Are Expensive Hatcheries the Cheapest?

Suppose you bought 100 pullets from the lowest-price hatchery you could find, and 100 pullets from an expensive hatchery. What do you think the results would be?

I don’t know if anyone has tried this recently, but I found this very experiment in an old British poultry magazine. The results went like this: Read more...

Time to buy a truck?

I’m told that SUVs and trucks have lost a big fraction of their resale value because they get crummy gas mileage. So it’s a good time to buy.

Not me, though. I’ve had mine for years — a 1972 F100 pickup, that I bought ten years ago for $650. It has a 390 cubic inch V-8 and gets 10 MPG. Its low gas mileage has never been a problem, because we don’t use it for anything but hauling. And that’s the point. If you live in the country, you need a vehicle that can haul a lot of stuff — feed, hay, lumber, firewood — whatever. You can have an economy car, too (I do), but you need a hauler. Read more...

Scratch One Bobcat

I found a bobcat in one of my snares yesterday, which was Day Three of having snares out. It was a big male — 26 pounds. Most my chicken losses are consistent with how bobcats hunt (dawn or dusk, with a short chase, a quick kill, and the chicken carried away without being dragged), but I think I’m losing chickens faster than can be explained by a single bobcat, however big, so I’ll keep up my anti-predator efforts. Read more...

Rural Trade-Offs

Living in the country requires trade-offs, and so does farming. Taking vacations in February instead of August, for example.

Sometimes the trade-offs seem like a good deal. Corvallis has an excellent fireworks display every Fourth of July, but we are so far north that the city waits until it’s fully dark at about 10:15 PM before starting the display. After it’s done, there’s a brief traffic jam and then (if you’re me) a half-hour drive home. Read more...

Why Chickens Should be Fed Outdoors

A lot of the biggest problems we’ve ever had on the farm were related to unwanted critters trying to get at the chicken feed. Recently, we put some pullets into a pasture house and put a feeder inside the house with them as part of the transition. Since this was an open-front house, the local crows started coming in for lunch, which scared the pullets. Moving the feeder outside didn’t get rid of the crows, but there’s a lot more room outdoors, and their occasional presence didn’t terrorize the pullets. Read more...