Archive | May, 2013

Moved In To Our Summer Sleeping Quarters Tuesday night!

DSCN1079Our Summer Sleeping Tent – Lots of Fresh Air – Connection to Nature


At This Point in Life We Need A Bed


Pair of Lounge Reading Chairs at the Other End

Moved in Tuesday night. So glad to be back outside. Sleep so soundly with the fresh air and surrounded by trees.  This corner of the yard is so peaceful and isolated that one can feel like they are far from everything when in reality we are just out back.

Last night (Wednesday) was my second night. Not much sleep! Lots of things going on which I fit in to normal past neighborhood activities UNTIL Abigail and I went out to investigate about 1:15am —  thinking we had raccoons around the poultry pens.  It was then I saw the flames next door and realized everything that Abigail had barked at, every sound I had a logical explanation for had in reality been the Arsonist coming and going.

I quickly donned pants (thought that wise before heading to the road:), put Abigail in the house  and called 911 from the street.  Fire Personnel responded quickly.  I returned to bed at 4am and had Fire Investigators calling my name outside the tent at 8am !

Had I been in the house, it would have burned another hour before being noticed (Based on time Mark woke up smelling sulfur and smoke) unless someone had called it in from the highway.  None of the other close neighbors heard a thing!

Thankfully I was out in the tent.


Started on the Porch and Spread Fast! Before Fire Personnel arrived.

Fortunately no one living here at the time.  Heirs in Florida.


Taken From Our Front Yard OVER the Tall Conifer Hedgerow/Windbreak

Tonight will be my third night sleeping outside. Headed out now. After last night I expect I will sleep soundly.


Believing in and Preserving the WHITE Chantecler – The original Canadian Heritage Breed bred for Cold Weather Production


When I started researching endangered heritage chicken breeds prior to retirement, I settled on the Canadian White Chantecler.  A Breed developed by Brother Wilfred Chantelain, a Trappist monk and Doctor of Agronomy at the Oka Agricultural Institution, an agricultural school at his abbey which is affiliated with the University of Montreal.

In 1907, the Brother set out to  create a practical chicken that would be suited to Canada’s climate and production needs -working at the Abbey of Notre-Dame du Lac in Oka.

This marvelous breed nearly disappeared in the late 70s. Fortunately there were small numbers (less than 2000) still being maintained by a few small farms. In the 21st century, the breed persists, but is listed as Critical by The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

Once I had made my decision to work in retirement, preserving, breeding and promoting the WHITE Chantecler, the search began.


Photo courtesy of Gina Bisco.

Finally, one day, after searching and sending e-mail inquires hither and yon, I was referred to Gina Bisco in Central New York State. After three years of extremely educational communication with Gina, I acquired six hens and a rooster.

young bisco pullets

Young Bisco Pullets

Then the search for some Canadian birds. This was a more difficult endeavor and then I saw a posting from Greg Oakes stating that he would bring prepaid trios across the border to the Poultry Show in Michigan. Greg had three lines and I bought a trio from each line and then added two extra cocks while at the Poultry Show to pick up my trios.

Canadian birds

Canadian Chanteclers arrive at Fayrehale

My original intention to maintain separate pens and combine various lines was altered w/ a predator attack that took some but not all birds from each line.

Thus the combined flock that gives me the BEST Genetics in the Country!

The alarming discovery today that crossbred birds have come into Vermont resulted in a warning on my Fayrehale Chantecler page.

I also decided to write about my breeding philosophy. The Chantecler is a dual purpose heritage bird. I am interested in breeding and working on restoring the Chantecler to its original status as a good eating carcass and a good laying chicken (200 plus eggs a year).

I believe this can be accomplished by selective breeding within the breed WITHOUT crossbreeding to other breeds including the Partridge and Buff Albertans — Canadian breeds the the American Poultry Association arbitrarily classified as “Chantecler” as if any Canadian chicken was a “Chantecler”!  This abomination has caused some people, inattentive to history, to think it is all one breed.  It is not. The so called Partridge and Buff Chanteclers are in fact very separate breeds (Albertan) from the Chantecler.  The APA’s arbitrary classification does not in any way change that historical fact!  The other breeds should never be crossed with the White and original/real Chantecler!  NEVER!

The Partridge Chantecler was developed approximately 30 years after the White Chantecler, by Dr J E Wilkinson of Edmonton AB.  Just as Brother Wilfrid made a series of crosses to come up with his “ideal”, so did Dr Wilkinson.  Ultimately he came up with a bird that he called the “Albertan”.  It is important to note that they actually had nothing at all to do with Brother Wilfrid’s White Chanteclers and that they were essentially completely different breeds.  However when Dr Wilkinson submitted his “Partridge Albertan” birds for recognition by the American Poultry Association, they did accept them but then rather arbitrarily renamed them as a Partridge Chantecler, much to his huge disappointment!

