Sunday, May 19, 2013

What is a Chicken Swap ?

This is a lemon cuckoo buff orpington cross.  This hen's chicks are for sale.

   A Chicken Swap isn't where I bring slow roasted chicken and trade it for fried chicken. It isn't where we trade recipes, or recipes for buffalo wing sauces, although sometimes I wish it were. They don't even sell chicken barbecue sandwiches there. That would be disrespectful !  This whole post is making me hungry.   A Chicken Swap is probably more correctly called a Poultry Swap, although the name Chicken Swap has stuck.  This is primarily something many rural people do, however with so many suburban and a few urban areas having approved the ownership of a limited number of chickens, we might see this type of event spreading to more locations.
       A Chicken Swap exists so that the people who started with a particular type of chicken which increased in numbers, can trade or sell some.  This is an excellent idea because it not only gives your family a chance to get a different variety of chicken and eggs, but it also allows you to trade for individuals of the same breed in order to get more varied breeding stock in order to keep your own flock healthy.  Many people who breed and sell chickens also have ducks and geese, and so it's a good chance to see or consider these different types of poultry as well.  Sometimes just going or simply taking children is a great opportunity just to see the range of animals there. But beware, sometimes, they have peacocks and you might want to bring something else home !
        Most people who bring poultry to trade bring lovely looking healthy animals.  Most people don't want to look as if they don't properly care for their animals, and so usually this is an opportunity to buy healthy, nice looking stock. You can expect chicks and ducklings and you can expect to see mature animals for sale or sometimes trade as well.  These events are often held outdoors outside an animal feed or agricultural store, and often they occur in the Spring. Right now is prime Chicken Swap time, and my only real difficulty is figuring out whether to attend a local one, or driving farther to see what could be a larger and more exotic selection.

This is a variety of types of clean and healthy ducklings.

           The prices can range from fairly inexpensive, to $150.00 for a breeding pair of a rare type of bird.  Some of the farms I know paid one or two dollars per duckling or chick.  It is also a great place to sell or acquire a lovely looking "watch rooster" to protect your hens.  Unfortunately, too many roosters at your farm can become dangerous.....for them. They do challenge one another rather readily, and of course cock fighting is not only illegal, but inhumane as well.

These are Silkie chicks and their mother.

These are Sebastopol geese.

            Some of these swaps have everything from tiny Japanese Quail to Heritage Turkeys.   Sometimes the farm selling guineas who will help keep your yard tick free, also are selling swans.   Prepare yourself because there is almost always someone who has kittens or puppies, and once I saw small piglets.
             Most people like to get the chance to talk to you and make sure that you understand enough about how to properly care for the animals they may trade to you.  Some actually provide pre-printed sheets on animal care.
           Some of the sellers may be NPIP certified.    This can also help in terms of limiting disease in your own flock.  You can also expect to see a variety of eggs for sale ranging from small quail eggs to larger duck eggs, brown, white and green eggs too, so bring a cooler.    Some of the people bring pictures of their animals and you must contact them later to obtain their best stock.  Some of them won't expose their animals to other poultry.

You will see plenty of different varieties of roosters.

       This is not only an excellent outing for a family who might wish to trade or buy some poultry, but it is an excellent outing for a child who may remember such an experience forever.  You can take him for ice cream later and get some yourself !


BBC said...

My new neighbors are raising some chickens, wish I had room to raise some. Raised a pig years ago, it was the best pork.

A well placed shot with one of these new high powered pellet rifles will kill a coon or any other small critter if you are hungry.

Having lived with a woman for 12 years that had two horses I decided that I have no use for horses, unless I can eat them. :-)

Linda said...

interesting concept. I have never heard of a chicken swap around here. However, we have Lacon Flea Market where there is a market every weekend. I know they have animals every weekend, animals of all kinds.

BBC said...

It's important to teach others how to survive so that if things do go to hell you'll have some competition.

Hahahahahaha !!!

JaneofVirginia said...

I have all my trading partners already. I think it is important to pass on whatever we have learned that could be helpful, in emergencies and in life in general.

JaneofVirginia said...

As long as you have a great source you probably don't need one. I really enjoy the chicken swaps because the people who raise the exotic and unusual poultry know so many things about animal husbandry. It's always a great place to learn.