Old Fashioned Traditions
Old Fashioned Traditions

Poultry

Chickens and Turkeys will be available in 2017.  

 

They will be pastured and allowed to search for bugs and take dust baths.  I will have both commercial varieties and heritage varieties available.  

 

The chickens are pastured (not free range, I like to walk outside and not step in chicken poop).  They are started in brooders until they are feathered out enough to go outside.  Chickens hatched and raised in the winter are sometimes not able to go outside due to cold unfortunately.  However, letting them go into a greenhouse or high tunnel to scratch in the dirt, take dust baths, and get some greens that are growing seems like a good plan for these birds.  

 

The types of chickens raised are Cornish X (this is the basic commercial meat breed) as well as the males of the heritage breeds.  The main differences between these two types are:

 

1) The Cornish X reaches butcher age/weight in 6-8 weeks and is white feathered resulting in a pale skin color.

 

2) The Heritage breeds take about 4 months to reach butcher age/weight and are covered with colored feathers.  This makes the skin darker, something that some people do not find appetizing.  

They are fed a non-GMO diet of oats, corn, and linseed meal.  They get milk and kefir to drink/eat as they want and have access to water at all times.  No vaccinations are given.  No beaks are trimmed.  No antibiotics are fed.  They are also given veggies scraps, animal fats (tallow), and leftovers from fishing.  They scrounge for bugs and other goodies in the warm months.  Portable pastures are moved at least daily, usually twice a day to allow for maximum eating of bugs and grasses.  

 

My Heritage flock of turkeys are Black Spanish.  It is a small flock of 4 hens and 2 Toms.  This will be their first year of raising their own poults.  Broad Breasted Bronze and Broad Breasted White turkeys will also be raised for meat production.  

 

Duck and Goose:  I raise Muscovy ducks for their wonderful foraging ability as well as the great taste. These birds take longer to mature but are worth the wait.  The moms are great mothers and often will hatch 3 or more clutches a year.  They are the largest of the domestic ducks.  I also will have other Heritage breeds for meat as well as the Pekin which is a commercial breed.  

 

For duck egg production, I have Khaki Campbells and Runner ducks.  Duck eggs make VERY fluffy pancakes and add a bit of rise to baked products as well.  They can be eaten just like chicken eggs and are prepared the same way.

 

They are fed the same diet as the chickens, see above.

 

Geese raised are Embden for meat production and Pilgrims for maintaining a flock and meat production.  Both are excellent foragers and are great in pastures.  They seldom eat the feed mix (see above) and finish on grass.  Often over winter they will be eating hay that falls out of the feeders of the animals.  

 

Pheasant, Quail, and Guinea Hen are the "exotics" that will be raised.  Quail are mainly raised for eggs but a few may be available for eating as well.  Pheasant and Guinea Hen will be available in the fall and winter months.  These are also pastured, if not, they would fly away and never be seen again.  Quail are raised on a different diet than the rest of the poultry since they require a much higher protein content. Pheasants are started out on a higher protein chick starter as well.  

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