The Oberhasli is a dairy breed developed in the mountainous cantons of Bern, Freiburg, Glarus, and Graubunden in Switzerland. Oberhasli goats were first imported to the United States in the early 1900s, though it was not until 1936 that purebred herds were established and maintained.
The Oberhasli is alert in appearance with a friendly, gentle disposition. Mature goats are medium in size. Bucks range in height from 30–34", and does 28–32", with weights of 100–150 pounds. While the does are a dependable source of milk, bucks and wethers are also useful as pack animals because of their strength and calm demeanor. Some goat packers prefer Oberhaslis because they are said to be less fearful of water and other trail obstacles than are other breeds.
The breed’s color pattern is called chamoisee. Goats are brown, with hues between light tan and deep reddish brown, and have black points. The Oberhasli face is straight with no evidence of a Roman nose. The breed is well known internationally, and it is relatively numerous in Switzerland.
Two miniature goat breeds are found in the United States, the Nigerian Dwarf and the Pygmy. These breeds share a common genetic origin in the variable population of small African goats imported to the United States between the 1930s and 1950s. Used originally as exhibition animals in zoos, the goats later became popular as companion animals.
The Pygmy goat breed was recognized by the American Goat Society in 1976.
The Nigerian Dwarf was originally selected as a companion and show animal, with emphasis on the breed’s graceful appearance and gentle disposition. The production qualities of the breed, however, have also attracted attention. Nigerian Dwarf does produce one to two quarts of milk per day. The milk is high in butterfat and makes excellent cheese and butter. Does generally breed year-round and produce twins. They can be milked for up to ten months, but can also be allowed to dry up on their own if milking is no longer desired. These production qualities make Nigerian Dwarf goats good candidates for small scale milk production where a year-round supply of a moderate amount of milk is the goal.
The St. Croix is an American sheep breed that is part of the Caribbean Hair sheep family of breeds.
The St. Croix is adapted to the heat and humidity of a tropical climate, and this adaptation has several manifestations.The hair coat, which eliminates the need for shearing, is part of this adaptation. The breed has well documented parasite resistance, far superior to that found in most other sheep breeds. It is small, with ewes averaging 120 pounds and rams 165 pounds. St. Croix sheep are known for high fertility, and ewe lambs become fertile at about six months of age. Ewes often produce twins and have plenty of milk to raise them. Two lambings a year are not uncommon.
St. Croix sheep are excellent foragers and very easy keepers. Their browsing ability makes them useful for land management, including mowing grass in orchards and the control of invasive pest plants. Though heat tolerant, the sheep can be raised in many parts of North America. In colder areas, they grow a heavy winter coat of wool and hair that is shed in the spring. This combination of characteristics makes the breed an excellent choice for low input meat production. The St. Croix is increasing in numbers, and though it is still rare, the breed’s future seems promising.
The Guinea Hog is a small, black breed of swine that is unique to the United States. Also known as the Pineywoods Guinea, Guinea Forest Hog, Acorn Eater, and Yard Pig, the breed was once the most numerous pig breed found on homesteads in the Southeast. Today there are fewer than 200.
Hogs were imported from West Africa and the Canary Islands to America in conjunction with the slave trade. The imports were documented as early as 1804 by Thomas Jefferson and other Virginia farmers. These large, square animals were called Red Guineas, because they had red or sandy colored hair. Red Guineas were common throughout the mid-Atlantic region during the 1800s. The breed disappeared as a distinct population in the 1880s, when most of the red breeds and types of hogs in the eastern United States were combined to form the new Jersey-Duroc breed. Although extremely rare, occasionally Guinea hog breeders of today find red highlights in the hair of their Guineas and even more rare, is a completely red individual born. The name Guinea occurs again a few decades later in the southeastern United States, though describing a different animal entirely – a small, black hog common on homesteads across the region. Guinea Hogs were expected to forage for their own food, eat rodents and other small animals, grass, roots, and nuts, and clean out garden beds. The hogs were also kept in the yard where they would eat snakes and thus create a safe zone around the house. These Guineas were hardy and efficient, gaining well on the roughest of forage and producing the hams, bacon, and lard essential for subsistence farming.
Guinea Hogs were widespread, and descriptions of them varied. Generally, the hogs were small, weighing 100-300 pounds, and black or bluish-black in color. They had upright ears, a hairy coat, and a curly tail. Beyond this, conformation varied, as hogs could have short or long noses and be “big boned,” “medium boned,” or “fine boned.” It is likely that many strains of Guinea Hogs existed. Since most of these are extinct, it is now impossible to weave together all the threads of the Guinea Hog story into a single neat piece.
