Heritage Chicken Breeds and Other Poultry
Coops and Cages
Feeding Your Poultry
All About Eggs
Protecting Your Poultry
Preparing Poultry Meat
Chicken and Hatchery Finder
Find rare or unusual chickens, ducks, turkeys, guineas or geese using this unique tool. The Mother Earth News Hatchery Finder lets you quickly search the online catalogs of nearly 70 mail-order hatcheries.
Directory of Hatcheries and Poultry Breeders
Chickens and other poultry are great additions to a homestead or a backyard. This online directory will help you search for the hatcheries nearest you with the breeds you want.
Choosing the Right Chicken Breeds
Deciding on and finding the best breeds of chickens for you.
Start Right with Chickens: the Basics for Beginners
Keeping a few chickens for eggs is easy. Start right with advice from an expert.
Save the Chickens!
Raise your own chickens and become a poultry preservationist. A home chicken flock produces great food and eggs; includes information on cost, gene pool, industry, neighbors, pets, chicks and breed selection.
Small Pleasures Bring Big Joy
Upstate New York homesteader Grace Brockway finds immeasurable happiness in raising chickens.
A Poultry Mini-Manual
A mini-manual on starting your own poultry on the homestead.
A .09-Acre Homestead
This very enterprising Cape Cod family raises its own meat, eggs and vegetables, including layout, limited-space livestock, soil building and a herring-ponic rooftop garden.
And More Chicken Tips
Tips on handling chickens with coccidiosis, getting grit for these birds, hatching your own fertile eggs and cooking leghorns.
How to Sex Day-Old Chicks
According to Beth Robinson Bosk, the only way to really sex chickens is to let them hatch first and then sort the males from the females. And Lyle Scheline, a professional chicken sex expert of 22 years, uses a method called vent sexing.
Reader Ron Spomer has the "inside line" on how you can get a regular supply of free chickens: collect unwanted culled chicks from the local hatchery.
More Females Per Hatch
Dr. N.W. Walker claims that you can increase the number of female chickens per hatch by feeding the hens sorghum seeds.
The Chicken Moat
How to fence in your chickens with water, not fencing.
Comparing the Five Best Backyard Livestock Animals
The first thing a would-be small-scale meat producer has to decide is which creatures to raise. Includes information on rabbits, chickens, sheep, goats, pigs, animal husbandry, buying, and a comparison chart.
Heritage Chicken Breeds and Other Poultry
Why the Midget White Turkey is the Perfect Homestead Turkey
Heritage breeds are worth saving simply because of the genetic diversity they offer, but they’re also extremely fun to raise (and learn about). This interview explains some of the finer points of one breed of turkeys. In 1971, only six specimens were known. Today, could the midget white be the ideal homestead turkey?
How Eight Heritage Turkeys Kicked a Butterball’s Butt
In the past few years, several taste tests have indicated that heritage turkeys taste better than industrial breeds. This new study involved about 70 people in a blind taste test. But this test involved more than just flavor. Texture, tenderness, aroma and appearance were also rated.
Midget White and Bourbon Red Turkeys are Better!
A recent taste test comparing heritage breed turkeys with “industrial” turkey reinforced that heritage turkeys, especially the midget white and bourbon red, do indeed taste better than factory-farmed birds you’ll find in the supermarkets. Find out which breeds were the winners and learn about the turkey that not only tastes best, but is also the perfect choice for your homestead.
A History of the Midget White Turkey
This is a rare firsthand look at how and why a rare breed of turkey was developed, was rescued from near extinction, and may become popular once more. The authors J. R. Smyth Jr. (University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Mass.), who is responsible for developing the breed, and B.C. Wentworth (University of Wisconsin, Madison, Wis.), who is credited with bringing the breed back when only six birds existed.
Java Chickens Back From the Brink
The pressures of industrial agriculture have pushed java chickens close to extinction. Save this endangered heritage chicken.
Enjoy Heritage ChickensMore than 70 breeds of chickens in the United States are in danger of disappearing. Learn how you can save these breeds while you serve your family the freshest (and most nutritious) free-range eggs they have ever eaten, and re-create the rich flavors of your grandmother’s homegrown/homemade fried chicken.
Go Ahead, Get Guineas!
Guinea hens lead the pack in farm and garden pest patrol, especially for tick control.
Saving Rare Breeds
Join the Real Food Revival and you can help save endangered livestock.
