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Cornish Bantams

Posted by bud98606 on January 7, 2013 at 2:45 PM Comments comments (0)

I am becoming more and more excited about my Cornish bantams. For those of you who are not familiar with them, they are a fascinating breed. The most common varieties are Dark, White and White Laced Red, but they also come in Blue, Black, Jubilee, Blue Laced Red, Spangled, Mottled, Silver Laced, Buff and Columbian. I've also seen pictures of Barred, but i am not sure the Barred variety is recognized by the ABA (American Bantam Association). Since I raise Barred Plymouth Rocks, it only makes sense that I should try to develop my own strain of Barred Cornish Bantams! It may not work out well, but it will be fun to try! My first hatch of the season will be on January 18 and I will have Barred Rock Bantams and several varieties of Cornish Bantams coming out of the incubator and into the brooder.

Crossing a Cornish with a Rock is pretty much the original meat cross, so any birds that don't make it into the breeding pool can be harvested and utilized. Most breeders of exhibition birds cull heavily, and yes, that usually means destroying the birds that don't make the cut. When starting work on a new variety, the vast majority of the birds don't make the cut and they are destroyed and discraded. This way, at least those culls serve a useful purpose. using bantams as opposed to large fowl gives a bird that some call a cornish game hen.

Cornish are sometimes called the bulldog chicken as they have wide set legs, a huge breast that almost looks split down the middle, and a broad head with a fierce look. The fierce look is deceiving as these are some of the most docile birds I have ever raised, along with the rocks and reds.

I will be posting pictures of the chicks as they hatch and as they grow. If you stay tuned you will be able to see my progress, or possibly my lack of progress. It does take years to create a new variety!

The Quest Part Three

Posted by bud98606 on December 17, 2012 at 4:30 PM Comments comments (0)

The third entry in my Blog. The farm is continuing to grow and people are actually learning about us and why we are here. This venture is not intended to provide a living for me, I have a job that I love that does that. I just happen to love animals and taking care of them, watching them grow and seeing if I can make breed improvements while maintaining some genetic diversity that is rapidly being lost to corporate agriculture. Our goals include keeping heritage breeds alive and well while helping local people eat and buy local.

Our hatchery will never be producing thousands of birds a week, in fact, it will probably never even produce a hundred birds per week. Most likely we will hatch about 24-36 chicks per week. While there is a place for the giant mail order hatcheries, we really don't ever want to be one. We won't kill or destroy extra chicks just because we can't sell them. We will always treat our animals humanely, realizing that they are here to provide food for us, but that we have an obligation to take care of them.

Our chicks will probably cost a lot more than the ones from a mega hatchery, but folks will have the opportunity to pick up two or three chicks and not have to pay postage and hope they make the plane ride ok. Heck, I don't usually feel real great after a long flight, I can't imagine how a baby chick feels! We will always be willing to answer questions from anybody, and we will be honored if you think enough of us to ask!

So I think thats it for this entry, we are starting to put breeding pens together for the season and I'm looking foward to firing up the incubators. the first chicks out will be kept back for next years breeding stock and by March I hope to have chicks and eggs available to sell to the public, as well as some started birds that will be more than we need for breeders. 4-H members will get a hefty discount!

The Quest Continues

Posted by bud98606 on December 13, 2012 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Well, I have had a couple of days to work on this website and think about entries to the Blog. I've actually had a couple of folks ask me some questions about birds, and I encourage anyone who does read this to ask away. I don't always know the answers, but honestly, I've made a career out of knowing who does if I don't! I know quite a few breeders of poultry, cattle, sheep, goats, rabbits and hogs and I've found most of them to be very helpful and forthcoming with advice.

The birds are coming along nicely. For anyone out there that does breed birds, please make sure your roosters are getting at least 14 hours of light per day for maximum fertility. Most of us know the light helps stimulate egg production in the hens this time of year, but the roosters definitely need the light as well to reach maximum reproductive potential.

Back to the quest and the website. It will be under construction for a while as I don't have a lot of time to work on it. I will eventually have photos of all of the animals and breeds I raise, as well as a store that will accept paypal for anyone looking to oreder on line and have products shipped, mainly hatching eggs at this point. I will be welcoming visitors to the farm at some point in the future, when things are more developed. I'm working on bantam breeding pens, bantam duck pens, a range pen for runner ducks, a small range for one pair of geese and a small pasture for some beltsville white turkeys, sometimes called midgetts (I'll dive into that subject at a later date). game bird pens are also on the horizon, along with a lot of brush clearing and wood cutting. I also want to get a page up for my daughters English Lop Rabbits, her first litter is due on New Years Day. I'll admit to not being a fan of most rabbits although I've raised them virtually all of my life and I have the scars on my hands and arms to prove it. I've never had English Lops until now, and they are really more like dogs than rabbits, they actually beg to be petted and held!

And, the next big acquisition will be a yak! I have a line on one in Idaho and I'm hoping to make this purchase sometime in January. I know very, very little about Yaks, but they should do well in our climate (a lot better than a Zebu, which was my other choice), they can serve multiple purposes and they are also known to be pretty docile. I'll keep you posted!

The Quest

Posted by bud98606 on December 11, 2012 at 7:30 PM Comments comments (0)

This is my very first attempt at a blog and a webpage. It is my hope that my small miracle farm will eventually pay at least something back. The history of the quest is that I was raised on a small farm in the 60's, moved to a country house on one acre in the 70's, then moved to an apartment at college (Oregon State University) in the 80's. A house in the city with a wife and kids followed in the 90's and 00's. My wife passed away from Ovarian Cancer in 2006 and in 2008 I moved my then 12 year old daughter and her two dogs to SW Washington. We rented a city home for 6 months, then moved to a 2.5 acre rental, then another country rental and finally purchased a home on 5 acres in August of 2012. Life really does come full circle.

I got interested in poultry back in the 70's on the little acre in Whiskey Hill. My neighbor, Mr. Crowfoot, had some production reds, honey bees, shelty dogs and birmingham roller pigeons. I loved them all except the bees! I started raising show birds purchased at the Clackamas County Fair and got to know a lot of the old time breeders. Micky Hickman, Maurice Clark, Dewald and Mellot, Leonard Smith, Verne Sorenson and Henry Meager of Brush Praire. Henry's barn absolutely fascinated me, he had row upon row of breeding and conditioning pens in a two story gambrel style barn. After 30 years away from the area, I now drive by that barn every day on my way to and from work. Again, life comes full circle!

I raised large and bantam Rhode Island Reds and Dark and White Cornish, and played with birmingham rollers and fantail pigeons. I was heavily involved in FFA and actually won the Oregon State Proficiency Award for Poultry in 1978. I hatched out about 200 production red chicks a week during the spring season out of an old Sears redwood incubator I bought from Leonard Smith.

So, the quest begins. I have already hatched about 35 chicks in my Hovabator. I have Heritage Rhode Island Reds, some production White Plymouth Rocks, some really gorgeous Coronation Sussex and a few production birds. I'm lining up breeding stock in bantam and Large Fowl Barred Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds and White Laced Red Cornish, as well as an experiment with Silver Grey Dorkings. My hope is to create a combination that will be a true dual purpose bird for families that want to be self sustaining, or at least know where some of their food is coming from.

Watch this blog to see my progress. Links, photos and breed descriptions will be coming soon!

I think my daughter will also want a page on her rabbits, English Lops, the friendliest darn things I've ever seen!


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