raising livestock





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8/15/2016
This post is for people thinking about, or just beginning, to keep a backyard flock of chickens. Perhaps you’re like us — you wish you had chickens and feel that your sustainable, self-reliant life wouldn’t be complete without some hens clucking and pecking around your back yard. However, you’re a little intimidated by actually jumping in. Here’s my two cents, after several years of raising chickens under our belts.
8/5/2016
This is the fifth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers considerations for how to raise goats on your homestead, including research strategies, space planning, herd management, the fundamentals of milking goats, pasture development, and making cheese and yogurt.
8/3/2016
When starting a farm business, make sure you know your states rules and regulations. You can contact your states Department of Agriculture and/or your county Cooperative Extension Agency for info. Make sure you know what you need to know about the basic safety and maintenance of goats to begin with: What are their needs when it comes to health, shelter, food, etc., and what are concerns such as plant toxins and predators?
7/27/2016
Goat rentals are a good way to "value-add" your goat herd, as well as provide additional rotational-grazing space. But, sometimes you run into problems. This blog series about how we started our rotational-grazing goat-rental service wil outline what some of those problems are and how to deal with them.
7/26/2016
The revitalization of the “Back-to-Basics” movement has brought with it the old-world skills that the pioneers once used to survive, but with a modern-day twist. While no longer essential to survival, these skills are now being used by modern homesteaders to gain their freedom from dependence.
7/26/2016
If you enjoy livestock and are comfortable marketing to customers, there’s a lot of money to be made in the (live) stock market. And it’s a safe market that’s always in demand.
7/21/2016
We can argue about how to raise chicks all day, but when it actually comes down to how mama hen and nature do it, no one is going to tell her how she can and can’t do it. Here’s what my Mama Hen is currently teaching this homesteader about raising chicks on our homestead.
7/21/2016
Having an area properly prepared for your new chicks or ducklings is important in making sure they grow up healthy and safe. For some, it is easiest to use an old dog crate or a plastic tote and outfit it for the occasion, but if you are going to be getting new poultry regularly or annually, it is often best to build a brooder specifically for raising your young birds.
7/7/2016
Rabbits are a low-cost, minimal-effort way to start producing your own meat. And the best part? They can be raised just about anywhere.
7/5/2016
This is the fourth blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers animal feed sources for homesteaders and highlights the importance of a good friend and family support networks as part of your homestead continuity plan.
7/5/2016
We just love everything about the Berkshire pig — so we decided we would raise a breeding pair and produce heritage-breed piglets. Berkshire pigs are gentle enough to pasture with other animals and can be trained to harness/lead.
6/23/2016
Getting ready for goats means setting up a stall and pasture and making sure you have all the right food for them.
6/14/2016
This is the third blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers ideas for starting an edible landscape on your homestead including: soil improvement, cover crops, perennials, attracting beneficial insects, and home-based food production.
6/7/2016
Chickens have always been a trademark of farm life and recently have gained popularity with backyard farmers looking to take out the middleman between themselves and fresh eggs. They’re funny looking feathered friends with distinct personalities and some unusual antics you might not know about if you are just getting into poultry. Their quirky behavior can have some interesting origins.
6/6/2016
You've heard of a one-horse town? Well, we are a one-goat micro-dairy! That doesn't mean we only have one goat to milk, but that our milking parlor is set up to take only one goat in at a time for feeding and milking. Here is a story about a little goat kid who wouldn't give up so, how could we?
6/2/2016
How we manage our small flock of urban chickens for maximum health and happiness for all concerned.
5/26/2016
Farm life has its risks and we don't need to add to them by acting in unsafe ways. Read more for 10 Simple Ways we follow here on Serenity Acres Farm to keep us safe.
5/25/2016
Ok, the hens are off, but now it's time to clean the coop. Yup...my favorite. Get on your grubbies and join the dust bowl!
5/25/2016
Monticello’s gardens and orchards are world-famous for the fruit and vegetable production. Interestingly, among all his writings, there is very little included by Mr. Jefferson about keeping poultry. But what breeds of chickens might have been on Mulberry Row
5/24/2016
Your hens are supposed to lay eggs this morning, but she isn't. What happened to her? Should I worried? What can I do about it? This article answer your frustration.
