Back in the mid1950's I raised broilers as a FFA project as a sophomore and junior in HS--prior to that I'd kept a few bantams. I'd get 50 cockerel chicks in April and butcher in August. Then I graduated to college, girls and other things that were more important. About 25 years ago, at the request of my wife, I returned to keeping a backyard flock, primarily for eggs although for the first few years I did raise Cornish-X's until I got sick of being the only one in the family who killed and dressed them--although everyone loved to eat them as long as I did the BBQing. (There was a brief flirting with ducks and geese in there as well, but I smartened up and rehomed them.) Initially I kept most anaucanas and a few odd ball varieties--I sold hackles to a couple of fly-tying friends--but with the last few purchases I'd move over to sex-links, first Red Stars then Black Stars because the wife wanted bigger eggs and I found these to be egg laying machines. Initially my chickens were on a 3-year plan--during their 3rd year I'd get another order of chicks (always from McMurray's) and sell off the hens. In between the major purchases I'd set a few of the best blue eggs if a hen got broody or in a Hova-Bator if one didn't. However, at 72 I finally decide it might be time to get out of the chicken business as the last batch of chickens died off. Unfortunately this happened all too quickly when a weasel got into my coop last winter and killed off 15 of the 18 of my 5/6-year flock including all the rooster causing me to losing the line of anaucanas I'd kept going for 25 years. I found I wasn't quite ready to quit, so with 25 Black Stars, half a dozen straight-run Anaucaras and 10 mixed chicks from Central Tractor I'm back in the chicken business for a few more years--hauling feed and water, shoveling poop and collecting eggs.
I can haul a lot of chicken manure in this baby!
I'm a retired teacher who lives with his wife of 50 years on 7 acres of wooded property 5 miles from town in the Catskill foothills of upstate NY. In my checkered career I have, besides teaching and coaching, been or still am seriously involved in a number of hobbies beside raising poultry: tropical fish, orchid and tropical plants, bee keeping, electric toy trains, woodworking, flyfishing, hunting and golf. We have a huge garden as well as blueberry, strawberry and raspberry patches--our other fruit trees have suffered attrition over the last few years due to old age and the lack of replanting--truth is I got tired of mowing around them. In my spare time I write and have 6 books, 2 novels, in publication. I am a firm believer in going as green and organic as possible unless absolutely necessary, i.e. I don't use any medication or pesticides around my garden or chickens but don't buy organic feed either. Beside the chickens were currently are sharing our lives with 5 cats, 2 of which some idiot dropped off here thinking they could fend for themselves. We have two daughters and two grandkids that live close enough to more than happily feed off our excess produce.
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