Slow Life with Real Food

Eating and living mindfully by the beach

TLC Ranch

First things first, we forgot the diaper bag.

Moving on...

Guillermo, Joaquin, and I were invited to tour TLC Ranch and afterwards enjoy a tasty meal with owners Jim Dunlop and Rebecca Thistlewaite.

Jim gave us a tour of his ranch, TLC (Tastes Like Chicken!), located in Aromas, CA. It's fitting that the town is called Aromas, since quite a few of it's residents were pigs (seriously). They were cute pigs, though. The lot they had on the ranch at this time were small and cute and squeaky, and still far from seeing the only bad day they will ever have. These piggies have good little lives. They are fed fresh organic surplus produce from the local farmers' markets and they live in a beautiful green valley, guarded by a large white dog named Angel.

The pigs' closest neighbors are a couple of thousand Sex-link chickens. For those of you who don't know, Sex-link chickens are awesome! First off, they are the best chickens for beginner chicken owners. They are dumb-proof chickens. When non-Sex-link chicks are born, the males and females are practically indistinguishable from one another. You need a well-trained eye in order to tell them apart. The person attached to this well-trained eye will most likely turn the chick over, blow on the nether regions, and search for a barely noticeable appendage, something that looks similar to a miniscule badminton birdie. That's the baby boy chicken's penis. If you are not a person attached to a well-trained eye, what do you do to tell the males from the females? You buy Sex-link chicks! The males and the females are different colors. How do they make this happen, you ask? Well, you cross a pure-bred male chicken with a different type of pure bred female chicken, and Voila! You not only get distinctly sex-linked color, but you also get a bird that is hardier than their parents' respective breeds. Hooray for Sex-link chickens! And, if that isn't good enough for you, dear reader, then how about an excellent layer, or how about a bird that's quiet and easy to handle (i.e. doesn't fight with their fellow chicken mates, and makes a great pet)? Chicken heaven!

Jim and Rebecca are blessed enough to own many a Sex-link chicken, and their Sex-link chickens are blessed enough to live on TLC Ranch. They are regularly rotated to fresh fields of green grass, they eat those yummy farmers' market veggies, and all they have to do is lay an egg in return.

You can find TLC Ranch eggs in most locally-owned grocery stores in and around Santa Cruz County, and TLC pork is sold at the local farmers' markets. Try the 'Hot Sausage'. Delicious with eggs, toast, and coffee.

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Great blog! You're an entertaining writer

Posted by David on December 01, 2008 at 04:56 AM PST #

Hi, it would be nice to know which crosses are needed to produce the different sex-links. I will be ordering chicks here soon from a hatchery and it would be great to know this information before I order.

Would you be able to help me out with this info?


Posted by Bonnie on June 06, 2009 at 08:24 AM PDT #

Hi Bonnie!

Here is a link to wikipedia. It explains the cross-breeds much better than I ever could.
Good luck with your new chicks!

Posted by Amber Payet on June 06, 2009 at 03:00 PM PDT #

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