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After I retired I wanted to stay busy on our farm. My almost 30 year career was in the hunting & fishing industry, so raising the birds I had hunted for years was a natural for me. Being married to my best friend, wife & help mate is all I could ask for. My wife of 34 years and I love living on our farm and doing the chores it takes to maintain it. We are living a wonderful slow life in our retirement. Our grand daughter is such joy. Having a big garden to feed us, raising bees for honey, loving our pets and no debt. I feel blessed to have enjoyed this country living and sustaining our family through growing our food and simple ways my whole life. I am happy to see others across this great country deciding to live instead of just collecting more. A less-stress farm life is making us very happy. *******************************************************

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Lots of Calls For Birds

It was a really good Christmas with family on the quail farm.  We loved the time with our new grand daughter.  She is so good about being passed around and not fussing.  She does let us know when it's time to eat or be changed.  Good to be grand parents and let the kids deal with that. Just as expected, we are getting calls daily for quail. We can't help them since all of ours are pre-sold. I tell them to book the birds for this time of year delivery with whomever they are buying from but they just do not want to do that. It would help us all out immensely. I really hate to see the hunters unable to hunt since they don't have the birds.  But we all don't want to carry over a lot of unsold birds.  No worries about that the last couple years.  Just wait, next year I'll have a lot of late birds and noboby will want them.  That has closed some growers in the past.  So far, so good.  

Friday, December 24, 2010

Icing on the Fly Pen Netting

It is freezing rain at the farm today. They are not talking about a lot, but any is too much.  Big snows and ice are really hard on the netting around the pens.  I know of one gamebird farm that quit last year after a big ice storm brought his pens down. These pens are very expensive to build so losing a bunch of them was just too much to bare.  I had one collapse myself, but was easily fixed. We braced ours up the best we could, but even with that it can rip the netting. Lets hope for a winter reprieve.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Milder Weather Makes it Easier

With the milder day and night temps it is so much easier to take care of the birds.  Haven't has any quail die in a while. I was getting bummed out as the younger chicks just couldn't handle the single digit temps even under heat lamps in the barn.  I had to tell 2 field trial customers we aren't able to furnish birds for their Feb. trial. I know they didn't like that but I had to take care of my long term customers with the limited bird available. I called around to other gamebird farmers I know and they are out of birds completely.  We all wish the folks that need birds would pre-order them earlier so we could plan better. I have a lot more do that every year, they now know they won't get birds if they wait too late. There is a limited production of birds and getting worse as the farmers get older and retire. Our heated waterers are working good.  We have decided to get rid of our pigeons and chickens. We seem to have way too much to properly take care of. Just quail, our 2 dogs and 1 old cat will do for now.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Busy Day on the Farm

Were visited by very knowledgable lady from the USDA to test our quail. The NPIP tests. She did 30 birds for pollorum typhoid (blood test) and avian influenza (throat swab).  They were healthy so I am good for another year. Then we had a hunting preserve call for pheasants. Debbie caught them (she really wants them gone, they are so strong) and the guy came and picked them up. Should have most quail picked up Saturday. Money is coming in handy for Christmas. With the nights in the teens and 20's I am really glad I bought some heated waterers.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Check out our funny ad on You Tube !!!

My good friend Mark, has spent decades as a marketing director and artist. He is also a very funny guy. He made us a really funny sales ad for You Tube. I hope you enjoy it. Let me know.



Monday, December 13, 2010

Delivered the last bunch of 2010 birds

On Friday, my friend Jimmy & I delivered a few hundred quail to one of our preserve customers in Arkansas. He told me he would need a lot of birds in Feb 2011. I will have some then, but probably not enough. It is hard to brood birds once it gets cold. Next year I think I'll just raise a couple thousand extra in the fall and then add maybe 50 cents to the selling costs for extra feed. He said he was fine with that. We are having the USDA inspector come out next Friday to test our birds for disease. They will pass and we will be NPIP certified. (we were this year). To sell quail into most other states they must have a NPIP form filled out in order for them to import into their state.  It's a hassle but a good thing.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Our New Grand Daughter

Our son Shaun & his wife Leslie had their first child, our first grandchild, last Friday. Her name is Cedar Eden. She is a beautiful, healthy girl. We love her and look forward to all the time we spend with her.

Nearing the End of this Quail Raising Year

As I look back on this years quail raising I am glad I am doing this in my retirement. Even though my brain attack forced me to do this earlier than I had wanted to (by about 10 years). I feel I have made the most out of a bad situation.  We raised and sold thousands of birds. We have met a lot of good country folk as they have come to our farm to pick up birds.  We have sold to hunters, dog trainers, field trials, preserves, restaurants and markets. I truly feel this adventure has kept me active and helped me heal a lot. I have accepted my bad arm and leg. I walk now without a cane(slowly with a limp) and I can hold things with my hand. So I am doing fine. I do know I feel more at peace with myself and look forward to a long life.
    We have learned a lot about raising quail and pheasants. We are not going to do pheasants anymore.  They are just too big and strong for my wife to handle. She was feeding them once when a bunch decided to take off near her and one hit her face.  It cut her lip and cheek. She has become afraid of them somewhat so it isn't worth that. They are beautiful birds and are very much in demand but they take up 10x the room quail do. We lost hundreds of quail this year from chicks to about 12 week old birds.  Some to the heat and rain (we just weren't prepared to protect them in the fly pens) Some chicks were lost when I believe a virus got in the brooder bar. We completely cleaned it out & sprayed disenfectant. That seemed to fix that. Since we had a lot of people want birds in Feb & March of next year we decided to have a couple late fall hatches. That makes those birds really young now. Even though we heat out barns, when it gets 10 - 20 degrees at night these crazy birds pile up by the hundreds and suffocate themselves. The full mature birds are doing just fine outside in the flypens, so it seems young birds just can't handle the winter cold. Next year if we have birds wanted in Feb. we will just make sure they are fully mature by Nov 1. and just charge the people $1.00 per bird more for extra monthly food costs.
  It was a good 2010 and we are looking forward to 2011. We have fixed most of our errors and will do better next season, I hope. Even with all our problems it was profitable and paid for our construction, so next season we will not build or buy anything but eggs, feed and maintance.
  We still have maybe 1000 quail & 100 pheasants to sell, but they are called for and will go shortly, except the February birds, if they live through the harsh weather.