Of the over nine billion chickens raised in the United States last year, nearly all were one kind of bird — the industrially produced Cornish cross F14 hybrid. History has shown us time and time again that monocrops like this — particularly at this massive scale — are nothing but bad news. American poultry farming wasn't always like this though. Less than a hundred years ago, Standardbred, heritage breed poultry dominated the market, supporting lots of small farms and promoting biodiversity in the food supply. Factory farming transformed the industry and now poses a great threat to food security and the environment.
The Good Shepherd Conservancy's mission is to preserve these breeds and educate the next generation of farmers on how to raise them. The survival of these breeds is a crucial step in maintaining a fair and diverse food supply.
The first ever officially recognized American breed of chicken is the Plymouth Rock. This breed was the gold standard for broiler chickens for over a hundred years, but never was it as widespread as the Cornish cross F14 hybrid because back then, the market allowed for competition. This breed owes its success to its health, quality, and resilience.
Today, millions of birds are marketed under this name in the United States, but very few are true, heritage Plymouth Rock chickens. The Good Shepherd Conservancy wants to change this by preserving the lineage of this breed and teaching farmers how to raise them.
Consider donating to the Good Shepherd Conservancy today and help transform America's food supply.