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

Friday, August 26, 2011

Lots of Birds in Fly Pens = Lots of Feed

We have thousands of birds running around the fly pens and they sure eat a lot. We are feeding over 25 bags per week and the local feed store really likes us.  We changed to a different feed store late last season.  We gave them a heads-up on making sure they do not run out of game bird feed for us. Since we are their only game bird feed account I was concerned they might not buy tons of feed for us, but they have really done good. I had projected feed costs being about $27.00 per 100# during this time of year, but surprisingly it is only $24.50/100#.  So profits should be better. Even though we have had extreme heat, we have hardly lost any birds at all. Those we do lose we donate to the Conservation department for taxidermy lessons for kids. We really watch their waterers and have provided lots of cover and even sprayed water on them every couple of days.  Really starting to get orders and inquiries daily. Some of my customers are increasing their orders due to more early bookings. We're about to the point of being booked up. 

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Birds Are About Ready to Sell

We will have a few thousand bobwhite quail fully mature and ready to go the first week of September. We will catch them if the temps are not over 80 degrees.  Last year we transported some in 90+ weather and lost over half of them due to heat stress.  We have many dog trainers that are really ready to pick some up.  Still getting a lot of calls for small amounts (<100>)of birds.  We really enjoy those sales since I get to usually spend some sportsman time with them when they pickup.  One of the bad things about life after my stroke is I spend a lot of time here at the farm by myself and sometimes I get lonely. It's a far cry from when I owned my sporting goods store and saw hundreds a day.  So the opportunity to meet new folks and view their culture is refreshing.  If you read this blog, I would welcome an email from you. I received one a few weeks ago from a guy in Alabama whose father also survived a stroke but was giving up on life. He said his dad followed my doings and now wants to try something on his farm.  That really makes me glad that I possibly might help someone through fighting my adversity. Even though these handicaps and issues can be a burden most of the time, there is so many other parts of my life that I have found that I am a much better person for this. 

Monday, August 8, 2011

Setting Eggs

We are filling our incubators with eggs tomorrow.  I've decided to make this our last hatch this season.  Those birds will be full grown by January.  It's just hard to raise them when they are young and it's cold.  We just lost too many last season to take the chance. I know I will need more birds but I am happy at the level I am. Been raining off and on for a couple of days with a chance for more the next few days.  Seems like the gardens are burnt out even watering them as much as we did it was just too hot for a great garden season.  We harvested a lot and our son has been canning.  Tomatoes are very tasty and cucs are making great bread and butter pickles. The attitudes at my coffee stop are not improving. The old farmers have a lot of hay but many are selling their extra to the farmers in Kansas who are hurting.  They are getting $120.00 a bale.  It is $35 here.  Fuel delivery costs make up a lot of that increase.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

GOOD THIRD HATCH

We had a 86% hatch rate for our third hatch.  With the extreme 100+  degree hot days for what seems to be everyday we were really surprised and happy about that.   Our incubating room is not climate controlled.  Incubators are heaters for bring up to and maintaining them @ 99.5 degrees.  The problem is they are not cooling units.  So when the room got over 100 the incubator temps surged to 102 for a short time.  We had fans running on them but that wasn't enough for all day.  I figured it would really cause a lot of malformed or dead inside the eggs.  We had a few born a little early and some not quite right, but have lost very few chicks. I spoke with some other growers that have seen a lot of loses in the fly pens due the heat.  We have lost only 6 birds.  We made a lot of covers and it has really paid of.  I also called my egg supplier this morning. His layers are just not producing.  He is really hoping for cooler weather soon.  His temps in Kansas was 112 degrees Monday. But I will be getting almost all of the eggs I ordered next tuesday.  My phone is ringing a lot this week from dog trainers wanting to book birds. Just checked my outside barn thermometer, it says 104.  I'm too old too fight it outside in this heat.