SEXING POULTRY

Sexing ducklings and even baby chickens and geese aren’t always a black and white issue, sometimes in different breeds you can tell by the shades of colors. One of the easiest ways to sex poultry is vent sexing, and with a little practice you can do it 100%. Depending on your vision you may need a magnifying glass with light, and it should help you to make sure.

You can also use this same method sexing turkeys and geese, I learned to do this so that we could get a better price on the females and the males people buy for meat birds and even show birds since their plumage is so much prettier than the hens. The other reason I wanted to learn sexing is that at most of these farm supply stores, they sell baby chicks and ducklings. Imagine buying a dozen babies and 70% to 80% of them being roosters or drakes which 60% of a straight run will be roosters and allot of times hatcheries will sex chicks to sell at a premium price making the ones they sell to the stores a bigger percentage of roosters, DON’T let them fool you it’s a fact.

The video listed in this post can be used for Chicks, Ducklings and Turkeys for sure. This is a playlist of different ways and different types of poultry.

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NEW DUCKLINGS

Good Morning, we have acquired 3 Rouen ducklings from Buchheit of Greenville for $6.24 each. Unsexed we are unsure what we have yet but will vent sex them in the next few days. we are hoping for at least one hen. The idea will be to separate our Pekins, Black Swedish and Rouen ducks and sell fertile eggs from each of the 3 different breeds or the meat of the Pekin ducks.

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PICKLES COMES BACK HOME

Pickles came back home today after being traded for another buck (Andre) He was traded to Mriscin Ranch in New Douglas, IL. On being returned home he practically ran to the gate to be with his girls and realized there was a new female in the herd. While he greeted everyone in the yard he especially paid special attention to the new nanny while she is still having to prove her dominance among the other nanny’s. Needless to say, he is very happy to be home, and we are happy to have him.

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PICKLES GOES TO A NEW FARM

One of the older residents of Metro East Farms “Pickles” has went to a new farm. Pickles has been on Metro East Farms since February 2018 as a 5-day old kid. We bottle fed him with another kid named Zoey both super friendly & house broke they would go out with the dogs and when they started pulling tablecloth of tables, climbing couches and kitchen tables and we had to evict them to the barn. He is a Boer and Kiko mix.

 

Pickles loves to play, and Justin played with him a lot with unintended consequences. He would grab him by the horns and ears messing with him so, Pickles likes to play a little rough. He doesn’t intentionally but if you remember watching goats on TV you would remember when you bend over to do something and yea he’ll but ya.

Sometimes walking out in the pen he will drop his head and but you, he is not doing it to attack or be mean he just wants to play. He has fathered many kids here and healthy kids and as a good father and surprisingly he protects them. We let him out on occasions, he never goes far, never goes to the road and comes running when you holler “YUP!!” (that means time to eat) and he does answer to his name Pickles, if you holler Frank, Fred, Billy or what ever he ignores you, and if he sees a yellow bucket he will follow you anywhere. Finally, he is leash trained and walks well on it.

He serviced 5 does and each spring the does birthed kids on the same day or on two consecutive days. So, he is proven and potent. This October I will be 55 years old and have many medical issues and he has knocked me down 4 or 5 times because I wasn’t paying attention so when offered the opportunity to trade him for another buck with good bloodlines the decision was made to do the trade knowing he will be taken care of because of his friendliness as long as he is with another goat he will be fine.

The trade is For a Boer, Nubian mix we named Andre (Andre The Giant) he is a good strong little buck, he is old enough to use as our lead buck. He is greyish and he has a thick body like his daddy shown below with Andre. It is our hope that Pickles enjoys his new home and he will be missed very much but as with any business and or farm decisions must be made to benefit the farm.

Below is contact information of Mriscin Ranch, good to deal with and good deals buy, sell or trade, Goats, Ducks, Rabbits and sometimes other small farm animals. Give him a call or look him up on Facebook he is easy to deal with and one you can trust.

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NEW – RABBITS AT METRO EAST FARMS

Art Mriscin came to Metro East Farms to look at two Withers (Castrated Males) that we had here and he ended up purchasing them. While loading we was talking back and forth and got about rabbits. Justin Hofer a co-Founder and member of Team Fat Boyz and Metro East Farms has two buck rabbits, and I had thought about it for a while and trying to justify getting into a breeding program and was looking for does. Justin and I went to Mriscin Ranch located in New Douglas, IL to see what he had, and agreeing on a price we bought 3 does.

