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.
Chickens love green feeds, such as grass, clover and alfalfa. You can preserve grass or other crops for winter by making silage in garbage bags or other small plastic bags. Small scale silage production is easy, and you don’t need to invest in special equipment, plus your chickens will have green feed all winter long.
Poultry expert Robert Plamonden explains how you can save some cash by offering poultry whole corn or wheat to supplement their usual feed.
Keeping a few chickens for eggs is easy. Start right with advice from an expert.
Chickens make fun pets. Some people are even making sweaters, hats and diapers for them.
Deciding on and finding the best breeds of chickens for you.
Some hens lay lots of eggs, but never sit on them to hatch them. If you want a hen to hatch eggs, is there anything you can do to encourage her to sit on the eggs? We asked our poultry advisory group about their experiences. They had good advice about what will work and what does not.
This collection of rare and historic poultry books offers an amazing amount of information on poultry.
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?
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.
Bob Berry owns a small hatchery business that specializes in two old breeds of chickens. He offers suggestions for incubating eggs and starting chicks that are shipped through the mail.
Hatching eggs using natural or artificial incubation is great fun, but there are no guarantees. Things can go wrong with either system.
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!
Advice on how to find eggs that are truly healthy and humanely raised.
Discuss the strange and mysterious ways of broody hens. Plus, the Community Chickens project will be hatching duck eggs!
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.
Our expert gives advice on finding the best chicken breed for free-range eggs.
Finding out how much manure an average chicken produces is a challenge.
Try these six tips to prevent chickens from eating their eggs.
If you raise free-range poultry, you're likely to lose some birds to predators, but you can minimize your losses. Here are some tips that can help protect your chickens from hawks and owls.
Chickens can handle the cold, but you might need to evaluate their water access.
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.
Modern, commercial hybrid hens lay 300 to 320 eggs a year, and they consume less feed. Will using the same high-production strains of chickens in cage-free environment cause more cannibalism? There are several rational methods of raising chickens.
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.
Chickens who begin life as housepets don't take kindly to being banished to the outdoors. What is the likelihood of indoor hens producing fresher, tastier eggs?
Catching and moving chickens is a cinch if you train them from the start and use these chicken-catching tips.
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.
Cornish cross and heritage chickens are two types of chickens often used for meat. There’s considerable debate about which tastes better, which is easier to raise and which is more “ethical.”
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.
We’re testing incubators, equipment and feed for the Community Chickens project.
Does turning eggs frequently during incubation improve hatch rates? Can storing the eggs before incubating them lower the hatch rate? Find out what we learned from our experiment hatching pheasant eggs.
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.
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.
If you're looking for eggs with the highest nutrient content, seek out eggs from pastured poultry. Here's why these eggs are the healthiest, as well as more information for people who want to raise birds on pasture.
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.
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.
Learn how chickens and gardens make a great mix.
Introducing our new chickens.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
There are advantages to keeping track of the cost of keeping chickens as well as the benefits. Here's a cost/benefit analysis from our own experience.
Advice from a sustainable farming expert on how to get started with livestock on a small piece of land.
An enthusiastic family helps a rare breed of chickens settle into their new home, thanks to MOTHER EARTH NEWS and American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.
Planning and preparation kept our backyard chickens happy and healthy in our harsh Northern winter.
Some wisdom for chicken owners who are just getting started, from a chicken owner who is still getting started.
Free-range chickens will naturally return to their chicken coop at night. Learn how to train your free-range chickens to return to their roost at any time of day by using kitchen scraps.
I keep chickens, and my rooster is driving me crazy. He always wants to fight me What’s the best way to deal with an aggressive bird? People often tell me, “I went out to the chicken yard to collect eggs,
Which is your favorite hatchery and why? If you need help finding a poultry hatchery or baby chicks, we have some resources for you.
Low temperatures won't prevent you from successfully brooding baby chicks. Following these basic rules, even brooding chicks in negative temperatures is possible.
Choosing from among various heritage breeds can be tough, but finding a breeder can be even tougher. The Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities’ Breeders Directory is a resource to make finding reputable chicken breeders easier.
Our 4 eggs a day suddenly became just one egg a day and so we had a mystery to solve!
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.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence reviews the latest proposals banning urban chicken farming.
Coops are nececessary to protect chickens from cold weather and predators. Here are some guidelines to help you set up suitable housing for your chickens, including coop type and size, ventilation, heating and nest boxes.
A chicken describes a typical day of treats at Sunflower Farm.
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.
