April 25, 2015

Bringing home chicks and turkey poults

Ahh!  My little family farm is expanding ad so is my big mother's heart.

I spoke yesterday at the most lovely luncheon to honor Red Cross Blood Driver volunteers.  These are the nicest group of retirement aged people ever!  Honestly, if you are looking for a great cause and would be able to volunteer, call your local Red Cross.  I don't mean to overuse this term, but speaking to these good people was another holy experience for me.  We cried together, we loved and appreciated together, and I was once again just inspired by the raw goodness of people.  There are so many good people in the world.  

After the luncheon we drove to the coolest hatchery.  Again, we met really neat people who love what they do and are SO inspiring.  This place was not just a hatchery with healthy, heritage chicks and poults, but they sold home-grown organic foods, homemade fudge, homemade maple syrup, homemade honey... I love these people.  They are truely the salt of the earth.

We picked up a bunch of Narragansett turkeys.
Our plan is to eat and sell them, but I almost want to keep a breeding trio.  Turkeys are cool.
We got a couple  Bronze Turkey poults and a couple Red Bourbons.

I didn't even think I liked birds-- but seriously, look at these beautiful things!
(Narragansett turkeys)
(Red Bourbon)

I'm nervous, turkeys are hard to keep alive!  We'll see how this goes.
The plan is for me to raise the babies and then my friend agreed to pasture them for us.  I'm trying to figure out a way for us to pasture them, so I have 6 weeks to convince Todd we want to keep them here.  
We also got 24 Freedom Ranger chicks for meat.  I call them Chicken Nuggets.

Unlike Cornish X who freak me out a bit because they are bred to grow so fat so quickly that they die because their feet break and heart explodes (perhaps this is not always the case, but I read enough stories that I knew this breed wasn't for me.)  Freedom Rangers are a bird good for meat that also forages and acts like a real chicken.  We are building a chicken tractor for them that we will pull through our fields.  

Here are some designs we like...
We will probably pay someone to process them for us.  These chickens will be ready to process in late June.  So, this is a temporary experiment.  I feel really excited about it.  

It's funny to me that raising my own food feels so ethical and healthy.  (So many people tell me they could never eat animals they raise and I'm surprised that I prefer eating animals I've raised or supporting local farmers.)  I love knowing where my food has lived.  I just know my family farm chickens and turkeys will have a good life even if it is short.  I'm actually glad that my family will feel sad as we eat these creatures we love.  We should feel that.  It is REAL.  

Another thing I love is the beauty and non-conformity in these heritage breeds.  My eggs and my garden vegetables don't look uniform.  There is absolute beauty in variation.  It is natural and feels so healthy to me.  Can you tell that I really love this farm life of mine?  

I got the cutest blue flowered generic muck boots for $30 at Tractor Supply and my favorite $9 clearance at Walmart blue gingham shirt.  Honestly, I love these two articles of clothing more than any high-end high-heel or designer dress.  This is ME.  It feels SO good.  (I wore my blue shirt three times this week just because I wanted to!!  I change out of my regular clothes and just wear my plaid when I'm driving to a hatchery or tractor supply, my farm-girl uniform.  I am compelled to match my boots.  Ha!)  I laugh at how happy pretty muck boots make me.  I think I have a country girl heart.

My new BFF chick hatchery owners gave me a Silver Wyandotte chick just because!!  I am SO excited.  These chickens are beautiful.  
Isn't that a COOL bird?!  I'm afraid I might really love collecting beautiful chickens.

The owner's favorite chicken is a blue-laced Wyandotte (but they were all sold out).  Look at this cool bird!!

I definitely like the animal part of my little farm more than I like the garden part.  I really need to get my garden planned and my kids' closets organized this week.

Life is good!
Spring is marvelous-- even if it snows on your daffodils.
I love LIFE and Wyandottes.

Yes, I'm wearing my blue shirt again today.  I think I need to go to Walmart and get 5 more.  Check your Walmarts for me, it has only 4 buttons tunic style.  I need this in green and red, purple?  Size M.  Ha!  Thanks.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

Are the freedom rangers good layers? Will they be for eggs, and then for meat? How do the chicken tractors work? Move every couple of days so they eat and fertilizer a new spot? I know you said you're doing a lot by trial and error; I'd love to know the resources your utilizing. My dream is large property, animals and planting as well. I'd love to hear more from you about what you're learning. What works, what not to do. ..etc

As always, I love your blog. :)


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