Current and Planned Research Projects include the following:
- Enhancement of productivity of specific heritage breeds and the influence of diet upon fertility. This does not mean we will engage in "improvement" which gains unnatural production in one area while sacrificing self-sufficiency and hardiness. It refers to breeds which are not broody, do not lay well, and do not produce meat, have low quality milk, lack disease or parasite resistance, but which have the potential for utility if improved, or which have poor fertility or survivability, or other problems which are likely to be easily overcome by either selection for improvement or adjustment of management methods.
- Selective breeding for improvement or restoration of utility characteristics in specific heritage breeds. Breeds which have been restored based only on looks often require improvement of the original utility traits.
- Refinement of natural feeding guidelines for various types of stock (species and breed specific). Aimed at the goal of enhancing preservation potentials for specific breeds, by enabling survival in a wider range of conditions. We intend to produce a publication outlining dietary strategies for improvement, and our findings with specific breeds.
- Refinement of natural breeding and care of young for farm settings where large numbers of young are produced. Regaining heritage livestock husbandry skills which have been lost. The goal is to document protocols for achieving larger production using these methods instead of adopting the assumption that if you have more than 10 animals you have to go to an industrialized management model. We intend to produce a publication on natural care and breeding of livestock, to avoid bottle babies and incubators, so Heritage Breeds may continue to be raised with the natural strengths that most originally possessed, and so that young animals may obtain the benefits to health and self-sufficiency that are compromised when they are taken from their mother and raised by people instead. This project will be combined with selective breeding with specific breeds, to restore lost mothering capacity.
- Recovery of utility Pigeon breeds through acquisition and development of a preservation breeding program. Virtually all Utility Pigeons are endangered, and many that are still available have been corrupted by being bred only for show. Production from this program will be available for sale to the general public, with preference given to our members.
- Research and breeding for improvement of breeds determined by us to have some value, but unacceptable problems which interfere with hardiness, disease resistance, parasite resistance, etc which make them impractical for small farm use. The aim of this project is to minimize those issues through selective breeding, where possible, or to find means of compensating for those issues, such as dietary adjustments, expanded foraging, reduction of chemical exposure, and other natural strategies. This will possibly expand our list of suitable animals, but it will also provide valuable information and methods for those who have existing herds of problem animals (which are not on our lists - or our listed breeds which came from sloppy bloodlines), or who are unable to locate heritage breeds which are hardy and stable.
Our livestock research programs are aimed at increasing the quality of Heritage Breeds (to complete the recovery process), and they are aimed at simplifying and enhancing the success of Heritage Breeds Preservation programs and projects across the nation.
We believe that the work of Heritage Preservation can be more successfully achieved on a small farm than on a large one, and our research and development projects are aimed at producing instructional resources and statistical data which enable small farms to realize that goal.
Goal Improvement Breeds
The following breeds are those which are on our list of improvement goals. Other breeds are also needed for research involving diet and natural husbandry.
- Campine (improve hardiness and survivability)
- Catalana (restore utility strengths)
- Norwegian Jaerhon (stabilize utility traits)
- Faverolle (improve fertility)
- Dutch Bantam (restore egg laying capacity)
- Manx Rumpy (improve survivability and egg production)
- Sebright (improve fertility)
- Sicilian Buttercup (improve fertility and productivity)
- Aylesbury (restore fertility and self-sufficiency)
- Call (improve egg production)
- Rouen (restore fertility and self-sufficiency)
- Chinese (restore utility traits)
- Gray (stabilize utility traits)
- Sebastopol (improve fertility)
- Toulouse (improve fertility and self-sufficiency)
- Beltsville Small White (restore productivity)
- Royal Palm (improve fertility and parenting ability)
- Cotournix (enhance natural brooding capacity) - Current project which is in progress. Selective breeding and dietary research are being carried out to achieve stronger self-sufficiency and economic sustainability goals.
- Mondaine (restore self-sufficiency traits)
- Kings (restore thriftiness and disease hardiness)
- Other breeds (dietary sustainability)
- Black Swan (develop natural breeding protocols which improve survivability of young)
- Non-native Pheasants and Partridge (improve captive breeding success)
- Dexter (stabilize survivability and thriftiness)
- Guernsey (restore milk qualities)
- Jersey (rescue Heritage breeding lines)
- Kerry (stabilize dual purpose traits)
- Texas Longhorn (restore survivability traits)
- LaMancha (reduce birthing problems)
- Nubian and Alpine (study feed and milk production equations)
- Guinea (reduce birthing problems and improve piglet survivability)
- Hereford (improve self-sufficiency traits)
- Vietnamese Potbelly (improve utility traits and expand utility usage)
- Kune Kune (expand utility usage)
- Clun Forest (stabilize self-sufficiency traits)
- Dorper (restore self-sufficiency traits)
- East Friesian (improve thriftiness and survivability traits)
- Gulf Coast Native (restore disease resistance and hardiness)
- Romanov (restore lamb survivability)
- Santa Cruz (improve fertility)
- Shetland (restore hardiness and survivability traits)
- Soay (restore self-sufficiency traits)
- Suffolk Punch (restore working strengths)