Farm News


June 2014

In 1192 King Richard the Lion heart left his crusade in the holy land bankrupt and without an army. Many of the countries he had to pass through to get back to England were ruled by Monarchs who were either unfriendly or a bitter enemy of the King. To disguise himself while passing through these unfriendly territories the King dressed himself as a poor peasant travelling in search of work and lodging. The disguise worked well until Richard was captured in Vienna because he refused to stop eating chicken which at the time was a food too expensive for any but the wealthy. Someone saw a poor peasant eating chicken and thinking it was odd reported it to the marshal who arrested Richard and took him before the King of Austria. The Austrian King recognized Richard, put him in jail, and then demanded a large ransom from his brother, John (the one from Robin Hood), who was ruling Richards Kingdom in the Kings absence.

Today, unlike medieval times chicken is one of the cheapest types of meat available for purchase at local markets. Chicken per pound is cheaper than beef, fish, lamb, and pork; oddly though it is one of the poorest animals at converting grain to meat. This means that the same chicken which uses more grain per pound of meat to raise than the other animals is cheaper than all other types of meat per pound. The ability of stores to provide cheap chicken comes at a high cost to the health of the birds as well as the potential health to humans as consumers of chicken. Chicks are fed a steady diet of antibiotics and hormones from the time they hatch until they are processed as well to keep costs down producers only allow for chickens to be raised in one square foot of living space. Chickens are genetically modified to ensure they grow the most muscle mass per pound of grain eaten and chickens are fed animal by products for higher protein. At Townsend our free ranged chickens are not given any antibiotics and no growth hormones. Just like in medieval times they are allowed to roam freely and graze for what they will eat. Our birds are fed a natural vegetarian diet supplemented by whatever they find in the pasture.

It was said that King Richard could eat four or five chickens per day and at Townsend we try to produce a chicken that tastes good enough to lose a kingdom for. Speaking of losing a kingdom, when Prince John received the ransom demands from Austria, he promptly responded to it by offering to pay the Austrian King even more money to keep Richard in jail. John must have wanted all the kingdom’s chicken to himself.

Townsend Free Ranged Chicken
HIMG_0737yrum was very successful raising chickens this year. He has finished producing the first round of birds and is now in the process of delivering them. The chickens came out great and he is meeting with all of his customers. We had 40 pheasants come to the farm and so we will see if we can keep some game birds here on the farm. Our guinea fowl are growing and we received a new batch of Muscovy Ducks

Grass Fed Beef
Our Belted Galloway herd received a tragic loss when the cow which was expecting had to be rushed to Dr. Hamilton’s office for an emergency C Section. We lost the calf which had a rare congenital defect but we managed to save old Bessie and we will have to see if she can carry a calf again.IMG_0721

Manitoba Lambs 
Our lambs are all growing. We have a Horned Dorset lamb entered into the all Canada Classic competition in Toronto this year and we are waiting to see how she will do. Our Horned Dorset flock

IMG_0714is growing and Sophia is looking after the lambs very well. Dawn, the farms head chef, was attacked last month by the ram – he’s in the deep freezer now.