Saturday, March 26, 2011

Considerations Before We Buy

Day old chicks arriving on the farm.
   Once the decision was made to raise our backyard flock it was helpful to know the purpose we had in mind for the birds we would be raising. While taking a long morning walk together, questions and considerations were discussed before the purchase was made.

Concerning Breed
1. Are we looking for egg production, meat production, or both? What is my financial means to support either one?
2. Do we want large birds or smaller birds? What do we have the space for?
3. Will we want good brood hens who will set and raise a clutch? Am I willing to keep a rooster?
4. What are my concerns/convictions about hybrid/genetically modified breeds?

Concerning Housing
1. How are we willing to invest in this project?
2. Will they be caged, cooped with a run, or cooped with freedom?
3. Is my goal free range or restricted pasture?
4. Do we want a permanent structure, temporary housing, or a mobile structure?

Concerning Feed
1. Have we researched price, quality or quantities needed for the breed and brood size?
2. What are our convictions about medications and pesticides added to premixed feeds?
3. Will we be running a feed management program or open graze/free choice freed system?
4. Grain only or pasture?

Concerning Health
1. Are we familiar with ailments common to the breed we have chosen?
2. What parasites or nutrient deficiencies/surpluses are common in my area?
3. Will we vaccinate, use antibiotics, or pesticides; do we plan to use a holistic health approach?
4. Are we prepare to accept death, predators and the possibility of euthanizing?

   We began to realize there is alot involved in raising a flock of poultry. By starting ahead, we developed a plan and started to work the plan. Along the way there has been success and failure; life and death; trial and triumph- farm life is not always as romantic as it may seem. Next week we will share a bit more about starting our flocks, setting up our brooder, and our method of feed and health care.

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