Appleworm™ Orchard’s most adventuresome project is the repurposing of traditional American gamecocks as — don’t laugh — guard chickens. As every poultry-keeping Yankee knows, our region’s predators eat more chicken during our long summer days than the backyard farmer eats all year. Enter the American gamecock. Not only are these roosters magnificently beautiful, they are also alert and feisty protectors of their flocks: Hens left in a gamecock’s daytime care have, we believe, better odds of survival on New England’s free range. Moreover, the breeds we work with direct their aggression at competitors and predators; to humans they maintain surprisingly equable dispositions. As Appleworm™ cares for these gamefowl, we will seek to maintain these breeds’ fortunate combination of striking beauty, ferocity toward predators, and docility toward humans.
This experiment began in October 2012, when Appleworm™ stumbled upon the opportunity to buy a small flock of unrelated Pumpkin Hulseys from Greenfire Farms. Greenfire had acquired these birds — mostly from Larry Carter’s line — in late 2011 and used them to replace the broodfowl they had acquired in 2008, when they started breeding Hulseys. We fell in love with these birds and, over the following years, bought scores of other gamebirds of various breeds and lines and also bred many more in search of superior gamecocks with which to build our own flocks. We now keep several small flocks composed of magnificent specimens of five strains of American gamefowl: one of Morgan Whitehackles (a pair), one of Flarry Eye Greys (a trio), one of Black Roundheads (a quad), and at least four families of Hulseys.
For information regarding each of these flocks, please click on the links above.
For information regarding the birds we currently have for sale, please click here.