“Return of the Buckeye” is this fall’s blockbuster, but instead of a flick, it’s a chick – an endangered breed of chicken developed by a Warren, Ohio woman in the 1890s – about to make a comeback in Northeast Ohio. Hailed for half a century as one of America’s finest broiler breeds, in recent decades it came close to extinction. Only a few rare flocks remain – kept mainly for their excellent eggs.
The Countryside Conservancy and American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) are joining forces Tuesday, October 6 to present a Buckeye broiler breeders’ clinic at Happy Days Lodge in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). The Clinic’s purpose is to reestablish Buckeyes in their region of origin, as a high quality free-range broiler breed. The clinic will help launch a regional network of knowledgeable, cooperating Buckeye broiler breeders and marketers – including one of the newest farms in CVNP. The breeders clinic will be offered twice, 10-noon and 2-4 p.m. An evening program (7-9 p.m.) for the general public will explore American and international efforts to protect all species and breeds of endangered or “heritage” farm animals. Coming from Pittsboro, N.C. with a dozen mature Buckeye hens and roosters will be Jeannette Beranger, research and technical programs manager for the ALBC. A Buckeye breeder herself, Beranger spearheads the Buckeye recovery project and will lead the day’s programs.
Heritage Livestock Lecture & Chef’s Sample
Oct. 6, 7-9pm
The evening lecture/discussion, “Heritage Livestock: Protecting the Genetic Future of Animal Agriculture,” will fascinate those interested in biodiversity and how livestock breeds change over time. Following the talk, guests will be invited to sample heritage livestock meat (i.e., beef, pork, goat, turkey and chicken) prepared by Chef Ben Bebenroth of Spice of Life Catering. A $15 donation from adults or $10 donation from children is requested to help cover event expenses.
Heritage Poultry Breeders’ Clinic
Oct. 6, 10am-Noon and 2-4pm
The breeders’ clinic will consist of a one-hour lecture-discussion of heritage poultry breeds, their use in sustainable agriculture, ALBC’s Buckeye Recovery Project, how to evaluate production traits, and practical breeding strategies for bloodline improvements. The second hour will be devoted to careful physical comparison of a dozen Buckeye birds in order to understand how a breeder or grower can improve commercial traits over time. The clinic will be repeated in the afternoon. Registration is $100 per person or $150 per couple from the same farm operation. Participants will receive preferential scheduling to purchase ALBC strain Buckeye chicks, be eligible to participate in a new regional Buckeye breeders and growers network, and receive copies of four ALBC how-to publications for raising chickens.