The Guinea Hog became rare in recent decades as the habitat of the homestead hog disappeared, and it survived only in the most isolated parts of the Southeast. During the 1980s, new herds of Guinea Hogs were established, partly in response to the pet pig market.
Several mysteries confuse the breed’s history. The relationship between the historic Red Guinea and the Guinea Hog may be simply the common use of the term “guinea” to refer to an African origin. “Guinea” may also refer to the small size of the hogs, somewhat akin to the description of miniature Florida Cracker and Pineywoods cattle as “guinea cows.” The Guinea Hog may or may not be related to the Essex, a small, black English breed which was imported to the United States in about 1820 and used in the development of the Hampshire. Essex hogs were known to exist in the Southeast until about 1900. The Essex hog’s history is obscure and it eventually disappeared some time later that century. “Guinea Essex” pigs were used in research at Texas A & M University and at the Hormel Institute in the 1960s, though there is little information -available about those stocks.
Though the Guinea Hog would greatly benefit from additional research and description, it is clear that the breed is genetically distinct from improved breeds of hogs and merits conservation. Like other traditional lard-type breeds, however, the Guinea Hog faces great obstacles to its conservation. These hogs do not produce a conventional market carcass, since they are smaller and more fatty than is preferred today. Guinea Hogs are, however, appropriate for use in diversified, sustainable agriculture. They would be an- excellent choice where there is need for the services of hogs (such as grazing, rooting, tilling compost and garden soil, and pest control) and also the desire for a small breed. Under such husbandry, Guinea Hogs would thrive, as they always have. http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/guinea.html
Berkshire Hogs - Heritage Status: Common
Rodha & Tiller
"Berkshire pigs are one of the oldest identifiable breeds. These black hogs, with white “points” (white areas on their feet, snout and tail) were documented in the English “shire of Berks” over 350 years ago and made their way to the United States in the early 1800s. In 1875, breeders formed the American Berkshire Association (ABA), making it the first breeders group and swine registry in the world.
The American rabbit is a multi-purpose animal developed for meat and fur. The National Breeders and Fanciers Association of America (now known as the American Rabbit Breeders Association, Inc., or ARBA) recognized the breed with an official standard in March 1918. First known as the German Blue Vienna, this name was quickly changed to American Blue because of World War I. While a number of people were showing interest in the development of an ideal blue breed, it is Lewis H. Salisbury of Pasadena, California who is given credit for producing the American Blue. Mr. Salisbury was rather secretive as to the breeds used to create the American Blue. Because of the mandolin shape of the breed called for in the ARBA Standard of Perfection, Blue Vienna, Blue Beveren, Blue Imperial and Blue Flemish Giant are likely the founding genetics for the American. While other breeders were working to develop an all blue rabbit, Lewis Salisbury’s strain of American Blues was considered the best in the country for several years prior to 1917. In time, the ideal mandolin body type was set and the characteristic deep blue color was fixed. In the early days of development, specimens were often plagued with brown patches and many stray white hairs throughout the coat. A white variety was recognized in 1925, produced from white sports thrown from the American Blues and the addition of White Flemish Giant blood.
The popularity of the American was almost instantaneous, quickly spreading throughout the nation. By 1920, furriers were paying the unbelievable price of $2.00 for a good pelt and a breeding age doe would start at $25.00. Both the blue and white varieties maintained a popular following through the 1940’s, but by 1950 the interests of rabbit breeders had changed to others of the many breeds that had been developed or imported into this country. The American rabbit is unique and restricted to North America. The American has since become the rarest of rabbit breeds in America.
Americans are large rabbits with mature bucks weighing 9 to 11 pounds and does at 10 to 12 pounds. They are a hardy breed, docile in nature, produce large litters and are typically good mothers. Fryers make marketable weight fairly quickly and are easily kept on wire bottom hutches. The blue variety is the deepest blue color of any of the recognized breeds in America.
A heavy dual purpose fowl for the production of both meat and eggs.
Orpingtons were developed in England at the town of Orpington in County Kent during the 1880s. They were brought to America in the 1890s and gained popularity very rapidly, based on their excellence as a meat bird. As the commercial broiler and roaster market developed, the Orpington lost out partly because of its white skin.
Orpingtons are heavily but loosely feathered, appearing massive. Their feathering allows them to endure cold temperatures better than some other breeds. They exist only in solid colors; are at home on free range or in relatively confined situations; and are docile. Hens exhibit broodiness and generally make good mothers. Chicks are not very aggressive and are often the underdogs when several breeds are brooded together. They are a good general use fowl.
A general purpose breed for producing meat and/or eggs. One of the best of the dual purpose chickens, a good all-around farm fowl.
