The beginnings of the flock. "Miss Chickie" is the surviving hen from 2009 - her buddies were killed when a dog got into the pen (thus the need for room & more protection). She's a Dominique. Some younger Dominiques and Rhode Island Reds were added in 2011 to expand that flock. Black Australorp from 2010 are now a part of the laying flock. In 2011 we added Buckeyes and a pair of dark Cornish, and some miscellaneous layers of various breeds, as well as our midget white turkeys. In 2012 we expanded our Muscovy flock, as well as added starter flocks of Rhode Island White, Delaware, buff Cornish, red laced white Cornish and made plans for the next level.
Why this? We will, in 2014, add more layers to the flock, including several New Hampshires. These are key parts because we would then be able to produce a longtime "old fashioned" broiler crossing the Delawares with New Hampshires - females end up in layer flocks for others, males are fed out right on the farm to supply meat customers. We can also produce sex linked traits in crossing Rhode Island Red/White, as well as crossing some of the Cornish. Eventually, we'll be able to produce our own layers and meat birds and will have them on one parcel of land from hatching until the last hour of their lives, when they take a short ride up the road to be processed just a few miles away.
We have a very busy time ahead securing our property, building barns, bringing in feed bins so we can insure consistent supply of feed to our animals, equipment and so much more.
As more come available - especially of the rare livestock breeds - there is but a limited window of time to respond to get them. In the time we've been organizing members we've had to pass on a trio of Tamworth hogs, Cheviot sheep, a herd of Kerry cattle, Hereford hogs, Berkshire hogs and many others - for lack of room. Having additional space available for pens is important. Getting "silvopastures" established gives a benefit of animal welfare, wildlife assistance, long term trees for lumber, grass based forages suited to the animals we're looking at and uses the whole thing to feed people.
We're thinking outside the box for an outside the box, no fast food audience. The best things take time. Diamonds. Wine. SlowMoneyFarm food.
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