Saturday, May 21, 2011

Free Range Chicken & Guinea Hatching Eggs For Sale

Ameraucana and Brahma eggs

If you're not already aware, we're now keeping/growing both chickens and guinea fowl at Badgersett Farm, as an integrated part of growing the nut crops.

The birds provide multiple services, and produce multiple products. They eat grass (way more than expected, particularly the guineas) and reduce our mowing costs; they eat bugs constantly, we hope including nut weevils, they provide substantial rapid fertility to the plants, and they adjust the soil pH upward, again, more than expected. Besides which, we get eggs and meat.
We are keeping records of costs/expenses and our expectation at this point is that the birds contribute far more positives than they cost.

Right now- we are able to offer both chicken and guinea "hatching eggs" for sale; specifically these are eggs from selected parents, and from birds that have proven to be survivors in a complex true free range environment.

Virtually all the chickens available commercially have been selected for only 1 of several factors; maximum meat, OR maximum egg production, OR "beauty". Finding stock that is selected for multiple traits is extremely difficult; and finding chicks or eggs from long-term free range flocks is likewise difficult.

Our chickens will be: hybrids! Big surprise! But not random mutts. Inevitably, I am unable to prevent myself from working on improving the genetics of our birds. The pure strains we've tested have always been strong on one or two characteristics, and weak on others. We need birds that fit our situation; so we're breeding for what we need.

Chicken eggs available are from a pen with two roosters; a pure Partridge Cochin

and a rooster hatched here last year, 1/2 Buff Orpington 1/2 Ameraucana.
The hens in this particular chicken tractor are 6 Ameraucanas, 3 Brahmas, and 1 Blue Cochin. The Ameraucanas are 2 years old, the others 1; all surviving as total free range during the day, and enclosed at night (our big predator problem is owls).

The list of characters we are selecting/breeding for is too long for this post; but includes large adult size (less hawk problems) and good potential for going "broody" - the ability to hatch their own eggs, and mother the chicks.

The guinea hatching eggs we have at the moment are much less well defined; but include survival as free range birds as the largest factor.

We can ship eggs to you; or you can pick them up here (always best). We can not guarantee your eggs will hatch (no one in the business can or does) - but what we DO guarantee is that they are fresh and fertile when we deliver them to you or the post office.

We haven't done this before! (selling hatching eggs) so we'll be feeling our way into it. Please ask your questions here on the blog, that will help.

PRICES: Chicken hatching eggs: $4.00 each; guinea hatching eggs; $3.00 each; plus shipping, of course.

Email or give us a call to arrange it–; 888-557-4211

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hickory buds

Every once in a while, we do try to grab just a bit of the beauty that is zooming past us. Yesterday I ran out for a few minutes to take just a few pictures of the hybrid hickory buds. I wanted to send them to Denise, who did such a spectacular job with her illustrations of the hazels. (Incidentally; she was awarded the Silver Gilt Medal at the Royal Horticultural Society art show; which means she now has the very great honor that she may show any of her art at that show for the next 5 years, without submitting it for preliminary approval; a very big deal!)

In spite of these being very hurried pics, a couple of them turned out not awful anyway. So I thought I would let you see another benefit to growing these hybrids; a brief gorgeous bit of nature that few know exists; the slow blossoming-opening of the apical buds of hickories. Click on any of these for a bigger view; and then magnify to see full size images.

Above is what the swollen buds look like just before they break open- furry gold. This one is really worth the click and magnify process to fully appreciate.

These are showing their shagbark and shellbark ancestors; buds of pecans and other hickories are not this showy. At the right stage, some of these trees can look like flowering magnolias; gorgeous, and startling.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Shipping Status Etc., and BUTTERNUTS

We expect to start shipping standard hazel tubelings on Wednesday, pretty much right on time! - 5/15 is our earliest possible ship date, and we usually ship standard tubelings Wed-Thurs of each week so that they arrive for the weekend ready to plant.
PRETTY PLEASE keep in mind that there are 155 orders on the shipping queue- and the first one placed in 2011 is number 76 in line. Not all the plants are ready, and we don't currently have the capacity to ship that many orders in a day anyway.
Also- much to our dismay, the personnel disruptions we had in February-March mean that our first CHESTNUTS WON'T SHIP UNTIL MID-JUNE. We apologize for this; if you had both hazels and chestnuts in your order you can either opt to wait until both are ready, or have us ship them separately when ready, at no further cost to you.

Most of the rest of our bare-root dormant tubeling orders will ship this week. If you ordered XL or Select bare-root hazels and specified no substitutions, we don't have it and most likely will not next year either. We will be contacting you regarding options for back-order, substitution, or refund.

GOOD NEWS! We DO have about 70 of our Survivor butternuts dug and ready to ship– these are 6-0 and 7-0, coppiced last spring with the summers' re-growth. We have mostly "normal sized" plants, about 12-24" tops, at the old 5-0 prices, and about 16 "magnum" plants, with tops generally 24" or over, and particularly robust roots– these are $18 apiece. I'll be sending out an email with the details as soon as I can- THIS MAY BE THE LAST TIME WE SHIP THESE at least for the next 5 years.