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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. *******************************************************

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

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.

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