Five Generations of Quality

Dougan Homestead & Farm is Nestled in Cobble Hill on Vancouver Island. For decades, our family has tended to the land, cultivating a deep connection to nature and a commitment to sustainable farming practices. Today, we are proud to share the fruits of our labor with our local community.

Our farm-raised chickens are a true representation of our heritage, carefully bred and raised with utmost care and respect. From the premium feed they receive, to their exceptional living facilities, every aspect of their upbringing contributes to their exceptional flavor and quality. By supporting our farm, you not only indulge in the succulent taste of Vancouver Island chickens, but also become part of our legacy, preserving our farming traditions for future generations to enjoy.

Our History

James Dougan was born and raised in Ulster (Northern Ireland). In 1856, at the age of 21, James left Ireland following his two older brothers Robert and William to make his fortune in the recently discovered gold fields of Australia. Having moderate success in Australia, Robert and James sailed to British Columbia in 1858 to try their luck in the Fraser River gold rush. They arrived late in the year and found very difficult weather and terrain conditions. They decided to return to Australia late in 1859 to continue to pursue their fortunes in the Australian gold fields.

In Australia James met Annie McGrath. Although from English and Irish heritage, Annies’s ancestors had resided for several generations in Australia. James and Annie were married in Sydney, Australia 1863. Annie and James had three sons while in Australia; James Jr, William Arthur, and John Joseph before deciding to move their family to Vancouver Island. In 1867 they sailed aboard the Clipper Ship “Silas Fish” from Sydney, Australia to Port Townsend in Washington State via San Francisco. It was a long arduous journey and illness was endemic in the ship. Sadly, during the voyage, one and half year-old William Arthur became ill and died. William Arthur Dougan was buried at sea just offshore of Port Townsend. James, Annie and their two living sons took a local boat to Victoria early in 1868. James and Annie quickly secured temporary accommodation for Annie and the two boys in Victoria while James proceeded to travel northwest to the Cowichan Valley in search of suitable farmland to raise their family.

James applied for land pre-emption in a valley located about a mile and a half north of Cobble Hill then
known as Bear Valley. This pre-emption was duly registered as Crown Land Grant 1127 on December 6, 1869. On this undeveloped land James built a log cabin before returning to Victoria in the spring of 1870 to bring Annie and the two boys to their new homestead in April of that year.

Over the succeeding years the land was gradually cleared and fenced, and the farm developed sufficiently to grow a vegetable garden, raise some chickens, and produce sufficient fodder for a few
cows. This subsistence farming occupied most of James’ and Annie’s early years in the Cowichan Valley. Over time, taking advantage of the regular train service from Cowichan to Victoria starting in about 1885, the farm grew sufficiently to develop a small dairy herd and a flock of chickens producing butter, milk and eggs for sale to customers in Victoria. As the farm grew into a more commercial enterprise, James and Annie acquired other land holdings in the area.

In addition to developing and growing the farm, James and Annie grew their family. Fifteen children in all, 13 of whom grew to adulthood. Many of these children grew and raised their own families in the
Cowichan Valley area. Today, many of descendants of James and Annie that have passed on are buried in the Dougan Cemetery located at nearby Douglas Hill. Many more, however, continue to live and raise their families in the Cowichan Valley.

At Dougan Homestead Farm, it's all in the family with Aileen and Deanna Dougan now at the helm, representing the fourth and fifth generations. Growing up surrounded by the beauty of Cobble Hill, they've got farming in their blood. But they're not just sticking to the old ways; all about mixing tradition with a bit of modern flair. They're keeping things sustainable, embracing new techniques, and making sure the farm stays as vibrant as ever. With Aileen and Deanna in charge, Dougan Homestead Farm is set to keep bringing you the freshest goods straight from the fields for years to come.

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