Thursday, March 12, 2015

Spring Peeks In at Rock's Roost

by Pa Rock
Chicken Rancher

Yesterday it was sixty-seven degrees in my corner of the Ozarks, and the sun was shining.  Just one week before it had been snowing - fiercely.  Songbirds were singing outside of my bedroom window when I woke up the past two mornings.  While spring does not officially arrive for more than another week, it does seem to be tiptoeing up to the house and peeking in.

My beloved bird feeder is on the ground this morning, and although I have not yet been out to investigate, from the window it looks as though it suffered substantial damage.  Those pesky squirrels may have brought it down, or perhaps a bear.

I placed my chick order this week.    I held onto the order form for a couple of months, thinking about what I would like to try and raise at The Roost this season.   (Chicks are like garden seeds, and it's easy to get impulsive and over-order.)   I had some success with the Rhode Island Reds from last year, but suffered complete failure with the turkeys and guineas.  This year I am set up better and have more protections in place for the young birds, but, even so, raising livestock of any type is a risky business.

My chick order for this year wound up to be relatively modest.  I decided to go with a straight run of ten more Rhode Island Red chicks.   (Straight run means that they aren't pre-selected by gender and I will likely receive little cockerels and pullets, a.k.a. roosters and hens).  Those, combined with the eleven grown red hens that I already have, should provide more eggs than I can handle.  Additionally, some of the adult hens will also undoubtedly get broody and try to hatch out some offspring of their own during the spring and summer.

I have one little banty hen that was given to me by a neighbor.  She lays one or two tiny eggs a week.  I have ordered seven banty chicks for her to mother.  Bantys are lots of fun to have around, and they help the other poultry keep the bugs under control.

Finally, I also wanted to try something unusual, as a sort of complement to my peacock operation.  I ordered seven Red Jungle Fowl, birds that developed largely on their own in remote overseas locations - wild international chickens.  The jungle fowl will be housed in the barn in close proximity to the peacocks.

It was a small chick order - just twenty-four birds - but if the poultry gods smile down on Pa Rock this year, The Roost could be one happening place!

Feathers are likely to be flying!

(And I was just kidding about the bear!)

1 comment:

Xobekim said...

RFD TV reported this morning that two large commercial turkey operations not far from you have had to slaughter their birds because of an outbreak of avian influenza, or bird flu. The outbreak is confined to the Mississippi waterway with cases being reported in Minnesota, Missouri, and Arkansas. The Arkansas operation is in a county on the Missouri border.

No small farm domestic birds have been affected. They recommend that domestic foul not be permitted to mix with wild foul at this time and that farmers use proper hygiene to prevent any cross contamination of their birds.

Ill birds sometimes just look sick while some make a snicking sound, apparently that is the noise a bird makes when it sneezes.