Sunday, March 7, 2010

Breeding and/or selling poultry

I bought an egg incubator a few weeks ago. I tried to make my own, but had a hard time getting the temperature consistent. Evidently poultry needs a very specific temperature to hatch. I would love it if my ducks/chickens would lay their own eggs, but after finding a huuuge nest of eggs in my duck run and realizing that my hen was never going to sit on them, I decided I should incubate.

Many poultry breeds have had their broodiness (their instinct to nest) bred out of them. This is because they stop laying when they are broody and it is hard to get eggs away from them.

I have about 25 Cayuga duck eggs in the incubator. All but one so far has appeared to be developing. I posted an ad up on craigslist a week or so ago that said I had duck eggs in the incubator I think the majority are spoken for omce they hatch! I guess it helps that I have a jillion eggs just before Easter.

I also have about 15 of my Delaware chickens in the incubator. No one has spoken for the chickens yet but am not worried about that. I sold 4 laying hens about three weeks ago for $20 each.

Evidently people really want the hatching eggs for themselves. I posted an ad up on craigslist a week-ish ago and sold a dozen eggs for $9 and the next few dozens are spoken for. I also sold three started Araucana pullets.

Poultry is a hot commodity around Portland. I never intended to do any sort of side biz with eggs/chickens but thought I would just offer any extra for sale. Except that right now I don't have any extras! And three of my Delaware hens are my mom's christmas presents.

So I've decided to expand a little and add three additional breeding chicken flocks. They are all different breeds with differing characteristics. Australorps, which are supposed to be very big and heavy layers. Easter eggers, which are docile and will lay all sort of different colors from blue/green to pink. And Stars, which are sex-linked, meaning the males and females are different colors when they are born.

Also, I have ordered a batch of Blue Slate turkey eggs. They are a rare, heritage breed that is supposed to have very good flavor. They breed naturally unlike most commercial turkey strains, which have to be artificially inseminated because their breasts are bred to be huge and are too large for them to hold themselves upright. I've read that turkeys can be a pain to rear, but I really like turkey and would think it would be nice to maintain my own breeding flock and sell any extras.

So that will end up being a lot of birds. But, I will need the fertilizer they create. Not to mention they have been eating the sod that refused to die after Ed tilled it three times last fall. And eating cutworms and whatever bugs. And if people still want the hatching eggs or just eggs for eating I could have a bit of extra cash.