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Author Topic: Getting ready for my baby chicks  (Read 14727 times)
Beth Kirkley
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« on: February 19, 2005, 03:14:17 PM »

I finished up the chicken brooder today and hauled it into the back yard. It came out pretty good. Especially for only costing me $1 (for the hinges). In all honesty, it did cost SOMEONE something. I used bunches of left over stuff of my father-in-law's - scrap pieces of cyprus wood and pieces of greenhouse roofing that he may have never used. The wood was all too short for him to use on anything, and the roofing material has been sitting in the yard for over 2 years.



The brooder is 4 feet wide, by 2 1/2 feet deep, by about 2 1/2 feet tall in the front. The door is 2'x 2' - large enough where I can even crawl inside if I ever needed to. Tonight I'll place the light in there with a thermometer to see how the temperature holds up. I bought a 250 watt heat bulb, but I may not need one that powerful.



I went with a wood floor only because I didn't really feel like spending the extra money on hardware cloth. But I didn't attach the floor, so if I decide I just hate the wooden floor, I'll be able to change it rather easily. Also, (you can't see this in the picture) I made a screened window on the right side of the door. If the box needs more ventilation, I can easily take the small piece of greenhouse roofing off to allow air to flow in.

And I've got everything else I need for the chicks. Smiley So now I'll just have to wait things out until the chicks come in the mail (should be this coming Monday morning - Feb. 21st).

Beth
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« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2005, 08:30:31 PM »

That looks great beth, want to see pics of the new chicks, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2005, 10:08:48 PM »

Fantastic job Beth!  If you paint the floor, it will be a lot easier to clean!! But you may not have time before the chicks come. It looks grrreaaat (as Tony the tiger would say)!! Cheesy
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« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2005, 11:08:14 PM »

Jay-

I'm seriously considering stapling some 6 mil plastic on the bottom. Then I would put paper over that, and then either straw or shavings. That way, the wood wouldn't get wet and nasty. I could always replace the plastic if needed.

Beth
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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2005, 11:55:49 PM »

I would use the plastic and newspaper, I do not advise wood shavings, they eat them and choke, straw they can snap there little ankles in, so just a little straw in the center under the heat lamp, I would also put a board on te insid like a thin 6 inch wide strip so when you open it up you dont have any fall out. Talk later Beth, bye Cheesy  Cheesy  Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2005, 09:41:29 AM »

Thats a neat design I have not seen a brooder like that before. The ceiling is a lot higher. I built my'n out of one by six boards on the sides plywood on the top. I cut a door and holes for the waters. The bottom is hardware cloth. Works good for chicks but the ducks out grow it pretty quick. So I may make allitle bigger one. Becouse I am planning on getting some geese this year to and maybe some turkeys to.

 I hope you have a good time with your chicks to. We will be getting about 25 barried rocks this spring. I currently have a mixer there are eleven total.

Good luck,

Brian cheesy
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2005, 10:45:29 AM »

Firetool-

Yeah, it is tall (not that the chickens will get that tall in there), but it just worked out that way because of my design. I wanted to use what I had around here for building, and that meant using the greenhouse roofing for the top. I had originally planned on making the lid as the door, but changed my plans. So since I decided to make the door in the front, I wanted a big enough door to actually get my shoulders through it.

(sigh) My chicks were set for delivery from the 20th to the 22nd - most likely date to be the 21st. They aren't here yet though! I hate the fact that they're coming on the last delivery date. It'll mean that it's the last day for survivability without getting food and water in them. It could mean that I'll find some have died by the time they get here. Murray McMurray is really good about refunds and replacements, but that's not what bothers me as much as unessasary death due to slow delivery. So I'm feeling a little disheartened just because my "babies" aren't here for me to start taking care of - but also cause I'm concerned for their health now during their travels.

