Posted 25 January 2017 - 05:56 PM
Anything in particular? I am no expert in poultry, although I have dabbled. I have a lifetime of experience with cattle , hay crops, and some grains. I may not have the answers, but I might be able to point you in a direction where answers can be found.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:05 PM
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:17 PM
I had the fortune (or misfortune ) to have been born into it. Having already learned all I needed to know about the animal science and crop management end of the business, I went to my state's university to study agricultural engineering , and learned a lot that made me a better farmer. If you intend to work with livestock in any way, I highly recommend getting some hands-on experience before investing any money in college. Experience can be an excellent teacher, and it can reaffirm your interests or discourage them.
There are still some good animal science and agriculture programs at many state universities in the U.S. , if that is where you happen to be.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:20 PM
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:28 PM
Best of luck to you! I know there is a lot going on in poultry with the cage - free movement. I find it interesting because people act like it is a new thing, but actually it is more of a return to the way they handled poultry 50 + years ago. There is a housing development about 2 miles from the farm that was built in the mid 1970's, and a neighbor was telling me recently that he remembers when the hillside there was filled with a bunch of small chicken coops. I only have vague memories of my parents buying eggs there and fairly regularly getting eggs with double yolks.
We kept chickens off and on over the years in a small coop we threw together with recycled lumber. The trouble with free-range chickens is that the foxes, weasels and hawks like them too.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:35 PM
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:45 PM
Raccoons are everywhere, and they left the chickens alone, but helped themselves to the eggs and grain, and the skunks, did too, sometimes even sleeping right in the nesting boxes! One time a fox cleaned us out by showing up in the daytime. I once saw him chasing chickens and ran to get the riffle, but on my way to the riffle, I crossed his escape route and saw him with 2 chickens in his mouth! He dropped one live but dazed chicken and darted away with the other one.
I live in Maine, and I never actually saw a live possum until about 3 years ago. Must be climate change.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:47 PM
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:51 PM
We had one rooster with our chickens, and we think he alerted the foxes to their presence because he never shut up until after dark! Weasels are the worst because they don't need a very big hole to gain access to a coop.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 06:54 PM
Posted 25 January 2017 - 07:04 PM
For some historical perspective, there is an old black and white move titled "The Egg And I". I think it starred Fred MacMurray and Claudette Colbert I believe the movie was made in the 1940's . It was a comedy based on a book by the same name. That was near the beginning of what I call the cheap food movement, or the industrialization of agriculture.
If you choose agriculture as a profession, I warn you, it may be a good life, but it's a hard living.
Posted 25 January 2017 - 07:06 PM
Posted 26 January 2017 - 05:05 AM
I went into farming in a small way (250 sheep) in Wales, UK. I discovered all kinds of facts which I list here are generalizations:
1. Animal husbandry is not the only activity in sheep farming. Just as important was knowing how to grow the right grass. Feed them properly and they will look after themselves, especially when it comes to lambing time. Equally important is practical knowledge like arc welding, vehicle maintenance, plumbing, electricity, and so on.
2. The only farmers who could survive are those who had inherited large farms without debts. Those without capital who took out loans were always in a nightmare situation.
3. Most farmers treat their livestock appallingly. Part of this can be attributed to ignorance, partly a financial imperative to make a maximum profit.. I discovered that I was a very good shepherd, and I cared for my flock, but I was a failure as a farmer because I refused to compromise on animal welfare for financial gain. It is no good going into farming if you have a conscience.
4. Once you have a farm, there is practically no life outside of it. Even if you had the time and the energy, there is no money available to have a hobby.
5. If you are not born into it, the physical challenges are enormous. The older you get, the steeper the hills and the heavier the sheep.
6. I read a book which said that a shepherd is a man of few words and deep thoughts. I found that a shepherd is a man of few words and no thoughts at all.
7. It's the best way of life that I know of.
Posted 26 January 2017 - 05:07 AM
Posted 26 January 2017 - 05:34 AM
Thank you! I may have misrepresented my intentions here. I'm looking to speak to people who have gone through these programs in a university! I appreciate the tips though
Yes I knew that. The people I knew who had gone through this process generally fell into two categories. The first were those who had inherited a farm and could manage to survive without debts. The others were those with no capital and were compelled to get jobs with the ministry of agriculture. These jobs consist of paper-pushing in offices, or visiting farms and checking up on farmers doing things illegally. That job needs strong waterproof boots and a thick skin. They generally feel great resentment towards farmers doing the job badly, when they could do it much better but lack the resources.