Wednesday, June 10, 2009

SVF Foundation Open House Pt. 3 - Exotic Fowl

One of the cooler things about the SVF Foundation's annual open house is the first part of the farm operation you come to after entering at the Beacon Hill Rd. entrance - the chicken coops. And these are definitely not you Grandma's chickens from down on the farm; there are some pretty exotic-looking poultry fowl here. Unfortunately due to weather and atmospheric conditions this year the birds were kept in the coop. Luckily I have some good shots from last year's open house, so all is not lost. Let's go look at some crazy birds!

This is a Dominique. The breed dates back to the early settlements in New England. It was the dominant American yard bird until the Rhode Island Red was developed in Little Compton in the late 1700s (most American yard flocks from the 1800s on were predominantly RI Red and/or Sussex breeds).

These are Guinea fowl. I seem to remember seeing "Guinea hens" on some of the Amish farms up in Lancaster County, PA during my childhood in MD. They are noisy critters, and set up a noise like an old Model T Ford creaking and sputtering down the road. For this reason they're also nicknamed "Barnyard Watchdogs". They also seem to be good at keeping the resident insect population under control, especially ticks. Hmmmm... As odd as they look and as obnoxious as they sound, it looks like there's good reason to keep them around!

This is an Americauna. The breed was developed from the South American Araucana breed. They're also called "Easter Egg birds" because they lay green to blue (and all the shades between) eggs.

Alright, who thought giving this bird a perm was a good idea?! Heh, heh! This is an Appenzeller Hobenfitzer, which comes from the Appenzeller farming region of the Swiss Alps. Well, they are living on the Swiss Village Farm, after all! I just love the almost Kliban-like patterns those black and white feathers create. That and the mop top make this bird the most popular with the annual visitors, especially the younger ones.

This is a Spangled Hamburg rooster; isn't he a beauty? And a dead ringer for Foghorn Leghorn! Spangled Hamburgs are one of the oldest known European breeds, and were probably established in England during the Roman invasion of the 4th Century CE.

And of course the whole reason for the SVF Foundation - a new generation to carry on the genes of the heritage breeds.

Finally, here is the sign identifying the various breeds, propped up in front of the coops so we could all ID the birds we were looking at. If you click on this photo it'll open up a full 1024 x 768 resolution file so you can take a close look at all the heritage breed poultry fowl the SVF is currently preserving.

And that ends the tour of the Swiss Village Farm open house. I hope you've enjoyed your time here.

© 2008 & 2009 by A. Roy Hilbinger


  1. the pic of the next generation!

  2. I'm reminded of Billy Joe Shaver's "Black Rose" (video here).

    Way down in Virginia
    Amongst the tall grown sugar canes
    Lived a simple man and a dominiker hen
    And a rose of a different name.

    Well, the first time I felt lightning
    I was standing in the drizzling rain
    With a trembling hand and a bottle of gin
    And a rose of a different name.

    Well, the devil made me do it the first time
    The second time I done it on my own
    Lord, put a handle on a simple headed man
    And help me leave that black rose alone.

    --- Instrumental ---

    When the devil made that woman
    Lord, she threw the pattern away
    She was built for speed with the tools you need
    To make a new fool every day.

    Way down deep and dirty
    On the darker side of shame
    I caught a cane cuttin' man with a bottle of gin
    With a rose of a different name.

    The devil made me do it the first time
    The second time I done it on my own
    Lord, put a handle on a simple headed man
    Help me leave that black rose alone.

    The devil made me do it the first time
    The second time I done it on my own
    Lord, put a handle on a simple headed man
    Help me leave that black rose alone...

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