My first step, because I have such a good gene pool, has been to sell chicks and fertile eggs all over the country. From one coast to the other and up in to Alaska.  These small flocks (12-60 birds) help disseminate this great heritage breed that nearly disappeared. The new flock owners get excellent birds. Good if they just want a heritage flock for the family and excellent if they want a gene pool to use for selective breeding as they work for body size and egg laying rate.  It should be noted that my Bisco line hens have better bodies than my original Canadian hens. These genes are in the pool.

Second step, will be (and has started) breeding to increase carcass size.

Third step, will be to invest in a trap nest and record egg laying rates per hen and hatch from the heaviest laying birds.

Currently I am communicating with a couple breeders in Quebec and working to bring some of this old Canadian blood, that has not strayed far from the original flock, over the border to add to my program.

This takes time and it should!  The answer is not to cross breed.  I can not stress this enough. The Chantecler deserves to be preserved without bastardizing!

So as I continue being dedicated to preserving, breeding and promoting the WHITE Chantecler, I ask you all to be very sure that your Chantecler stock is coming from someone who understands the history of this great Canadian breed and is seriously committed to preserving the Original Chantecler without corruption!

Chantecler Cock_n

Mature pair in the “grow pen”

I invite you all to join with me in this significant endeavor.  Where ever you acquire your breeding stock,  please be sure it is not corrupted.

New site on Facebook! The Original White Chantecler / Le Chantecler blanc original


Time Flies by this Time of Year.

Time seems to have gotten away from me as I move through one day after the other progressing towards Memorial Day when we can plant the garden.  I have learned over a life time NOT to push it!  No matter how warm and beautiful it may be,  the soil hasn’t really warmed and there can still be frosts. Like the three frosts we experienced last week after nearly two weeks of sun and temperatures in the 70s and low 80s.  We have to get past the Corn Planting Moon in May!

The people who rush, replant!  OR the seeds lay dormant and wait.  By June and July our garden, though started later, will equal or surpass the early planters.

This time of year is one of my favorite! (I say that about every season:)  I do love lilac season.  We have in excess of 60 lilacs blooming here and I can always find a spot to plant one I do not have in the collection.


“Maiden’s Blush”

“Maiden’s Blush” is a nice pink.  We also have a couple “Primrose” (yellow)  and have been lucky to obtain from a private collection such rarities as “Priscilla” and “Banner of Lenin”.”Excel” and “Annabelle” are heavy bloomers and “Annabelle’s” fragrance permeates the back yard. “Beauty of Moscow”, “Sensation”  and  “P P Konchalovskii” are favorites. I feel guilty for not mentioning all the others as I LOVE them all!

Once the 40 some odd named hybrids bloom, the Canadian lilacs will  bloom and extend the season.  The yard is intoxicating right now with the perfume of the lilacs. I can’t remember it ever being this powerful.  A perfect year for lilacs.


“Silver King”


“Sister Justina” (left) & “Betsy Ross” (right) are nice white lilacs

There have also been some additions to the poultry here at Fayrehale.  I knew the American Buffs were setting and one day while walking Abigail on the other side of the fence, I discovered the Sepastopol/American Buff cross goose on a nest!


Not sure the eggs under the American Buff (left) will hatch. There was a hard freeze the night before she settled on the nest and I believe they should have hatched by now.  Wednesday the crossed goose (right) presented me with her 4 new goslings!  They will raise them.  What a joy to see them around.  They make me smile.


Besides the new goslings we have added some Saxony Ducks


The Guinea Fowl, which have been free on tick patrol for several weeks, immediately rushed to the back yard to see what this new intrusion was.  It was comical to watch them chatter and discuss the situation before going off about their business.

We continue to ship White Chantecler chicks and hatching eggs around the Country. It is nice to have these small flocks starting as the White Chantecler is a Canadian Heritage Breed that nearly disappeared.

And believe it or not we actually took some time two weeks ago to have our first (and only one this substantial!) cookout of the season.  After this one it will be chicken and burgers when we can find (make) the time!


That shares a little of our busy lives these past few weeks.  I plan to move into our summer sleeping quarters this week!


Summer Sleeping

Everything will be ready for the move to summer quarters once I get the blankets and comforter washed, dried and moved out.  This will be the third season we have slept outside. (Queen size bed in this tent! I am too “mature” for sleeping bags on the ground).  We will move back in to the house in October sometime.

This arrangement gives us plenty of fresh air and enhances our closeness to the natural world.


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