Woman raises poultry on family farm

Published 9:21 am Wednesday, April 20, 2011

George the rooster, one of the birds found at Heritage Acres Farms in Windsor -- Hattie Francis | Tidewater News


WINDSOR—Naomi Austin runs Heritage Acres Farms, a 2½-acre farm in Windsor that’s been in her husband, Jason’s, family since the 1960s.

“His great-grandparents, they literally cleared the land and built houses,” Austin said.

Her husband’s family always had cows, pigs, goats and horses. Now, there are chickens, turkeys, ducks, guineas, peacocks, pigs and goats.

Tom the turkey is one of birds found at Heritage Acres Farms in Windsor. -- Hattie Francis | Tidewater News

“My husband and I lived in Richmond, and when we moved back, Granddaddy had 22 chickens,” Austin said. “It’s fun for us, but it’s a business.”

On occasion, Austin sells the chickens and animals raised locally at Community Feed and Seed, Farmer Service and Isle of Wight County Fair.

“In general, we go to the shows,” she said. “There is a magazine called the Poultry Press, and it tells us where every show, big show, in the country is happening.”

Austin and her husband travel to North Carolina and Richmond frequently to sell their livestock in these shows.

“We specialize in two areas with the birds,” Austin said. “First off, more local land birds where people don’t care what specific type. They don’t have to meet the standards. But some of our birds are show birds, and they have to meet a certain standard.”

She breeds about 10 varieties of land chickens, along with fancies including Silkie and Polish.

“But with the Fancies, or Old English, if they’re not standard — where they are not the right shade, or they’ve got a crooked toe — we’ll take them out to local stuff and sell it, and a lot of people will pay $5 or $10,” Austin said.

However, if a bird is considered standard, she could sell it at a large show as part of a pair for $50.

In the coming months, Austin plans to downsize the amount of variety within Heritage Acres Farms.