Yesterday we went to the Maryland Poultry Swap out at Green Hill Farm. This is a bi-annual event that Erin (owner of Green Hill Farm) runs every June and September. I think this was the third year, but I can’t be sure because it’s the first for me! All I can say is I cannot wait until September 14th to make the next one! If you live anywhere relatively close to the Maryland/West Virginia/Virginia line, I suggest you make the trip (some vendors came from Ohio!). And if you’ve been needing to take a cross-country trip towards the East Coast, I suggest you do so that weekend and make a detour at the swap!
We got there at 10:30am and I can’t even imagine what it would have been like had we gotten there earlier. I’ve seen a lot of the poultry vendors say they had sold half of their stock by 11am. So if you’re used to showing up halfway through an event like us–this is not the time to do so! I wonder what we might have picked up had we gotten there earlier. Actually, I can tell you exactly what would have happened. I would have come home with more birds and probably slipped a duck or two in my purse.
There was almost anything you could have ever wanted there when we got there. Incubators, cages, show cages, feeders. Quail, pheasants, turkeys, and guineas (I now understand why people say they are loud little beasts). Peacocks and peahens of all varieties. Rabbits (primarily Lionheads, Rex, Lop, and New Zealand)–I resisted because they didn’t have the breeds I wanted. Ducks and geese. Chickens of all types, though I saw mostly polish and I think the silkies were cleaned out by the time I got there. Hatching eggs. Candles. Bat houses. Pizza. Soap. Found vintage items. Guinea pigs. Goats. Pot-bellied pigs. Bluegrass music. Fudge. St. Berndard puppies. Flowering pots. Vegetable starts. Terrariums. I’m probably missing things because it was so overwhelming that the first time I walked through I thought it was a little small. The second time I walked through took over an hour, though to be fair I had to rush back to a few stalls a few times.
There were things I missed out on either because I got there too late (more chicks), I shouldn’t have brought them home to begin with (St. Bernard puppies, pheasants, and goats), I waited too long to go buy them (hatching eggs), or I never got a chance to go back and get them (terrariums, paintings, and soap). But trust me, I made out with a good haul. Pictures (though not the best) are behind the cut.
Two hanging pitcher plants – $25.
A small bat house – $30.
A wicker basket with a rooster on it (good for carrying things on the top of the wagon around the swap) – $4.
Four vintage bottles, to be used as wedding table centerpieces – $4.
5 3-week old Wheaten/Blue Wheaten Ameraucana chicks – $50
I am hoping this is a 4/1 or possibly even 3/2 ratio of hens to roosters. This is the variety of Ameraucana I have wanted ever since I learned more about Ameraucanas. And while I love my BBS Ameraucanas and I love the place I got them from (Whitmore Farm), this is so far my favorite breed. When I told the vendor (Signature Feathers) that I wanted some, she said, “2?” and I said, “5.” Five were all she had left.
Update: The more I look at pictures of pullets vs. cockerels for the wheaten/blue wheaten Ameraucanas, the more it looks like I just bought myself 5 cockerels. I’m pretty bummed about this, but I’ll let a few weeks go by to confirm it. With any luck I can hatch out some new eggs.
4 2-week old BBS Copper Marans – $8
Of course, the four BBS Copper Marans cost $28, but my friend picked up the $20. She wanted to add a chicken to our flock, so together we picked some out. These were some of the healthiest looking chicks left, plus, they came from Whitmore Farm, where the majority of my flock is from. She is technically only claiming 1 (the darkest black), while she really bought 3 of them. We argued it to her husband and my boyfriend this way: She owns them, so they don’t really count towards my chicken number, and since she is leaving them at my house, they don’t count for her either. So really, think of this as adding only one chick to the flock. (I will not be keeping any roosters from these babies.)
GQF 1500 Sportsman Incubator – $200
I caved. I bought an incubator, something I had been planning on buying early next year. This incubator is one that the swap hostess put up for auction on Facebook a few months ago (went for $275). I had forgotten about the auction and never bid and thought, “Damn, I missed out.” Apparently two people were no-shows because she was selling it at the swap. It’s an older model, but to buy it brand new costs over $600, and I’ve heard people swear by them. It is missing the screens and has no trays, and the automatic turner is broken. It is in otherwise excellent condition and she sent it in for servicing when she got it last year. So far I am another $150 into it buying trays, wick pads and a candler, though none of that was absolutely necessary and the candler certainly shouldn’t be charged to incubator cost. Replacing the automatic turner is $140, but Mike is going to take a look and see if he can fix it. If not, I’ll be turning by hand for a while.
Update: I found out that before Erin this incubator/hatcher belonged to……. Will at Whitmore Farms! Everything really is a full circle in this place. I’m in contact with the woman I got the wheaten/blue wheaten Ameraucana eggs from and am hoping that come sometime midweek she may have extra eggs to sell. I’m not banking on it, but I honestly wouldn’t mind having just a flock of wheaten/blue wheaten Ameraucanas.
9 Blue Wheaten/Wheaten Hatching Eggs – $50
Clearly, I needed something to test the incubator out with. I’m going to be figuring out a way to use the incubator while waiting for my trays to come in, turn the eggs by hand, and hope that something out of these lovely blue eggs hatches. And is female.
4 x 5-foot Designer Coop with Red Barnwood – $$FREE$$
I still can’t believe we won this. It’s the first thing Mike has ever won, and it’s beautiful and such a gracious gift. Erin (Green Hill Farm and hostess of the Maryland Poultry Swap) told us that someone was getting angry when he later found out the drawing went and he didn’t get it. I don’t understand people like that. I went there thinking we weren’t going to win it, and even said so multiple times. I posted the flyers because why not give it a try, and why not advertise for a great event.
I would like to think we made out exceptionally well, and I was feeling pretty good about it before we won the coop and as we were putting together the incubator to cart to the truck. The only things we bought that are not shown above were some Reece’s homemade fudge (already eaten, $2.50), a third feeder ($14.95), and horseradish (free from where I bought the blue wheaten/wheaten Ameraucana eggs & hatching eggs).
All-in-all a great day with some great finds. I wasn’t expecting to take care of chicks this late in the game, but you won’t hear me complain!
P.S.: If you’re in Maryland or somewhere relatively close, and especially if you can afford it, I recommend you take a look at Designer Coop. I came thisclose to buying one, but Mike wanted to build one ourselves instead. They are beautiful and well-built, and I hope to use ours for years to come!