President and Mrs. Obama:
Chickens are the perfect complement to your White House Garden. The Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities, http://poultrybookstore.com/, can help you establish a small flock of historic breeds that will be hardy and productive. Sasha and Malia will love them. Tadd Lincoln kept a turkey he named Jack in the White House. Bring back this happy practice!
The Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities is a 501c(3) organization founded to protect and preserve, for historical, educational and recreational purposes and in the public interest, standard-bred domesticated poultry, waterfowl, turkeys and guineas. We welcome you and your family to enjoyment of traditional breed poultry. Traditional breeds are preferred for small flocks. They have survived and flourished because of their vigorous genetics and hardy constitutions. SPPA champions traditional breeds. Their members are dedicated to preserving these breeds, which have become rare with the domination of industrial practices. Chickens raised by large industrial operations have lost the strength that traditional breeds retain. Traditional breed poultry are the answer to sustainable living for the American family, playing an important role in national food security and local economy.
Dorkings are a good breed to start with, hardy, beautiful, well-behaved, dignified. They are an ancient breed, easily identified in Roman mosaics for their distinctive colored feathers and fifth toe. They have earned a place of honor among chickens over the centuries. They are believed to be the first chickens to make the trip across the Atlantic with the early English settlers and are the breed of choice at such American historic sites as Plymouth Plantation in Massachusetts. Joseph Marquette of Yellow House Farm in New Hampshire, http://www.yellowhousenh.com/, has excellent White Dorkings that he is happy to donate to get your flock started. Dorkings make good table fowl, with roosters topping out at 9 lbs. Hens lay white or delicately tinted eggs.
They will need a place to live. Dennis Harrison-Noonan of Madison, Wisconsin has built chicken coops for many people and has volunteered to build one for you. His designs are admired nationwide, http://www.backyardpoultrymag.com/issues/1/1-1/Dennis_Harison-Noonan.html.
I’m happy to provide copies of my books, How to Raise Chickens and How to Raise Poultry, from the FFA Livestock Series. They are aimed at bright high school kids and adults, but with all the pictures, kids of any age can enjoy them. Kevin Fletcher of Countryside Natural Products, www.countrysidenatural.com, in Fishersville, Virginia, will donate a year’s supply of organic poultry feed. They will also enjoy weeds and clippings from the garden. Their manure provides fertilizer. This is how an integrated operation balances taking nourishment from the soil without depleting it.
You will enjoy these birds so much, you will want to add turkeys, ducks, geese and guineafowl in the future. SPPA can help you with those when the time comes.