Chantecler, White Crested Black Polish, Black Polish, Black Sumatra, Golden Campine, White Chantecler, Buff Chantecler, Blue Laced Red Wyandotte, Cuckoo Dorking, Golden Polish, Spangled Russian Orloff, Light Sussex, Cuckoo Scots Dumpie,American Dumpie, Egyptian Fayoumi, Iowa Blue, Red Pyle Cubalaya, Columbian Wyandotte, Black Leghorn, Light Grey Dorking, Black Crested Blue Polish, Black Shamo, Black Wyandotte, Red Chantecler, Black Breasted Red Kraienkoppe, Mahogany Orloff, Muffed Old English Game, Redcap, Frizzled Black Sumatra, Black Breasted Red Cubalaya, Blue Polish, Buttercup, Dark Shamo, Icelandic, Mille Fleur Leghorn, Norwegian Jaerhon
V. Small (18-21 oz./doz eggs)
Silver Polish, Golden Penciled Hamburg, Silver Kraienkoppe, Silver Penciled Hamburg