Shipping is in Full Swing

Its been a rather exciting time at the farm recently. Following on from 2017 we made the decision to start shipping a small number of hatching eggs to 'test the waters' and see how things go. That has largely been a success, with only 1 damaged shipment so far. 

That damage did lead to us changing how we packed our eggs and with thanks to another poultry keeper we are now using 'pouches' that have been sourced through an online retailer. These have been received with a 100% success rate so far. They have meant that we had to limit our number of 'extras' as the pouches take up more room, but we work on the theory or quality over quantity when it comes to breeding success.

The office has been working well since it was finished in January of this year, although as you can see we could probably do with some more space....

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This rather large pile of boxes is currently blocking my view of the TV and Netflix that we put out here, purely for 'background noise' purposes of course.....

One of the many things that has improved with time is the legally required VS9-3 NPIP paperwork and as you can see from below we have been printing these ahead of time as well as emailing them off to customers, usually the same day that the order is received.

We have also started sending out a small survey/feedback form to customers who order from us, usually around 3 weeks after the order was sent.

Hopefully these start coming back in soon, that way we can keep our reviews page up to date with all the feedback, good or bad, on this page. When shipping hatching eggs many things can happen over the course of one shipment but we are hoping that this feedback form allows us to eradicate any reoccurring problems as time progresses.

 

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VS9-3 and Feedback forms all ready to go out in the mail.

Incubator room Situation

In other regular programming we quite often get asked what incubators we use, what hatchers and what our setup is like. So I thought I would take a quick time out to talk about it here... 

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We store all our eggs in automatic turners for up to 7-10 days so that we are incubating on a regular rotation. Our eggs are stored depending on which pen they came from so that we can keep full records. Jonathan got fed up of hand turning them each day so we invested in enough automatic turners to save a lot of time.

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We only use cabinet incubators. Generally we use the Dickey incubators and have had no issue with them. They are extremely cost effective at around $600 each in comparison to the Brinsea.

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GQF is the brand of hatcher that we use. We have four of these set up. Each hatcher is only specified for use with certain pens of birds - therefore we never have to worry about mixing different colors that hatch very similar.

Juvenile Day Out

When growing out our silkies, we always look to the birds safety and well being. That does mean our areas are all fully enclosed. While some prefer to free range - we just don't like it when predators come swooping down.

With this in mind we regularly get juveniles out of their areas and into a kiddy play pen. They enjoy getting out and about into different areas. Here we have some juvenile white fluffy butts out for the day :)

Mottled Silkie Progress

Thankfully we didn't lose all of our Mottled Silkies in 2017 and the project color is slowly taking shape here at Pixie's Poultry & Pigs LLC. We have been working heavily on both eye color and also feet color. 

Here is the latest of our chicks from stage 3 (F3) of our project working towards Mottled Silkies. Our original birds came from Aarron Hunsinger and we have added in some of our own line to help improve on them.

More pictures will come of our Mottled Silkie projects as we go through 2018.

 

Show travel in style

How do you travel to a poultry show? One of the most common questions we get is asking how do you safely take so many birds to and from a show so far away from home?

Well here is how we answer that... In 2017 we purchased a fully enclosed trailer, with AC and heat options added as well.

Within the trailer we have 40 bantam show cages, that can have food and water throughout the journey to and from the show. We also have chairs, storage areas and the option to take the dogs with us too! 

Trees & Trash

Farm days are always interesting. You never know what will happen or what disaster you will be walking in on each morning. Following on from Irma we thought we had lost all the trees we were going to... However this 'huge' tree was down blocking the pathway to the Llama's and Bees when arriving at the farm yesterday. 

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Thankfully being a small tree this one will be very easy to move out of the way. Its certainly a lot easier to hand than all the others.

 

Being a business the costs of dealing with trash in our area are much more expensive, sadly you have to have a larger dumpster and the cost of around $160 a month just isn't a good idea. With that in mind we choose to take our trash to the dump instead. Which is a much more entertaining idea and certainly more cost effective.

Depending on the time of year the view is rather amazing....

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Llama Drama

Recently at the farm we took on two Llamas. Both female. We have been working on them for a couple of weeks, with the news that one of them is pregnant and due soon.....

With this in mind Jonathan spent today sectioning off an area for them to be alone together at the farm. They were previously in with our herd of cows as well. So we have sectioned them into a nice quiet are for them at the farm.

New Honey Jars

With 2018 being a new year, new start and very much some new beginnings we decided that why not have some new honey jars!!!

Our honey comes in 12oz jars, bottled, labeled and complete with its very own bow and bee charm and can be purchased for $8 each locally.

We are currently investigating some different ribbons and charms to set up 3/4 different 'designs' - would you collect them all?

