We never had chickens growing up. Living in the heart of Nashville as a kid, I guess I never even saw a real chicken that wasn’t in a bucket with a colonel on it until I was a 7 or 8 years old and then it was in the form of an Easter gift for my sister. It was a pink chicken. We kept it in a pen at the back of our property. It grew and grew. Pink gave way to white and early one morning my dad came in the house with a sad look on his face. The chicken had vanished. Blood and feathers in the pen, but no chicken. My sister was crushed. In the years since, backyard poultry has become quite a phenomenon. It is now rather fashionable to “keep chickens”. Businesses such as Coop & Caboodle, a chicken rental business in Birmingham have cropped up.
During my recent visit to Moss Mountain Farm, home of Lifestyle and Gardening expert P. Allen Smith, I learned a lot of about poultry and the importance of preserving certain varieties of poultry. The Heritage Poultry Conservancy is dedicated to the preservation of heritage poultry varieties. We spent an entire afternoon in “Poultryville” and got some hands on knowledge of the care and keeping of chickens and ducks and geese.
The good folks at Hubbard life were on hand with advice and insights into what feed is best for your animals. They are experts in animal nutrition and have a great website www.HubbardLife.com
I put together a little video clip of my visit there. I hope you’ll take a moment and watch. Don’t know if you are aware, but many of these heritage varieties are near extinction or have been inbred to the point that they are half their original size.
P. Allen Smith told the group that “there has to be a way to preserve them”, bred them in such a way that they are restored to their original size and also as a means to encourage young people to get involved in growing and exhibiting poultry. I was inspired by this visit. I will be hunting up the poultry exhibits at our county fair this year and will tell everyone I know about the Heritage Poultry Conservancy at Moss Mountain Farm. Well done Allen.