Tuesday, 22 September 2009
Poultry decisions and planning
OK thoughts on paper. . so to speak. I am trying to get my future plans for poultry breeding sorted out. I know I am full of plans and then everything changes but in a couple of weeks time the ' minority and rare breeds poultry' auction is taking place and if I know in my mind how I would like my flock to develop. 1: I am less likely to buy on impulse and 2: More persuasive in my argument for buying !
So, how far have I got other than the usual cry of ' I just need more land ! '
Starting with definite decisions ..
The paddock geese must go, they are unproductive, noisy and eat too much grass.
Rather than keep any turkeys back for breeding I shall either hatch bought in eggs or buy in poults, each year. Poults are more economical and the timing works well for housing.
Laying flock: I keep my laying flock at home and being restricted on space my choices are limited, making decisions much easier.
I have room for 10 - 12 hens, plus broody arks during the summer.
So my laying flock will consist of the 2 Cream Legbars, 3 Welsummer, & 2 Dorking ( although I may use these in my breeding flock) that I have already, leaving me room to buy in more layers or swapping around the breeding and laying flock when necessary.
Broodies: I am hoping to use more broodies this year rather than the incubator, so do I buy in a couple of silkies who can run with the laying flock or do I use the birds that go broody in the flocks?
Silkies are more reliable, although probably can cover less eggs than a larger hen.
If I am using them as broodies I won't 'miss' their egg production, however if any of the flock birds - egg or breeding - go broody I would then have to 'break' them so might as well use them.
As I have space in my laying flock I am leaning towards a couple of Silkies.
Breeding /Meat flock: My main aim is to breed birds that are a reasonable size for the table rather than a particular breed or standard. As next year will be my first year I can start from scratch. From this years hatches I have a Light Sussex cockerel, that has looked well from the start so I would like to 'try' him out. I also have a couple of Light Sussex pullets and two Speckled Sussex, all of which look on the sturdy side, so these birds may be the nucleus of the flock. I would like to add Cornish game to the mix. I am still undecided whether to buy a trio and run two flocks with both cockerels. This would give me greater variations and also the chance to rear a few pure birds, possibly for selling.
So decisions .. . as mentioned above ...
Geese to go.
Turkeys buy in annually.
Of the birds I have already
Geriatric gang of Light Sussex to go
Of this years hatch
Welsummer cockerel and three reject pullets in the freezer
Light Sussex cockerel and 2 pullets keep for breeding along with the 2 Speckled Sussex.
The brahma? from the same hatch as the Sussex if hen add to laying flock as a possible broody.
The young Ixworth chick if hen keep for breeding, if cockerel sell or eat.
Black unknown chick of same age eat.
To buy in - possibly a couple of silkies and a trio of Cornish game.
Now my only problem is where to put them all.