Beth
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2005, 03:01:30 PM »

Beth, I hope your chicks come in soon. This year I took the easy way out and went to a friend of my families and Bought 50 chickens that have just started laying, 2 new heffer calfs and the 2 sters will be here soon, some more dairy goats will be here in say 2 weeks, and I got a pot bellied pig tossed in for free. I want to get some real pigs for meat and maybe some turkeys, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #8 on: February 21, 2005, 04:58:34 PM »

What, doesn't that pot bellied pig have any meat on it?
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firetool
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« Reply #9 on: February 21, 2005, 10:59:33 PM »

HI Ryan,
 Do you have any wild hogs in the area? If so find a trapper and you could get some small ones for cheap I would think. We are over run with them down here. They are good eating though.

Brian
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #10 on: February 22, 2005, 07:31:05 AM »

People around here trap wild hogs too. My neighbor even traps them and breeds them - to eat. They're not very friendly. Smiley But it works for him.

Beth
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« Reply #11 on: February 22, 2005, 08:07:11 AM »

I always just put the chicks in a carboard box in the basement.  Smiley Or let their moms rais them.  But that looks quite nice.
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Michael Bush
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« Reply #12 on: February 22, 2005, 09:13:12 AM »

Beth:

About wild dogs... Down in North Carolina my family (old-time Farm family who started raising chickens for Perdue) had wild dog problems and they took to using sponges soaked in gravy which they left out for the dogs to eat.

The sponges wouldn't break apart and made a bowel obstruction and the dog "supposedly" died pretty quick - I can't imagine doing such a thing, but I'm an rural guy with no such problems.

They said no other animals would or could swallow down the sponges, so it targeted the dogs really well.

I worked Summers on their farm as a teen - the whole Perdue ranching thing was interesting: they supplied the coups (I'd call them more like hangars) which subdivided into many sections using huge doors that you opened up to enlarge each area as the birds grew.

You received 16 thousand 1 day old chicks (all male) and as white as snow and the food was kept in silos and blown down long tubes to the area where the chicks were. Every week (approx.) you opened another section for elbow room of the growing birds and after 6 weeks, a bunch of refrigerated trucks pulled up to the end of the building at night - all the lights inside the coup are turned off and the lights inside the truck trailer is turned on and the birds just instintively run inside the truck. When it is full, another truck pulls up and they repeat the process until all the birds are gone. Within a few days, the whole process starts over.
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2005, 10:37:23 AM »

Yeah..... I don't much like the way the big companies raise up meat birds. But, I am a meat eater, so I'm basiclly a supporter of it because I buy the meat. I don't want to stop - and become a vegetarian - but I'm much happier raising my own.

My chicks came today. All healthy, and as usual McMurray added a few extra just in case any die in transit.



You can see the two types I bought in this picture, plus right in the center is a special one that the hatchery always throws in. I'm not sure what breed the "free special" chick is. (Ryan, you want to try and figure it out?) The other two breeds are Partridge Rocks and Cornish x Rocks (the type you mentioned John, that's raised up to 6 or 8 weeks of age).

Beth
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Violacea
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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2005, 10:13:16 PM »

Aww, aren't they cute?   Cheesy   We're hatching our own this year *can't wait*.  Not sure it is, but that *special* chick in the middle looks an awful lot like our Ameraucana chicks did.
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2005, 10:38:35 PM »

If it grows with a tail it is americana but without it is arcanas, they have a bad temper, americanas are quite nice. bye Cheesy
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #16 on: February 22, 2005, 11:11:35 PM »

Violacea & Ryan-

I think you two are right about the chick. I'm begining to think it's an Ameraucana too - and it looks like it's gonna have a tail Ryan. I don't think Murray McMurray has the auracana anyway, but only ameraucanas. If that's what it turns out to be, I might keep it. If it's a hen. I like the colored eggs they lay. Smiley And it wouldn't interfere with my little purebred breeding plan, cause I'd know which eggs were her's.

Now if it's a rooster - that's a whole nother story.

