Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Barred Hollands writes: I'm looking for Barred Hollands this year, I have a few chicks and just getting started and need more to add to the diversity of the flock.

Duane Urch of Urch-Turnland Poultry in Minnesota, 507-451-6782,, has Barred Hollands, Five Hills Farm. He's one of the most respected judges in the country, well known for high quality birds.This picture is from
Tracy Jenner in Florida, 352-489-4937, has Hollands, listed in the ALBC Directory. Also Robert Perdue at Waccamaw Poultry in North Carolina, 910-770-2408,; Neil Perin of Arcadian Acres  in Ohio, 740-753-4333,; Lamar Knudsen of South Carolina,; and Terry and Linda Neal at Neal's Farm in Tennessee, 931-967-4202,

The ALBC Directory doesn't specify Barred Hollands, but since no one has seen any white ones since I don't know when, it's safe to assume theirs are barred. Barred Hollands were always more popular with farmers.

Hollands are a composite breed, based on stock originally brought from Holland. White Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, New Hampshires and Lamonas were added to the original stock in the 1930s by Rutgers Breeding Farm. Barred Hollands were developed from White Leghorns, Barred Plymouth Rocks, Australorps and Brown or Black Leghorns. They were admitted to the Standard in 1949.

The Holland is a heavy breed, weighing 8 1/2 pounds for roosters and 6 1/2 pounds for hens. The type is not the same but they are essentially the same size as a Rock, yet they lay a white egg like a Leghorn.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Sebastopol geese

Dave Kozakiewicz of Hindsight Farms in Ann Arbor, Michigan sent these beautiful photos of his Sebastopol geese for use with the article in the April/May issue of Backyard Poultry. There wasn't space for all of his photos in the magazine, so I post some here for your enjoyment:

 Dave calls these Sunset on the Tundra:


Sebastopol geese look as if someone curled their feathers. Their soft, flowing ruffles give them the appearance of fantastic dream birds. Their feathers are as much as four times as long as normal feathers, with flexible shafts that spiral, draping down to the ground. Traditionally white, their fanciers are experimenting with breeding them in buff, blue, gray, and saddleback color varieties. Konecny calls them “the Silkies of the goose world.”

Despite their decorative appearance, they are an ancient utility breed, hardy and respectable egg layers of 25-35 eggs a year. The breed is associated with Eastern Europe, around the Danube River and the Black Sea.

Sebastopols’ unusual appearance attracts owners who are inclined to keep them as ornamental birds and as companion birds. Keep docile Sebastopols away from aggressive birds. They enjoy bathing those lovely feathers in clean water. They aren’t good flyers, with those long, soft feathers. Their loose feathers make them appreciate protection when it’s especially cold, wet and windy.

Those long feathers may interfere with successful breeding. Feathers around the vent can be clipped to improve nature’s chances.

Their popularity sometimes pressures breeders to misrepresent less desirable birds. Unscrupulous exhibitors may pull straight feathers, an exhibition defect, from their birds.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Locally Laid

Locally Laid is a family egg operation near Duluth, Minnesota. Jason and Lucie Amundsen decided 200 miles was too far for eggs to travel, which they discovered was the closest egg farm. They took up the challenge and started their own. They now have about 5,000 hens. It's been dark and cold in Minnesota, and laying is way down, but production is gradually resuming as the days grow longer.
They are supplying grocery stores and local eateries and institutions in their area. How refreshing that St. Luke's Hospital buys their eggs! They are paying attention to their patients' nutritional needs as well as tempting their faded appetites.

Lucie is a graduate student in writing, so she's articulate in describing the family's experiences. Check out her blog.

This kind of family-sized poultry operation is an important step toward sustainable local food systems. Every customer who buys eggs from Locally Laid is one less for the industrial battery cage system.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

Coop tours

Spring brings -- chicken coop tours! Austin's is coming up March 30. The site isn't updated much since last year, but they have a Facebook page that's more current.
Coop tours are organized in lots of cities. Mother Nature Network put Austin's at the top of its list of the best six. They honor Alameda, California, Davis, California, Madison, Wisconsin, Denver, Colorado and Seattle, Washington. Last year, the New York Times singled out Davis' tour.

Raleigh, North Carolina's Tour d'Coop has enthusiastic organizers and great coops. It will kick off with a party April 21, building excitement until the actual tour, May 18. Check out some of their local coops on their web site. Dare I mention that the contact person is M'Liss Koopman?

These citites have coop tours:

Alameda, California, May
Albuquerque, New Mexico, July
Atlanta, Georgia, Urban Chicken Coop Tour, May
Austin, Texas, Funky Chicken Coop Tour, April
Bend, Oregon, May
Dallas, Texas, A Peep at the Coops, April,
Davis, California Tour de Cluck, May
Denver, Colorado, October
Jackson County, southern Illinois, Coops du Jour, June
Milton, Massachusetts Tour de Coops, October
Phoenix, Arizona Tour de Coops
Pioneer Valley, Massachusetts, April
Portland, Oregon, July
Raleigh, North Carolina, May
Salt Lake City, Utah, Tour de Coops, June
Seattle, Washington, July
Spokane, Washington, June

If your city isn't on this list, you can organize one. Be the change you want to see.