Help to Preserve Rare Heritage Breeds

| 5/9/2014 8:43:00 AM

Tags: heritage breeds, Ohio, Mary Lou Shaw,

new Dutch Belted heifer

We have had a variety of heritage breed animals on our Ohio farm. We want to help save their genetics by raising them and their off-spring. Our lives are enriched not only by their presence, but also because of their produce.We currently have Dutch Belted cows, Narragansett turkeys, Dorking chickens and Red Wattle hogs. These old breeds are a pleasure to work with, satisfying to help preserve and provide excellent food. I’d like to add honey bees to that list not only because of their important role in homesteading, but because the chemicals in our conventionally-farmed environment makes saving them such a challenge.

In the last few years we have stepped to a new level in preserving these old breeds; we are learning ways of sharing not only their produce but also their genetics.

This spring we have had people from West Virginia come to pick up Dorking eggs for incubating. I recently shipped a dozen Narragansett turkey eggs to a family in Missouri and a Virginia couple has just bought one of our new Dutch Belted heifers. One turkey hen went to a local family. A tom-turkey and two hens went to another. Two local families have left bee equipment with us so that we can supply them with our spring bee swarms.

I enjoy sharing these precious animals for a variety of reasons. First, our little homestead can’t keep growing indefinitely. It will support only so many cows and poultry and I can care for only so many beehives.

Secondly, these breeds are quite rare and their genetics are precious. It enriches my life to be part of saving these breeds. It is also a pleasure to be able to enable others to have these animals on their homesteads.

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