Bracken Brae Farm owners Linda Sakiewicz and Claude Hughes have been supplying Weaver Street Markets in Orange County with eggs and herbs for more than 15 years. Over the years, Linda has developed a loyal following of customers. For customers who can only dream about farming, they can take comfort in knowing that Linda is doing it in a way that treats her chickens with respect. She has a shed called the “Chick-Inn” which is used for raising baby chicks in a protected environment until they are old enough to join the adult flock, as well as to house hens and roosters that have been injured, hatched with birth defects, or elderly chickens.
Livestock guardian dogs live with and watch over the flock. As chickens age, their egg production each year gradually declines; however, Bracken Brae Farm does not cull them. In addition, artificial lights are not used to force laying. Allowing the hens to be exposed to the seasonal changes in day length, reduces stress on the chickens and helps them have more laying seasons. Linda’s chickens always have access to many acres of permanent pasture, supplemental feed and clean water as well as shelter to protect them from inclement weather and a quiet place to lay their eggs.
When in season, Linda supplies herbs to all Orange County Weaver Street stores and, on occasion, a few specialty items like Jalapeño peppers! Although Bracken Brae Farm is not certified organic, organic practices are followed. When pesticides are needed, only those approved for organic farming are used and there is no need for synthetic fertilizer when chicken manure is abundant and free!