Tuesday, March 31, 2009

More Quail Eggs Went to a New Home Today

I would like to be able to blame the economy on my reluctance to expand my quail business, but I can't lay the blame there. You see, I really want to provide the best product that can be produced by anyone. I'm sure my adult birds are outstanding products, because a customer can see them and knows exactly what he/she is buying. However, by focusing strictly on the grown birds, I am not reaching a broad enough customer range.

Money is tight these days for the American public in general, and I would offer a guess, that those interested in the same things as Rich Heritage, expect the utmost value for their dollar. So, I limit my businesses potential by not selling hatching eggs or shipping day old chicks. Our first order of day old chickens from a hatchery included a club footed chick. My wife brought her into the house in her own little brooder, named her Patty and nursed her along for a couple weeks, but the little chick still didn't make it. Our first order of ducklings had a spraddle legged duckling in the bunch which didn't make it. I've sorted groups of 80 plus quail chicks and understand how things can be missed, but if it is a beginners first time ordering, will they understand?

My one and only order of eggs came from Missouri and my hatch rate was awful. I did everything just like the guy I ordered them from told me to do. The eggs were viable, we were excited , but alas only one duckling hatched, two died after pipping out of 12 eggs. One bourbon red poult hatched with them out of six eggs. The little duckling drown the poult in the brooder the first day. (I should have known)

We've lost chickens and ducks that were healthy the day before and dead the next. Nature is the ultimate equalizer and no person can compete against her. I was lucky enough to have grown up with livestock and have suffered the loses and know that sometimes things just weren't intended to be. It would have been real easy to quit after these setbacks and blame the suppliers. Thankfully we persevered through those first trials and have what I imagine/hope will be a lifetime of joy with all our birds.

The learning curve swings and some are definitely better than others and some just are lucky. We have been extremely lucky with our quail. We have really had only one bad hatch and it was due to a humidity problem during a very cold dry spell last winter. By that hatch, we had some successful hatches already and were able to diagnose the problem. I will not set eggs in the same conditions again, but at that time I just didn't know any better.

In case I haven't bored you to tears yet, I'll get to the post I intended today.

A really great gentleman came here today from a couple hours away and picked up 120 A&M eggs. He wants to teach his grandson there is more to life than video games. (I think all kids including my own need that lesson) They are going to get chickens and garden as well this summer, and I wish them the best times of their lives. We had a great visit and I think he was impressed with the Texas A&M quail. He will be able to buy the same feed I use so his results should be similar in the finished bird. He could not get over how friendly my birds were and the size of the eggs. I hope this is a good start to lifelong love for his grandson. Oh and what the top of the post had to do with this "I hope they hatch"!

Y'all Come Back!


TheMartianChick said...

Whoo-hoo! Congrats on the egg sale, Brad!

My family also learned about livestock through trial and error when I was a kid. When we got our first ducks and chickens, many were carted away by hawks and raccoons. We had baby chicks get flattened in odd corners in the nest and since we never used a heat lamp (my parents were terrified of fire!), you can imagine the number of chick losses we had due to chills.

Despite all of our mistakes, we did learn a lot about caring for animals. Things like spraddle leg and curled toes happen in nature. I think that it is important for kids to learn that the force of nature always prevails and that sometimes the outcome is not always to our liking.

You aren't selling widgets...They are living creatures. People will just have to understand that. As long as people sense that you are sincere in your endeavors and earnest in your efforts to provide good service, people will appreciate the quality product that you provide.

Brad said...

Thanks MartianChick,
Once again, you have encouraged me.