I see that PP has The Smallhold back under control and producing useful content. Excellent work PP! He's already talking about plans for the upcoming busy summer months and raised the issue of incubators, re poultry production. I guess he is an incubator man and a lot of top flight agrarians are.
When I was a kid there was one of these in every classroom. The eggs went in sometime after Easter, and the kids had to take turns caring for the eggs, turning them every day until they hatched. The chicks would then be moved to a box with a brooder lamp and the teacher would come in early in the morning and dispose of any casualties that might have occured the night before... before the kids came in for the day. Everyone would get a chance to feed them and we'd keep them for a week or a bit before they went to go live on a farm. Somebody would always take them. They always turned up in the mall Easter event displays. They would get dyed bright colours, and have mini-amusement parks where the chicks would ride merry-go-rounds, tiny ferris wheels and to slides. Usually there were ducklings and goslings too. Ya never see that stuff anymore...
I have moral and ethical objections of sorts to these incubators especially from the prepper's standpoint. Most of the mainline poultry lines are so finely bred and have been bred and managed for decades - to produce maximum meat or eggs for the minimal amount of feed. The breeding instinct has been bred right out of them and the hens will abandon the eggs they lay. I question the morals, ethics and wisdom of that on the basis that if the power ever goes out - the ability to rapidly reproduce healthy large flocks will go out the window too. My scholarly opinion on the subject is moot - the industry is driven by margins and bean counters, and guys like me have been ruled as out of order. Given the nature of our times they may be right...?
Fortunately, the small holders, homesteaders, and hobby agrarians have much better options. In his place - this would be my preferred practical poultry plan:
This little lady will keep the eggs warm, turn them, and protect and supervise the chicks when they are born. What will one of these units cost ya? Ten bucks? Plus room and board I guess... Depending on how well ya treat her, she'll incubate at least a couple times a year, and she will replace herself many times over before she retires. The only downside I personally see is that if yer not careful, she will become a warm and affectionate pet! And... that's not the end of the world either. They also look good puttering around the farm - but you have to keep a sharp eye out for hawks and predators.
I suppose I shouldn't shove my long nose into the Smallhold's business. Around this year I start to really get cabin fever ... and Easter-y thoughts seem to become more interesting...
looking at seed catalogs nowReplyDelete
hope springs eternal !
I agree with your incubator plan. I selected my chicken breeds for broodiness, but have only had a couple successful hatches.ReplyDelete
I used milk crates with one side cut out for the front and paper between because I read they need privacy or some such.ReplyDelete