Putney Farm is a natural bird heaven located in Honea Path, SC that has been providing SRCG with beautiful rainbow “Easter Eggs” and duck eggs to sell to our customers since we opened! Donna Putney and her husband Leonard have created an oasis on their farm where chickens and ducks are free to roam and live healthy and natural lives. The flock is the epitome of both “free-range” and “pasture-raised” in that the birds have over 10 acres of land that they are free to roam and feast on as they like. These terms can be tricky to understand in the current market, so seeing first-hand how happy and free the hens are at Putney Farm was amazing. With plenty of wooded areas and bushes for cover, as well as a few roosters to keep them safe, predators are naturally warded off. We loved seeing the chickens and ducks dashing excitedly around us!
Since 2006, Putney Farm has grown to include over 375 heritage breed chickens and 30 ducks. Donna has selected over 8 different breeds of heritage chickens for Putney Farm that are absolutely beautiful. A heritage-breed chicken is a variety that hasn’t been genetically altered or cross-bred for many generations and can also be called “heirloom.” Not only are these chickens wonderful to look at, the many varieties that Putney Farms includes result in the rainbow assortment of colored eggs that you see at SRCG! The difference in color depends on the breed of the chicken; the beautiful green eggs that you see are from the Americana breed more commonly referred to as “Easter Eggers!”
Putney’s eggs are not only beautiful, but super tasty and nutrient dense compared to common hybrid white varieties that you find at many grocery stores. Have you ever been curious about the duck eggs we at the store, but aren’t sure if you should try them? You should take the leap! Not only are they creamier than a chicken egg when scrambled, they also contain twice the nutritional value. They are super high in Vitamin A and B-12 as well Omega 3’s and good cholesterol that help to support healthy brain function. Duck eggs can also be used in baking as a substitute for chicken eggs! They are bigger and fluffier when whisked (definitely no complaints there!) than a chicken egg so make sure to substitute correctly.
Donna and Leonard have never altered their land in an unnatural way. The chickens and ducks have lived their lives pecking on chemical-free soil that is rich in nutrients and bugs, a natural source of protein. Putney Farm is both Certified SC Grown and Appalachian Grown. The feed that is left out to supplement the natural diet the chickens have is Non-GMO, but with the availability of natural foraging the animals don’t eat much of it. If a bird were to fall ill (which very rarely occurs) it would be isolated and no antibiotics would be used. Donna has an extensive knowledge of natural herbs, plants, and healing medicines that help to keep the flock healthy.
Putney Farm also takes sustainability one step further by taking SRCG’s compost each week back to their farm! Not only does this reduce waste for our store, the birds on the farm are provided with additional sources of nutrients and contribute to creating more nutrient-dense soil. It’s a complete circle of sustainability! This compost soil that is then created at Putney Farm is used as a natural fertilizer for the no-till garden located on the property. Donna has introduced our customers to native plants that she grows in the garden as well as forages for such as Shiso and Lamb’s Quarter. Both of these plants have beneficial properties when brewed in tea or eaten to help with inflammation. Keep an eye out for them in the store soon!
Donna found her love in farming when she wanted to adapt a healthier lifestyle after recovering from a serious illness. A healthy body starts on the inside! She is a big supporter of natural living and was a nurse for many, many years in Florida and Illinois. She transitioned to becoming known as the “Plant Lady” to start and has designed the gardens at both GSP International Airport and Haywood Mall. Both Leonard and Donna have a ton of fascinating bits of knowledge to share, including Leonard’s duck herding method of holding out your arms and only wiggling your fingers. We’ve dubbed them his “Bird Spirit Fingers.” Donna’s trick to tell if the eggs you get are fresh is to fill a bowl full of water and if the eggs sink they’re good!