Book reviews by permaculture educator Cindy Conner. Learn about Sustainable Market Farming, The Art of Fermentation, The Permaculture Handbook, and The Small-Scale Poultry Flock.
Keeping a rooster with your flock of hens is beneficial but must be done carefully. Here’s how to introduce a rooster to your poultry flock.
The fields that were laid out in 1843 for livestock farming are teeming with hay-making grasses.
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
A potential solution to rising food prices, food insecurity and the obesity epidemic may call into play raising farms inside the city limits.
Gene GeRue relates the lessons he learned from a childhood of frugal living.
Looking at the differences between the current homesteading movement in the USA compared to Smallholders in the UK.
Watch a video of a traveling sheep shearer at work and tell us about small-scale farming artisans in your region.
Blume Distillation debuts appropriate-scale biofuel distillation equipment that will allow farmers, entrepreneurs, municipalities and communities to produce their own alcohol fuel from a variety of readily available fuel stock sources.
A wind energy expert discusses the durability of small-scale wind turbines.
Transitioning seedlings from indoor starts to outdoor plants
Harvesting abundance in the early spring.
Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.
Preserving an abundant basil harvest for the coming winter.
Using an old-world technique, Russians are growing their own organic crops -- and it's working.
Consumer Reports has stated that it recently found arsenic in food, The United States' rice supply is contaminated with this "group 1" carcinogenic.
As winter descends a three-season hoop house is weeded, compost spread, and a straw mulch applied. Next spring will be here soon.
Community food events are an outstanding way to share the abundance of our harvest and strengthen local community ties.
Americans are turning to smaller, affordable housing. Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence looks into this trend.
Homegrown vegetables are a lesson for kids in where food comes from.
The process of curing potatoes for winter storage.
D Acres offers alternative economics. We are the 99&: join us.
Leaves are a valuable source of mulch and fertility within the permaculture garden.
New investment in clean energy reached $243 billion last year, driven by soaring activity in China, offshore wind and European rooftop photovoltaics
If you're concerned about laws regarding keeping a few hens for eggs, take time to attend meetings on the topic.
Keeping a few hens for eggs is a wonderful part of growing your own food, but finding just a few female baby chickens can be a challenge.
Egg production in family flocks vs. factory farms.
Empty nesters Ed and Joan Kobrinski downsized their lifestyle and moved to a smaller home where they could grow more vegetables. "We've learned to enjoy and appreciate living comfortably and contentedly with less," Ed says.
Ed and Joan Kobrinski left a large family home for a smaller, simpler cottage—and they’ve never looked back. Their tips for downsizing and living in smaller spaces could help make your transition easier.
Even when the chicks have left the nest, they never really leave.
Droll Yankees Inc.(R) announced the addition of a new Nyjer Domed Cage Feeder (THDC-23Y), a hybrid of their popular New Generation Finch Flocker and Sanctuary lines.
Four new hens joined the flock at Sunflower Farm and it has taken some time to re-establish the pecking order.
The American Institute of Architect’s Home Design Trends Survey confirmed what Natural Home predicted in January—Americans are moving to smaller homes.
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.
It’s time to get serious about heritage chickens. Talking Chicken is a wonderful resource to help you build a flock. The book covers selection, breeding, raising and marketing heritage chickens and eggs. Poultry experts from around the country have contributed short pieces that are interspersed throughout the book to round out the information.
Poultry producer turns manure into propane substitute with biochar as a byproduct.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Migratory Bird Program has proposed new language for regulations concerning Muscovy ducks. The period of public comments will last until Dec. 30, 2010.
Wild Muscovy ducks are moving into south Texas, and feral populations are causing problems elsewhere. But new regulations meant to control or eliminate the feral populations effectively make owning domesticated Muscovies illegal.