Within the week we got on the discussion if he had or knew of someone who had anymore does and within a couple minutes we bought another 2 from him. Rabbits reproduce fast, they could have 12 litters a year but in no way is that okay or recommended. Personally, I would stop at 5 or 6 liters per years. Rabbits are in the rodent family such as Squirrels, Rats, Mice and guinea Pigs. Rabbits make good pets if you work with them at a young age, sit them on your lap, across your shoulder, leash train and even litter train them. They also double as Meat Rabbits; they are very good and taste like Squirrel or chicken.

Rabbits dressed out bring a good price as well as the furs, there is a great market for pets, meat and fur and are worth producing should meat prices go up, loose a job or something in a pandemic such as the COVID-19 Pandemic we are dealing with now. All 7 rabbits now in the breeding program have names and as always on the farm when you name it we don’t butcher it.

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GET IN ON NAMING THIS DOE

Metro East Farms have acquired a female goat born in April 2020. As always when we acquire an animal that will be a permanent part of the farm. She will be worked with and also be breeding stock for new generations of therapy animals for nursing homes and physically and or mentally challenged birthday parties. REMEMBER THIS we do not charge nursing homes or the physically and or mentally challenged events.

We normally let someone choose the name of the animal for a level Platinum sponsorship of $100.00 to $150.00. We decided this time we would accept $5.00 donations; each $5.00 you donate you get another entry. August 15 we will add names of donators on random.org on live video and the winner will get to name her with a FIRST, MIDDLE AND LAST NAME (must not be something totally ignorant or another inappropriate name), ALL donators names go onto the Metro East Farms donators page BUT, the winners name will appear as a Platinum Level on the page, a Platinum Level donor certificate, a 5 x 9 photo of your sponsored animal and a personal notarized letter of thanks.

Donations Must Be a Minimum of $5.00 per entry, donate as much as you want for as many entries as you want. You may donate for example $15.00, that will be considered as 3 entries. Deadline for entries is midnight August 14th and drawing at 7:00 PM CST.

With the COVID-19 virus our donations have went to almost zilch, regardless animals still need cared for. Normally Donations from the public is about 35% of our operating budget, small businesses around 32% and the remaining 33% from our members.

We could use your help! Hay for the winter this year for 5 1200lb round bales ($200.00), square bales of straw used as bedding around 40 bales at $5.00 each ($200.00) Sweet Feed, Cracked corn, Chicken/Duck/Turkey feed $400.00. Please help. Send donations to via PayPal using your PayPal account and as we are a registered business you can donate via credit or debit cards using our E-Mail metroeastfarms@gmail.com We do appreciate your support. Drawing event starts when this in posted.

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NEW BABY TO COME TO METRO EAST FARMS

Metro East Farms has acquired a new doe goat. She was born April 25, 2020 on the Mriscin Ranch located in New Douglas, IL. Her father is a pure Boer and her mother is a Nubian. She will be weaned in mid-August and we will then bring her to the farm for Quarantine then integrate her into the herd.

She will be entered the USDA Scrapie’s Eradication program so that she can be traced back to the breeder or farm where she came from. She will be part of the therapy animals we take to the Nursing Homes and Physically and or mentally challenged children’s birthday parties.

She is available to be sponsored by someone, for a donation of $100.00 or more you will get to give her a permanent name, a certificate with your name, Platinum level membership and picture of her and have your name put on the https://metroesatfarms.com as a Platinum Member. Just contact us at metroeastfarms@gmail.com

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Laying Chickens 🐔

Many hens lay their first egg around 18 weeks of age and then lay up to an egg each day, subject to breed, environment and individual bird. At 18 weeks, switch to a complete chicken layer feed to provide the added calcium laying hens need to produce an egg each day.

If raising a backyard flock was a treasure hunt, the ultimate prize would be a hen’s first egg. You started your chicks strong, moved them to the chicken coop and enjoyed their antics as they explored the backyard. Now you might be feeling a bit of egg-ticipation and wondering when do chickens lay eggs? The first egg often arrives when hens are 18 weeks old, subject to breed, environment and nutrition.

A rooster is not necessary for egg production unless you want to have fertilized eggs for hatching. When pullets are nearing their first lay, their behavior changes. They may spend more time with the rooster, crouch for breeding or investigate the nesting area. At this time, keep hens in the coop for short periods of time. Place golf balls or decoy eggs in the nesting boxes to help hens understand the use of the nesting boxes.

The first few eggs a hen lays may be irregular – possibly small in size, with soft shells, no yolks or double yolks – but, after a week or so, egg production should become more consistent, with peak performance at about 30 weeks of age and egg goals changing each year. To help hens lay strong and stay strong, keep the following #FlockStrong tips in mind.