Geese Grow on Grass
Consider raising geese, from the Have-More Plan.
Bantam chickens are fun to raise! Includes information on getting started, hatching chicks, care and feeding.
Ducks are Easy to Raise
Ideas on how to raise ducks, from the Have-More Plan.
What you need to know about squabs before starting your new squab raising project, from the Have-More Plan.
The Complete Homestead Duck Guide
Raising ducklings, with information on different breeds, duck food and poultry processing.
Taking on Livestock (Part I)
How to choose the right food-producing animal for your home, including bees, poultry, other fowl and rabbits.
Join the folks who've found out that small but beautiful applies to poultry, too; including caging, feeding, breeding, hatching and chick care.
These delightful ducks provide pest control, food, feathers and lots of fun.
Un-domesticating the Guinea
A more humane and satisfying procedure for un-domesticating a guinea.
Homestead Squab and Guinea Production
Here's an excerpt on squab and guinea fowl production from Jack Widmer's book, Practical Animal Husbandry.
Gardening with Guinea Fowl
These birds prove to be the ultimate low cost, chemical free pest control.
Be Fair to this Fowl: An Introduction to Guineas
Unless you've owned a flock yourself, chances are you'll need some persuasion before you can respect, fully appreciate and utilize these fine-feathered friends.
Homestead Duck and Goose Production
From Jack Widmer's book, Practical Animal Husbandry, here's an article on duck and goose production, breeding, feeding, home-grown goslings and ducklings, etc.
Farming for Self-Sufficiency
Achieving independence on a five-acre farm; including information on poultry, geese, ducks, turkeys, sheep, goats, rabbits and pigeons.
A Guide to Ducks and Geese
Breed specifications and pictures of water fowl varieties.
The Homestead Goose
Whatever the size of your spread, geese can be the most economical, useful and easiest-to-keep livestock on the farm. Includes a goose variety guide.
An Introduction to Geese
An overview of the breeds, weights and characteristics of these waterfowl.
Homegrown Turkeys are Terrific!
They're friendly; they provide pest control; they're true American originals. Here's how to raise your own turkeys and add healthy homegrown flavor to your holiday dinners.
A Real Thanksgiving Bird
Raise or hunt your own turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas.
Homestead Turkey Production
Here's another article from Jack Widmer's Practical Animal Husbandry. Widmer talks about turkey production in this issue: turkey breeds, poults, turkey feeds and sanitation.
Turkeys Can Be a Profitable Sideline
A digest of the cardinal principles of scientific turkey raising, from the Have-More Plan.
The Big Chicken Chart
23 Great Heritage Chicken Birds
Coops and Cages
Build This Portable, Predator-Proof Coop for Your BackyardOur low-cost coop plan makes raising backyard chickens easier for just about anyone.
MOTHER's Mighty Chicken-Mobile
This affordable, protable and predator-proof chicken coop is perfect for backyard poultry enthusiasts who want to keep just a few chickens in a safe environment.
Country Lore: Portable, DIY Chicken Coops
Build a movable chicken coop for a few hens from recycled materials and scrap lumber.
An Easy and Affordable Poultry Pen
Build this portable poultry pen in an afternoon using only simple hand tools. It’s just the right size for a small yard, but you’ll find lots of uses for it around the homestead, too.
How to construct this portable home for backyard chickens.
Best Chickens for Mothers Mini-Coop
The best heritage chicken varieties for backyard, grass-fed eggs, including Buttercups, Brown Leghorns, Hamburgs and Anconas.
All Cooped Up
How to build a chicken coop from scratch, including materials list and instructions.
MOTHER's Bioshelter Greenhouse
This quality greenhouse uses both solar and compost heat and houses rabbits and chickens, including structure, notes on construction, cross sections and floor plans.
Nice Nests for (Nearly) Nothing
Making inexpensive nesting boxes for free-range egg production.
The Versatile Camper-Top Cabin
Building a chicken coop, doghouse or goat shelter from an old camper top; includes materials and tools list, assembly, instructions and diagrams.
Build Your Own Incubator
Here's how to hatch your flock's extra eggs so you can produce more free-range eggs; includes detailed diagrams and instructions.
How to Hatch Chicks in a Homemade Incubator
Guide to chick raising, including homemade incubator designs and information on types of incubators, heat, humidity, ventilation and hatching.