I was wrong about Freedom Rangers. Freedom Rangers are pretty close to Cornish Cross chickens. The Freedom Rangers did well on pasture, and we had a pretty broad range of sizes in the flock. I’m satisfied with the efficiency and the cost, but I’m disappointed the growth rate was so fast that it caused leg problems.
Raising heritage turkeys is a great way to preserve rare breeds and add diversity to your homestead — or backyard poultry flock. Experts from S and S Poultry compare the qualities of six heritage breeds of turkeys.
Some breeds of chickens are better at ranging for their own feed, hatching eggs and raising chicks. Others mature quickly or lay particularly dark-brown eggs. Which breed has the combination of traits you’re looking for? We’ve launched a new survey to determine the characteristics of each breed of chicken.
Chicken eggs usually hatch on the 21st day of incubation, but this hen hatched two chicks on the 23rd day.
Nothing says spring like the sound of newly hatched chickens in my incubators. It's the time of year when folks stop into the feed store or local hatchery expecting to begin their selection of new birds.
To satisfy today's home buyer, a developer of million-dollar luxury homes in New York is offering smaller, more affordable houses--more anecdotal evidence that the McMansion is dying.
Builders and designers believe that low-e windows, engineered wood products and eat-in kitchens will be key characteristics of new homes in the future.
As the economy improves, the trend toward smaller homes is reversing.
A National Association of Home Builders report and a Better Homes and Gardens survey find that builders and homeowners are moving toward smaller, more energy-efficient homes.
Steve explains why building a scale model is such a good way to design homestead structures, and how to do it.
Living luxuriously doesn’t necessarily mean living large — at least not in these homes — and reducing a little waste doesn’t hurt, either.
A Texas family searches for a suitable crop as supplemental income on four acres. After watermelons and flower fail, they succeed with luffa.
Sayra and Dominic live with their 5-year-old daughter in a charming 550-square-foot home in rural Idaho. There are challenges, but they've found that less really is more. "It's like living in a fun clubhouse," Sayra says.
Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, according to a recent American Institute of Architects report.Homeowners want energy-efficient features and functional rooms that will expand on small homes’ square footage, says an American Institute of Architects report.
If you are keeping a small flock of chickens in your backyard or on a small acreage, which breeds have you come to admire and why?
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy Heritage has officially defined “heritage chicken.” Find out what a heritage chicken is, learn more about the certification process, and hear — firsthand — what an expert on heritage chickens has to say about pastured poultry and breed selection.
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
Lots of people order hatching eggs that are shipped through the mail before setting them in an incubator or under a broody hen. But what kind of results should you expect from shipped hatching eggs? Read what an expert has to say about realistic expectations.
An experienced pasture-raised poulty expert, Robert Plamondon, shares his thoughts on the best methods of keeping free-range chickens. He gives tips on four different kinds of electric fencing designed to contain chickens and repel predators, and calls it a less time and money consuming alternative to other fencing options.
A unique feature of emu eggs makes them an excellent choice for carving. With a minimal investment in equipment, you can create marvelous art for a hobby or a bootstrap business.
Cotton Patch geese were historically cheap labor for keeping cotton fields clean. They have been used to weed other crops, such as corn and strawberries, too. After making numerous contacts and traveling more than 10,000 miles, Tom Walker found a few gaggles that were fairly representative of the breed. He has carefully selected and maintained these historic weeder geese, saving them from the brink of extinction.
The Solar Nite Eyes Predator Protection System helps ward predators away from your poultry, bees, trees and more. The Solar Nite Eyes are inexpensive, effective and easy to use. Try this method of predator protection around your homestead.
The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) and Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch recently announced the definition of heritage chicken. The event included tasting meat of four breeds of heritage chickens.
Poultry expert and contributing writer for MOTHER EARTH NEWS, Harvey Ussery, is teaching a 2-hour online course to help you get started with a backyard poultry flock.
Chickens naturally go into their coop to roost at dusk, but that’s about the time that many predators start hunting. When you’re not able to be home to close the coop door at the right time, your birds might be in danger. So, Mother Earth News is sponsoring a contest for the best design for a DIY automatic chicken coop door closer.
