Updates from Eagle Ranch
Dec 27, 2013 | 1380 views | 0 0 comments | 32 32 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Updates from Eagle Ranch

bearded chicken

Chicks with beards who lay Easter eggs

 By: Rene’ McCracken, NTCC Director of Agriculture 
       I cannot believe that I am a rarity in my absolute love and enjoyment of raising backyard chickens.  Since I was a small child, I have loved to spend time caring for them, gathering the eggs and just watching them scratch and peck at the scraps I would feed them. If you have ever baked with or eaten fresh eggs you know the best part of raising a small backyard flock.
       To my delight, upon taking the director position at NTCC, the prior Ag Construction class had built a wonderful mobile chicken coop or “chicken tractor.” To date we have now raised two batches of birds in the coop and sold at farmer’s markets and directly off the farm.
       We now have just 18 pullets remaining from the second batch. Seven of them are the bearded Americana or Easter egg breed that will lay blue colored eggs. Yes, they do have beards of sorts and if you want to name them something from the Duck Dynasty show – I think that might just be quite fitting!  The remainder of the pullets are a great dual purpose breed and wonderful brown egg layer, the Barred Rock.
       If you have that backyard farmer that is difficult to purchase the right Christmas present for, consider purchasing bearded chicks for Christmas and they can raise their own colored eggs by Easter.  These pullets are 12 weeks old and should begin laying by 20 weeks.  Birds will be sold on a first-come-first-serve basis and are $8 each.  Contact Director, Rene’ McCracken at 903-434-8267 or rmccracken@ntcc.edu to make an appointment to pick your little egg factories today!  If you would interested in taking an agriculture course for credit or continuing education class, please contact me for more information. For a complete listing of courses go to www.ntcc.edu/ag.

What’s in a goat’s smile?

By: Rene’ McCracken, NTCC Director of Agriculture 
       The last bell has rung, finals have been graded and the graduates have walked the stage. You would probably assume that the Northeast Texas Community College Campus is eerily quiet as we approach this holiday season. While our dorms and offices are closed, there are still a few stirring on the Eagle Ranch.
       The NTCC Agriculture Department has the privilege of operating a working farm for the betterment of our students. Sometimes nature can be timed efficiently so that the workers (also known as our students) are here to experience all the joys of operating a farm. Other times, nature has her own way of letting us know she is still in charge.
       One example of this is the fact that one our our resident goats having her babies or “kidding,” on Christmas break (notice the smile on her face). The Boer goats that were donated back in August to the Eagle Ranch did not come with expected due dates, so the ranch hands are watching for the signs that labor is approaching. We are just hoping that she has a safe delivery, preferably not at 2 a.m. If you would like to experience what kidding goats is like, or just like to check in on them, contact Director, Rene’ McCracken at 903-434-8267 or rmccracken@ntcc.edu and get involved today. We offer lots of classes (including classes about raising goats) both for credit and continuing education. For a complete listing of courses go to www.ntcc.edu/ag.
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