Over the last 10 years we have raised chickens, ducks, geese, quail, turkey, guinea and peafowl. I do not consider myself an expert on birds (that’s the better half’s department). As bad as it sounds, I actually don’t care much for the birds. We are blessed by their offerings and I do greatly appreciate their giving and enjoy the eggs and the meat.
Green eggs & ham anyone
The ducks, geese and turkey were raised for the freezer. The quail died of old age. The chickens were meant for both meat and eggs though the better half normally has no down time to butcher and are also dying of old age.
I liked watching the ducks on the pond, though the ducks were messy, extremely messy. They were not replaced when we butchered. The geese were down right mean and I was not that fond of the turkey. They were not replaced after butchering either. The guineas were too noisy for my liking, I gave them away. We still have one lone guinea that thinks she is a peacock. I loved the quail and still greatly enjoy the peafowl.
The quail were the only ones that were caged. The others are free to roam the farm. They do an excellent job of eating bugs, worms, a frog or two.
We feed all-natural non-medicated poultry grain, which is a variety of seeds and cracked corn. We do not leave feed out all day. I just feed a bit in the morning, tossing handfuls out while calling chick-chick.
In the winter, we supplement the poultry grains with cat food. I also offer them crushed eggshells and other leftovers from the kitchen.
My grandfather told me long ago that he would add crushed red pepper to their feed in the winter to help them lay. Surprisingly the peafowl also seem to love and will gobble up whole red pepper. Jim’s mom told me that in the dead of winter she would cook up batches of oatmeal or mush and feed the warm cereal to her birds. Yep, tried it, they love that hot meal on cold, cold days.
The chickens wander the farm all day, have the hen house to go up into at night, have nest boxes to lay in.
I make sure the chicken feed is locked up in the feed room. We have had an inquisitive goat find the chicken feed and eat herself sick. The condensed version of that story goes like this …It was a weekend the better half was home. He likes to feed when he is home. He had accidentally left the doors to the feed room open. Amber one of our yard goats, a milker, my cherished registered Nubian doe discovered his error. Jim noticed her in the feed room chowing down. He shoo’d her out, though did not say a word to me. The following day he had left to go back on the road. The day after I noticed that Amber was not her normal self, a bit off. I called the better half in concern and he explained what had happened 2 days before. She had eaten herself into Enterotoxemia.