Friday, March 29, 2013

How All This Chicken Scratch Began

I believe my love of poultry runs deep in my blood, which began many generations ago with my great grandmother who was a poultry breeder during a time when it was a necessity for providing for her family.  She raised chickens and turkeys to sell for extra money and to provide meat and eggs for her husband and seven children.  It was my grandfathers job to take the eggs to town once a week to sell them.   He also tells me his mother had an incubator that held 500 eggs, that was powered on kerosene and she hand turned the eggs 3 times per day.    People would come from near and far to buy my great grandmothers turkeys, which she would have dressed and ready to go when they arrived to pick them up.

When I was about 9 years old my parents moved my 2 sisters and I to a small farm.  I recieved my first rooster and  hen and my love of chickens began.  Within one year those 2 birds had grown into quite a flock.   There was always some little chick I would come dragging in the house for my mother to help me nurse back to health.  Mom and I had many little chick funerals beside the old barn. 

In 1995 Larry and I bought our own small farm where we live now. We had 3 young childen at that time and it seemed like the perfect place to raise a family.  Larry had never lived in the country before or raised any kind of farm animal and so our adventures began.   Once again I was able to have a few chickens.  Just to be able to have fresh eggs was great and the kids always enjoyed helping gather the eggs.

Now lets flash forward to 2005,.Larry is surfing the Internet and finds French Black copper Marans eggs selling for almost $200 for 4 eggs. He says' "I think I need some of those eggs!" Which my first responses is, "I think you're crazy!"  After purchasing some very expensive eggs and disappointingly only getting one chick, we decided to take a different route and just order chicks.  Once our beautiful Marans grew up and began to lay the prettiest eggs I had ever seen, we started selling eggs on EBay.  It took time to learn how to pack the eggs just right so none where broke once arriving and hatch rate was good.  Once we had sold eggs for about five years Larry says to me, "I think I can sell chicks!" To which my response was again, "I think your crazy!" However, I went along with the idea and we started buying Sportsman's incubators and hatching chicks. Before long we could not keep up with the orders.  Last fall we built a new barn and upgraded to an incubator that holds 2000 eggs.

We've learned so much over the years about breeding, genetics, what qualities you want in a bird, and what qualitites to avoid.  There is so much more to breeding than just buying a rooster and a hen and saying you have breeders.  We've learned alot but we still have alot to learn.  We make mistakes but we learn from them and make changes fast.  This is not a get rich job, Larry still works a full time job everyday and then comes home and puts in another 5 hours.  We enjoy what we do and we can do it together and that means a lot.

I'm no blogger or writer by any means, but many of you seem to be interested in what we do around the farm.  So from this site I'm going to try and share that with you as best I can.  This might not always be about chicken farming but it will be about country living and just day to day happenings.  Keep in mind, chicken farming is different than just having a backyard flock, you may not always agree with how things are done but they are done for a reason and it is what works best for us and our birds.  We raise our birds in a very humane way and no one is ever mistreated, we take our job here very serious and strive to raise a healthy productive flock and in time share them with you.
                                     For the Lord your God will bless you in your harvest
                                                                        Deuteronomy 16:15