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Livestock

in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Basics of Incubating eggs

As soon as the weather begins to warm, chickens across the world begin to think of hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  But they’re not the only ones.  Spring also begins humans thinking about hatching eggs and raising baby chicks.  Of course the way we do it isn’t nearly as natural and our success rates vary.  Still, with practice and knowledge we can get just about as good.  Human success rates for incubating eggs is about 80% while hens are at 90%.  Not bad. Incubating eggs Out at Flip Flop Ranch, incubating eggs is one of the biggest parts of…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry, Published in Daily Press

Why you should raise chickens

Chickens are usually the first livestock the aspiring farmer purchases and if you don’t have any of these fluffy critters running around your yard, you should really consider it. Here at Flip Flop Ranch, we have a few hundred of them, but our start in farming began with only one. Betty was a Frizzle with curly feathers. She was raised in a cage on my bathroom counter, wore diapers around the house and pecked at the door to go in and out. I remember being so proud when she laid her first egg…on the dining room floor. Chickens make great…

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in Farming, Livestock, Pigs

The new Guinea Hogs are here

Yes that’s right.  They have arrived.  Finally.  I’ve been excited over our new guinea hogs for months now since we purchased them and have just been waiting for the delivery of two adult pairs (one pregnant) and the other pair with five piglets.  Why am I so excited?  Well, besides just loving pigs, we tasted our last processed hog. OMG It was amazing. To be honest, I hate pork chops.  They’ve always been dry and tasteless no matter how well we cook them or what recipe we use.  We had guinea hog pork chops the other day and there was…

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in Blog, Chickens, Farming, Livestock, Poultry

Tagging Chickens

I waited until it was dark and all the unsuspecting chickens were asleep.  Then I creeped into the coop with a flashlight and one by one grabbed each chicken by its legs and swung it upside down.  Sometimes they squawked and flapped for a few seconds before relaxing.  Sometimes the other chickens stuck up their heads and squawked back in concern, but they always fluffed their feathers and settled back down to sleep. And so it went, grabbing, swinging upside down and tagging.  It’s important that chickens have identification tags when you have a bunch.  You can watch for patterns,…

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in Blog, Livestock, Sheep

Our new Gulf Coast Sheep lambs

It’s so exciting!  We just had our first lambs born!  I didn’t even know the momma Gulf Coast Sheep was pregnant, but it turns out that some rams snuck in with the girls about 148 days ago give or take!  Remember I just got this flock so their history is a little…shady… Anyhow, I was just walking around feeding and suddenly did a double take.  There were two adorable little monsters wobbling around the pen.  No fuss, no problem.  Momma was perfectly healthy and is taking fantastic care of her babies.

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in Blog, Farming, Livestock, Sheep

I have a problem with overeating…

I have a problem with overeating.  Hey buster, it’s not me who overeats, it’s my piggy sheep that overeat.  See, at Flip Flop Ranch, animals tend to escape…a lot.  I forget to lock the gate or they slip through  a fence we thought  would hold them, or the most recent escape was the sheep busted a gate open.  And where do they go? Straight to the chicken feed. I mean, how could they resist that scrumptious mix of corn, wheat and oats? So that’s where overeating disease comes in.  This is a disease sheep get literally from eating too much.  What…

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in Blog, Livestock, Poultry, Uncategorized

Factors Affecting Egg Production in Backyard Chicken Flocks

By J.P. Jacob, H.R. Wilson, R.D. Miles, G. D. Butcher, and F.B. Mather  University of Florida IFAS Extension  The laying cycle of a chicken flock usually covers a span of about 12 months. Egg production begins when the birds reach about 18-22 weeks of age, depending on the breed and season. Flock production rises sharply and reaches a peak of about 90%, 6-8 weeks later. Production then gradually declines to about 65% after 12 months of lay. A typical production curve for a laying flock, showing changes in the level of egg production and in egg weight, over time, is…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Poultry

Why Did My Chickens Stop Laying?

By Dr. J. C. Hermes  Extension Poultry Specialist, Oregon State University  Egg production is a remarkable thing. A pullet (young female chicken) begins laying eggs at 18 to 20 weeks of age. She reaches peak production at about 35 weeks, with a production rate greater than 90 percent (that’s 9 eggs in 10 days for a single hen or 9 eggs from 10 birds daily). This period of peak production lasts about 10 weeks, after which her egg production slowly begins to decline. A high-producing hen’s annual egg production is more than 10 times her body weight. The average commercial…

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in Blog, Chickens, Livestock, Natural Health, Poultry, Uncategorized

Caged chicken vs. Free range chicken vs. Pastured chicken

Ali asks: “Can you explain the difference between Cage free, free range, and pasture raised chicken and eggs?” Unfortunately, the truth is that there are many conventional farmers manufacturers who are very unethical and are working the system to get what they want.  While the “spirit” of the various labels are promoted, the laws are very loose and provide loopholes for getting around the labels.  Also, note that any of these can be “organic.” Conventionally-raised chickens To start this explanation, it’s best to compare it to the conventionally-raised laying hen, i.e. the most common method for producing the grocery-store egg.  Conventional hens…

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in Farming with horses, Horse riding, Livestock

Horse farming at Prophetstown

I have decided that the farmers who switched from horses to tractors, who sold their animals for dog food in exchange for loud, smelly, irritating and expensive machinery were idiots.  Well meaning idiots, but still idiots.  Farming with horses was the most enjoyable experience I’ve had in a long time and I never want to go back to using mechanical farm equipment. Ok, granted there are some limitations to farming with horses.  You have to do a bit of training, you can’t just jump on and turn the key, they have a mind of their own and sometimes don’t do…

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