5/23/2016
Spring has sprung - time to get the hens into their summer mobile chicken coops. A nice afternoon project, right? Well, you know how those "5-minute jobs" go — they always seem to multiply. Learn how we manage chickens in mobile coops on pasture.
5/23/2016
A rare treat, goose eggs are prized for their large yolks and tough shells.
5/18/2016
Rotational grazing can reduce the parasite load of goats, but this is difficult to accomplish with a dairy herd which needs to return to the same location every day for milking. On our homestead, we developed a rotational shelter and management system that allowed us to keep the herd on pasture 24/7 during the warm season. This significantly reduced our reliance on chemical de-wormers and helped us feel better about the quality of our milk and our soils.
5/17/2016
Ruminants have been maligned for causing desertification and worsening climate change, but when we emulate the way nature designed herds to graze, the result is a rapid improvement in soil, forage and animal health. Our planet's health is also improved because rotational and mob-grazing takes atmospheric carbon and stores it as organic topsoil.
5/12/2016
I gave you five things you should consider when building your chicken coop in the first part of this blog series. Here are the remaining few points that you should take into consideration when building your fluffy chicken friends their perfect home.
5/11/2016
An automatic gate opener is a great example of how simple and convenient it can be to use solar panels to power all of its tools and equipment. You can also get a 30% federal residential tax credit toward the cost of a new solar powered gate opener, accessories and installation, as long as you do it before December of this year.
5/1/2016
For the uninitiated, slaughtering animals is a repulsive thought. Our forebears thought nothing of it — and neither would people today if we were not so alienated from our own food production. But this is not to say that we should be unfeeling about our animals. Humane treatment is a moral imperative, and also ensures meat quality: Stressing animals at slaughter time compromises the meat in numerous ways — even making it inedible.
4/28/2016
Goat packers who have goats with horns that have become an issue around the home or farm is that, depending on age and sexual hormone levels, there may be options less dire than surgical complete dehorning or banding at the base of the horn, which compromises your pack goat’s defensive capability and confidence on the trail. Certainly talk to at least two vets before committing to any plan of action regarding full removal of horns from goats over the age of 6 months old.
4/25/2016
Easy to produce and good for your health, eggs are a universal food. Here are some things you might not know about this versatile food.
4/19/2016
It's tax season! Dyan of Bittersweet Heritage Farm is crunching the numbers, prompting a discussion about what farming means to her.
4/18/2016
Building a chicken coop is a big deal. It is something that will remain on your property for years to come. It is the beginning of turning your yard into your own ‘starter homesteader.’ But wait — there are a few things you should take into consideration before you break ground on your new friends’ home.
4/15/2016
Spring is a common time to wean calves, but as any animal caregiver knows there's more to weaning than just separating the calf from its dam. When we wean calves, our preparation tasks must start several weeks earlier. We fence line wean to lower their stress and give calves a healthy start.
4/14/2016
A community of smaller portable chicken coops are better than one, big, stationary one. Download building plans for a solar heated design that’s also great in hot climates.
4/11/2016
The sheep are puffy balls of wool, but spring is coming, and with it one of the "rights of passage" to a new season - shearing!
4/8/2016
Cordwood chicken coops are the ideal method of protecting your birds and providing warmth and security. Enjoy these pictures of unique cordwood chicken coops throughout North America.
4/8/2016
Find out the unique needs of ducklings and goslings and how best to care for waterfowl.
4/7/2016
For the same cost as one more indoor waterer, we built an outdoor system with 10 times the capacity that won’t require much extra work from us to keep up.
4/1/2016
Follow these 11 easy tips to experience a good kidding season as shared by Serenity Acres Farm.
3/31/2016
Harvesting animals is not our favorite part of homesteading, but it is a necessary part. We think the aspect of harvesting, processing, slaughtering, and butchering provides the deepest connection with the land. It is the thing that makes a connection with food the most real.
