This year more than 44 billion chickens will be raised worldwide, and virtually every single one will be a copy of the next. Each is part of the global poultry monoculture that supports industrial agriculture. And yet, if you look hard enough for long enough you can find chickens that rescue us from this vast crushing sameness; birds extraordinary, rare and dazzlingly unique. At Greenfire Farms, our mission is to find and save these obscure breeds for an uncertain future when their genetic gifts are once again called into service. This is nothing less than a revolution, and all revolutions start with a small group of people. This is your revolution, too.
Greenfire Farms has scoured the globe, looking in isolated hamlets and small farmsteads, to find and bring you some of the world’s rarest and most beautiful chickens. In the past decade, Americans have rallied to conserve our threatened breeds and, through the efforts of excellent organizations like the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy, are bringing back rare varieties of livestock from the brink of extinction. But we can do more.
In the last century more than half of Europe’s domestic breeds have become extinct. With two world wars, rapid urbanization, and heightened government regulation, maintaining viable populations of livestock breeds has become a daunting challenge. America can serve as a safe haven for some of these breeds. No domestic breed has become extinct in America in more than a quarter century. While this record is laudable, now is not the time for complacency. We need your help. You can play a critical role on a global stage by raising rare breeds of chickens from other countries.
Among the breeds we will be bringing to the United States are:
Fifty Five Flowery Hens
Fifty Five Flowery Hens were created –spoiler alert!—in 1955 in Sweden by Father Martin Silverudd, also the creator of the Isbar. Fifty Fives were the first breed invented by Silverudd and over a half-century have proven to be his most successful creation. While the half-dozen or so of the Silverudd chicken breeds have largely slid into obscurity, Fifty Fives remain in a few commercial flocks in their native country. Fifty Fives deliver on the goals initially established by Silverudd: Create an auto-sexing chicken that produces eggs for the table in commercial quantities. Using different varieties of leghorns Silverudd created a breed where the rooster looks very different than the hen throughout its life. As a day-old chick the males are easy to distinguish by the blonde down on the backs of their heads, and as adults the males are largely white while the females are decorated with a beautiful spotted pattern; the ‘flowers’ that contribute to the breed name. Greenfire Farms was the first to import this breed into the United States and will be releasing them in the spring of 2014.