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geekgirlie in finding_roots

Links to sites about farm animals

From fenrirwulf

Mail Order Chicks  (12/08/06)

Yeah, I was a little scared when I typed the above phrase in the google bar, but found an interesting website.

http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/index.html

I really like the random collections they send, I just need to figure out if the collection contains birds of both sexes so that we could start a flock.
This collection especially:
http://www.mcmurrayhatchery.com/product/special_assorted_bargain.html

I am sure the website itself will make for interesting reading, and I will read it over and over to learn what to expect.

Article on Small Scale Poultry Production (12/12/06)

http://www.extension.umn.edu/distribution/livestocksystems/DI1188.html

It gives some good advice and I'm going to use the feed measurements need for fryer and roaster size to run some numbers, adjusted of course because I don't plan to have commercial meat strains, not to start off with.

I'll post what I come up with.

From my playing around with planning, and from what little knowledge I have picked up from reading, it looks like chickens are a pretty easy way to provide meat and eggs.

Here is the spreadsheet, but I don't know how much sense it will make to anyone but me.

http://blh.spreadsheets.google.com/ccc?id=o09494845114571951144.5809650976008714791.06812437048559680259.6079320656007940553

For those of you not wanting to bother with the spreadsheet, here are the results:

Year 1 costs were $335, and netted 106 birds for meat, and 1078 eggs.

The 335 only covers the cost of the chickens and their feed. That does not include the cost of the pens and feeders and other equipment, nor the electricity required to keep them laying all year. Also, the egg laying rate is an average of 2 eggs every 3 days per chicken, and does not take into consideration the yearly molt or any other issues that will decrease the laying rate. It does include numerous batches of chicks being bought, consisting of 25 Rhode Island Reds for laying and breed stock, 25 Cornish hens and roosters to establish a meat bird breeding flock, and two orders of 25 Cornish roosters to provide meat until the breeder flock can produce.

Year 2 is much more interesting since it is based off what hatchings the breeder flocks can provide. We end up with a total of 3546 eggs not counting the ones we use for incubation, and 210 birds for meat for just $243 in feed.
Once again, these are optimistic estimations. The broods are based on a 42 egg incubator with a 80% successful hatch rate.

Now I am having to rely on so much book knowledge and broad assumptions that the data itself can not be considered accurate, but I was doing to just get a rough idea of what was possible.

If the goal was simply providing eggs and meat for ourselves, I would most likely just keep one set of Rhode Island Reds and not bother with the Cornish. If by chance we can find a buyer for our eggs or meat, we could greater increase production.

I went with Rhode Island Reds because of their track record, and Kry said she liked them. They lay brown eggs, and it is well known that people prefer white eggs, so if we went into the egg laying business, I would most likely opt for the white leghorns for the white eggs and higher productivity.

Link from NCSU on Pasture Management (02/10/2007)

http://www.ces.ncsu.edu/copubs/ag/livestock/beef/020/

Haven't read it yet, just posting it here to remind me to read it.

Just as a note in general, massive amounts of information can be gained from University that are known for their Ag studies. This area has two, NC State and Va Tech. About half the articles I have stumbled onto have either been a joint venture by the two colleges or referenced another study done by the other college. There is also the County Extension for you state ag department. They will have information that will be tailored specifically for area.

The more I read about small scale farming and factory farming, the more interested I am in the former. I did not grow up ignorant of farming in general, being raised both in eastern NC (crop country) and Charlottesville, VA (cattle country). I was in the boy scouts in Charlottesville. The scout leader lived on a farm working for the same family that the land was granted to by the King of England.There was another boy in the troop whose family lived right down the road on a dairy farm. Both of these farms, and all the surrounding ones, had pastures full of cattle and other animals. Now this almost 20 years ago, so maybe the change to factory farms has been recent, but the more I read and learn about how the majority of our meat are produced by animals confined to crowded feedlots, and the additives they have to add to the animal's food to combat the unhealthy living conditions, the more I believe that not only is small scale farming the right way to feed my family, but I also believe that it will gain momentum in the near future as people begin the realize that the current methods to produce low cost meat isn't worth the health problems that come along with it. I also hope in the near future to be able to write out my views in shorter sentences.

Instructions on How to Dress a Chicken (03/02/2007)

Link from Backwoods Home Magazine

http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html

Link to NC Farm Market Prices (03/07/2007)

http://www.ncagr.com/markets/mktnews/

Ran across this researching meat goat production.

Interesting that they sold 10 goats this week in Smithfield, and 116 last week. Maybe there will be a market for any extra goats that we end up with.

Links and More Links (03/09/07)

Just a thread for me to throw links in so I can keep up with them more easily.

100 pics of chicken tractors
http://home.centurytel.net/thecitychicken/tractors.html

Goat Info site
http://www.fiascofarm.com/goats/index.htm

general homesteading site
http://www.backroadhome.com/
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