3/30/2016
Feather pecking among your flock is a situation that requires your immediate attention. The confidence to address the root cause of the problem is essential.
3/15/2016
Last year was the year from hell. Literally. We lost 7 baby goats, 4 llamas, 2 dogs, and 1 cat due to different causes. But I did have victories. I'll be talking about what I learned here and in my next blogs.
3/14/2016
Sometimes living off the land can be pretty counter-cultural. My decision to start raising meat rabbits on my homestead was met with a lot of criticism from others. Learn how homesteaders can deal with unwanted (and sometimes unwarranted) remarks.
3/14/2016
Livestock Guardian Dogs, or LGDs, have been used by shepherds and farmers for centuries. Bred and trained to instinctively protect their herd from predators, LGDs are an alternative to attempting to hunt or scare off threats to your farmyard. Read on to learn the basics for how LGDs work and tips for choosing the right livestock guardian for your homestead.
3/11/2016
Because our flock is now running around 40 birds, we are in dire need of an updated coop for our hens and their roosters.
3/10/2016
Portable fences made of electrifiable netting allow practical movement and protection of small livestock on pasture. It’s important to use and maintain the nets properly, and to train goats to respect the barrier for their own safety and security. Well-managed net fencing offers significant benefits to the health of herds and pastures, and to the homesteader’s peace of mind.
3/9/2016
Research shows that domesticated horses can read and understand human facial expressions. This finding means that the mood you’re in when you go to work with a horse is going to affect how the horse feels. Learn tips to deal with this amazing trait in your horses.
3/4/2016
Poultry expert Harvey Ussery describes how he breeds his heritage chickens. He relies on what he calls a “clan-mating system,” which reduces his time spent keeping written records but still maintains clean, genetically diverse breeding lines.
2/17/2016
Goats need sound feet, knees and legs to carry a pack in the backcountry. Here are some problems and solutions that pack goats experience with their legs, including proper goat hoof care.
2/17/2016
If you have ever considered the change of lifestyle to be more self-sufficient, here are some of our thoughts and experiences from this journey.
2/16/2016
This is the second blog post in an alphabetically organized introduction to homesteading. It covers how and why to raise Pekin ducks for a quick and easy introduction to home butchery, food preservation, egg production, and soil improvement.
2/8/2016
Building a chicken coop is a fun exercise and there are hundreds of designs out there that can ensure your coop is both functional and unique. Taking a few things into consideration before building can help you avoid a re-build in the future.
2/4/2016
Raising ducks not only provides you with the opportunity to have fresh eggs and meat available, but also provides you with hours of enjoyment. From chasing minnows to quacking their greetings to a caretaker, ducks can be fun to own!
2/4/2016
Tim Rohrer talks about what he's learned while managing the pastured pigs at Joel Salatin’s farm and shares a few things to consider before purchasing your own pigs.
1/18/2016
So, the gals are on their way to New Hampshire to pick up heritage cows, and so far, it's going smoothly — but there are bumps in the road ahead, so hang on! (Spoiler alert: They all made it home fine: two cows, two pigs, and two galls.)
1/14/2016
Not many people in our sphere of influence drink goat’s milk, so we have a great opportunity to educate those we come in contact with about the benefits. These are our four main reasons why we drink goat's milk.
1/13/2016
The farm hasn't had cows in 50 years — but Kara wanted cows. Not any old cows; no, a special heritage kind. nd where were these cows? In the mountains of New Hampshire, half a continent away! Time for a road trip to pick up and transport livestock in winter!
1/13/2016
Learn some tips on how to extend your growing season for pastured poultry!
1/11/2016
The importance of providing the correct minerals in your pastured pigs diet.
1/8/2016
Whether it’s as simple as switching our water bottles for crocks, or something more complicated, like stacking hay around your hutches — here are a few quick tips on how to keep your homestead rabbits warm this winter.
1/6/2016
Serenity Acres Farm shares its experiences with WWOOFers so yours will be a good one.
12/31/2015
Sweet Home Farms Meats is located on acreage in the central Willamette Valley that includes a picturesque stream which offers both water for the farm and a great place to cool off on hot summer afternoons. The farm is a work in progress for two young urbanites who now love the country.