While others are fighting crowds in shopping malls on Friday, you can start choosing the breeds of chickens you’re going to raise in 2011. We’re excited to launch a new digital tool to help you sort through the options. It’s fun, practical and loaded with photos.
If you want a few hens for fresh eggs, but haven’t had the time (or money) to build a coop or chicken tractor, here’s your chance to win a free coop! The Handcrafted Coops portable chicken coop is an ark-style coop with space for three hens (or five bantams).
Last spring, I decided to raise my own free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. Here’s how that project turned out.
Lots of factors are involved in hatching poultry eggs successfully: consistent temperature, the right amount of humidity and frequently turning the eggs. Not all incubators work equally well, and some have features that make operating them easier. Read about our most recent incubator test.
Instead of using a heat lamps to brood just a few chicks, consider using a broody hen to do the job. This system takes less time to manage and uses no fossil fuels!
Many people who keep chickens or other poultry have concerns about how to manage their flock when cold weather sets in. But winter shouldn’t be a problem for your flock, but rather a steppingstone to the following year! Check your poultry often, follow these guidelines and you can even raise baby chicks in the winter! Tips from an expert.
This is a great collection of information and tips on raising poultry, chicken coops and hatching poultry eggs. You can learn about brooders, coops and poultry equipment.
We’re looking for the most effective and creative solar-heated waterer for chickens. If you’re creative and love to build useful projects, make a solar poultry waterer and try it out this winter. Then submit your design for our contest. We’ll publish the winning entry in the magazine, and the designer will win a free Brinsea incubator.
The Sustainable Poultry Network and Western Piedmont Community College have combined forces to create the American School of Sustainable Poultry Husbandry, an intensive poultry workshop for anyone interested in poultry production, marketing, breeding, hatching, cooking, etc.
Diana and Tony Varnes are the happiest they’ve ever been, and they attribute their well being to living in a small home. They have more time for reading, talking and enjoying the outdoors—and their relationship is better than ever.
Katie and Martin Clemons are resetting their priorities as they settle happily into a 480-square-foot apartment in Berlin. “Living smaller has taught us to live more simply,” Katie says. They bike more, shower less and enjoy their good life.
This unusual water-powered clock from Bedol is powered by salt and water.
The Bedol water-and-salt-powered clock runs for six months on a teaspoon of salt.
I’ve learned that gardening in small spaces can be challenging, but I’ve had great success with a Topsy Turvy tomato planter this year. Have you used similar products in your home? How do you handle gardening in small spaces?
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
Aggressive roosters are a nuisance and can be dangerous if they attack small children. Three simple methods can stop most aggressive behavior so that you can enjoy your entire flock of chickens, even the roosters.
Quails make an excellent urban choice for poultry raising, chiefly for their tranquil nature, minimal noise and egg-producing efficiency. In this, the second installment of my series on quail-raising, you'll learn how to identify gender from color and marks and see how quail eggs compare with those of chickens.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
There are many benefits to purchasing grass-fed eggs, but finding them is not always easy. Robert Plamondon suggests ideas and resources for making grass-fed eggs more available and popular.
Here are a series of short videos that show how to start raising free-range chickens with helpful information throughout the process.
The emotional realities of butchering and processing your own livestock.
Hens that lay white eggs are lighter weight and eat less feed to produce the same amount of eggs as brown-egg layers. So, does that mean that if you’re concerned about conserving resources and care about the environment, you should eat white chicken eggs instead of brown chicken eggs? Color is only shell deep. There’s more to this debate than meets the eye.
If you’re planning to buy a small backyard chicken coop to protect a few hens, you might be interested in this coop from GardenEggs.com.
The Community Chickens project is about sharing the joy of keeping poultry and spreading the knowledge to help people successfully raise chickens, ducks and other poultry. Here’s a summary of some things we’ve learned through the project.
