THE SIMPLE LIFE ON OUR OZARKS QUAIL FARM

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MISSOURI OZARKS, United States
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. *******************************************************

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Batch 2 of Eggs in Incubators

Yesterday we picked up another 3,000 bobwhite quail eggs in Kansas. The fellow we get them from is a large supplier of eggs and day old chicks.  He is concerned about his production.  Seems the cloudy, cold spring is having an effect on the number of eggs he is getting so he cannot fill all his orders & his hatch percentage is lower than normal. I sure am glad I pre-ordered early so I am about first on the list for eggs.  There will be guys not able to get eggs for a while so the adult bird production this fall will suffer. We also compared feed prices. He just ordered 4 tons of bulk feed and it was 15% higher than same time last year. I am finding the same here. If the overhead increases doesn't stop soon the prices we all sell adult birds will go up dramatically. Which in turn usually slows down sales. I am really trying to cut overhead and keep my prices in line. I have been speaking with a local wind & solar power guy that has quoted me 3 wind turbines large enough to power all the system.  It is initially expensive but I believe I could pay for it fairly quickly.  I may end up doing this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Our Joplin Neighbors Got Hit Hard

Last evening a huge tornado hit Joplin, Mo.  Our farm is between Joplin & Springfield.  I have some good friends from my career in the outdoor sports business that live and have stores there.  Trying to contact them.  When it seemed like the storm was going to hit us, too, we just grabbed the dogs and headed east. The storm took a right turn and went south so we stopped to eat and wait it out. It is storming again right now. It's been a week since our first hatch and we have only lost 16 chicks out of 2500.  I am very pleased.  We have watched the brooder temps closely since the weather has been so sporatic. With spring rains being so intense we decided to put down a large tarp on the brooder barn floor before we spread pine chips.  Any water running on the barn floor, which is very little considering the fields have flooded, has gone under the chips and kept the birds warm and dry. Baby quail are so sensitive to a number of issues and without some experience and fore thought you will lose hundreds. We are picking up our next big batch of eggs friday, so the cycle continues.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Our First Hatch Went Really Well

Our first batch of quail started hatching monday and ended wednesday. Out of the 3,000 eggs we incubated there was a little over 2,500 hatched for an 86% hatch rate. I am pleased with that especially since it was the first batch of spring eggs which can be not as fertile as latter eggs. We placed them in 2 brooder barns and so far have only had about 20 die.  This is very common the first few days due to birth defects, etc.  It has been a cold spring and the first night in the barns the temps got down to 38 degrees. I was spooked about this since these young birds cannot take cold at all and will pile up bad. We added a few more heat lamps and so far so good. It is expected to warm up to 60's at night shortly.  We sent out a couple dozen more price lists and have already gotten orders from that. I believe we will have 80% of our production booked shortly.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Farm Life is Always an Adventure

This weekend we had a good spring time on the farm.  On saturday our son Shaun came out to see his mom for Mothers Day. He brought her 2 trays (100 plants) of flower starts. He adores his mom. While he was here he spent a lot of time on the garden. We are very grateful for his help, he has a big garden on his families farm, too. I went in for a rest and he came in for a drink. When he went back out he came running back in to tell me his bee hive was swarming.  I jumped on the tractor and headed out there. There was tens of thousands of bees in about a ten yard area.  After a few minutes maybe half or more swarmed on a tree nearby and the rest went back into the hive.  I have seen many swarms on trees, but I have never seen them in the process. He wanted to catch this swarm and put it into another hive box, but by the time he got it ready they were gone, so he lost half or more of the hive. Hopefully we will still get some honey from the bees left.  While we were watching this my friend Pigeon Pat showed up. He raises those wonderful white homing pigeons and has 100 or more birds. He does pigeon releases at weddings, funerals, etc. I was down to only 4 birds left so he was nice enough to bring me 6 more young ones to raise. I hate to admit it, but living in the country with lots of hawks I lose more than I would like. He stayed and chatted for a while. I really enjoy his visits. You can see his website at;  PigeonPat.com

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Sun's Out & Life is Active on the Farm

Debbie weeding
Clematis
It's always so wonderful to see spring in all it's glory.  We had days of rain and huge flooding in the area. Now the sun is fully out and all the critters and plants are searching it's warmth. Especially Debbie and I. Debbie spent a fortune at the nursery last weekend. They told her their business was off over 25% this spring due to cold, wet weather. I hope it gets better for them.  They are our country neighbors and really good folks. So we are hanging flower baskets all around the house, planting a lot of patio pots and weeding around our 2 acre yard. The garden is fully planted and a lot of veggies are peeking out. The strawberries are forming, too. We are seeing a ton of hummingbirds and many birds are migrating through.  The beautiful orioles,grossbeaks and indigo buntings are a delight around the feeders. Wild turkeys are going to nests so we will have some young poults running around chasing bugs soon. I can't remember seeing the bees as active as they are now. They are all over the hives, coming and going. Will have a big batch of honey this fall.  The 3,000 quail eggs will hatch in less than 2 weeks. We will finish putting in our pine chips and testing all the brooder heaters today. Still receiving orders for fall/winter birds. Went to feed store yesterday and tried to make a early deal on a few tons of feed.  They are reluctant to quote a long term price for me because of the constant rise of grain crops. Can't blame them. I sure hope the quail prices I have pre sold at will not cause me to lose my shorts. I did tell everyone to be aware of possible increase if corn & soybeans keep going through the roof. Time to go out and enjoy the nice weather.  I really wish I didn't have my disability so I could do more, but it is what it is and I still really enjoy my farm life.
Pigeons on feeder
Shadow watching everything