Beth
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« Reply #17 on: February 23, 2005, 08:24:07 AM »

You are right Beth, MM only sells americanas. I had a few of the females, sweet little things, one was like a dog. Ever morning she would come up to are garage and lay her green egg in my cats tower house, I guess she like the comfy carpet and little windows to watch for danger, very safe. My cat did care either, lol, she scaried him and I am talking about a cat that took down a great dane, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #18 on: February 23, 2005, 11:21:21 AM »

Nice chicks Beth. I would like to know How you like the cornisX rock crosses. I have consedered getting some but was affraid of how fast they grow. I don't like having to feed cormerical feed it has medications in it. Once they are past the chick stage I let them free range.
 thanks,

 Brian
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« Reply #19 on: February 23, 2005, 03:38:05 PM »

Quote from: Beth Kirkley
. . . I might keep it. If it's a hen. I like the colored eggs they lay. Smiley And it wouldn't interfere with my little purebred breeding plan, cause I'd know which eggs were her's.

Now if it's a rooster - that's a whole nother story.

Beth


Oh but Beth, the roosters are SO pretty!  Here is ours *Pharoah*



We spent lots of time with him so he is as tame as a kitten.   Cheesy
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #20 on: February 23, 2005, 04:39:38 PM »

Yeah, my liittle americana hen was very tame, followed me all over the yard. One day when she was done laying her egg she even followed me into the house and sat down on the dinning room table! Mom didnt like that too much but thought she was funny. Sadly, since we raise free range, one night when I came home a fox had got her and all that was left was a buch of feathers cry  bye
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #21 on: February 23, 2005, 07:21:52 PM »

This is very interesting. My family has never farmed chickens. So, I don't know much about them, though I have always wanted my own chickens for eggs.  Unfortunately, where I live right now, I can't have any. . .sad
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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #22 on: February 23, 2005, 08:31:35 PM »

Firetool - sure, I'll let you know how I like the cornish rocks. I'd raised some before, a few years back. I don't know what hatchery they'd come from though because I got them at the feed store. Those grew up very fast. Almost too fast. I did have many die due to leg problems and I think heart attacks. But I think there are two possible reasons why - 1) it's suggested not to raise them above 5,000 feet, and 2) I didn't give them the high protein feed. I didn't know either of these things would be problems at the time, and I lived at about 7,500 feet in the mountains of Colorado.
I agree about the medicated feed. I'll be giving it to them while they're small, but then switch to game bird feed. When they're old enough, I'll let them free range and add some corn to their diet. I had free ranged the last cornish rocks I had, and I think it's what improved on the taste of the meat.

and Violacea -

I love the look of an americana rooster too. Smiley They're very pretty. But my silly mind wants to do purebreds this time, so I can't have him messin' with my girls. Smiley Now if you know someone cheap who could neuter a rooster, I think he could stay. LOL He'd get a good home anyway. I have lots of friends that have chickens, so I'd still get to see him grow up.

Beth
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« Reply #23 on: February 24, 2005, 05:53:25 PM »

Neutered rooster = capon
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Horns Pure Honey
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« Reply #24 on: February 24, 2005, 11:28:26 PM »

It is tricky but I can do it. The first time you do it you usally end up killing the chicken. You make ann incission on the side and go in and cut out the testicles but the tricky part is that there is a vein, or artery, what ever, right next to it that if cut kills them fast. They heal pretty fast. The exact way is in one of my chicken books, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #25 on: February 25, 2005, 04:23:02 PM »

Speaking as a vegitarian I'll just say...all this is why I'm speaking as a vegitarian! cheesy
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« Reply #26 on: February 26, 2005, 11:44:08 PM »

Well, speaking as a carnivore, all of this is why I'm a carnivore.  Wink

I don't mind vegatarians, although I think one should really only eat things that have the chance to fight or flee, but I'm a bit afraid of humanitarians.
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« Reply #27 on: February 27, 2005, 12:18:17 AM »

As the great Ron White once said, "I didnt fight to the top of the food chain to eat carrots". bye Smiley
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« Reply #28 on: February 27, 2005, 12:35:54 AM »

if them babies were game birds, they might look like this when they grow up







I have been raising game birds for 23 years, 4 years ago had 330 birds on my yard now only have about 30, it was like working 2 jobs for the last 10 years, I had to quiet bass fishing because I had no time to fish , so now im starting back fishing and going tend to some bee's, seems like I have nothing to do now with hardly no birds. cry  wink now I got a hog

