Monday, April 28, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
My next project will require some design, to use the heritage poultry designs I acquired last year in a setting or sampler of some kind. Sometimes I'm in the mood for something complicated and other times repetitious projects suit me fine.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Family Farmers get signed up over their opposition
April 7, 2008
Livestock producers who sign up for marketing programs such as Process Verified, Certified Organic and Non-Hormone Treated Cattle may find themselves automatically registered in the National Animal Identification System.
The USDA's Agricultural Marketing System's Business Plan, http://tinyurl.com/3y29xg, officially released last week, circumvents the opposition to NAIS, mostly from family farmers and small specialty producers, who participate in the AMS programs.
Promoted to the general public as protecting public health, NAIS imposes heavy burdens on small producers, despite their compliance with accepted health and safety standards. Family farms produce proportionately more and safer food than factory farms. Some have already abandoned their operations in states that are enforcing premises registration, animal identification and traceback requirements. Family farmers and small producers offer a healthy, safe and humane alternative to food from factory farms.
Although the program is described as 'voluntary at the federal level,' rules and regulations requiring registration and animal identification for program participation and commercial sales effectively make NAIS mandatory.
"Once NAIS is tied to an AMS-controlled program, small artisan producers will be forced into NAIS in order to use even simple marketing claims such as 'naturally raised'," said Mary Zanoni, founder of Farm for Life, an organization supporting sustainable agricultural operations.
Many family farmers have resisted registering their farms with the government due to the heavy-handed nature of the NAIS program. The USDA claims NAIS is needed to trace disease outbreaks in livestock animals, but its own veterinarians have conceded that, the overwhelming majority of livestock can be traced through existing programs. Opponents point out that NAIS does not address prevention or treatment of animal disease.
Rhonda Perry, a Missouri livestock and grain farmer and member of the National Family Farm Coalition, http://www.nffc.net/, said, "It is truly disturbing that USDA would be promoting NAIS thru the check-off system, which has for years been taking our money and promoting industrial livestock operations at the expense of family farmers. The factory farms under NAIS would be permitted to identify entire herds with a single number, while small producers would be required to tag every animal. This is yet another example of how the check-off system is an undemocratic abuse of our money."
Mark Kastel of Cornucopia Institute, http://www.cornucopia.org/, said, "It is outrageous for USDA to use the National Organic Standards Program to coerce farmers into the NAIS program. There are grave concerns that USDA will eventually force dairy and other livestock farmers to sign up for this expensive and intrusive program if they want organic certification. Since organic certification already requires a complete audit trail on all animals, bullying organic producers into NAIS is onerous and unjustified."
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
The neighbors, who live on their property across the street only part-time, object so strongly to the guineafowl that they have threatened to shoot them. They have run over several with their car.
The birds stay close to home most of the time, but when the neighbors arrive, they stray across the road to visit. Guineas are naturally curious and retain much of their wild nature.
I suggested that she build a roomy chicken tractor for them, with perches, to allow them some of the freedom of behavior that they crave while keeping them away from the neighbors and out of harm's way.
These neighbors have hardened their hearts against these lovely and amusing birds. All suggestions are welcome.
Read more about Guineafowl at http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/Guineas/BRKGuineas.html.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Thursday, April 10, 2008
This document is the single most important publication SPPA produces. Because historic breeds are rare, it can be difficult to find stock. The Breeders Directory is the only place where historic poultry breeders' information is collected.
It provides a route to making those crucial connections to finding new birds. Getting in touch with other breeders also opens doors to exchanging information about the experiences you are having with hatching and husbandry.
The form for information is included in this month's SPPA Bulletin. If you are not a member, contact me to join and get your information included. You will also receive the new directory when it is published in September.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Saturday, April 5, 2008
One man bought 20 pullets that will live in the sturdy chicken tractor he brought along on the back of his truck. He manages a vineyard and plans to use the chickens between the rows of grapevines. Future reports on his progress will be posted here.
Not all bought, but all enjoyed the birds and talking about their birds, past and present. One mentioned that he has two Araucana roosters he'd like to find homes for. Any takers? Contact me and I'll put you in touch.
Friday, April 4, 2008
Poultry breeders are often far-flung in rural areas, so Internet groups are a useful way to make contact. Thank you, Bryan.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
Chicken Run's Web site offers solid general information about keeping chickens, including basic information for those new to keeping chickens. It's a private organization that receives no financial support. The annual photo contest is under way, to select photos that will be printed in its fund-raising calendar. To view the entries and vote on your favorite photos visit the Chicken Run Rescue Photo Contest site at:http://www.brittonclouse.com/chickenrunrescue/photos08/. Some of this year's calendars are still left, $25 each.
Mary Britton Clouse, Chicken Run's founder, is an artist. Digital prints of her work are available at http://www.mnartists.org/Mary_Britton_Clouse. She also sells notecards of chicken art, $15 per set. I have ordered some and will post a sample when they arrive.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
An SPPA member contacted me to locate White and Black Rose Comb Minorcas to add to his flocks of old European breeds, including White Dorkings, White and Mottled Houdans and La Fleche. He is acquiring Rose Comb Anconas, Crevecoeurs, and additional White Dorking stock this season.
He sells eggs and poultry at the local farmers' markets and has begun taking orders for dressed poultry. He expects the large Minorca eggs to sell well.
Because he lives in New Hampshire, the large combs of the Single Comb variety are not suited to the climate. They would freeze. Frozen combs never grow back and the ordeal is very painful for the birds. The Rose Comb, illustrated here from the APA Standard of Perfection, http://www.amerpoultryassn.com/, and other small combs, such as the Pea Comb, Cushion Comb and Strawberry Comb make better choices for birds living in cold climates.
Although no breeders of this rare variety were listed in the SPPA Breeders Directory, one breeder had reported his birds to SPPA First Vice President Monte Bowen when he conducted the Poultry Census. Monte was able to locate the paperwork and put these two breeders in contact.
Locating stock of these historic breeds is very difficult. Breed clubs help. One of SPPA's most important roles is to be a network of communication for poultry breeders and others who support historic poultry breed conservation. The next edition of the Breeders Directory is currently being compiled. Join SPPA now to be included in the listings. It will be available in September.