I tested a new incubator against my old Styrofoam incubator. Find out which one is the best for incubating duck eggs. The difference was amazing.
How to avoid food poisoning from poultry, which is widely contaminated with Campylobacter.
We’ve compiled a list of chicken coops for your convenience.
Most Americans believe that cleaning products are required to list ingredients on labels. They're not. But Whole Foods is taking matters into its own hands with a color-coded rating system that holds manufacturers accountable for green claims.
How do you keep backyard chickens safe from poultry predators? With a bit of elbow grease and a few tips, your girls will be safe from sharp teeth.
Apartment Therapy's annual Small Cool contest, featuring homes of less than 1,000 square feet, is a gold mine for smart ideas that make tiny spaces elegant, graceful and liveable.
Karen and Tony Tipsword's rehabbed 720-square-foot cabin allows them the freedom and independence to live their dream of running a campground. "Being happy does not mean a large home filled with things," Karen says.
Small house builder Rich Daniels seeks to cluster 100 homes under 400 square feet in a former sawmill.
Follow these simple guidelines to make the most of your small space: contain clutter, find furnishings do double-duty, and make maximum use of color and light.
This year readers were concerned about bedbugs and greenwashing, and everyone wants to know more about smaller homes.
Help us find the small U.S. towns and cities that are getting it right for citizens and the environment.
Robert Plamondon's Norton Press has reprinted three homesteading classics: Ten Acres Enough, We Wanted a Farm and Gold in the Grass.
Poultry predators are one of the biggest concerns of owners of chickens and other poultry. Here are a few tips for fighting chicken enemies. Plus some thoughts on common wildlife that are not predators of chickens.
If you’re new to raising chickens, you might be a little intimidated setting up house for your new flock. Homesteader Jenna Woginrich offers a straightforward overview of getting started, from preparing a brooder to providing feed and water.
Hermann and Laura Weber are preparing to host their ninth annual pasture poultry seminar on their farm in Attica, N.Y. Speakers include Peter McDonald of Pasture Pride Farm, Dave Snyder from ADM Alliance Nutrition, Inc. and Brian Fleishman from the Wyoming County Chamber of Commerce and the Wyoming County Tourist Program. Contact the Webers for more information: 585-591-0795.
Over the years, we’ve had many experiences with injured and sick chickens. Sometimes the birds have pulled through, sometimes they have not.Such is truly the way of life.
What to do when the hot, humid days of summer create constant bickering in your children and in the flock.
Quail meat is making its comeback as there has been more of a demand due to the composition of the meat and exotic taste. Restaurants and grocery stores are supplying more quail meat to feed their consumers. There is a lack of producers, therefore education and encouragement is needed to increase the popularity further and meet the demands.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
Yes, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
Wondering when to buy chickens? February to June is the best time to buy baby chicks if you are interested in raising chickens, or if you are looking into getting different types of poultry. This timing not only helps the chicks, but will offer get deals for you. Also, check out the directory of hatcheries to make finding your poultry easier.
Cruel treatment is the norm in industrial poultry production. Consumers can help stop inhumane treatment by choosing to support local producers who do not put profit ahead of humane treatment.
Reasons why we like to shop at our local grocery.
What we have found as an advantage of having a rural hardware store close by.
A surprising number of amenities found in a small town complete with western hospitality.
Creating your own start-up is full of obstacles, but rewarding. MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Jessica Vaughan shares advice from her experience as a first-time small business owner who teaches clients how to grow organic produce.
Gary Chang's brilliant solution to making a 330-square-foot apartment work for his family was to create a sliding wall system that can be configured into 24 different rooms. You have to see this one to believe it.
Katie and Martin Clemons share how they make super-efficient use of every inch in their 36-square-foot kitchen. How much appliance do you really need?
A fresh, modern approach to keeping chickens- the perfect resource for newbies and seasoned pros!
