Jeremey Weeks

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since Jan 16, 2013
8 acres, Zone 5b
Eastern Washington, 8 acres, h. zone 5b
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Recent posts by Jeremey Weeks

I ended up joining The Sustainable Poultry Network. Ten months into it, I feel like they promised more than they delivered. If anyone has questions, they can read about it http://thishappyhomestead.com/2015/02/09/bad-experience-with-the-sustainable-poultry-network/
4 years ago
I got some Roy Underhill DVDs for Christmas. They show some interesting and better designs.
5 years ago
I agree with Paul, as long as all other options have been tried.

Call everyone you know with livestock, ask who they buy from. Sometimes this turns out better than before--two can get a quantity deal and split the hay.

Look on Craigslist.



5 years ago
The shrinks look a lot better and don't require anything complicated or expensive.
5 years ago
John hit it on the head.

I also have a problem with fast growing birds.

Temple Grandin talks about fast growing livestock (pigs I think). She mentions that the meat will be super lean (sounds like a good thing), but it has poor nutritional value. Just my opinion, but I'm confident the same applies to poultry.

From chick to harvest, the industry spends less than 6 weeks to go from chick to butchered bird.
5 years ago
Honestly, the heritage bird market is pretty grim. I've picked a dual-purpose bird that I think can handle the cold in my climate. I recommend picking a bird that will work well in your weather.

I'm choosing to raise chicks, so I'm going to cull my birds because I expect poor quality in the beginning. Hopefully I'll have a good product after a few years. You can buy from heritage growers if you don't want to do this.

Adam Klaus is making his own breed. He's got a lot more experience than I have, hopefully he'll chime in.

There's a lot of interesting info out there to help you determine the breed you want. For example, a chicken's comb is used to cool. A big comb means the bird can cool itself well. On the other hand, that bird will suffer and not do well in cold winters.
5 years ago
Michael, most stats I've read are that the chickens will pick up 20% of their food in forage, the rest is feed.

Of course, the chickens can live 100% on forage, but it will take a lot longer for them to get to butcher size. It's a factor of profitability.

I'd skip the feed for meat birds if I was raising a small flock just for myself.

You can find mills that provide good feed.

Clint, you might like some videos done by Jim Adkins of the Pastured Poultry Network. He advocates heritage breeds. My farm is a member of the network because of some of the conclusion I came to regarding commercial birds.

5 years ago
Awesome summary, Nathan. What breed of bird?

5 years ago
CJ, the pic I use on the poultry page of my farm website shows Orpingtons on the wrong side of the fence. I feel your pain!



They're pretty light birds though, and less than a year old. Last time I get chicks from a store.



5 years ago
I just re-read Adam's posts in this topic. Food Savannah is a great term. I haven't heard it before. It makes sense, though. Savannah is nothing but a great big natural pasture.

I live in a dry pine forest as he mentioned. We found that the chickens can feed themselves, even in winter, but they have to range a lot farther. This means that a big flock is going to have a bigger impact in a small area. No surprise there. The problem with bigger paddocks, etc is that extra land costs. It makes profitability an issue.

Having said that, the chickens have had a positive impact. The ground within their range has green plants under the snow. It's not scientific but the only difference between that area and the rest of my land is the chickens. I'm assuming that their "grazing" kept the plants from lignifying. It could be the chickens' waste, but there wasn't really that much. It's pretty neat to scuff the snow away and see yarrow that's still green.
5 years ago