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?
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
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.
Richmond, Virginia, legalized chickens in 2013. Since then, cities and towns have joined in legalizing family flock. The organizers of the Richmond Home and Garden Show (one of the largest on the East Coast) wanted to feature chickens and offered us free booth space.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
A playhouse can be a physical structure or a place to escape to in your imagination. Tell us about your favorite playhouse.
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.
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
Raising chicks is easy as long as you pay attention to their needs for food, water, and housing. It also helps to learn their language.
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.
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.
It's not always easy to use natural remedies on your chickens. Here's a trick to keep up your sleeve that will have them begging for their medicine.
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.
If you're concerned about laws regarding keeping a few hens for eggs, take time to attend meetings on the topic.
Poultry producer turns manure into propane substitute with biochar as a byproduct.
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.
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.
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.
Chicken eggs usually hatch on the 21st day of incubation, but this hen hatched two chicks on the 23rd day.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It is deep winter and how are your chickens doing? Here are some quick and easy tips to get them through a cold snap.
Last spring, I decided to raise my own free-range turkey for Thanksgiving. Here’s how that project turned out.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
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.
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!
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.
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Help keep cages and water sources clean with Solway Feeder's horizontal watering nipples.
ChickenWaterer.com’s new app, the Cluck-ulator, is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.
This low-cost, easy-to-assemble fire pit from Instructables is made with concrete tree rings and rocks. Just add a grill and you've got the perfect backyard hangout, all for around $50.
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
A growing number of homeowners are realizing how useful chickens can be in the backyard: They offer pest control, fertilizer, comedy relief, and their business end doles out concentrated protein like a Pez dispenser. Unfortunately, novice chicken-owners can encounter problems when they expect more than chickens can deliver, either in food, companionship or general co-operation.
Learn the essential stages of chicken processing in this video guide that covers equipment, humane killing methods, plucking, eviscerating and everything you need to know to begin butchering chickens.
Are you new to backyard chickens? Raising chickens is easy once you get the hang of it, but a little knowledge will help you skip these beginner mistakes.
It takes a village to build a backyard chicken coop.
Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.
Is there such thing as a poultry pop star? If so, then I think I am one.
In our ever-growing quest to produce our own food we've acquired two egg-laying chickens!
No wonder hatching chicks and producing eggs is such a big business - take a look at the numbers since 1926.
What could be lurking in the commercial honey you buy? Maybe it’s not honey at all, and would you think honey is healthy if you knew it contained corn syrup? Let’s talk about how commercial honey is produced and why you might want to find a local source for raw honey.
Everyday families can now provide much of their fresh vegetables using Aquaponics. Aquaponics is the production of edible fish and vegetables growing in a drought proof, no weed, back saving growing system.
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.
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.
Raising baby coturnix quail is an exciting adventure. Taylor is completely new to raising poultry and shares his experiences.
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.
Keep chicken water clean with this innovative watering design.
The emotional realities of butchering and processing your own livestock.
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.
Getting your very first chicks is an exciting experience and a very big step for most first-time homesteaders. Here is some advice for enjoying your new additions and avoiding any potential problems.
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.
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.
We’re trying out several incubators with chicken, duck and quail hatching eggs.
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.
Here are a series of short videos that show how to start raising free-range chickens with helpful information throughout the process.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
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.
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.
How to avoid food poisoning from poultry, which is widely contaminated with Campylobacter.
We’ve compiled a list of chicken coops for your convenience.
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.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
One week after moving our chickens, there now stands a chicken “duck and cover” shelter for them to dive under in the event of a hawk attack. It’s not perfect as a strategy, and the hawk may still get a chicken or two. But these magnificent birds crave a greater measure of freedom than they have in their chicken tractors, and I aim to see that they get it.
We strongly support keeping a few chickens (hens only) within city limits. Feel free to use this statement if you're working to get an ordinance passed to allow chickens in your city.
In preparation for a large chicken harvest later in the season, a few homesteaders perform a trial run to test their chicken harvesting capabilities.
Homestead spring projects include honey bees, Dorking chickens, Ancona ducks, Narragansett turkeys, Dutch Belted calf, Red-Wattle hogs, the incubator, pruning fruit trees,starting seeds, and heirloom plants so we can eat healthful and delicious food all year.
To create a chicken tractor that will keep both you and your hens happy, you'll want to focus on weight, shelter, doors, handles, and more.
On-going series on my family's efforts to raise urban chickens in our Minneapolis backyard.
Temporary brooder setup for CSP, chicks in Gossamer Foundation's office (in February).
Two Ogden Publications employees turned beekeeping beginners seperate the honey from the comb in the MOTHER EARTH NEWS parking lot. Thier backyard hives are only four miles away for making sweet, local honey.