Some people just do not want help! The frustrations of starting a business and attempting to offer professional help to community organizations.
One farm is able to combine cost savings, with energy sustainability by using a Savonius rotor.
Ranging in size from 528 square feet to 960 square feet, miniHomes are a combination of park model trailer, manufactured home and code-compliant residences that combine modern design with state-of-the-art building technology.
Learn three simple tips for making the most of small gardening spaces, including hanging plants and advice for selecting seed varieties.
Our guest blogger is positively enchanted by the convenience, not to mention the benefits, of keeping worms in the garden.
Before space beneath your grow light is needed for onions and other early seedlings, fill it with baby lettuce grown in translucent clamshell salad containers.
The original weeHouse prefabricated kit house is 435 efficiently designed square feet and comes with everything you need to live well. Need more space? You can snap together two or more of the modules to satisfy your needs.
Ryan Mitchell, founder of TheTinyLife.com, is saving up to pay cash for a 130-square-foot home on wheels in North Carolina. He’s seeking perspective, clarity—and a girlfriend who gets it.
Victoria Gazely considers her revitalized 650-square-foot homesteader’s cabin on 7 acres of fertile earth--purchased for $150--a blessing. “I absolutely love living here,” she says.
Families can now enhance their diet with Omega-3 fatty acids from their homegrown eggs.
Land O'Lakes Purina Feed helps address the lack of Omega-3, an essential fatty acid, in American’s diets with their latest innovative feed: Purina Layena Plus Omega-3.
The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.
Advice on how to get the most tender and flavorful meat from your chickens.
The morning started off with a decent lecture on poultry operation, production, and marketing. After a midday break, lectures resumed, this time being led by a different fellow, on the subject of free-range, humane certified broiler production. I won
Keeping birds on the farm; how we went from chicken havers to duck lovers.
Suggestions for the interior of your chicken house, including; feed storage, access to nest boxes, dividing the chicken-living area, and making a loft for storing bedding material.
Ever wondered about the real meaning behind terms like cage free, free range, and pasture raised?
MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
An aging goose gains a family.
Learn details regarding winter chicken care including ventilation for a cozy chicken house, heat for baby and grown chicks, and recommended poultry books.
Landscape designer Alma Hecht turned a tiny house into a welcoming home and studio with cozy outdoor "rooms" that extend her living space.
“For anyone considering downsizing, or considering a small starter home, we say just do it!” Linda Bolton says. “We promise you won’t miss a thing living in a thousand square feet or less. You’ll just have smaller headaches.”
Victoria Gazely lives in a 650-square-foot homesteader's cabin built by a man who didn't need closets. She's found five great ways to stash her stuff without renovating--and her solutions work for anyone who needs to hide a few things.
In support of the Obama Administration's all-of-the-above energy strategy, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced Nov. 19, 2012, 10 small business-led projects to speed solar energy innovation from the lab to the marketplace.
Jenna Woginrich writes about the beauty of Cold Antler Farm, a small homestead that she shares with Pig, her rabbits Benjamin and Doe and several chickens. Taking care of her animals on cold winter nights is a challenge for Woginrich, but one she gladly accepts armed with a water bottle and affection. Woginrich's modest barn provides shelter for her animals and a useful space to feel at home.
How the small town atmosphere can enhance your homesteading and living.
The author discusses setting up small-scale dairy for local, doorstep milk sales in Great Britain.
Living in possibly the best place in the USA.
How prepared ahead of time for remote living and what was required.
A short description of why we prefer small city living over large city living.
When he renovated his 816-square-foot condo in Boulder, Colorado, Greg Miller borrowed space-saving and efficiency solutions from his years of living on the road. Check out this video of his van, prepped for adventure.
Think your balcony's too tiny to provide food and fun? Check out Apartment Therapy's great tips for making the most of your outdoor space.
Is your patio short on space? Check out the Hot Pot BBQ, a grill that doubles as an herb planter.