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Who truly is the Queen Bee?

So in 2017 we embarked on a new project. Jonathan has always wanted bees and Courtney didn't object so... we got bees! Starting off with just the one hive it was exciting to watch the activity at different times of the year. While it hadn't been a full year we took the decision to harvest from the hives to get some 'instant' reward.

It was an extremely rewarding experience. Nature can be such a weird and wonderful concept. When you work with animals so many things can go wrong, so many untold and unknown issues can clog up any and all hard work. 

With that being said, the rewards when it goes right are exceptional and make the upset, tears and handwork totally worth it!

Hurricane Irma

The build up to Hurricane Irma back in September 2017 was one of very mixed emotions. The path of the storm kept changing and after going from completely safe for us the path changed when it was too late for us to evacuate all the animals from the farm. So there we were moving as many chickens as possible into our home. Tough decisions had to be made and we ended up with a little over 500 birds moved to safety inside the house. 

After the storm had passed it took two days to have any power, and then when we tried to get back to the farm we were prevented from doing so by the police due to safety concerns. Once we finally got back onto the farm things were starting to look good. Just a couple of downed trees at the top of the farm. 

The walk down the farm was looking good until we turned the corner and saw what used to be around 30 areas of birds with multiple trees down destroying the area, all buildings, fencing, roofing and more. We found numerous birds busy obtaining lunch for themselves. 

When all was said and done we had lost some 100% of the complete blood lines for some of our Ameraucanas and Silkies. We also lost many juveniles, chicks and everything that was in our cabinet incubators and hatchers. The generators only lasted so long and with the farm being at the end of a road, it was some 13 days before we had power again. Despite the energy company promising it to happen much sooner.

2018 is going to be a huge rebuilding year and with that in mind we will be selling much less than usual. We have already sold out of Silkie hatching eggs for the start of 2018. We are hoping that as the year progresses we will be able to release more eggs, chicks and juveniles.

How to deal with an Egg Eater

Have you ever wondered why eggs are disappearing from your coop? Only to realize you have one of your silkies eating the eggs... Usually it has been a pullet or young hen - but essentially almost any chicken can take on the nasty habit.

Breaking that habit is the problem. We have had that problem and tried everything. We have tried plastic egg, rubber egg, mustard, watching the pen 24/7 to catch the egg as it lands... 

We always thought a roll away egg tray/coop as used in commercial facilities would be a great idea but couldn't find the right one to work with Silkies, then it dawned on us....

Jonathan was trawling the internet and came across a quail coop that does exactly that.With automatic waterers, a feed tray and the ability to keep the silkie clean at all times it was a great way to resolve the issue. Once the egg is laid, it rolls away out of reach.

Trying this with our very own 'egg eater' it took 4 days for her not to chase the egg, once this occurred we added oyster shell to her feed in a 50/50 mix. Waited 3 more days and a total of 6 laid eggs. We then returned her to the flock. After adding extra oyster shell to the feed, a separate purely oyster shell area is always available, the habit was finally broken!!!!!

Having your very own egg eater problem with a silkie? You can purchase your own quail coop here.

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Spring time is on the way!

Following on from Hurricane Irma in September 2017 we have had a long road back to where we are today. One of the main countdowns has been regarding when we can actually start rebuilding our stock levels. For that we need eggs, chicks and adults. With many adult birds already sold out prior to our recovery operation we will be focusing our efforts on working with eggs and chicks in 2018. 

We will be looking at purchasing from some of the top breeders so that e can establish a method of recovery to get back to the position we was in prior to the storm.

We are excited to share some of the eggs collected a few days ago. The color on our Ameraucanas has been something we have spent time working with, and continue to do so. We currently breed Black and Silver of approved colors. Chocolate and Mottled are colors we will be working on through 2017 with the hope to be able to release them later this year.

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Worried about your shipment? Not with new look tracking!

With thanks to the USPS tracking system and our own website we are now offering one of the most up to date visual methods of tracking your eggs, chicks or birds as they make their way to you. From here in Brooksville, FL to your door, you will be able to visually watch your parcel move across the USA. 

We send out an email with your tracking number, that allows you to track your shipment all the time the parcel is in USPS's hands. 

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New Look Clothing for Pixie's Poultry

One of the main things we have been trying to work on over the winter time has been our branding. Coming up with a distinct look that stands out at shows, fairs, and even online. We chose to go back to basics and purely look at using black and white with our products. Over the coming months we will be working hard to ensure our customer service stands out above the rest. 

Some of the things we have been working on include clothing, laptop bag as well as thank you cards, post shipping support and more!

Watch out for our news over the coming days, weeks and months as we strive to take every possible step forward to ensure your confidence and our quality.

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