Here's a pic of my "Hog"




And here's a pic of the "Hog Dog" her name is maggy but i call her Mutt

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« Reply #29 on: February 27, 2005, 02:08:12 AM »

Yes game birds are very nice, tend good cooker too, lol. Nice pics, I like your hogg dog, lol, bye Cheesy
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Ryan Horn
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« Reply #30 on: March 03, 2005, 02:09:29 PM »

The Cornish Rock crosses are prone to "flip", caused by growing too fast.  The way to elimiate the problem is to take their feed away at night.  Let them eat all they want during the day, but remove the feeders at night and allow them to have their water.  Never let them run out of water.  This won't completely cure it, but it will decrease the amount of losses you have.  We raise our own birds: RIR's, BR's, Blue Slate and Burbon Red turkeys.  This year we're hatching out our own.  It's been fun so far. cheesy  cheesy  cheesy

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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #31 on: March 03, 2005, 02:45:03 PM »

Peggjam-

Yeah, I've read that about the cornish rocks. They're nearly two weeks old now.  smiley  Is it too early to start doing that, or should I start it right away? Just today I seperated the cornish rocks from the partridge rocks because of their size difference. Also because I want to feed them different feed - higher protien for the cornish rocks. AND the chick feeder I have isn't really big enough now for them all because of the size of the meat birds.

You mentioned hatching out your own. Is that just on the chickens, or are you hatching turkeys too? Just asking because we'd looked into raising turkeys, and when we found out that you have to artificially inseminate the turkeys........ we said Forget It! Smiley

Beth
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« Reply #32 on: March 03, 2005, 06:26:42 PM »

Beth:

No it's not too late, the sooner you do it, the better luck you'll have.  Yes we are raising and incubating our own turkeys.  The AI for turkeys, is part myth, part fact.  The only breeds that need to be AI'd are the broad breasted ones; like the white and bronze.  We raise heritage turkeys which will breed naturally.  The problem with the broad breasted ones is they were bred to get really big, really fast, and it's their weight that prevents them from being able to breed.  In your McMurray catalog they carry heritage breeds.  Ours came from a hatchery that is in the same state, called Welps, and the turkeys were cheaper, and no added shipping cost, it's figured into the price.  Our first shipment got hung up in the postal system when Pres. Reagan died, and we lost most of them.  Welps reshipped the whole order.  It's been a fun project.  You should incubate your eggs, not only is it fun, but you save $$$$$$$ too!  It's not at all difficult to do either.  But this is just one of many ongoing projects. cheesy  cheesy  cheesy

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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #33 on: March 03, 2005, 08:42:22 PM »

I do have an incubator. It holds 200-300 eggs. Unsure on the amount it holds because it's hand made, so it doesn't have standard racks. I recently hatched out 56 eggs for a neighbor kid, and now a friend and I are going to hatch out more. She currently has about 70 RIR/Crochin mix in it. I do enjoy hatching them out, and now that I have the specific breed I've always wanted (partridge rocks), I'll be incubating them as soon as I can.

Raising a turkey or two would interest me, but I'm not sure if it would work with my plans. I plan to free range the chickens with some dairy goats on a 1/2 acre. I know turkeys can fly even over a 6 foot fence, so would probably get right out of the pasture. If I did do a turkey, I'm guessing I'd have to put them in a pen (with a top) by themselves. Right? Which is an option. I have thought of having a seperate, small chicken wire fence area (with a roof) for times that I might have birds I need seperated --- because of age, or different breed, or for a broody hen to be secluded.

