What’s Clucking

While our egg laying enterprise is separate from our CSA, we know that many of you enjoy hearing and seeing the activities.

Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza

With Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza affecting poultry farmers across Minnesota and the United States. We thought it would be appropriate to keep all of you informed.

This virus knows no limits affecting both small 4-H flocks to larger farms… affecting farms of all sizes. On the Banks of Squaw Creek does a great job of explaining precautions to take with Backyard Flocks, and how it affects them as poultry farmers. In fact, scientists and veterinarians are working feverishly to understand this virus, and how they can protect our poultry flocks. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health announced in May that all bird exhibitions at county fairs, the State Fair, and other gatherings of birds were canceled for the remainder of 2015.

It’s important to know that this is NOT a food safety risk – read more from the Minnesota Turkey Growers Association. Also this is not a human health issue. It is an avian (bird) virus. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health has information on the virus.

In addition, on our way home from South Dakota where we were staying by a primary migratory bird area (believed to be a mode of distribution of the virus) and drove past an infected HPAI farm…we stopped at the car wash and washed our truck thoroughly, and I sprayed Lysol and bleach on everything upon our return home. This as a precautionary measure to disinfect and kill any HPAI virus we may have come in contact with.

These are safety precautions that we know are important to the health of our flock. While our flock is small in comparison, our investment of time, effort and the care we have for them is still important to us. We lost a flock a few years ago to a fire, and we will do what we can to protect the health and safety of this flock from Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza. Here is an interview of a farmer I have had the privilege to work with. I believe this will give you a perspective of the challenges they face. Please say a prayer for all of the families that have been affected.

Chick(en) Update

On February 28, we received an email from McMurray Hatchery that our chicks that were to be both our 4-H chickens (Lakenvelders) and our replacement layer hens (Black Stars) had been shipped. At 6:30 a.m. we received a call from the local Post Office saying they were in. The excitement was like Christmas at our house

On February 28, we received an email from McMurray Hatchery that our chicks that were to be both our 4-H chickens (Lakenvelders) and our replacement layer hens (Black Stars) had been shipped. At 6:30 a.m. we received a call from the local post office saying they had arrived. The excitement was like Christmas at our house.

The Black Stars are now 11 weeks old.

The Black Stars are now 11 weeks old.

Lakenvelders are as well. Very pretty colors on both birds.

The Lakenvelders are as well. Both breeds of chickens have very pretty patterned colors in their feathers.

Next the boys selected which hens and which roosters should mate in order to get fertilized eggs to hatch in their classrooms.

Next the boys selected which hens and which roosters should mate in order to get fertilized eggs to hatch in their classrooms.

This is one of our roosters a Barred Rock.

This is one of our roosters a Barred Rock.

The fertilized eggs were placed into incubators in the boys classrooms for 21 days where they monitored the temperature and humidity. After that period of time, each had 7 hatch in their classrooms. The lessons learned by the students are always fun and amazing to see.

The fertilized eggs were placed into incubators in the boys classrooms for 21 days where they monitored the temperature and humidity. This is a much more encompassing process.  After that period of time, each had 7 chicks hatch in their classrooms. The lessons learned by the students are always fun and amazing to see.

The chicks are now3 weeks old and are growing like crazy.

The chicks are now 3 weeks old and are growing like crazy.

Another part of managing a healthy flock is examining the birds the birds for their productivity (egg laying). The hens that were getting to old and not laying were processed and then donated to the local food shelves. The boys feel good that the hens are helping families in need. As parents we feel it is important to help them to understand the circle of life and the importance of giving back.

Another part of managing a healthy flock is examining the birds for their productivity (egg laying ability). The hens that were getting to old and not laying were processed and then donated to the local food shelves. The boys feel good that the hens are helping families in need. As parents we feel it is important to help them to understand the circle of life and the importance of giving back.

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