artfarm

Splendid Toad Art Farm is based in central Massachusetts, a bucolic region of forest and farmland.

Red Eft

Colorful Local Character

Two working studios comprise the farm: Toadbriar, where Kim paints and assembles creatures,

toadbriar

and Grip And Word, where Andy pursues weaving, printing, lutherie, and haberdashery.

grip and word

We attend a few select art festivals in New England

We attend a few select art festivals in New England

Central to the Art Farm is the priority of preserving a few heritage and rare breeds – the hardy, thrifty animals suited to small family farms instead of battery cages and feedlots. The primary focus is our flock of Ancona ducks. The Ancona is listed by the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy as a critically rare breed of duck. This is a shame, because it is a truly marvelous breed. See the duck page to learn more about them.

ancona ducklings

Ancona Ducklings

A family of American Buff geese live with the ducks. They are another critical breed, and are remarkably gentle, calm, and sweet birds. Geese are very vigilant, and are likely to spot a coyote or fox before the ducks do. They are also effective deterrents against daytime birds of prey.

guinness mama

of course, they are also wonderful parents.

We keep a handful of turkeys – Narragansetts, and recently added, Black Spanish. Both are heritage breeds – smaller and more slow-growing than the broad-breasted white birds that supply the meats in supermarkets. Heritage turkeys are hardy, vigorous birds that can reproduce naturally (the broad-breasted kind are too bulky to mate and must be artificially inseminated.) They can forage for a greater portion of their food, and do a good job of eating bugs and garden pests.

narragansett turkeys

Young Narragansett turkeys

Spanish Black and Narragansett turkeys

Three Black Spanish and one Narragansett

Garden efforts are a work in progress – as we clear out some collapsed outbuildings, more space can be devoted to greener endeavors.

Sugar Baby Watermelons

Sugar Baby Watermelons

Big Max Pumpkin

Big Max Pumpkin

Favorite bits of art find their way outside..

Steel cut-out of  Le Chat Noir by Chris Crooks after original poster by Steinlen

Steel cut-out of Le Chat Noir by Chris Crooks after original poster by Steinlen

…And the farmyard finds itself very much at home in the studio.

Hazel, Poultron of the Arts

Hazel, Poultron of the Arts

10 Comments

  1. I was wondering if you still have any hatching eggs available. We recently hatched out 12 black and white anconas and are looking for other non related birds and colors to go with our flock. We are working on bringing this breed back and getting it recognized by the poultry association. Please let me know if you still have eggs available and if so how much. We are looking for all colors besides black.

    • Hi Amy, how many eggs are you interested in? I’ve got some birds in molt right now but some girls are laying. I do have a lot of colors, but I don’t have separate color breeding groups, so hatching is suspenseful. I’ll email you :)

  2. Do ancona ducks eat acorns? Lots of acorns? I want to have ducks and since we have a plethora of oak trees I thought this would be a great forage food for them but I can’t find domestic duck species that likes acorns. Thanks!

    • I’ve read that they enjoy them, once they realize they’re food. Personally we haven’t got any oaks near the pond so I can’t speak from experience. I know for a fact that turkeys will gobble them up (hahahaha) with great enthusiasm. Pigs go crazy for them too, and very expensive meat comes from pigs finished on acorns. You can also use oak leaves for bedding for the birds. Cheaper than buying straw or shavings, and halfway to compost once it’s soiled :) Lucky you with helpful trees!

  3. I would like to purchase 8 fertile eggs to hatch as a class project, and then keep on my small farm. I would like to place then in the incubator on a Tuesday. I live in NJ. Could you time the mailing to fit my needs?

    • Hi Lori! I’ve just sent you an email but I’ll copy/paste here because it’s useful info :) The best practice with shipped eggs is to let them rest for 24 hours after you receive them in the mail, so that would put your ideal delivery date on a Monday. I could ship them to arrive on a Monday by Priority Mail. But I try to not have them stuck in transit over the weekend, because I don’t know if they’re going to be in a climate controlled environment or what – and the longer the interval between lay and incubation, the lower the potential hatch rate. I’ve had a pretty good record with my mailed eggs, and I’d include extras, but I want to make sure you knew that a Tuesday set date would necessitate the extra risk of them being stuck in transit over a weekend. I usually ship Mon and Tues to ensure arrival by the end of the week, but I’m happy to accommodate your schedule. I just wanted to make sure you were aware of the weekend timing factor.

  4. Hi, Do you sell ducklings or just the eggs for hatching?

  5. Hi! I was wondering if my family and I could visit your farm on Saturday 5/24/14?
    Thanks!

  6. Do you have ducklings now? We can come to pick up this weekend. Thanks.

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