July 2013 (Chickens)
The July 25, 2013 Dodge County Master Gardener Association meeting held at the Dave & Kathy Laatsch Farm featured a tour of his chicken operation and gardens.
Dave raises purebred bantams (Cochins and Brown Leghorns). We were shown the housing facility and several coops with outdoor runs.
He uses artificial insemination as the Cochins have way too many tail feathers for a natural breeding process. Hatching out about 600 chicks, he uses an intensive culling process to keep the very best. About 400 chicks are raised for sale to 4-Her’s and others. Many are used in the state and national shows he attends as well as in the maintenance of his breeding stock.
The use of sawdust for bedding works well to keep the birds dry and healthy. Chickens like red, so red waterers are used to prevent them from picking at each other.
The sawdust/manure mix is composted and put on their garden and worked into the soil, giving a great medium for the many vegetables and flowers grown. Dave starts his own plants in the greenhouse he built.
It was evident he enjoys what he does.
Next meeting will be held August 22nd at 6:30 p.m. at the Dodge County Administration Building Auditorium. August’s subject is “Garden Art” by Jennifer Kazmarek.