A week in the life of a koi farmer (wc 24_6_24)

We've just got though a very busy day, shipping the largest number of boxes ever on a single day... and I'm in a reflective mood.

There are so many challenges with koi farming, and bringing it all together takes time and effort. So when something goes right, it's worth reflecting on it.

First, the early season spawnings:

The early season spawnings have probably been our best ever.  Both in terms of numbers, and also quality.  First round included spawnings from 7 females from the following varieties; Goshiki, Kikisui, Doitsu Ochiba, Doitsu Metallic Ochiba.  We know we get some awesome Aragoke types from our Doitsu Ochiba line, and it looks like we'll have some metallic versions from the new Doitsu Metallic line as well.

On the Goshiki, we have spawnings from two females.  Both look promising but in different ways.  Time will tell on these, and we'll have a better idea on numbers at the better quality levels in around 6 months time.

On the Doitsu Ochiba - this is a re-run of our well known line.  And it's a big spawning! As always, the good ones are incredibly rare but with such a large spawning I think we're on track to being able to offer a wide selection at nisai next autumn.  And, we're also on track to be able to offer more Aragoke in the spring too.

With the Kikisui, it's still too early to tell.  Numbers are decent, and the lustre looks great.  And actually, I reflect when buying the brood female from Marusaka on my Japan trip last year,  he reflected that this particular female had great lustre. So, lets hope that trait does pass on, and in good numbers!

I've just completed first selection on the fry from our first ever spawning of a new pair of females , Doitsu Metallic Ochiba's from Kase.  And the output is looking promising.

Our Doitsu Ochiba line took some time, but is now well established and sought after (A reminder of the origins: https://www.byerkoifarm.co.uk/blogs/blog/new-doitsu-ochiba-line-in-development?_pos=1&_psq=doitsu-ochiba&_ss=e&_v=1.0).  Adding a metallic version but with a pattern on the back, has been on the to do list and we bought some koi to breed from a few years ago.  As a koi breeder, we're always thinking ahead a few years, and this is a prime example.

Fast forward a few years to early May this year, and we managed to spawn two of them successfully.  Eggs volume was low, but across both females...sufficient.  And, we have some promising prospects.

Here are some examples of the most promising... these are not the 'norm' in the spawning - these are very rare.  And they'll probably end up being released across our spring tosai and autumn nisai releases next year.


Even though they are very small currently, you can see the light grey base which the Kase line is particularly good on.  Plus the lustre in the pecs, and also on other points across the body where you might expect to see early signs of metallic lustre.  So, all looks well at the moment and we're working hard to keep it that way!


This year, we're back to just Amanda and myself.  Bradley who joined us last year was brilliant to have on the team - and despite a great effort last year and increasing the size of the business - it wasn't enough and we couldn't afford to keep the extra person on the books.

Faced this week with a short heatwave meaning we were forced to pause mid week shipments that left us with a huge volume to ship today.  And with most boxes being fry - this adds significant amount of time to packing. Packing fry is a big job because each mix is counted by hand into the bag, 1 by 1.  So, this meant we had a massive work load, and we're also down on labour.

It's always interesting when faced with a new problem, or constraint, and how you deal with it and come through to a successful outcome.  So we called in extra help from the kids (by the way, they're all adults now!!).  That along wasn't enough, but together with a little adjustment to our process on the counting stage , so more was done in parallel .  And the end result - we managed the whole workload with no stress and finished just ahead of time. Of course, this does mean we now have a new higher target to beat in the future!

The kids have been working with us on the farm since the start.  They've been on the journey with us, and many of you will have seen them working on our stands at koi shows.   They often help us on packing days, fry pond harvest, selections, cleaning tanks, and so many other areas too.   You'll see them again this year at this weekend's BKKS National Koi Show.  And also at the Great British Koi Show in August, and at the end of the season at the All England Koi Show.


This weekend we are at the BKKS National Koi Show, and if you're attending, please do say hello!  On the stand this weekend, you'll see myself (Adam), Tony Thompson who'd been helping us for so many years, and also the kids (young adults!)... Annabel, Joely and Solomon.

This weekend , our koi shop at our base near Hemel Hempstead is also open. Amanda will be on site and opening the shop for the normal hours which are, 10-5pm on Saturday and Sunday.

Please remember.... our koi shop is open to the public during  Opening Hours (no appointment necessary).  That link also gives you directions to our shop.

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