A Colony Cage For Backyard Poultry Farmers
How to build a better chicken cage, including diagrams, instructions and photographs.
Run, Chicken, Run
When a coop's your home, you dream of worms in loam ... and a bit more room to roam. How to build a poultry enclosure with wood and chicken wire; includes instructions and pictures.
Feeding Your Poultry
Mother's All-Purpose Chicken-Feeding Station
For happy (as well as productive) hens, and delicious free-range eggs, it's worth your while to cobble up to this design. Includes diagram, materials list and instructions.
Hang Your Chicken Feed!
Most chickens waste more mash than they eat, if you let them, but you can put an end to their spendthrift ways with this homemade feeder design.
Eric E. Wiggin's No-Waste Poultry Feeder — That You Can Build For Free!
It's easy to recycle a few free and/or scrounged-up materials into hanging poultry feeders.
All About Eggs
Free Range vs. Pastured: Chicken and Eggs
Discover the difference between the labels "free range" and "pastured" when it comes to eggs and chicken meat.
More Great News About Free-range Eggs
Mother Earth News’ first egg tests revealed that free-range eggs have a higher vitamin content and lower cholesterol and saturated fat content than supermarket eggs. And with the results of our latest tests, the news just keeps getting better! It turns out that free-range eggs are also a terrific source for one particular vitamin that we could all use more of.
Which Comes First, the Chicken or the Profit?
After more than 800,000 Californians signed a petition to enact a law against the extreme confinement of chickens and other farm animals in California, the American Egg Board approved the use of $3 million in checkoff funds to fight it. Because it’s illegal to use these funds for political activities such as attempts to influence legislation, the Humane Society of the United States is calling on the U.S. Department of Agriculture to stop them.
Is Agribusiness Making Food Less Nutritious?
Growing evidence indicates that today's eggs, fruits, vegetables, meat and dairy products have less vitamins and nutrients than in the past.
Fresh Eggs From Your Own Hens
How to produce your own fresh eggs without making that trip to a poultry farm, from the Have-More Plan.
Playing the Egg Game
How to train your pet to help gather eggs in the chicken yard.
My Scratch Hens Lay Golden Eggs
Rural entrepreneur Alice Merritt made a name in the small-farm poultry business and shares the secrets of her success.
More Eggs in Winter
Egg your hens on to higher wintertime production by feeding them nutritious home-sprouted forage.
Eggs That Winter Well
Reader Tip: How you can keep all your fresh eggs for winter use.
Can You Really Store Fresh Eggs a Year or More Without Refrigeration?
Mother's staff experimented with various methods of storing eggs including storing them without refrigeration and for a long haul in a refrigerator.
Become an Eggs-Pert
How to buy, store and prepare quality eggs; including great recipes.
Are Eggs Okay?
The debate on the nutritional benefits of eggs.
How to Pickle Quail Eggs
Melinda Le Fleur reports from the Alaskan Interior on keeping quail and a fantastic way to prepare the eggs.
Happy, Healthy Hens
Andrea Looney, DVM, explains how to get fowl pests out of the henhouse and off the hens.
Health is for the Birds
On the health of chickens and other poultry.
Ten Commandments for Raising Healthy Chickens (Part I)
A veterinarian shares tips that can help anyone raise a backyard flock; including identifying your market, building a good chicken house, knowing what normal looks and feels like and being aware of cycles.
Ten Commandments for Raising Healthy Chickens (Part II)
You can have your own thriving backyard poultry flock by following these tips.
Keep mites off your chickens.
Old Time Remedies for Common Poultry Diseases
Even with modern medicines, chickens can still get sick. Here are remedies that use simple, cheap, and easily available ingredients.
Protecting Your Poultry
Foil the Chicken Hawk
If flying varmints steal your poultry, take Nadine Ross's advice.
Preparing Poultry Meat
Easy Game- and Tame-Bird Plucking
Defeathering fowl is rarely considered a pleasant chore . . . but the following tips should help you get the birds from the game bag (or chopping block) to the oven with a minimum of trouble.
New, Easy Ways to Raise Tender Chicken
One of the most successful projects the Robinsons have undertaken: Raising chickens to eat — broilers and fryers in what is called a "broiler battery" from the Have-More Plan.
How to Pick, Pluck and Prepare Your Own Poultry
If you've taken up raising chickens, here's how to prepare them for cooking.