Those of you who have read my blog for any length of time know that when we started Almosta Ranch we were strictly doing horse breeding. But, for the last two years the horse market has tanked like a Bernie Maddoff investment plan and we have been forced to downsize.
Now we are down to five horses: four mares and a stallion and Mel has begun to raise miniature pigs and rabbits. What galls me…the horse guy…is that we have already almost made as much selling rabbits as we have after four years of dealing with horses. That’s just wrong.
Well no matter what Mel has been doing, I have resisted jumping on the bunny wagon myself and I have stayed true to my horse roots, ever hoping that the market will pick up any day now.
A couple of days ago though all that changed. I had an epiphany! Yes folks, the clouds parted and this deep voice echoed in my head…God had spoken! You know, I really need to stop smoking that shit.
To put it another way, I had this idea: Why not chickens? It hit me like a ton of bricks, chickens are the way to go. We got a few chickens months ago just as an experiment. We got six hens and two roosters and let them free range. We figured if they kept from being hawk snacks or coyote dinner, we might get some more.
Well to date not only have they survived, but they have prospered and every couple of days we get a dozen eggs.
Now I was out in the barn, playing with Gator, our head He-pig when this idea hit me and I rushed into the house to tell Mel.
“Honey,” I declared as soon as I came through the door. “I have been to the mountain and I have seen the light! I HAVE A DREAM….”
“Easy there bucko,” she rolled her eyes at me, “Calm down before you bust a vein.”
I chose to ignore her lack of enthusiasm and continued at a more moderate tone. “It just came to me….I want to raise chickens and sell the eggs.”
“You want to do this, or you want ME to do it?” I could tell by her tone she still wasn’t taking me seriously.
“Me. I’m gonna do it myself.”
I pretended not to hear her snicker and laid out my business plan. After a little discussion she had to admit that I might just have the right idea. HA!
Look “Simplicity” up in the dictionary and you’ll see my Chicken Plan. Since I already have six Buff Orpington hens and one Orpington rooster I will simply add another fifty hens and a couple more roosters to help in the Amore department.
A note here to the guys: One rooster is expected to service twenty hens. How would you like the job of keeping twenty women satisfied. Kinda gives one a whole new respect for the rooster doesn’t it.
Here is a picture of Bocephus, or Bo as we call him, standing with one of his hens.
Spring is the start up date for this project which will give me time to convert one side of the barn to accommodate the chicken roost and nest boxes and to add chicken wire to the acre of land adjoining the barn so that the chickens can free range. Once in place, the chickens will produce eggs which I can sell at the farmer’s market and I will also sell live chickens to people seeking Orpingtons and fertilized eggs to people wanting to raise their own brood.
Now hens, after about two years, fall off in the egg producing department and have to be replaced. When this happens the old hens usually end up in someone’s cooking pot. I may take one or two ever so often for that but for the most part I will let the older hens free range over the rest of Almosta Ranch and live out their lives in peace once their egg laying days are done.
Conventional wisdom holds that every small business that is just beginning needs a Hook, a gimmick, something to draw in the customers and well, me being me, I got that covered.
You can order plain, blank egg cartons over the Internet on which you can place your company name so I plan on ordering a bunch and putting my own unique title on them: “We got laid at Almosta Ranch”. Now tell me….wouldn’t you just have to buy a dozen eggs with that on the carton.
So there you have it; the plan, the Hook, and the chickens that will launch the rise of the Chicken King of Southeast Missouri! Look out Wall Street, I’m coming your way! I can’t wait for Spring now.