Beth
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« Reply #34 on: March 03, 2005, 10:32:53 PM »

Beth:

Yeah, these turkeys can fly!!  But you can always clip their wings.  The way you do that is to clip the primary feathers on one wing only.  Makes it so they are unbalanced, and can't fly.  They should freerange alright with chickens.  I plan on building a seperate pasture for the turkeys I am going to raise.  They are about the prettiest birds I have ever seen.  The hens get to about 16-18# and the toms get to about 22-25#.  We are running two incubators that hold 210 eggs each, and have 120 chicks in brooders right now.  Plan on doing as many as I can feed.  Sell the roosters in the fall for meat birds and keep all the hens for eggs.  If you deciede to get turkeys get the Burbon Reds, they are a very calm bird and easy to work with.  The Blue Slates are hyper, and don't like to be worked with.
These turkeys just started laying eggs,  we get 3 or 4 a day out of 12 hens, I hope it picks up. cheesy  cheesy  cheesy

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Beth Kirkley
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« Reply #35 on: March 04, 2005, 12:29:37 AM »

Thank you for all these tips. I have another question. How old are they when they start laying, and what is a good age range to raise them for meat?
I would probably start with just one to see how it went. Turkeys make me a little nervous. Smiley I've been around some that were pretty mean. A friend of mine when I was a teen had a couple turkeys that were really bad about getting out of their pen and attacking people. They even got a couple tickets from the police because they attacked people walking in the neighborhood.

Beth
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« Reply #36 on: March 04, 2005, 01:22:35 AM »

Was that a personal fowl?!? cheesy
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« Reply #37 on: March 04, 2005, 07:34:09 AM »

Some can take 18 weeks when others can take up to 24. Meat is one of those things you have to watch whill it is still on the bird. For us it is usally 6-8 weeks depending on what breed it is. Bye Cheesy
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« Reply #38 on: March 04, 2005, 11:14:02 AM »

Beth:

Our turkeys are about 10 months old, they started laying about 2 weeks ago.  Turkeys only lay a certain number of months during the year, from about March thur July or Aug.  The heritage breeds take longer to mature than the broadbreasted breeds, which is why they no longer raise them commercially.  Right now our toms weigh about 18#, which is a good sized turkey.  "Good Eats" as some say.  I tend to feel that these turkeys taste a whole lot better than any turkey I've tasted, except maybe wild turkey, but I'm proably baised a bit.  The Burbon Reds that I have are about the calmest turkey I have ever seen, bar none.  I can move around inside the pen and they never seem to take exception to that.  I can't say that about the Blue Slates however.  Toms get mean with age, so if you don't let them get too old before they reach the table you should be ok.  cheesy  cheesy  cheesy

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« Reply #39 on: March 04, 2005, 06:29:22 PM »

Thank you for all the advice. We're trying to move ourselves toward more self-sufficiency (gardening, eggs, goat milk, and meat). A couple turkeys a year would be a nice addition. I really knew nothing about them though, other than the AI issue. Which..... I find out now isn't an issue if I get the right turkeys.

Beth Smiley
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« Reply #40 on: March 04, 2005, 07:13:12 PM »

artificial intelligence?
In turkeys?
what will they think of next???
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« Reply #41 on: March 04, 2005, 08:28:51 PM »

I'm still trying to figure out how to make a living in very rural Steuben county NY.  So if anybody has any suggestions bring'em on.  cheesy   cheesy  cheesy

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« Reply #42 on: March 04, 2005, 11:07:59 PM »

Golf - It's Artificial Insemination when saying AI for animals - silly. Smiley LOL

Peggjam - Making money?! Now that I haven't figured out yet. Trying to... but haven't got it yet. Smiley The small farmer doesn't have it easy with all the laws out there. I don't think it's actually legal for the small farmer to sell eggs, milk, honey, vegetables or possibly even livestock without all those inspections and liscensing. I know lots do it - to neighbors and friends mostly. I think the laws on selling vegetables are the lightest, and next in line of "semi easy" is selling small amounts of livestock. But when it comes to the milk, eggs, and honey.... they get kinda strict here in Georgia.

I won't comment on my ugly thoughts about that subject.

Beth
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« Reply #43 on: March 05, 2005, 12:28:29 AM »

Quote from: peggjam
Beth:

Yeah, these turkeys can fly!!  But you can always clip their wings.  The way you do that is to clip the primary feathers on one wing only.  Makes it so they are unbalanced, and can't fly.  


I would recommend clipping both wings, as sometimes birds with a one-wing-clip job will become 'air born'.  With only one good wing they don't have much control and usually crash pretty badly causing injury.  Doesn't always happen though.
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