It all started with chickens, when the Curbstone Valley Coop was founded with a small flock of Buff Orpington hens, the first year we started the farm.
We have had a variety of breeds over the years, residing in the coop including Buff Orpingtons, Delawares, Partridge Plymouth Rocks, Golden Laced Wyandottes, and Black Australorps.
We free range the hens under the watchful eyes of our resident livestock guardian dogs, who are ever alert watching for bobcats, and foxes, that will freely hunt even during the day.
We currently have a small flock of aging Dark Brahmas. We fell in love with the breed’s personality after raising our first Brahma rooster, Frodo, some years ago. Of all the roosters we had known over the years, he was the most placid, and personable. The breed, in our experience, is incredibly friendly and gregarious, which fits well with the daily activity on the farm, and our farm visitors. Unfortunately, being a dual-purpose breed, the hens are not as prolific egg layers as the Orpingtons. As this flock ages out, we will likely return to a flock of Buff Orpingtons. We are not particularly fond of raising mixed flocks, as there tends to be more drama between breeds.
The original Buff Orpington flock is now long gone, but they enjoyed a long and productive life. Our retirees, Babs, Ginger, and Sweet-Pea lived in a custom-built ark in the kitchen garden to keep them secure at night. During the day they were excellent bug catchers, consumers of weeds, and efficient kitchen waste recyclers. In return they supplied us with lovely fresh brown organic eggs, and an almost endless supply of free fertilizer for the gardens. The ark worked wonderfully for recharging fallow garden beds over the winter months, and we are seriously considering a similar set up as our current flock of Brahmas moves toward retirement.
In addition to the chickens we used to raise heritage turkeys, including Red Bronze, Standard Bronze, and Bourbon Red.
Heritage turkey breeds, like the Standard Bronze, are slow growing, can mate naturally, unlike their Broad-Breasted Bronze counterparts, and are long-lived. Our last aged tom, Jake Jr. (J.J.), is proving that longevity. While we no longer raise turkeys, J.J. was hatched on the farm, and has been a fixture now for almost 10 years, and looks as handsome as ever.
While we enjoy having J.J. here, our local wild flocks of turkeys that roam through the farm at this location make it difficult to free-range turkeys here. These wild counterparts can be particularly aggressive toward J.J., although interestingly, they leave our chickens alone. J.J. will live out his life here, in comfortable retirement though. They are interesting birds, with unique personalities, and interesting characters, but it’s difficult to keep them penned up to avoid conflicts with the wild birds that wander through, and see our birds as a threat.