Saturday, July 21, 2012

No More Chickens 2012

This one falls under the "announcements and explanations" category.

For the last several years, we have raised two flocks of approximately 200 broilers (meat chickens).  One typically starts in the Spring and the other in the Summer (right  We have been honored by the good customers and the positive comments these birds have brought our way.

Unfortunately, we will not be raising the second batch of birds this year.  We have informed the hatchery and canceled our order.  What this means for you is that there are no more chickens available from us for the season.  We *WILL* have ducks and turkeys.  They are already on the farm and we will do what we can to raise them well.  We will also continue to have egg laying chickens.  Assuming that people want us to continue with chickens, we anticipate that we will start them again next Spring and we will plan on a second batch next year as well.

And now for the fun part - Why are we doing this?

We have been informed by our supplier of organic feed (Frantzen Farms near New Hampton) that he is looking at what could be a complete crop failure for his corn due to the dry weather.  Unfortunately, the last dose of rain in NE Iowa skipped him completely.  Corn is a significant part of the base for the feed he mixes for us.  Thus, he will have to locate other corn sources at prices that are potentially very high in order to mix our feed if this prediction for his yields hold true.  Tom tells us that he has never seen this - he even had a reasonable yield in 1988 - which makes all this even more extraordinary.

We will continue to buy feed from the Frantzens for the ducks and turkeys until they are 'taken to the park.'  And, of course, we'll also buy feed for the layers.  We're already 'on the hook' for these birds and need to see the process through.  But, it makes no sense to go out and add another 200 hungry beaks for the next 2.5 months.  This is especially true when you consider how much water they need, how much more carefully we need to consider shelter needs with all of the heat and sun and the fact that our pastures have very little forage remaining in them.  Putting more birds out there now could reduce our long term success for a short term um... break even at best.

A positive spin on this is that we will be able to accomplish some other things now that the time that would normally be sunk into these birds will be freed up.  We never fully appreciate exactly how much energy and time are required by these birds until after they are all sold and delivered.

And finally - what can you do - if anything?

Please remember us next season when we raise chickens again - we'd like you back as customers.  As a matter of fact, we'd like to provide you with duck and turkey this Fall.  If you wish to reserve ducks or turkeys, feel free to send us an email to that effect.  Make sure you have duck or turkey in the subject line so it can easily be sorted and filed for quick reference.

Thank you for your understanding - and we apologize that we will be unable to provide you with more chicken this year.

Rob & Tammy

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