Did you know that a chicken can “collect” fertilized eggs for up to a week before she begins sitting on the eggs? And that the 21-day gestation cycle doesn’t start until she begins sitting on them? Which means that there’s a one-week period where that fertilized egg could become either a chick, or an omelette? Our … Continue reading Hatching chicks
The natural progression of homestead animal stewardship usually goes like this: laying hens (females only), then after you build some confidence with chickens, a rooster is added to the mix, then chicks follow shortly. Because poultry is so much fun, ducks and turkeys come next, then meat chickens. Then goats. Goats are the gateway quadruped … Continue reading The Joyful Chicken, Part I
For the first year here it felt like trying to drink from a firehose. Now in year number two, things have seemed much MUCH more manageable. I credit two pivotal points for me that turned it around. One, barn organization. The barn, while small, is centrally located on the front property and so, all projects … Continue reading Pastured Poultry > Free Range Chickens = Sanity + Sunflowers
We’ve wasted a lot of time and effort trying to outsmart our farm pests and farm livestock. For example: We’ve lined the base of field fencing surrounding a pig paddock with heavy driftwood in a feeble attempt to keep our pigs from rooting underneath the fence, only for them to toss those logs aside and … Continue reading Caught Blue-Beaked
Before we even started homesteading, I had a handwoven basketful of homesteader skills already under my hand-tooled leather belt. Not only did I make soap, but I made it out of tallow and lard that I rendered myself, and I made jams, sauces, and marinades out of the fruits and vegetables I grew myself. Long … Continue reading Some homesteading skills are more fun than others
I often joke that you can grow a chicken to table-ready faster than you can grow a cabbage. The modern variety of meat bird, Cornish Cross, is bred to grow very fast, from hatched to 4-5 lb roaster in just 8 weeks. Some homesteaders think this is terrible and unnatural, and opt instead for slower … Continue reading 8 weeks to chicken dinner
Near our house in the back is a steep weedy pugged (highly compacted) slope. Pretty much good for nothing other than a headache and poor footing. I had the idea last year to cover it with mulch to smother the weeds and perhaps level out the slope some. Well, our über free range layers (little … Continue reading Wattle retaining wall.