After a short break from the cold and some beautiful warm weather, our weather’s back down in the mid-twenties, and we’re back to hauling hot water and using various means to melt the ice on our waterers.
Our egg production is picking up, and we’ve begun setting eggs for hatching for most of our breeds.
7 Reasons to Raise Guineas
- Guineas are excellent foragers.
- They help to control ticks, insect pests and snakes. They’ll also eat small rodents, such as mice.
- They lay and will hatch and raise their young. You can use their eggs for baking or any of the ways you would normally use chicken eggs.
- Their meat, mostly dark, is nutritious and tasty.
- If you garden, you’ll find that guineas are less disruptive to your garden than chickens typically are.
- They are fairly robust and tend to have little trouble with disease but need protection against predators, particularly at night.
How Much Feed Can Free-Ranging Save?
With all my flocks, I feed each pen a measured amount of feed. Not only does this help with planning, but it helps prevent overfeeding (which can lead to non-productive hens) and gives me a “window” into how much my birds are eating or not eating.
Recently, I moved my Delawares out into a mobile coop and have been leaving the door open so they can free range during the day. Their feed consumption dropped by 75%! That is, they’re only consuming about 25% as much feed as they were previously and foraging for the rest! This is just one example, and the feed savings will likely vary with breed, season and location, but I am very encouraged with these results!
In our ongoing efforts to reduce off-farm inputs and make the farm more sustainable, I’m continuing to explore this and other ways of producing more of our birds’ feed on the farm.
New “Breeder’s Pick” Special on Chicks
Our Breeder’s Pick special is a great way to save money and still get the same excellent quality chicks that you’ve come to expect from us.
What is “breeder’s pick”? Because we’re a small operation, we only set eggs to hatch for orders. We do this based on the orders that we’ve received and our estimates of what percentage of eggs will hatch (the hatch rate). And we tend to set some extras, just to be sure.
Sometimes, the chicks hatch much better than anticipated, and we have extra chicks to sell that aren’t needed for specific orders. What we’ve typically done in the past is grow these out to maturity and process them for meat as table birds.
Now we are offering them to you as “Breeder’s Pick”, meaning that we (as the breeder) pick from what we have available to fill your order. Sometimes you may get all one breed. Other times, it may be an assortment. You can designate a portion of your order as Breeder’s Pick (for example 3 Breeder’s Pick chicks) or place an entire order of Breeder’s Pick.
Breeder’s pick helps you save at least $1.25 per chick, and it helps us make the best use of each chick and each hatchable egg that we have available.
Mother Earth News Fair, Belton, TX
We’re getting ready for the Mother Earth News fair which will be in Belton, Texas on February 18 and 19 this year.
Anyone who went last year will know that this was an excellent event, with lots of interesting talks, vendors, equipment, books and supplies. We’ll put out more information as it becomes available.
Interested in Large Scale Hatching?
I have several pieces of incubating and hatching equipment available for purchase, including:
- Robbins incubator and hatcher
- Humidaire “Barrel” incubators