Saturday, 10 May 2008

A Visit to Stone Meadow Farm

On Thursday morning I headed out to visit Stone Meadow Farm in Maryhill. I had met Janet Cox, one of the farmers, at the Taste of Woolwich evening, and made a note to visit there soon. She and her husband keep an eclectic band of poultry; chickens, ducks, geese and turkeys for meat and eggs.

Stone Meadow Indian Runner Ducks
She sent me this picture of her Indian Runner ducks, as they were too quick for me to capture on camera! They are most comical, standing upright and running around; they look like they should have arms.

Stone Meadow Turkey
The poultry are housed in an assortment of barns and sheds purpose-made or adapted from existing buildings. This wild(type) tom turkey was wary of my presence in the barn, and so went into a full display mode, which made him seem quite enormous.

Stone Meadow Chickens in the Barn
I have an uncanny knack (I say modestly) for turning up at mealtimes. The gang was gathered and expectant.

Stone Meadow Chickens in the Yard
Et madame est servi
. Or, in a manner of speaking, not yet...

Stone Meadow Poultry Eating
Here is a goose, a Jersey Black Giant rooster, a couple of Red Jungle fowl and a Jersey Black Giant hen. Their diet consists of poultry feed plus all the grass, weeds and bugs they can eat.

Stone Meadow Muscovy Ducks
These are Muscovy ducks. Janet tells me they are very good eating. I do intend to find out for myself one of these days!

Stone Meadow Jersey Black Giants
Jersey Black Giants, which as the name suggests are indeed mighty big birds.

Stone Meadow Mobile Chicken Hut
This poultry house is mobile, allowing it to be moved from meadow to meadow so the chickens can de-bug and fertilize particular spots as desired.

Stone Meadow Chickens in the Hut
Inside the mobile chicken house, the chickens hang about waiting for some feed.

Stone Meadow Silkie Chicken
This is a silkie chicken. They are really quite fascinating as they have white feathers, but black skin, black meat, black organs and black bones! I've never had one, but now they are on my "must try" list.

Stone Meadow Jersey Black Giant
And this is one of the Jersey Black Giants close up. What a classic rooster look!

Stone Meadow Second Chicken Hut
The Plymouth Barred Rocks and the Red Jungle Fowl seemed to prefer this little house.

Stone Meadow Plymouth Barred Rocks
A couple of the Plymouth Barred Rocks. They are a dual-purpose bird, although apparently the meat is, um, sturdier than most people are accustomed to nowadays, so they are kept mostly for the eggs.

Stone Meadow Red Jungle Fowl with Chicks
A Red Jungle fowl in a nesting box with 2 little chicks. It's a little hard to see, but they have climbed up on her back.

Stone Meadow Chick
There's one of the chicks; a typical Red Jungle fowl chick. The other turned out to be a Red Jungle fowl/Jersey Black Giant cross. Hmmm...

Stone Meadow Path to the Pond
Most of the birds hang around the barn, the chicken huts and pens, but the Indian Runner ducks go trotting down this path to the pond.

Stone Meadow Ducks at the Pond
There they are. They are rice-paddy birds at home, and enjoy paddling in shallow water.

Stone Meadow Chickens in the Grass
Bug patrol! The different types of birds look for different things. Chickens like bugs, ducks like broad-leaved weeds, and geese like grass. Consequently, everyone gets along just fine.

Stone Meadow Ducks
A couple of geese. Just as with Canada geese, the ganders can be territorial and aggressive, and should be given plenty of space to themselves.

Stone Meadow Candling the Eggs
After my tour, I went back with Janet to the house, where she candled some eggs for me, and sold me three frozen chickens. I got one of the standard meat chickens, a White Rock (there were none on the farm during my visit so no pictures) as well as two Jersey Black Giants, which oddly were quite small as Janet had sold all her bigger ones. I'll post back here when I do something with them.

If you want to order eggs or poultry from Stone Meadow Farm, you should phone them at 519-496-8088. There are likely to be some eggs or frozen birds available if you are willing to take pot-luck, however, it is probably better to call in advance if you are looking for something specific. You may also wish to discuss placing a freezer order for meat, which can take from 4 to 6 months to be ready, depending on the type of birds you are looking for.


Grace said...

holy mackerel, those indian runner ducks are crazy-looking! i didn't know such a critter existed, but now i won't rest until i get to see them for real! i've never seen a silkie chicken either (on a plate or in a coop), but i'm definitely intrigued.

what i've learned today: just because my family owns a farm and raises some chickens doesn't mean i've seen it all.

awesome post!

Bellini Valli said...

If I still lived in Ontario I would be right there beside you visiting all these places. I rememeber the Ganaraska Farm Tours near Oshawa where we were able to visit deer farms, try quail eggs, etc, etc...

Lina said...

very cool tour!

Helene said...

I had the good fortune of visiting Stone Meadow Farm yesterday and was duly impressed. I loved all the ducks and chickens, and that male turkey is indeed impressive! As I wasn't expecting the visit, I didn't have my camera on me and am delighted to find your post (Janet told me about it) with all the photos. I have linked it to my blog ( I also love all your recipes! I am constantly looking for ways to prepare local ingredients, so they will come in very handy. Thanks for a wonderful blog!