I manage a working Quarter Horse ranch, training arena and boarding facility on Mt. Spokane in beautiful Eastern Washington. I probably have the best landlady (the ranch owner) in the world, and I don't mean that lightly! She supports all of my ventures, as long as I do my job. I don't only manage the ranch, I am also my landlady's right-hand Jill-of-all-trades gal! She doesn't even complain when I have all of the spare counters of the ranch house covered with soap molds of my cold-process soap while it's curing!
I am currently trying to build a hatching/breeding "project" (if you want to call it that) up in the foothills of Mt. Spokane. I want to raise good quality birds from good quality breeder stock, that do well in the cold NW winters (we hit -28 this winter but after the windchill it was -65 brrrr!!!! ), and also do well in the hot NW summers (our hottest day on the ranch last summer was 115 ). It's not like the chickens don't have protection, but there's only SO MUCH that can be done when the temperatures get that low or reach that high.
I don't have any plans to have thousands of birds, I want to focus focus focus on quality over quantity. If I end up with 250 breeding birds for the 12 to 15 breeds of chickens/poultry I want to focus on, that just may end up being too many! I am only 1 person afterall!
Without a local hatchery, and with so many people here in the Inland NW wanting "just a few birds", I want to be able to supply people with "just a few" birds that are of good quality !!! Even though they can purchase some chicks at the local feed stores, those birds come from hatcheries and aren't necessarily of high quality. And many of the breeds are fancy & cute, but can't withstand the weather here.
While there are plans to sell the current ranch property, myself and all of my critters (there are quite a few!) will be moving into new digs on the new property - whenever that happens. She has already redone the property layout plans for 2 new chicken buildings; the larger one with 12 attached runout pens of 20'x40' all of which have a split inside pen consisting of 2 pens that are 10'x8' so I can have the nesting boxes and sleeping ladders in each, but can rotate to clean! THEN, a smaller chicken building with 8 attached runout pens of 10'x20' for the little guys and gals or "whatever". AND all of those attached runout pens have gates so the birds can all get turned out to roam around. I really prefer that my birds roam free as much as is possible.
The buildings would all be complete with ventilation/cooling/heating. Woo-hoo!
I meant it, I do have the best landlady! (It doesn't hurt that she gets fresh eggs and super tasty butcher chickens/ducks for her freezer, either!)
While I will be new to the world of poultry showing when I start, hopefully in spring of 2012, I am not new to the world of poultry.
I have raised various breeds of chickens, ducks, turkeys, guineas & peafowl off and on (as my living sitiuation allowed), since February 1998. I have been raising them consistantly since fall of 2008, and this time they are here to stay!
I am raising many dual-purpose breeds, and some of them ARE fancy and pretty, but so far, they are doing very well for me and my situation and the weather!
I am currently raising the following:
Black Australorp; Buff Orpington; Barred Plymouth Rock; Ameraucana; Light Brahma;
Black Copper Marans; Barnevelder; Blue Laced Red & Blue Wyandottes;
b/b/s cochin bantams; Olde English Game bantams (although these little guys and gals are housed INSIDE the barn during the winter)
I have been looking for/wanting to ad, Silkies, to my breeding program for several years now.
I had planned to raise Speckled Sussex, but I have not yet been able to obtain stock that is of high enough quality for me to produce any for others - I am LOOKING!!!
I also have a few Silver Duckwing Phoenix X Jungle Fowl MIX (they are my predator alerts and they are FABULOUS!!!), I do not raise these to sell, they are my personal birds.
I also raise Royal Palm Turkeys; Guineas (Royal Purple, Lavendar, Coral Blue); Peafowl (India Blue); Muscovy Ducks (Chocolate)
I have plans to ad Blue and Lavender Orpingtons; and Blue Copper & Splash Copper Marans - as soon as I can find some awesome breeding stock!
I will likely be phasing out the Barred Plymouth Rocks and the Black Australorps. It appears that the Barnevelders will be going away as well.
I have raised and shown Rex Rabbits all over the US since 1999. I was one of the top breeders in the US for several years until I had to scale back my breeding & showing program. When the cost of feed doubled in less than 2 months, then when I lost my job, very difficult decisions had to be made. I am down to fewer than 20 adult rabbits. I still show, but only occasionally, and usually only 1 or 2 rabbits per show.