Prepare chicken nesting boxes in the chicken coop. Create several comfortable, clean and cozy chicken nesting boxes. We built the nesting boxes into the coops we are working on modifying the nesting boxes with outdoor access for egg collection. We keep the boxes closed until the hens are 16 weeks old and then open-access after that. A general rule for nesting box size is one 1-foot square nesting box for every four laying hens. The flock will take turns using the boxes.

Line each nest box with a thick layer of straw, pine shavings or other bedding to cushion the eggs. Keep the nesting boxes up off the floor in the darkest corner of the coop with privacy to the hen. Each nest area should have a uniform environment. After a hen lays her first egg, it’s her tendency to lay in the same spot moving forward. If the hens decide one nest is preferable to the others, they may all try to use that nesting box, causing themselves stress, which can lead to egg breakage or egg eating.

Sometimes hens all use the same nesting box even though they are all uniform. As long as the birds aren’t fighting or harming each other, this is probably not a big issue. If you are concerned about it, consider blocking access to the preferred nest box and guiding the hens to use one of the other available boxes. Once the hens have decided the other nest boxes work just as well, allow them access to the original nest box.

Consider chicken coop light.

Age is the first indicator of first lay, but daylight hours are also critical. An increase in day length is key driver to encouraging hens to lay eggs. To do their best work, laying hens prefer at least 16 hours of light and 8 hours of dark.

If your hen reaches 18 weeks of age during the fall or winter when daylight hours are getting shorter, then consider adding supplemental light to the coop. It only takes about 25-watts of incandescent light per 100 square feet to encourage hens to lay eggs. You can also use an equivalent wattage fluorescent or LED light for your flock. Without supplemental light, young hens may wait until days get longer in the spring to lay their first egg.

Complete layer feed. If hens are not laying at week 18, you can still transition from a chick starter feed to a layer feed. This change may even jumpstart egg production. The earliest you should transition to a layer feed would be around 16 weeks of age. Do this if you are combining a flock of new hens with an older flock in the same coop.

Congratulations on your first egg! Shell-ebrate with a first egg happy dance. Ready to see the difference a complete feed can make in your flock? Sign-up for the Feed Greatness® Ch

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BOURBON RED TURKEYS ON METRO EAST FARMS SOON

Metro East Farms on May 9th we made an order with Cackle Hatchery®. We wanted something different than most others and we also wanted turkeys that could mate naturally which some breeds have to be bred artificially, so we decided that heritage turkeys were the way to go and we chose the Bourbon Red Turkey.

The Bourbon Red Turkey is a rare breed of the heritage turkey and was admitted into the American Standard of Perfection in 1909. Developed in Pennsylvania and taken to Kentucky with the long rifle, this breed later was given the name Bourbon Red from its popularity from Bourbon County, Kentucky. The Bourbon Red turkey is another of the turkeys with a beautiful color pattern and makes a good farm and backyard turkey.

Since Metro East Farms began incubating eggs we have been successful in chickens and ducks, we will attempt to incubate turkey eggs. We are going to try and get eggs year-round by providing lighting and heat on timers to provoke egg laying such as we were able to do with our ducks. We had duck eggs all winter including the coldest month January and February 2020

Our objective is to grow the Bourbon Turkey Flock and then start breeding Bronze Heritage Standard turkeys. Right now our ducks are able to cross breed but that will be changing in 2021, where we will be segregating the different breeds so that we can sell them as the breed than not getting as much for a mix breed duck.

Our turkeys hatch and ship date is June 20th and have to pick them up at the post office early in the morning they tell me they will arrive.

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FIXING FENCE LINES – GOATS

They say if it doesn’t hold water, it wont hold a goat, and that is pretty much true. When I put up my fence around 1/8 of a acre the land goes up and down with the terrain. We had problems at first with our buck walking up the fence and managing to get over so we put 2 strands of barbed wire across the top and that solved that problem. In quite a few spots there were gaps under the fence and the earth, so it took about a month for a couple of goats including our buck who escaped every time we turned our back. And after watching we seen how they were getting out.

We purchased 50, 12 inch stakes with a hook at the top. We would find a spot, then angled the steak (45 degrees) outside the fence with the hook facing down so it catches the bottom wire. Start hammering the stake in and before the hook of the stake gets to the ground, position the wire so that when you finish hammering the hook pulls the bottom wire into the ground. In the last few days since installing them around the entire containment we have had no escapes.

Get on Amazon.com and search 50 bulk stakes, we gave $38.00 for 50 stakes, thats a really good deal since we priced rebar we planed to cut and bend a hook, that was almost twice than what we purchased these for.

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