Welcome to Gamebirdeggs.com
My Story of How I came to Poultry and BYC
All Is Lost
Early in 2006 I began working on my hobby farm and planning for poultry. I built a small barn out back and cleared some trees around it. One day as the work continued I noticed my wife seemed short of breath. I asked her and she said she had been feeling it on and off for several weeks. I listened with a stethoscope and it sounded like she had fluid in her lungs, the next day we saw her doctor, and after draining the fluid and testing it, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, which had made to her lung. It was a death sentence since she had no symptoms until 3 weeks before that and the cancer was all over. Our children were devastated, and I was a bundle of anxiety and nerves and grief. She vowed to fight till her last breath and began treatment. I found my solace in my work as a paramedic, and my plans in the backyard. I began to build coops and research things on the internet. Soon I had some quail and pheasants.
On Father's Day 2008 my 17 year old daughter was coming home from work, about 3 miles away. She was working at the local orchard and farmer's market. She had two jobs, and was very active in the church. She built houses down in Kentuckty for Habitat for Humanity and other charitable work. Straight A student with a bright future. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, we had just bought her the car, but somehow she took a wide turn on a curve and slid into a telephone pole. She was overdue, I heard sirens, so I hopped in my truck and sped to the scene. Even though the road was closed, I flashed my paramedic badge and they let me through. I saw things no father should see. I had been on the other side of it so many times as a paramedic. I gathered myself a little and went home to tell her mother.
The screams of her mother I hear in my head to this day. The sights I see at night when I try to sleep. Her mother, already weak with the cancer, got sicker overnight and by November she too was gone. My son and I were devastated. She suffered, and we took care of her as best we could, but in the end, we lost her too. He was 10, I was forty, and we lived in a big country house that always seemed half empty. How I made it, I have no idea. I was consumed by guilt for buying her the car, and grief stricken to a point you can't imagine. I felt as if it was my job to protect my family, and I was a complete failure. My wife and daughter had been with me most of my adult life. Our large extended family and many friends got me through I guess. My birds were suddenly very theraputic. I needed to keep busy. I built onto the barn and pens and consoled myself in poultry. I would simply sit for hours among the birds, watching, observing, studying. I know it sounds odd to some folks, but it somehow worked for me. Hundreds and hundreds of hours of observation. My family stayed at the house around the clock, my brothers watched me 24/7 and I eventually went back to work, but if I didn't have a son still counting on me, I probably wouldn't be here. Simple as that.
A Change in Fortunes
You can't keep a good man down. I was going to be here. My son needed me and I needed to provide him with all the love and guidance and security I could. If not for him.............We went from a typical family of four to just the two of us. There was always a little sadness in our home. We began therapy to deal with the losses. I felt inside as if I was damaged goods, no good for anything. However, I had one purpose in life, and that was to guide my boy through this and try to raise him as someone his mom would admire. I gradually allowed myself to live a little, be with friends, go to baseball and hockey games, plan my son's future. the grief was horrible, and there are days where it still is. In February 2009 I was just online searching for old friends and classmates. I was starting to date, but my heart wasn't really in it. It was simply too soon. It was more about physical desire, craving human contact, and survival. I was widower, who had lost a child, what do you want to talk about over dinner? I was unfit to be around. I was angry and grief stricken. Gradually I became a hermit and stopped dating. I found solace and comfort in the backyard, gardening and raising my poultry and long hours at work, or fishing with my son. Then, I reconnected with an old girl friend from college on Facebook who had never married or had children and had no intention to. We continue to live apart but we both wanted a child. I got a second chance. He was born 09/20/10 and he is beautiful, like his brother and the sister he will never know. My oldest son is thrilled to have a little "bro" and a sense of normalicy and security. No, my new son is not my lost daughter. I am not who I was in 2007, and will never be that man again. I feel a hundred years old some days, and some days are just good. I am doing so much better, dating some, spending time with my boys, even writing this and posting it in a public forum is a step in the right direction away from isolation. In August 2010, I joined BYC, just before my son was born. The reason I believe is that I was getting back to socializing and feeling like I had some life left to live and really enjoying my birds. If you had told me in 2008 that I would someday have simple pleasures in my life I would have told you that you were nuts.
Hatching Eggs to Sell.
So after a few years my little hobby has grown. Scroll down to see the slide show. I purchased a GQF Sportsman Incubator, a 1502, with the digital command center. My hatch rate leaped from around 50% to almost 100%. Since I spent so much time sitting alone watching the birds, I had a good sense of who was who, and was able to pick desirable traits. I only live about a mile from the last livestock auction in Connecticut, so I began selling off some extra stock. For me going to the auction is a night out. Eventually I had to stop hatching so many birds. It was getting to be a full time job, lol. So now I keep some quail, pheasants, and Ameraucana and Easter Eggers. We eat the eggs, and I test hatch for fertility and to improve my brood stock, but there were always eggs that were left over. So I started a little website called www.gamebirdeggs.com. I sometimes sell a few eggs, mostly on EBAY, mostly pretty cheaply, basically just to cover the cost of feed and and shipping. I have a very small operation, less than 100 birds, and I lose a little money doing it, lol, but anyone who has poultry does. It really is a labor of love and therapy.