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.
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.
Consider these simple steps for making your backyard flock-friendly.
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).
How I got the chickens I wanted, but didn't know I was getting.
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.
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.
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.
The Pickin’ Chicken iPhone/iPad app from MOTHER EARTH NEWS helps you select the perfect chicken breed by allowing you to search for desired traits from 82 breeds and more than 100 varieties. You can even select either “heritage” or “endangered” breeds from the list by tapping a button. Descriptions include free-range foraging ability, purpose (eggs, meat or both), egg size, growth rate, mothering ability, place of origin, conservation status and more.
It's possible to live without chickens in your back yard. But why would you want to?
We've added a rooster to our small flock and he's fitting in just fine!
ChickenWaterer.com’s new app, the Cluck-ulator, is available for iPhone and Android smartphones.
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.
Four new hens joined the flock at Sunflower Farm and it has taken some time to re-establish the pecking order.
It is deep winter and how are your chickens doing? Here are some quick and easy tips to get them through a cold snap.
An established chicken keeper explains how easy it is to purchase baby chickens from poultry hatcheries.
Advice on how to get the most tender and flavorful meat from your chickens.
The Humane Society of the United States and the United Egg Producers agreed to work together to pass federal legislation for better treatment for the country’s egg-laying hens. While the slightly larger, furnished cages are an improvement for chickens in industrial egg production, you can support animal welfare and get more nutritious eggs by buying pastured eggs from local farmers or raising chickens yourself.
You can organize and track your poultry’s hatch rates by using this helpful spreadsheet created by MOTHER EARTH NEWS reader Terry Standard.
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.
Cross-state travel, early chicks, a rescue rabbit and pork — all in one week!
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.
Cam thinks his chickens resemble Captain Jack Sparrow. Has he been spending too much time in the sun?
Cam and Michelle enjoy having their first "HelpX" volunteers to help out in the gardens!
Cam gives an update on his new chickens!
Good Shepherd Poultry Ranch announces the heritage chicken cooking competition. With the right recipe for whole-bird, cut-up, de-boned or barbequed heritage chicken, you could win $1,000. Plus, you'd be contibuting to a worthy cause — promoting heritage breeds.
Here are a series of short videos that show how to start raising free-range chickens with helpful information throughout the process.
Vickie Evans describes her grandparents’ life in Winfred during the Depression and the years following. Both came from farming families and used their land and farming knowledge to help the local community.
Coffee bean chaff — the light, airy husks blown off the beans during roasting, can be used as chicken coop litter, mulch and compost. Chaff can usually be found for free at local roasteries.
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 determine the chickens you process.
The cold weather is hitting Virginia early this year and it's time to winterize!
Manure-spreading day is a big event on the farm, for everyone from the chickens to the border collies. And it's part of a wonderful seasonal cycle that's the foundation of self-reliance and sustainability.
Did attending the Fair make you want to go out back and start building a chicken coop? If you've gotten far enough in your chicken-keeping research to look at specific breeds, look no further than the Mother Earth News Pickin' Chicken app.
Cam found a way to expand his chicken coop without spending a lot!
We’ve compiled a list of chicken coops for your convenience.
Cam shares six important lessons that he has learned from his chickens.
Avian Influenza has been detected in five western states. There are several steps you can take to protect your backyard chickens, and one simple way to find out if you, as an urban hen keeper, are at risk.
Backyard chickens have become the new thing for country folk and the urban folk - but as with anything, there's the good, the bad, and the ugly. Here are a few things to consider before diving head first into your new chicken keeper adventure.
Cam shares his thoughts about one of his elderly "ladies" who seems wise beyond her chicken years!
It can happen to the best of us, and the worst of us. But rather than using chemical powders and unnecessary medicines, here are a few ways to get rid of chicken lice completely all natural.
We hatched our first batch of Icelandic Chickens this past fall, and what a treat they have been. Follow our journey through the first 5 months.
Heritage breed chickens are more nutritious and flavorful than store-bought chicken, but require different cooking techniques. Learn different methods of cooking different age and different breeds of chickens.
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
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
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.
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.
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.
You don't have to stick to corn and soybeans to nourish your flock. Chickens enjoy a variety of foods, including mulberries, worms and Japanese beetles.
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 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.
HOMEGROWN Life blogger and Bay Area homesteader Rachel shares how she built a cheap greenhouse out of mostly scavenged materials - and how you can, too.
It takes a village to build a backyard chicken coop.
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.
New baby chicks for our backyard urban chicken 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.
