Most of the summer, we've been busy building grow out pens in the fenced side yard. This yard also serves as geese breeder pens in the late winter and early-mid spring, so having multiple pens tucked into this space to keep different species and age groups separate will come in handy on a multitude of levels.
Like most retrofit operations, existing infrastructure made the whole plan a little trickier overall, but it has come along nicely in spite of the constant coastal jungle rain forest environment which has set up shop over Alabama this summer.
Here's a shot of part of the entry and what will be a fenced yard...
In January I ordered 25 Silver Grey Dorkings from Murray McMurray Hatchery in Iowa. Although hesitant to order from a hatchery rather than an individual breeder who has worked to improve their flock and breed to the American Poultry Association (APA) Standard of Perfection (SOP), Dorkings are rather rare and can be difficult to find, so my choices were somewhat limited.
Although early, I opted for the February 11th ship date. The little guys must have gotten a chill in shipping, and sadly, I lost almost ½ of them. I can’t say enough good things about the customer service at McMurray. They promptly refunded my credit card and were very nice about the stress of trying to save babies.
Soooo…..fast forward to the end of March. I have 5 little cockerals and 6 little pullets, happy, healthy, and getting big in a hurry. As soon as they are large enough to not be on the local hawks' menu, they will be turned into the big fenced yard during the day where they can live happy little chicken lives and grow up big and strong. The best will be chosen for the breeder pen, and the rest will be an experiment in growing your own food -- free range, cage free, antibiotic free, chicken -- as it should be raised. Ever heard of Slow Food? That's another post for another day.
Kelley Creek Farms is a small (micro really) hobby farm located in Central Alabama 30 minutes south of Birmingham. We raise heritage and rare waterfowl and poultry along with a myriad of other creatures that give the farm its life. In addition to the birds, we raise heirloom tomatoes and vegetables.
Each day is different and brings a new set of adventures. Some make you laugh and some make you cry. Some are just plain frustrating. But we persevere knowing that tomorrow's set of problems will be completely different than today. Still figuring all this out ....one day at a time and striving for a more sustainable way of life.