A proper tea house is a luxury I believe in.
After working four jobs to make payments on their larger home, Debra and Gary downsized--to 320 square feet. The family lacks for nothing, and guests are always welcome. "I've got everything I need," Debra says. And their $20K house is paid off.
A Berkeley, California, artist has outfitted a dumpster with all the amenities--including granite countertops and hardwood floors--in his mission to "break down what a house should be."
Help save this small family farm in Michigan, and stand up for our right to live sustainably!
A brief announcement of a rare educational opportunity ... a wind turbine installation. We'll be installing a 2.5 kW Skystream wind turbine on a 127-foot tilt-up tower.
Anecdotal evidence from coast to coast indicates that Americans have had enough of granite countertops and whirlpool tubs. They want smaller homes with green finishes instead.
An experiment in urban gardening produces a melon miracle.
Watch this short video to hear how bicycle travel can save small town America.
We've had a few surprises as we travel the road of backyard chicken raising - some of them pleasant, some not so much. Here are a few things we've learned that might help you as you decide whether or not to get chickens for your backyard.
So, what makes a flock of poultry sustainable? What is standard-bred poultry? If you purchase chicks from a hatchery, are they true to the breed? Why does every hatchery sell Rhode Island Reds and they all look different? Why do the Cornish Cross meat chickens have so many problems? Raising standard poultry is the only true way to improve the sustainability of quality local food while preserving the strength of Heritage poultry.
The results of our latest nutrition tests show that eggs from hens raised on pasture (true free-range eggs) exceed commercially raised eggs in vitamin D content.
One locavore takes responsibility for raising and slaughtering her own chickens.
This tiny kit home--less than 90 square feet--is energy-independent and so well-designed that you'd never miss the space.
Christy Oates's brilliant fold-out furniture takes up virtually no floor space when it's not in use. It's the perfect solution for small homes--and a hopeful sign for the future of design.
In her new book, Micro-Green: Tiny Houses in Nature, Mimi Zeiger profiles 36 creative, innovative small dwellings that represent a "new, rich architectural typology." Here are eight great examples to start fueling your fantasies.
While many indications point to house size shrinking in America, National Public Radio reports that the McMansion is far from dead.
Talking about the new Chocolate Turkeys we saw on Saturday and how to properly plant into a kill mulch without doing much damage to the killing.
The roundwood truss system described here enables DIYers to build their own trusses at very low cost. You can gather truckloads of poles from national forests, enough for several small houses, for the cost of one $25 firewood permit.
This article describes an alternative roof design for those building in areas without building codes. A little extra effort working with poles will reward you with a stunningly beautiful wood ceiling and superinsulated roof at very reasonable cost.
If you have access to small diameter trees and wood pallets, and live in an area not restricted by building codes, then this truss design is one good low cost roof option. If you do all the work yourself, these trusses are virtually free.
After a tree crushed the back of their shotgun home (while 40 Hurricane Katrina refugees were camped out there), a Baton Rouge couple rebuilt a green, energy-efficient house that encourages connection with their neighborhood's "front porch" culture.
With no building experiment and only the information they found online as their guide, Kyle and Jeannie built a sweet little home on wheels. In this video, they share what they learned in the process and invite you inside.
With its newest offering, Tumbleweed Tiny House Company gives homebuyers the flexibility of a kit house with the fine craftsmanship they expect from the flagship small home builder.
A listing of companies that offer green dwellings in the form of modular, prefab, manufactured, compact, or mobile structures. These days, many such options are available that are not only green, but also beautiful, well-made, and often low-cost.
Breaking down the last week of homesteading we've done over at WaldenEffect.org, and the Top Bar project we started as well as talk on Brix, biodynamics, and Plant Secondary Metabolites. Also have details on an external frame backpack modification.
There's honey in the hive, peaches on the trees, and food on the table, but it's still a long way from self-sufficiency.