Friday, January 29, 2010

Our Chicky Start

I didn’t start raising chickens until college. From 5th grade through high school I raised rabbits and cavies in 4-H and open, and then in high school we got goats and showed them in FFA. When I got to Oregon State University to start my Animal Science minor I discovered rabbits were not very important to the agriculture community, so they didn’t have any classes on small animals. I could have taken any class I could think of regarding cows. So I compromised and my older sister and I popped into our first poultry class. We loved it! I didn’t know chickens were so cool.

My sister is 2.5 years older than me and we started our animal science minors together so we had to stuff a lot of classes into that last 2 years for her. Our second poultry class was a 400 level embryology class. I discovered with this class that a passion for something will get you everywhere. We had no background in poultry like most of the student, and we certainly didn’t have the biology background. Yet we set the curve.

That summer we took home 5 hens from the OSU Poultry Farm. They were 5 Rhode Island Reds (Lucy, Ethel, Gertrude, Maggie, and Hannah). We built a great pen for them and they were able to free range all day long, only penned up at night for predator prevention. The following spring I fell hard for the chicks at the feed store, we brought home 2 Leghorns, 1 Buff Orpington, 1 Black Australorp, and 1 Ameraucana green egg layer. And I was hooked!

Since then we have hatched numerous batches of chicks most of which were in my mother’s classroom for her 3rd and 4th grade classes to watch and learn about. We started with a Styrofoam incubator and can happily say it worked well for us. We upgraded to a GQF as soon as we found a good affordable one. We have had 100% hatches several times with this incubator.

I now have 2 incubators and a hatcher for our hatching purposes. Someday I hope to be hatching my own turkey eggs but right now we just do ducks, chickens, and (starting 1/26/2010) quail.

Keep watching for information and pictures about the quail. They should hatch in about 15 days

Gotta go feed the chooks,


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