When my neighbors and friends first learned I was raising chickens they weren’t sure what to think. This seemed so out of character for me! However, the more I became involved in my birds the more I loved it and the more I wanted to learn. Three years later I have now owned over 15 varieties of chickens, turkeys, and ducks. I love observing their different habits and temperaments, and regardless of what my husband says, I know that some chickens are smarter than others. The smart ones are my favorite!
Logan has always been an avid hunter. But over time big game hunting has become more difficult and expensive; not to mention it has a very short season. Expanding into bird hunting has given him a ‘project’ to work on all year round. The first step to becoming a bird hunter was to purchase and train a bird dog. In my mind this was akin to having another child. We brought Chevy home with us in April of 2009 as a 6 week old puppy. She is an AKC registered yellow lab. We chose a lab over some of the other successful bird dogs because labs tend to be good family dogs as well.
The next step to becoming a successful bird hunter, at least for our particular area, is to find a place to hunt. This is almost impossible now days as most land owners burn or plow their ditch banks destroying natural habitat. Luckily Logan has an uncle with a large dairy farm who agreed to turn his fields into a commercial hunting area called Riverside Hunt Club. Step two complete!
(yes, the birds are on the wrong side of the net....)
The final step to bird hunting success is raising birds. We are currently raising 100 Pheasant chicks and 65 Valley quail chicks with another 100 Bob White quail eggs in the incubator.
Valley Quail (the birds are very hard to photograph in the brooders as they are flighty and not accustomed to people peering in at them)
Bob White Quail (yes, these eggs are as small as they look)
Last year we raised 200 birds in our tiny garage, which was a giant smelly mess. This year we have the birds at our barn so the mess stays there!! After the chicks are about 4-5 weeks old we will transport them from the brooder to the farm where we have some large flight pens. Here is where they will live until they are full grown and hunting season begins.
The Bob Whites should hatch in about 8 more days so Logan has been busy building another brooding box for them.
We also hatched a small batch of pheasants last Monday but the hatch wasn't very successful. The hatch rate was just over 50% with the survival rate even less than that. I blame the survival rate on my children and the neighborhood children as they tend to forget the 'look but do not touch' rule.
The first pheasant hatchling
The Hatch continues
So it can be said we ARE the crazy bird people with more chickens, turkeys, ducks, pheasants, and quail than we can possibly count.