Hello, Hello! It’s been far too long since I’ve updated our blog, I just can’t believe how fast time slips away from me. It was a super exciting year in 2013, filled will up’s and down’s and many new things for the farm. I’ve put together a list of 13 things in 2013 (in no particular order) to update you and hopefully do a better job in 2014 of keeping our farm happenings more updated!
- Many of you may be familiar with our Bronze Progressive Pied project but what I bet you did not know is we also have a BLUE Progressive Pied peacock (he is also split to the colors Bronze and Purple). We were fortunate to acquire him courtesy of one of our peafowl chums who knew we were working on this potential new pattern. We were very successful in hatching from this pen and have seen some extremely promising results! Stay tuned for more information this year! If all progresses as planned we hope (fingers crossed) to be able to offer birds from these pens in 2015.
- We had left off our last post shortly before we attended the Spring exotic auction in Mt. Hope, Ohio. We often find at least one beauty we must take back with us and this year was no different! I set my eyes on an absolutely gorgeous Bronze White Eyed boy and knew I had to have him! You might have guessed but Bronze is my favorite color of peafowl and I’m a sucker for anything with white in it. I just can’t get enough of the color/white contrast. 😀 He came with a very steep price tag as there were several other bidders but in the end hubby prevailed and he was packed in the trailer along with a few other lovely hens including a Bronze Pied girl for him.
- Just before the spring auction we made a decision to host the 2013 United Peafowl Association annual convention. This was an enormous undertaking for hubby and I, taking up all the spring and summer free time we could squeeze in. We had never pulled off a farm visit quite this large and were very nervous about how things would go. This decision and the huge amount of work we would need to complete meant I had to put other things on hold, our blog for one.
- One of the big tasks we had decided to accomplish in 2013, even before the convention host decision, was to bring in gravel and sand to all the breeder pens. We’ve had some drainage issues in the past and over the years the grass had been worn down so the time was ideal to add some better drainage. Over the course of a few weekends, hubby, my brother and I (with a little help from our neighbor) shoveled in 18 TONS of gravel and 9 TONS of sand to all 8 breeding pens. It was a massive undertaking as we could not have the delivery trucks bring the loads to the pens (thanks to our leech bed) but had to wheelbarrow it back, little by little. It was brutal to say the least but we could not be more happy with the results and I know the birds appreciate it too!
- During one of our early spring discussions, hubby challenged me to hatch 100 peachicks this year. I felt this was a very ambitious challenge as we normally only hatch about 1/3 of that, selling most of the eggs. We knew we had committed to a few large sales/swaps and had several preorders so we decided to do more hatching. I must say I was quite surprised when we headed into June with over 60 chicks hatched!
In the end we hatched a total of 139 chicks, far surpassing our 100 chick goal. We haven’t yet set our 2014 goal but I don’t think we’ll shoot for that many again, although once we start discussing numbers for each pen that may change. 😉
- Hatching out so many peachicks meant we had an increased chance genetically to hatch out some varieties that although many of our customers have hatched, we never have. I was very excited to finally hatch an Opal Silver Pied, Peach Pied and Peach Silver Pied after hatching from these pens for three years and not getting one. Of course all the Bronze White Eyed chicks we hatched were a new variety and fun to hatch, as well as the amazing chicks from the new Blue Progressive Pied pen!
- Although we focus more on peafowl, we do love our chickens and decided to look to make some changes for 2014. After much discussion we decided to sell our pen of Bantam Russian Orloff. We have had this pen for several years and are very proud to have taken best of breed and reserve best at the Ohio Nationals poultry show since 2010 but with the limited amount of others breeding them it became increasingly difficult to find other stock to keep our birds genetically diverse. It was a difficult decision but one we had to make. The good news with this decision is it meant we could add a NEW breed of chickens to our offerings! There are so many choices out there, it was a really tough decision! In the end we decided to add Tolbunt and Gold Laced Polish. We hatched a beautiful group in early July but ended up selling them when an unexpected opportunity to acquire a trio of Taupe peafowl came up. I have been drooling over Taupe peafowl for three years and the temptation was just too much, I reluctantly sold the Polish as this was hubby’s condition for getting the Taupe’s. In the end, after having sold all the Polish, the Taupe deal fell through. 🙁 Terribly upset but not deterred I set to rebuild a pen of Tolbunt and Gold Laced Polish. I was able to acquire an absolutely STUNNING frizzle rooster who is Gold Laced but 75% Tolbunt and a slew of excellent hatching eggs in the fall and hopefully we will still meet our goal of offering hatching eggs in 2014, it will be later in the season than originally planned but hopefully it will all work out. We’ll keep you posted on how things are going and of course will let everyone know when we do have hatching eggs.
- One of our highlights of 2013 was the success of the UPA convention! With little outside help, hubby and I were able to pull it off without much of a hitch at all. We did change things up a little from the past by holding a bonfire the first evening and had the first ever video presenter who had a lively discussion about Java Green peafowl. Everyone seemed to have a lovely time and we were happy there were no major issues throughout the weekend. We even had the most lovely fall days with temperatures just comfortable enough to enjoy the beauty of our area in the fall.
- One of the last things we commit to each year is the Ohio National Poultry show held in Columbus, Ohio the second weekend of November.
We decided to switch things up this year and brought a pair of our Lavender Ameraucana to the show. Our rooster, who a friend lovingly named Louie, took Best of Breed while his lady friend took Reserve Best. We were very pleased to see this! We aren’t sure what we will bring next year to the show but we will be there again as it’s a great time to catch up with a lot of our ‘peeps’ as well.
- Due to the increased number of peachicks we hatched this year we needed to come up with more space to house them all. The most logical decision was to add two smaller coops to house the chickens we did keep in the barn and convert the barn to all peafowl. We found someone a bit south of us that did custom builds and we ordered two 8×8 pens with attached runs for the chickens. One pen would be used to house the Lavender Ameraucana, the other the Black Copper Marans and Olive Egger hens that live together. We are SO pleased with the pens and the birds seem to love them as well!
- With all the good, there has to be the balance of not so good. One of the hard things to do is decide when to throw in the towel. We came to the decision early in 2013 to sell off our small herd of goats. After many discussions we realized our hearts really were not in the goats anymore and felt the best decision was to sell the small herd. With the departure of the goats we would have not imminent need for our beloved Maremma LGD Juno and sadly, sold her with he herd to continue her work. Shortly after the goats left, we opted to gift our friends the pony Little Red and her shorter companion Bucking Bronco. This left us with what we call the bachelor pen of three boys, Ozzy, Starbuck and Goatie. The boys all get along well and it’s fun to watch them all play together.
- Back in 2012 I did a short interview for Living the Country Life Radio (listen here). In the spring we had a local wildlife photographer, Ian Adams (www.ianadamsphotography.com) request to come out to take photographs for an extended article from them. What a fantastic opportunity! In the end, he came out a few times and captured some gorgeous photos from all of our animals and even some cute pictures of everyone’s favorite mini peacock farmer, Andy. To read the interview and see the great pics click here. You can see a follow up, 9tips on keeping Peafowl too.
- On a more personal note, A HUGE congratulations to my wonderful hubby on his election as PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED PEAFOWL ASSOCIATION! I am so proud of him!! He has worked so hard as a board member over the last couple years and I am so excited to see what he has in store for the club.
Well, that’s my 2013 wrap up! OH, I’ve also decided to move our blog over to our website so stay tuned here for more farm updates in 2014!