We started our adventure into the poultry world back in 2013. It started when I went to my aunts and fell in love with her flock of layers. After spending the weekend there I was hooked!! The second I got home I was looking at different hatcheries. The January of 2014 we ordered 75 layers of different breeds from Meyer hatchery and I couldn’t have been happier!! In April we ordered 10 Pekin and Cayuga ducks and they were so cute!! Then we got three hens that were about three years old to be with the chicks once they went to the coop. Sadly one hen died from my aunt’s dog who thought it was a chew toy. One month later our layers came and we didn’t lose a single chick in shipping!! That same day we picked up a shipment from one of the local feed stores of 300 hundred Cornish cross broilers and of course saw some other chicks that we needed!!
Let me tell you this, 300 chicks are very messy and you have to clean you brooder about 2 times a day so it doesn’t get wet. When the chicks were about a week old we got 4 turkey poults that were 5 weeks old. They were troubled little fellows…. Let’s just say they have the mind of a two year old… They know how to get into trouble but not out.
Before I knew it our chicks were getting a little too big for the brooders they were in. So at the young age of 3 weeks our huge coop was filled with three inch tall fluff balls. It was so much fun watching them run around following the two Black Australorp hens we got. They adopted those chicks right away!!
Soon the chicks started feathering out and I realized that we had some roosters that were supposed to be hens. We ended up with seven rooster out of the bunch some lady got three along with fifty Cornish cross. But the other four stayed. I ended selling one and brought the rest to my grandpas and they lived in an open front shed used for cows when they are calving.
Soon it was time for butchering chickens… WOW I hate butchering Cornish cross. They are impossible to handle!! But it had to be done because the layers were running out of room in the coop and the Cornish cross were just too big. Most of them dressed out at 8-10 pounds which was perfect!!
We eventually sold most of the ducks except for a breeding pair named Pinky (drake) and Anna (hen). Don’t judge the name!! My sister’s friend named it!! But with the money from the ducks I bought three Cochin pullets that were 14 weeks old. This made my addiction stronger!! They were so cute!! Big Mama was a Standard blue, Blue bell was a cross between a standard and bantam Cochin and Freck was a Mottled split to blue bantam Cochin. She had freckles all over her face hence the name Freck.
Soon the pullets started laying. We got our first egg on November 9th 2014 from a Buff Orpington and the next day there were two eggs!! It didn’t take long for them all to start laying!! By the middle of December we were selling 8 dozen eggs a week.
In November 2014 we ended up butchering two of the three turkeys we had and they were delicious!! Only dressed out at 12-13 pounds each. They were replaced by a Narrangansett hen and a Blue slate hen for the tom we had left. Sadly they both got killed by owls because they didn’t want to sleep inside!! Only the tom lived.
On February 14th 2015 we got our first broody. Her name was Daisy the Buff Orpington. She never hatched anything since it was too early and cold.
Before I knew I had more broody’s than I needed… OK I lied I needed more broody’s. On March 22nd 2015 Blue bell the Cochin hatched 5 cute little Welsummer Easter egger crosses from my own little project. Not long after that I bought three Broad breasted turkeys two Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks. So I had to make a brooder. Five days later I had Chicks hatching in the incubator!! I was so excited!! I got 7 chicks from my first setting of 14 eggs. Next thing you know I have chicks everywhere you look!!
In May 2015 we made a 1 and a half trip to Brainerd MN to get a Cochin rooster and four Muscovy ducklings from a breeder up there. On the way home when we stopped to get feed I saw some African goslings at the feed store and I had to get some!! It is a good thing I was picky everytime the grabbed a gosling I was like “not that one”. It’s a good thing I like to get a big and tiny of everything!! I managed to get a female I named Gerty and a male I named Lewis. They were my babies! They watched T.V. with me!!
For the next month I had two more broody hatches. And then on June 5th 2015 I had the cutest hatch of my life!! My broody Cochin Big Mama hatched 5 of the 5 Pekin eggs I gave her from my stock. I fell in love!! I ended up setting 10 Pekin eggs in the incubator and six hatched. But sadly something got in the brooder and all I found was blood.
After those ducklings hatched hen decided she would go broody but gave up. So I put her living eggs in the incubator and gave two of them to Freck the broody Cochin bantam. Who had lost her only chick and went back to setting. She ended up hatching two beautiful Standard Cochin chicks from Big Mama and the Cochin rooster I got named Zeus.
Not long after we had some family issues and had to move all the poultry from one grandpas to the other who bought a farm with a HUGE coop on it. I ended up selling all the chicks I had and kept the ones that didn’t need a heat lamp. We ended up butchering My Welsummer rooster and all his rooster children except for one named Bubba who is half Welsummer and half Black Australorp and I kept my Cochin rooster Zeus. I kept all the hens except for the Barred Rocks who I sadly had to leave at my other grandpas. I also butchered my two Chocolate Muscovy drakes and kept the male blue Muscovy named Ceaser (don’t remember how to spell so might be spelled wrong) and I kept his girlfriend a blue Muscovy named Cleo short for Cleopatra. I also kept my quad of Pekins, the turkeys and the geese. A month after moving my poultry to my grandpas the darn turkeys decided to start laying!!
We butchered our broad breasted white tom turkey a week before Thanksgiving and it was delicious!! Not long after that the ducks started laying after molting and the young ducks had just started laying for the first time. Now just a week or two ago my goose Gerty started laying and made a nest. Sometime this week I have to butcher our Christmas turkey and then there will be a Royal palm cross tom and a Broad Breasted Bronze turkey hen left.
Thanks for reading!! Sorry for the pic over load!!