Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Sky Rats

Now Pigeons or Sky Rats as I call them are a very overlooked enterprise in today's modern agricultural age. When one looks at the possible revenue streams they could add to their modern Homestead the lowly Pigeon may very well be a great source for income while not encumbering to much of one's time.

The time has come for the lowdown on my pigeon venture(s). The above pics are of my birds in my mighty loft. The top pic is of a couple of my fancy homers I can breed these and sell the offspring for about ten bucks each once they are weaned. This is a pretty decent return on your money especially if you can find a source for free grain and pigeons don't eat much. The second pic is of a group of barn pigeons I've captured while messing around my barn at night. The procedure is very simple, shine a light in their eyes and catch them with a fishing net. Put them in the loft and away we go. Then get in contact with your local dog trainers and sell them at three to four dollars each. I used to get real aggressive with it and would go out and catch them and would sell many many pigeons until I acquired pneumonia from the pigeon crap i was ingesting. That brings up my next point, always wear a dust mask because pneumonia is far from the worst thing you can get from these flying disease bags. Back to selling them, I always try to keep a few on hand and not stress my good hunting spots to hard. I like to visit them every once in a while and catch what I can and let the rest repopulate the hunting ground. This logic is different from my original approach of catch them all and go back later to get the last three. At this current time I probably have 15 pigeons living in my barn who aren't in my loft, several of which are setting on eggs. I try and catch their squabs (baby pigeons) when they are feathered and working on flying, they are easy to catch and can survive just fine until they are good flyers. Good Luck with the pigeons

Saturday, April 25, 2009


It has been a few days since I've posted and I do apologize. I've been busy busy lately, in the tractor for three days helping my old boss out. Branding and working calves for a couple other people then driving cattle to the desert today. To the dogs, we are breeders of fine Basset Hounds and Goldendoodles. We recently had a litter of Basset pups. This is the first litter we've had conceived via Artificial Insemination. I did it if you were wondering. The papa is Gus Gus and he has 78 champions in his 7 generation pedigree which is phenomenal. Eloise is my couch dog who is now busy with her litter of nine pups. Five tri colors and four mahogany pups make up the litter. Now the dog venture is one we have been in a long time and we are still getting used to all of the ups and downs of it. It is the most time consuming and one the more difficult to do well. If you have ever thought of breeding dogs I would suggest research research and money. Quality can vary so much in dogs and you just as well be breeding the good ones and doing a good job at it. I once envisioned a kennel operation that was much larger than I now see in the future because to do it right takes alot of resources and time. Enough about my views. I do love my Basset hounds, they are very fun to be around and my kids love to have puppies to play with. Socialization is built into these pups at a young age.

Next post, I've got alot to blog on so we'll see where we can go with it. Maybe the new incubator and the gamebird operation or the heifer that wasn't supposed to be bred that calved. Or the pigeon enterprise may come up.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Go Hog Go!

These are my hogs. They are a great set of hogs, I got them in February and they have been growing extremely well. The deal with these Hogs is that they aren't really my project as much as a cumulative project of five different parties one of which is myself. They are all except one owned by my friends who have no place for a Hog at their own place, so they all stay here. I am blogging about them because a swine enterprise can play an important role in an Agriprenuer's operation. They are efficient converters of surplus foods, crop aftermath, food supply byproducts and grains into quality pork. I see real potential in the burgeoning heritage markets. One could pick a breed, raise and sell breeding stock as well as produce higher quality pork than is readily available on the open market. This can all be done on a relatively small piece of ground. When I get to my new and bigger farm I would love to get a more indepth facilities in which I could move into the breeding arena and then I could really crank out the pork. My choice for breeds would at this time be either the Berkshire or the Hereford.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Nurse Cow Mania

For Those of you who have wondered about the picture on the blog header it is a pic I took when my daughter and I watched our nurse cow have a calf in the cottonwood trees in our north pasture. The calf is only a couple minutes old in the pic and still wet and slimy. That was a couple weeks ago and I should probably bring yall up to speed on the whole nurse cow program. Sara is the nurse cow, she is a milking Shorthorn cross I bought from my old boss who used her as a nurse cow. She has a terrible bag, I often wish I had a pasture in which I could keep her where nobody could see her. I am a little vain when it comes to udders. Sara's disposition isn't aggressive but she isn't what you would call pleasant either but she makes a lot of milk and with a little coaxing will take care of the calves I put on her, so she works. The calves in the above pictures are calves I bought off of a feedlot that is feeding slaughter cows and some of them up and calved. The exception is of course her natural calf which is the black brockle faced calf. I bought the other two a couple days after she calved and grafted them on, it has been about a two weeks now and things seem to be going smoothly. The two options I have to contemplate are to wean the calves in two months and bring in a new group or to leave these guys on and let them all grow huge on the vast quanities she produces. I'm leaning toward the second option. I would however really like to get another nurse cow or three. I will keep my eye out while in my travels for a likely canidate(s). Now the last question with which my mind has been wrestling is what to breed Sara to? I hate naming cows. I have been contemplating going back to a Milking Shorthorn with VERY strong udder traits but my mind has wandered over into the ABS Beef Catalog and I'm considering a Red Angus Bull. Maybe an Ayreshire wouldn't be a bad move? Well I'll leave yall with that to think on. I hope tomorrow I can get my Hog post done and bring you up to speed on the pig project.

