Harry and Peregrine Kavros moved to Hillsborough, North Carolina, from Manhattan in 2015. They expected to do some gardening and packed their car with a shovel, hoe, hedge shears, and a few other implements that Harry’s father had used since the 1950s. They soon discovered that seven pastures and a dozen acres of woods would require more serious horsepower to maintain.
It took about a year to clear underbrush, collect fallen branches, chain saw unwanted trees, and bush hog pastures. Meanwhile, these city dwellers researched how to make the land productive. Harry planted thyme, buckwheat, and crimson clover to support the pollinators. He designed stone terraces for Peregrine to harvest lavender and sage for a local natural beauty care company. Early into their new avocation, one pasture hosted a million and a half bees. At the other end of the property, a horse roams another pasture. In between, Harry and Peregrine thought they could get some use out of an old barn. They refitted one stall to create a roost for chickens and guinea fowl. The middle barn offers respite and relaxation for older (and younger) hens and an occasional guinea.
The barn is home to several varieties of chickens, which are both visually stunning and hardy layers. Their eggs are brown, green, and blue and can tolerate weather extremes. Today Ameraucanas (standard, blue, lavender, splash, and white), Black Stars, Whiting True Greens, Cuckoo Marans, Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Black Giants, and a few other varieties roam over several acres and through the woods. They have fun all day digging holes and rearranging mulch. Meanwhile, they clear the land of chiggers and ticks. The birds are pasture and woodland fed, and the eggs are produced under organic conditions. The flock feeds on USA-Sourced Layer Breeder Pellets, 2-grain crackle, seasonal fruits, vegetables, and herbal feed supplements from The Poultry Store, all of which help to create eggs that folks say are the most delicious they "...have ever tasted." The chicks are all vaccinated at NPIP-certified hatcheries. Theo, an adored rescue (Alabama Sweet Home Doberman Rescue), follows in the paw steps of his predecessors, Danni and Gibbs (also rescues who have passed on to greener pastures), protecting the wandering flock from low-flying hawks and other predators.
Chickens in the barn
Theo on patrol and flock watch
To keep the birds healthy, Peregrine has read books and blogs on raising chickens, interviewed local experts, and taken a course on eggs at NC State. Harry and Peregrine share candling and cleaning the eggs and are committed to sustaining this beautiful farm.
Harry and Peregrine were grateful to have the help of Kathryn and Cedelia Obenshain, in preparing the Farm for the Hillsborough Garden Tour in 2021. For information about the upcoming Garden Tour please go to the Hillsborough Garden Club Website.
Both parents and chickens are proud to share their eggs with several local establishments including the Hillsborough Bakeshop & Pasta Co., a wonderful farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Hillsborough, Forget-Me-Not Farm’s CSA, and New Hope Market in Chapel Hill. Hyacinth Farm eggs are also available to members of the Hyacinth Farm Egg Club.