‘Paca’s and Poultry

I commented awhile back that I was evaluating breeds of poultry to try for the first time.  I have not had chickens, except for the time I was 2 years old and a relative gave me one of those easter-egg dyed chicks.  I have a picture of me holding it in my hand, dressed in my  Easter finery. I choose to not think about where that chick ended up.  My grandmother had chickens and I was intriqued when we visited their farm. I remember sitting in the middle of the chicks in their brooder and how warm it was there and they crowded around my child sized form.  The other memory is helping my grandmother gather eggs early one morning and she told me to go stand over on that fence for a minute.  She had spied a snake in the hen yard and swiftly disposed of it with a hoe and chopped it up into pieces.  She put the pieces in a nearby trough and when I brought my 2 younger brothers to see, the chickens had already finished off the snake. 

We also had a duck named Gus when I was in junior high school.  He was lots of fun.  My brother was the winner in his elementary classroom to hatch a duck from an egg (with parental permission first) and so that adventure started with an egg in a metal tub in our kitchen with a warming bulb attached, etc., etc.   He hatched, I imprinted him on me, so whenever he saw me he came running to me; I was his “mom”.  For awhile the duck traveled back and forth to school as a learning experience for the children.  When he got too big and started flying over the tall fence in our backyard, we got permission to let him go at the nearby park that had flocks of ducks and their own “duck island” in the middle of the large pond area.  The park rangers even helped us by taking us out on their boat with Gus and getting close to the island so we could release him there and he could settle in.

So, my experience with poultry is very limited.  I read about how easy it is to take care of poultry, but reading about their requirements seems contrary to other’s experiences.  I have to consider the heat of Texas summers; we are in the northeast of Texas so the weather is fairly moderate in the winter as well. I know we will need pest control in the alpaca pastures (ticks, flies and other parasites)  so I plan to keep the poultry mostly confined to their 4 pastures.  If we need some control around the house, I can let them free range in that area.  My research showed that guineas are kind of an all purpose bird to have.  They warn off hawks so help protect the chickens; and snakes and mice are also disposed of, as well as cleaning up the poop piles to rid them of flies, and taking care of the ticks, grasshoppers and other pests in the grasses.  I have ordered 10 of those and I chose to get a variety to see all the pretty colors.

I also read about Bantam Silkies, and they sounded like great fun so I ordered 10 partridge silkie bantams.

I also wanted some laying hens, so I have ordered 10 of Ideal Poultry’s Rare Breed Pullet special.  I will get an assortment of those.  I had also considered Barred Rocks, reading about them seemed to show them as gentle and good layers.  I may order those later if I get the hang of this.

My delivery date I chose is in June, so in the meantime I will be putting together the housing they require and getting the right feed and equipment in place.  I think they will be a great addition and give our alpacas some entertainment too.  I can’t wait to get some wonderful eggs later in the year once they start laying. 


1 Comment

  1. Luke smith said,

    November 6, 2008 at 10:26 AM

    Nice write up.

    Ducks arnt the easiest to breed i’ll admit, but there’s som good info there for experts and beginners alike!

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