Friday, April 17, 2009

My Chicken Venture

My Chicken venture started two years ago when in my travels I came across a chap who had some neglected Red Star Pullets for sale. They were good birds just needed to be fed more than weekly. I offered him $25 for the ten birds and he accepted I took the birds home and set them up in a couple of rabbit cages until they got old enough to wander the homestead without the protection of the cage. I then turned them loose and set back to enjoy the nice flock in the barnyard only ten birds doesn't really make a nice flock. I then realized I needed a lot more chickens. The next spring after having done much research and destroying several hatchery catalogs I was ready to order chicks. I ordered heavily on the Buff Orpington as they were to become my main breed (which they have done) I then ordered some Araucanas, Light Brahmas, Rhode Island Reds and a few Red Cornish Rock Crosses. I had calculated that with some careful feed acquisitions and plenty of green summer feed I could turn a decent profit off of egg sales. I later lined up two places that were willing to buy my eggs. Then my mind wandered... what if I could sell a chick for roughly the same amount I can get for a dozen eggs (1.50-2.00) I said "It would make more sense to sell chicks". I only had one problem, no incubator. I solved that problem by locating a used GQF 1202. One step closer to a full fledged hatchery I was. I now keep the incubator full of eggs. I have moved all of my Buff Orpington hens in the coop with my two best roos (four was to many). I use the eggs from the coop go for hatching and my loose bird flock provides enough for our use and for some sales as well. I plan to sell chicks until they won't sell any more than carry over those chicks to sell as started pullets in the spring. We'll see how that goes. I do have some chicks that were ordered from Mcmurray's. I will be getting some Speckled Sussex, Black Australorps, Silver laced Wyandottes and Delawares. I'm really excited about the Delawares in particular. So the future looks bright in the poultry business. In a later post i'll cover my Pigeons and my gamebird aspirations but i'll let my plans get a little firmer first.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Goats Have Arrived

Well we officially have Goats now. After two years of wanting a milk Goat my almost five year old is the proud part owner of two Pregnant Alpine Does. I say part owner because she did use all of her money as well as all of her sisters and then some of their Old Man's money to make the deal come through. The girls seem real happy with their decision. I'm not sure what to think but I do like the idea of having a family enterprise that the Girls can play a bigger role in.

Sticks for sale

I was out in my garden yesterday looking at all that needed to be done and stood there wondering what to do with my raspberry patch. I just received my order of yellow raspberry starts from someplace i ordered from. I tend to get a bad case of spring fever every February this year i had it in January and February and in a delirious and feverish condition I placed several orders with several different seed purveyors who eagerly try to win favor with me in my weakened condition. Back to the raspberries, I got to thinking about all of the cane i needed to cut out from last year and i thought about the good plants that have volunteered outside of their predetermined areas and what a waste it is to till them under. Then the idea came to see if I couldn't move a few of them on Craigslist. One day later I have had several responses and two or three different people coming to dig some up. The beauty of it is they come and do my work for me and pay me a dollar per cane and we both are happy about it. I feel a bit like Tom Sawyer. That reminds me my picket fence is in desperate need of a paint job.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Aquaculture Indoors

A few years back I was driving down the road and sighted a yard sale. I promptly swung around and toured the goods being offered that day, after a small amount of haggling I was on my way home with a 55 gallon aquarium and stand all of which was placed proudly in the front room of our small Pocatello home. My wife seemed to tolerate it fairly well, very well compared to the Hamster Ranch (but that is another story entirely). I had recently sold most of my beef cow herd and was needing something and i figured a fish herd could proxy for a cow herd. It seemed to work fairly well and gave me something to learn about. Now five years later I still have fish, many of Them in fact. I found that they fit very well into my diversified and intergrated business model. They provide a fertilizer rich water when the tanks are cleaned which is great for the garden. They also provide an ambiance that I really enjoy as well as fish which I can market and make a little scratch. I guess I better get into the fish and exactly what they are. Most people when someone raises fish on their farm in Idaho they assume Trout. That is not the case these are tropicals. I raise platys and Plecos and have raised Swordtails, Mollies, Guppies and Variatus. Know i'm about out of room and need to sell some fish or.... well here is my idea, I'm going to keep them in stock tanks on the place and let them proliferate and market a much larger group I hope in the fall. I haven't decided how gung ho i want to go because i have quite a few fish right now. I have played with this before. A few summers ago we were moving and had to wait for our new place to be completed. This created a dilema for our fish which was solved by puting the fish in stock tanks at my grandparents place. It worked wonderfully, the main thing to watch is that the tanks don't run out of water. I think i will run a larger scale test of the original beta this summer.

Girls and Goats

Spring is finally hitting here in the upper Snake River valley. The grass is finally starting to green up and so I've been busy around the place. Well for those of you who don't know me my name is Brian and I'm an Agripreneur. Today my girls finally got their milk goat, goats actually I couldn't allow them to get a goat when we could get two goats. We ended up with two purebred Alpine Goats that are due to kid here in the next month or so. They arrive here tomorrow so the mornings projects involve getting a pen ready for them. The girls are excited and went to pick them out with me, it was actually the third place we have looked at goats but we couldn't find what we were looking for. The girls went in and we discussed what to look for when evaluating an animal the problem was that I don't know much about goats but we looked at the feet and legs, udders and eyes as well as the general countenance of the animal. If they had been cattle i would have been a lot more comfortable.

One side note is that on the way to the goat encounter i made a contact that will result in some duck, hatching eggs. More about that later.