Need to get your kids out of the house? Learn how to build your own playground and give them a convenient place for outdoor playtime.
How do you find the best chicken coop design for your new flock? We'll help you walk through the evaluation process AND get a free analysis spreadsheet to help you decide.
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.
It is officially spring at The Pomponio Homestead despite the icy drizzle and the date. I asked the universe, and it delivered - three hens.
When I asked some chicken-keeping friends what they wished they'd known about chickens when they first got started, the answers were varied.
When a chicken dies suddenly for no obvious reason, it's unsettling. But it's not uncommon. Here are some possible causes for that sudden death in your otherwise healthy flock.
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.
Yes, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
Robert Plamondon's Norton Press has reprinted three homesteading classics: Ten Acres Enough, We Wanted a Farm and Gold in the Grass.
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.
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.
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.
Honey from our backyard bees provide us with a sweetener, but just as important, honey has many health benefits.
The Blacked-capped Chickadee, a frequent visitor to backyard bird feeders, loses a surprising amount of weight each night. Don't try this diet!
It is not difficult to set up a backyard hoop house to extend your growing season. The result is abundant, delicious greens and extra months with your hands in the soil. Share information here on backyard hoop house gardening and cuisine.
Cities such as Seattle and Portland, Oregon, are accommodating swelling populations by allowing backyard cottages in existing neighborhoods. The units accommodate renters, elderly relatives and even ex-spouses. Could they make a difference?
Boy! Did I learn my lesson when I left our young pullets out back with our trusted dogs. I'll never do that again.
To benefit from the meat of backyard chickens, one must learn to process them. This includes how to kill, scald, pluck, and eviscerate, and then get them into the freezer. This article describes how we are learning to improving this process.
Ever wondered about the real meaning behind terms like cage free, free range, and pasture raised?
An aging goose gains a family.
With just about every breed of standard bred, heritage poultry, we have work to do. They are not producing like they once were.
Our first trip to the New England Meat Conference and some of the lessons we learned.
This pentagonal structure was costly and tricky to build, but the finished structure is both beautiful and functional.
Pickled duck eggs pair well with Asian flavors in this easy recipe.
Families can now enhance their diet with Omega-3 fatty acids from their homegrown eggs.
Advice on how to get the most tender and flavorful meat from your chickens.
Keeping birds on the farm; how we went from chicken havers to duck lovers.
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
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.
Like many things related to food, the free-range label misleads customers, so we explore the differences between free-range and pasture-raised.
Our quest to make pasture egg collection more efficient.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
Learn details regarding winter chicken care including ventilation for a cozy chicken house, heat for baby and grown chicks, and recommended poultry books.
Chickens - how do you know if you’re the ‘chicken type’? If you’re pondering a backyard flock, there are a few questions you need to ask yourself.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
What’s your idea of a delicious and wholesome breakfast? A fluffy, organic egg omelet made with fresh vegetables? Perhaps scrambled eggs and roasted garden veggies? No matter what your preference, it may surprise you to learn the link between the
Describes a method of keeping red wiggler worms active and productive outside throughout the winter. Describes a method of sheltering and heating the worms using an active compost pile for heat and clear plastic glazing for shelter.
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.
Consumer Reports has stated that it recently found arsenic in food, The United States' rice supply is contaminated with this "group 1" carcinogenic.
One locavore takes responsibility for raising and slaughtering her own chickens.
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.
This week at Polyface Farm was a lot of fence installation, turkey processing and the making of some major life choices for some of my fellow interns.
Alexander Goldberg’s first blog post, introducing himself, his chickens and his concerns for rare and endangered breeds of poultry. Alexander talks about poultry shows, his work with 4H and support for the Livestock Conservancy.
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.
This is a true account of an end of life journey. A beautiful backyard Burial and all the steps that were taken in order to do it. This story is written in two parts, part two will be posted next week.
YIKES! What to do when you've planted too many veggies? Is your garden producing more than one family can eat? Sure, you can give it away. But wait! Try pickling those garden gems. This way, you'll be able to enjoy them through the winter and beyond!
Ira Wallace explores good winter gardening reads, gives advice on how to use the winter lull wisely to plan and prepare, and shares an update in the ongoing court battle to protect family farmers from agri-giant Monsanto.
So, what do you do if you neglected to start your veggies way back in January or February? You had good intentions but there always seemed to be something that stole your attention. Now it’s the planting season and you have nothing to plant...
My first blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS takes me back to a time when I didn't know I had a love of gardening. One of my first gardening experiences came during an unlikely encounter with my curmudgeon grandfather.
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.
Growing Local Food is a new book that encompasses all the needed basics to grow plants, keep heritage breed animals and bees. The author is a homesteader and physician who gives the readers the basic information to grow or find nutritious, local food
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.