Cam discovers that his chickens have unique personalities....
When our chicks arrived, we had no idea how much we had to learn about how to raise baby chicks. Nor did we know how much the books couldn't tell us.
Yes, spring is finally here. Time to start farming.
From backyard chickens to hemp grown in the U.S.A., Natural Home readers were concerned with a wide variety of interests in 2009. These 10 issues top the list.
Is there such thing as a poultry pop star? If so, then I think I am one.
Lyanda Haupt talks about the challenges and rewards of protecting her chickens and garden from local wildlife.
In our ever-growing quest to produce our own food we've acquired two egg-laying 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.
Looking after your chickens in the winter and cutting with a solar-powered electric chainsaw.
Starting a chicken flock and researching the Ameraucana chicken breed.
No wonder hatching chicks and producing eggs is such a big business - take a look at the numbers since 1926.
Contrary to popular belief, most breeds are very well equipped to deal with the cold. But good husbandry skills will ensure very little frostbite irritation for your rooster and other large-combed chicken breeds. This blog post is about protecting your chickens' comb, but frostbite can also afflict the feet, mainly on snowy days.
Just how many eggs can a chicken lay? The answer depends on several factors. Learn which choices you make can affect your hens’ egg production.
Each year, the success rate for hens hatching and raising chicks at Rancho Cappuccino contines to increase, and it seems there's more than luck at play. Read about watching natural selection in action on the farm.
Cam sees the bright side of having to deal with a flat tire.
Cam's wife Michelle considers the economics of keeping egg laying chickens.
Cam notices how many chicken-related expressions we use in our every day language!
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.
I took some of my Sumatra Chickens to two poultry shows and this is what happened.
For first-time chicken owners (or even for experienced chicken enthusiasts), selecting, purchasing, and preparing for your home chicken flock can seem like a daunting task. After thirty years of raising chickens, here’s Forrest Pritchard’s personal guide to ensure your new flock remains safely tucked beneath your wing so you can start a flock of chickens without worry.
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 often get deals for you. Also, check out the directory of hatcheries to make finding your poultry easier.
Nankins are a rare breed of bantam chickens that are a worthwhile addition to the backyard flock.
The sun is shining, the breeze is starting to warm, but there's still three feet of snow outside. It's driving you crazy — why can't spring get here now? Well, you're not the only one because those chickens have cabin fever too!
Do you count yourself among the chicken-obsessed? Prepare to be truly impressed. In this blog, Jeannette Beranger of The Livestock Conservancy takes you on a photo tour of just a few of the eye-popping breeds found at Greenfire Farms in Havana, Florida.
This story recounts one father's hard work to help his family survive by raising chickens and farming during the Great Depression. The author also describes his family-owned homemade brooder house, which helped shelter the chickens that provided meat and eggs during hard times.
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
Geoff Taylor remembers a quality discussion with his cat, in which the amazing benefits of owning free-range chickens are the primary topic.
A brief summary of the vast amount of data we've compiled over the last few years on experimenting with rotational chicken pastures on our homestead.
Short stories about our chicken experiences
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.
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.
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.
Deep litter coop management keeps chickens happy and healthy, and it’s easier for you.
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.
The best sources of chicken nutrition, as outlined by specialist Jeff mattocks, include feeding birds whole wheat and field peas, and providing them space to peck on a polyculture pasture.
On-going series on my family's efforts to raise urban chickens in our Minneapolis backyard.
Feeding chickens sustainably means keeping them healthy by using a combination of free-range, good-quality commercial food, supplementing their diet with garden produce and perhaps even mixing your own poultry food.
Our chickens aren't fond of the snow and the wind, but we found a way to let them enjoy the sunshine from the comfort of their coop!
Temporary brooder setup for CSP, chicks in Gossamer Foundation's office (in February).
This blog post covers receiving baby chicks by mail, minimizing chick starve-out, brooder waterers and feeders, and getting chicks contentedly settled in.
This pentagonal structure was costly and tricky to build, but the finished structure is both beautiful and functional.
Announcing our new webcam that will be showing the latest flock of new born chicks in all their cute and feathery glory.
The level of interest in chicken ownership indicated among non-owners could potentially double ownership levels in the next 12 months.
A summary of our quest to find non-medicated chicken feed that has higher quality ingredients than the typical feed store bag of chicken food.
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.
Columnist Ann Fisher writes about the unfair animal ordinances in Worthington, Ohio, which may surprise chicken owners.
