Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Squawking the Squawk

by Pa Rock
Chicken Farmer

My life, of late, has been divided into three distinct segments:  unpacking and getting my new home organized, sorting through last year's receipts in order to get ready for the tax preparer, and making plans for the farming portion of this country residence -basically in that order.

The unpacking is far from finished, but I do have a basic arrangement set up in each room and have established paths among the boxes.  I finished organizing the tax materials today and will drive them to my preparer in southwest Missouri tomorrow.   Now, with those two elements somewhat under control, I can turn my attentions to the out-of-doors.

There is a nice little chicken coop on the farm which has an indoor nesting area and a small fenced-in piece of land for exercise and scratching for bugs.   Grown chickens can also work the yard for bugs during the day, and then head to the coop for safety at night.

Today I placed my chick order at one of the local feed stores.  Delivery will be April 22nd, and I am anxious for the big arrival.  In the meantime I will clean the coop, put in a few more nesting boxes and a couple of automatic feeders and waterers, and spread a lot of clean straw.

The main part of the order was for Rhode Island Reds, one of the more common breeds that is known for being good layers and having calm dispositions.  I have twenty-five pullets (females) on order and three cockerels (males, roosters).   Roosters are fun to have around for their blustering, skirmishes, and endless crowing.  When the hens eventually begin to get broody and want to hatch out families of their own, the services of a rooster are essential.

I also ordered four turkeys, the bronze, broad-breasted breed that are often depicted in Pilgrim scenes.  The turkeys were ordered "straight-run" which means that gender will be a crap shoot.   Hopefully, both toms and hens will be represented when the order arrives.  Straight-runs are the most inexpensive way to buy poultry, especially chickens.   Many buyers have a preference for pullets, leaving an abundance of unwanted little roosters.  In a straight-run, all of the chicks are herded into shipping boxes together and every bird gets a home.

The local feed store offered a good variety of birds through their supplier.  Sadly, that supplier does not sell guineas or peacocks - two of my favorite farm birds.  Sounds are a unique part of a farm, and guineas and peacocks both add a lot to the rural soundtrack.  Guineas will roost in the trees and set up quite a ruckus when anyone comes onto the property after dark.  They are also great tick hunters.

Come see me in the fall.  I will send you home with farm-fresh eggs!

1 comment:

Don said...

I'm already envious of the lifestyle. It reminds me of pre-war America, when life was simpler and values were implanted by parents who made time for their kids.