We raise chickens, heritage turkeys and ducks on our ranch. Our daughters’ hens lay beautiful colored eggs and spend their day in dry/green pastures year around. Dry in the summer and sometimes fall, the pastures go green in the winter and spring. Their movable coops follow them as they are moved routinely through the different paddocks on our ranch.
Our oldest daughter loves her heritage breed turkeys. She has Blue Slate, Royal Palm, Bourbon Red, Black Spanish, Bronze, and Narragansett turkeys. Her birds benefit from the late spring and summer food sources. Turkeys are intelligent and very particular about their surroundings and food sources. They thrive on the crickets and grasshoppers as well as the seeds and grains in the mature grasses. They enjoy picking their food from the tall grasses and weeds. They scratch for beetles and grubs around the base of the trees and bath in the fine dry clay soil here on the ranch. They lay eggs from March through August.
Our middle daughter is affectionately known as The Chicken Whisperer; if we let her, she would spend almost the whole day with her birds, petting them and listening to them and feeding them treats. She has one flock of Brahma hens (Light, Dark, and Buff) which are very large and docile birds. These birds do very well in both the heat and the cold. This is why you will see more of their light brown eggs in your cartons throughout the summer. Her second flock of chickens are composed of smaller breeds who lay blue, green, olive, white, and chocolate colored eggs. These are the rare breeds and crosses of rare breeds. Some of these breeds are Lavendar Orpinton, Dorking, Steel Egger, Olive Egger, Lakeshore Egger, Green Queen, and Blue Copper Marans.
Our youngest daughter just started with a small flock of ducks. These birds lay whit and blue eggs. She has Khaki Campbells, Mallard, and Runner Ducks. Runner Ducks were historically called weeder ducks as they originated in Asia for the weeding of rice fields. They were used here in California along with geese to weed grain and cotton fields in times past. They have an insatiable appetite for snails and slugs which makes them highly valued by diversified farms and ranches like ours.
We source minerals and feed with great care for all of our animals and trees here on our ranch. Although we are not certified grass based or organic, everything we purchase for our animals is scrutinized for its authenticity of being organic or non gmo. This is why we buy from local organic growers and mills. I know where the hay is grown, how it is grown, and how it is harvested. Grains are hard if they are milled to powder or meal, which is why we have moved steadily towards whole fermented grains. When we do buy chicken feed it comes exclusively from Hunt & Behrens in Petaluma California. Their integrity is superb and that goes a long way when you are trying to source local and organic, which is what they do. They avoid the organic grains coming through certain ports and from areas of the globe that do not have integrity in heir labels and certificatio