If you’re the first of your friends to move to the country, get some chickens and plant an organic garden there will be some inevitable social fallout.
How both we and the chickens have gotten better at surviving the cold winters where we live.
A Grade 1 group come through the farm for a tour
Mark fenced in a new chicken pasture in the hot sun, an experience that was made possible by his homemade solar fan hat. Meanwhile, I played with scythes and bees and maps.
This durable, puncture and tear-resistant chicken saddle will protect free-range chickens from pecking, cannibalistic behavior and predators.
Leaving the rental home we had lived in for three years in Carmel Indiana, to move back to Kangaroo Valley, Australia has meant more than losing the plot and getting the flock out of there!
A lesson learned in not counting your chickens before they're hatched
I am new to America, and new to the suburbs, having previously lived in rural Australia. I now live in suburban Indiana. During the past two years I have been trying to set up an "urban homestead" for our family. The neighbors are curious and amused.
Like many things related to food, the free-range label misleads customers, so we explore the differences between free-range and pasture-raised.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
An anecdote that illustrates a few of the realities of farm life and raising livestock.
Life with goats, sheep, cows, chickens and other livestock isn't all roses. Publisher Bryan Welch considers the value of finding and keeping the right partner for tackling life on the farm, goose poop and all.
MOTHER EARTH NEWS interviewed poultry advocate Oprah HenFree at the MOTHER EARTH NEWS FAIR.
I started my poultry quest way too early for New Englanders: January! I marked my calendar in red and drew childish pictures of a chicken on the calendar blocks. I was as impatient as a 6-year-old waiting for Christmas morning.
When I first got chickens many years ago I had two initial goals: to let my flock roam free range and live as close as possible to how they would naturally, and to build my soil with their manure.
A few years ago the ALBC launched its Heritage Chicken promotion; if you’d like to get involved, here’s what you need to know.
Meet Amelia, Honey, and Tilda — an Ameraucana, Buff Orpington, and Rhode Island Red, respectively. We keep our little flock of three in an Eglu, which has an egg-shaped hen house attached to a wire-enclosed run.
‘Pluck A Lotta Chickens: A Live Demonstration’ was in the Timberstone Room, which holds several hundred people. I sat second row, center. Once they started the process, it wasn’t nearly as bizarre as I thought it was going to be.
At Green Roof Growers in Chicago, Little Green Girl takes a field trip to the new chicken coop. Holding chickens, meeting the puppy Carl, and visiting the chickens' new home are all part of the fun.
Some of the downside of free ranging your chickens.
Real life experiences with chickens spanning a 50 year period.
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.
The last week of the month has been a busy one with are preparations for the ending of winter and the start of a new growing season. We've got some details on a new cover crop and why we choose and simple composting toilet system compared to others.
Talking about the excitement of Anna's new book cover that we got to preview from the publisher this past week and the anxiety of our new born chicks as they go out into the big world. Also have some details on how to make your own cleft graft.
We're gearing up for spring on our southwest Virginia farm, planning the garden, pruning the perennials, and getting ready to raise bees, broilers, and mushrooms.
Our experiments with an Alaskan small log mill attached to our chainsaw had variable results making planks from downed trees.
Talking about how to make a DIY electric fence wire holder and how we got a tailgate transplant for around 150 dollars and some signs of spring.
These nifty watering nipples can be added to a chicken waterer to keep your flock’s water free of debris.
These two structures for creating a sustainable homestead are not often associated, but with the right planning they can be integrated into a single multi-use structure that enhances both environments. A greenhouse/chicken coop becomes a year-round food-producing machine, giving you a bounty of fruits, vegetables and protein all in one.
Summing up pasture data where it relates to chickens and customizing land to better suit poultry and their behavior and stomachs. Measuring oil viscosity levels and rescuing a trailer with a portable winch were some of our favorite things.
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.
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.
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.
The arrival of our first chickens and pigs to the farm, and prepping to head off to my summer internship at Polyface Farm
Edamame soybeans are tough,fast-maturing plants that can withstand extreme garden conditions. They have few problems with disease or insect pests. The green pods are delicious and high in protein, and make a good addition to an edible landscape.
Use of a mobile chicken tractors allows us to keep the birds on fresh ground and stay on top of the weeds.
Trying to sum up a few of the lesson learned while figuring out the best way to incubate and hatch cute chicks.
Robert White is remaking himself as a farmer, and will return to his family's land to start a market garden. Here's why.
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.
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.
Why raise chickens? Because they’re the pet that makes you breakfast.
