Wednesday, February 24, 2010


I think it was around 2006 when we tried the poultry route again.

My Father in Law tore down his old barn up at Ground Zero, and we salvaged as many pieces of it as we could. We re-used lumber from the old barn to build a wood shed with a chicken coop attached to the back. We even recycled the beams that held the barn roof and the tin that had covered the sides of the barn.

My first chicken - er, poultry - coop measured out to be 9' x 12'. I was quite pleased with the results. We ordered our chickens - and once again it was Rhode Island Red. Ugh. I guess you could say I was trying to be a good wife, and trying to peak my husband's interest into my chicken keeping - and he was stuck on "Rhode Island Reds are the best."

Thank goodness he's not so stuck on that now.

I decided if he got to have Rhode Island Reds, then I wanted ducks, too. I only wanted a pair of ducks - but isn't that how things always start?!

I ended up with some Pekins, Khaki Campbells, and Domestic Mallards. It was a lot of ducks. The mallards were the hardest to raise. Only two of those made it to adult hood, and sadly, we lost them to predation.

The Pekins became the most annoying birds I'd ever owned, and I hated looking at those Rhode Island Reds. Everyone went to auction, and my coop sat empty until 2007.

In spring of 2007 I had finally figured out just what I wanted, poultry wise anyway. I ordered Partridge Rocks, Rhode Island Reds (again, trying to please my husband), Speckled Sussex, and several bantams - Mille Fleur d'Uccles, Buff Brahma Bantams, Black Tailed Buff Japanese, and Quail Antwerps. It was a beautiful assortment! And expensive!

I was so pleased with my selection of chickens, that I started researching waterfowl breeds. I made my choices by what caught my eye first, and then read up on individual characteristics and narrowed my choices down to what I felt would fit our farm needs. That first special waterfowl order included a pairs of Blue Swedish ducks, Gold Star Hybrid Ducks, Mallards, Buff Ducks, and a pair of Toulouse Geese.

My Geese were my favorites.

This time around, everything was going quite well. So well, that we decided to branch out into turkeys! We contacted McMurray Hatchery and ordered a Barnyard Special. We only wanted the turkeys, my mother was wanting ducks and geese, so it worked out well for us to split the order. We recieved 5 Bourbon Red Turkeys with the order, and two Broad Breasted White.

My mom willing took the two Broad Breasted, as we were trying really hard to stick with heritage breeds.

Two BR turkeys expired early on, but the three remaining were thriving quite nicely. It seemed we had a hen and two Toms.

Again, I was tired of the Rhode Island Reds, so off to Auction they went. They were soon followed by the Partridge Rocks, which I'm not even sure why I made that decision.

I ended up with what I felt was a manageable flock of Sussex, a few bantams, and my pairs of waterfowl. I was super excited.

Then, tragedy.

Early one morning, around 4 am, we heard a terrible ruckus outside. By the time we got dressed and up, it was all over. We saw what looked like the outline of two men trekking off across the field to the back road, but it was too dark to make out who it was.

They took almost everything. The only duck that they took alive was a blue swedish, the rest of the waterfowl were strangled and left on the coop floor. They took our only female turkey. The two toms were still there, and so were a pair of Sussex, 1 Mille Fleur cockerel, and 1 Sultan Cockerel.

It was devestating.


  1. We can relate to your interest in all your poultry choices; especially the heritage and unique breeds. I never would have thought that having chickens and ducks would be so interesting.

    Absolutely can't believe that someone stole!! your birds! Do you live somewhere that you even give a thought to "human" predators? Did you get yourself a big dog after that or fix up some security? What do you think they did with them?
    So sorry and upset for you, even now.

    YardFarmer Julie

  2. Yep, I love my poultry.

    Yep, someone stole our birds. We're fairly rural, so no, we hadn't previously thought of "human" predators. We have two big dogs now, and we re-did the doors. Run doors lock on the inside, and we lock them every night, and the people doors to gain access to the coops are all facing the house - so I can see them.

    But, the best human deterrent, we ran out electical wire, put up a huge pole, and stuck a light up at the top that makes the backyard look like noon in the dead of night.

    As for what they did with them, we think they ate them.