Sussex originated in the county of Sussex, England where they were prized as a table fowl more than 100 years ago. They continue to be a popular fowl in Great Britain and the light variety has figured prominently in the development of many of their commercial strains. Sussex is one of the oldest breeds that is still with us today in fair numbers.
Sussex are alert, attractive and good foragers. They have rectangular bodies; the speckled variety is especially attractive with its multi-colored plumage. Sussex go broody and make good mothers. They combine both exhibition and utility virtues but are more popular in Canada, England and other parts of the world than in the U.S.
The Welsh Harlequin originated in 1949 from two mutant light colored ducklings hatched from pure Khaki Campbells by Leslie Bonnet, a duck breeder living near Criccieth Wales.
The Welsh Harlequin is a lightweight breed at 5-6 pounds. (Batty, 134) Harlequins are primarily raised for their wonderful practical attributes. "They are highly adaptable, outstanding layers producing 240-330 white shelled eggs yearly, active foragers, excellent producers of lean meat, beautifully colored and pluck almost as cleanly as white birds when dressed for meat." (Holderread 2001, 44)
ALBC's 2000 census of domestic waterfowl in North America found only 188 breeding Welsh Harlequin. There is a critical need for more conservation breeders of Harlequins. Their excellent laying ability, lean meat, and stunning plumage make them a great addition to any small farmstead or backyard producer's flock. http://www.albc-usa.org/cpl/waterfowl/welshharlequin.html
Mature Silver Welsh
Buff Ducks - Heritage Status: Threatened
Mature Buff Drake
William Cook, the famous poultry breeder from Orpington, Kent, blended ducks to create a buff colored duck. This first duck was called a Buff Orpington and Cook went on to develop Blue, Black and Chocolate Orpington versions that had white bibs on their chests. (Holderread, 60)
The Buff is a medium-weight duck of 7 to 8 lbs. It is a long, broad bird with an oval head, medium length bill, and long, gracefully curved neck. Both the duck and drake have buff plumage, orange-yellow shanks and feet, and brown eyes. The drake's bill is yellow while the duck's bill is brown-orange. (Malone et. al., 313) A Blue variety of Orpington duck existed in the Americas, but it appears these were absorbed into the Blue Swedish breed. (Holderread, 60)
The Buff has much to offer the breeder who is looking for an attractive, dual-purpose bird. It is a good layer, typically laying about 150-220 eggs per year, and it gains weight relatively rapidly, making it ready for market within 8-10 weeks. (Batty, 108) Many consider the Buff a good meat bird that dresses out well because its light pin feathers do not show on the plucked carcass. Despite this, Buff numbers languished when industry growers followed consumer interest in cheap meat and focused attention on the faster growing Pekin even though many believe it to be less tasty. (Holderread, 60)
Consider this rare, beautiful bird for a lovely and useful addition to your flock.
Because tradition held that blue colored ducks were "exceptionally hardy, superior meat producers, and difficult for predators to see, this type duck had been popular in Europe for centuries.
The Swedish is a medium sized bird that weighs between 6 1/2 and 8 pounds. The plumage of both the duck and drake is a uniform bluish slate, with a white bib. However, the drake's head is a dark blue with a greenish bill while the duck's head and bill are the same blue slate color of the body. Swedish ducks also come in Black, Silver, and Splashed color patterns. (Holderread, 63)
The Swedish is a "utility breed which matures fairly slowly and provides well-flavored meat. This special flavor may be attributed to the fact that the Blue Swedish prefers to have an orchard or paddock in which it can forage, and grass and natural foods assist in the development of succulent flesh. In confinement they do not thrive as well." (Batty, 126-7) Swedish will lay 100 to 150 white, green, or blue tinted eggs yearly. Typically they have calm temperaments and make fine pets. (Holderread, 52)
The Campbell duck is a medium sized bird that on average weighs 4 to 4 1/2 pounds. They are active, streamlined birds with a modestly long head, bill, neck, and body, and a sprightly body carriage of 20 to 40 degrees above horizontal. (Holderread, 38) There are four color varieties of Campbell ducks in North America: Khaki, White, Dark, and Pied, with Khaki being the most common. (Holderread, 39)
Campbells are prolific layers and active foragers. Most Campbells lay their first eggs when 5-7 months old and will average 250-340 eggs of superb texture and flavor per year. With an age staggered flock, one may have eggs year-round. Campells are high-strung and energetic, and need plenty of space to graze and forage. (Ives, 228)
Lucy is our year old Guard Llama who loves her goat family. Lucy does a great job protecting her family of goats and sheep from dogs and coyotes. She isn't always keen on the new animals like the cows in the field. Lucy is friendly, but people shy, she will eat out of your hand if you are quiet.