Nobody can resist fluffy baby chicks, so what would be better than hatching your own? Let us put your mind at rest and make your first time incubating an enjoyable experience you will want to repeat.
Boy! Did I learn my lesson when I left our young pullets out back with our trusted dogs. I'll never do that again.
How to define an egg shed? Let’s look at the definition of watershed to give the egg shed concept more shape. A watershed is defined by the Environmental Protection Agency as: “The area of land where all of the water that is under it, or drains off of it, goes into the same place”. Based on the definition of a watershed, an egg shed could be defined as: the eggs produced within a certain distance that go to a specific place. That place could be your kitchen.
We're lucky to be able to live the way we do, even when we feel like we're melting
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.
Finally getting the barn roof repair project started was a big deal for us as well as a few other things that are worth checking out if you are interested in modern homesteading.
Talking about the recent past week where we got several items crossed off the Spring to-do list and managed to have some fun while doing it complete with pictures to illustrate the good times.
A brief announcement of the new Permaculture chicken ebook series that starts with chicken egg incubation.
My garden started out as just a need for feeding my family in the summer months. Over time, it not only needed to feed my family, but needed protection from various critters—including backyard chickens—that inhabit my yard. Learn how to construct raised beds, install shade cloth and build a fence to protect your plants.
Springtime on the homestead is all about timing--getting those colorful eggs into the incubator, sneaking in a crop of spinach in the high tunnel, but also being on-the-ready for lambing season!
For those of us who hate to use chemicals in our gardens, in our homes, or with our livestock and pets, diatomaceous earth may be a safe and efficient substitute. It may worm your animals, rid them of fleas and lice and even handle indoor pests.
The Classy Coop Giveaway grand prize was given a good home with our contest winner and her backyard chickens. We were happy to see this mobile chicken coop is already being broken in. Bring on the eggs!
An update to the refrigerator root cellar and how the Thermo Cube is keeping it from dipping below the freezing point and how we decided to start a terrace system to make more flat spots in a chicken pasture that's on a hillside that is steep.
Protecting the fig tree for the winter felt like putting it to bed for a long sleep. Chopping wood with the Chopper 1 is a thing of joy and beauty and that's no joke. Do it yourself corn bin helped our neighbor keep the racoons out.
Announcing our new automatic chicken feeder contest and how some lucky person could win a 10 pack diy kit or 3 premade watering units.
Talking about the back up generator failure along with recent golf cart modifications.
Porch building tips along with deer pressure notes and golf cart pickup bed instructions.Throw in a 5 foot high chicken wire fence and a rare appearance from a normally camera shy cat named Strider and you've got an idea of what we've been up to.
Clipping the wing of a troublesome hen and tasting the first Chicago hardy figs was really great, but what was even more fantastic was seeing Anna's new book arrive and how beautiful it looks.
Describing how to look up tax maps, cutting carrots, and deleting problem tomato plants that only produce insipid fruit. The main attraction this week is our Power Plucker review and how awesome this new product is at saving time when plucking.
Crushing a truck, harvesting garlic, and fixing a broken flywheel shaft key are just a few of the things that got done over the last week at WaldenEffect.org complete with photos of all the juicy stuff.
Announcing an opportunity to get Anna's new Ebook for free today at Amazon on the subject of homesteading in a mobile home otherwise known as a trailer.
Summing up the last week of activity by hitting on a few key stories that might prove note worthy to a few of the homesteading folks out there complete with photo montage of golf cart jousting and aquaponic trout.
Using oil seed radishes to add organic matter to the ground and attracting native pollinators with a nest site. Harvesting sweet potato seeds if we're lucky and admiring the parasitic wasp's ability to lay white egg sacs into the body of a horn worm
Describing how we are trying to provide a low budget solar panel back up system for under 1000 dollars that will run our laptops and router along with a few other things if the local power grid has any issues.
Building the Cadillac of worm bins, a new barn door, testing the new garlic curing rack, harvesting big potato onions, mulching blueberries, and fabricating a low budget easy to build automatic chicken coop door opener and closer from easy find parts
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!
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.
Top bar hive modifications, turkey traps, and gourmet potatoes are just a few of the topics covered in the past week of blogging we've been up to. Homesteading healthcare and a new virtual book club round off the week with several reader comments.
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
A little background on how Ric and Vicki moved from Detroit to a Tennessee homestead, and starting to get up to date on what they've done since.
How a born and bred city boy came to leave Detroit, start a Tennessee homestead with his wife, and blog about it here.