12/24/2015
Integrate chickens and a greenhouse to provide a synergistic effect for the homestead.
12/23/2015
Chickens are often referred to as the gateway animal to farming or homesteading. Learn the reasons why keeping chickens can be a beneficial addition to the homestead.
12/23/2015
An urban homestead is as unique as the individuals who own the property. Our homestead developed slowly. In fact, my wife likes to joke that we are “accidental homesteaders.” We did not buy our village home nestled on 1/16th of an acre with the goal of becoming urban farmers, it just sort of happened, out of necessity.
12/23/2015
There are many ways to use raw goat’s milk, but these three favorites are quick and fantastic. Let us tell you about them!
12/22/2015
Learn some tips about adding new chickens or even new bird species into your existing poultry flock.
12/18/2015
Mark pulled out the camera this week to share a few short videos about our winter garden and goats. Explore our December garden and goat pasture in these short homesteading videos.
12/15/2015
Sweet Home Farms Meats is located on acreage in the central Willamette Valley that includes a picturesque stream which offers both water for the farm and a great place to cool off on hot summer afternoons. The farm is a work in progress for two young urbanites who now love the country.
12/7/2015
Time well spent on my grandmother’s farm taught me lessons that I have carried with me throughout my entire life. What I learned there even inspired me to pursue a homestead lifestyle for myself, working right beside my husband as we learn to be more self-sufficient.
12/3/2015
How should you choose good hay for your dairy goats? Hay should be composed of plants goats like to eat, cut and cured properly for best nutritional content and storage life, and free of unwanted chemicals and weed seeds. If you can, buy hay fresh from the field of a trusted source, where you can inspect it and its growing conditions.
12/1/2015
Our DIY goat barn was built using mostly reused materials and cost us less than $1,000. In this post, we show you how we did it and give you tips along the way!
11/25/2015
Did you know that "goose" is actually the term for female geese? How about the origins of European geese? Here are a few things you might not know about these elegant farmyard birds.
11/13/2015
Death on a farm is unavoidable as life itself. These stories share lessons learned, words of wisdom and how a farmer can prepare for the inevitable when raising livestock.
11/12/2015
Have an excess of leaves on your property? Here are some ideas for how to put them to use!
11/11/2015
HOMEGROWN Life welcomes back Dyan Redick, who comes bearing a story of life and loss on her farm.
11/10/2015
Is it okay to let the fans and air conditioners go off in a shed with 20,000 chickens inside? Of course not, and poultry growers have been prosecuted and fined for such negligence. Yet, the USDA as of September 18, 2015, has sanctioned this action as an appropriate "depopulation" measure in an avian influenza-infected poultry barn.
11/7/2015
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. In chicken-friendly, local food-supportive, low carbon-footprint communities, backyard flocks and small family farms produce eggs. The takeaway message is that egg shed needs for a family, or a community, are relatively easy to meet. A household or a community can somewhat easily be protein self-sufficient.
10/26/2015
Starting with gentle livestock breeds is key to success for new homesteaders. Scottish Highland cattle and Dorper/Katahdin cross sheep proved easy-to-handle and good producers for a retired Missouri couple.
10/15/2015
Serenity Goats has discovered a sustainable farm revenue stream in creating and selling goat's milk goats. Follow the farm's path from the USDA grant in 2014 to the finished product 18 months later.
10/15/2015
Milking your cows is a repetitive chore. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer details his process which demonstrates through efficiencies how you can do it in less than 30 minutes.
10/13/2015
Noisy, gregarious birds, geese have been part of human history since the Ancient Egyptians. Their uses are wide ranging, and their entertainment value should not be overlooked. While I've spoken to many people who are skeptical about geese on their farms, universally those who have added geese to their barnyard are delighted by these comical and helpful fowl.
10/1/2015
Many garden vegetable crops produce excess leafy material perfect for feeding goats. Using these materials as milking snacks helps reduce the need for purchased grain & hay while recycling these waste products on the homestead.
9/22/2015
Here is the second half of my strangely-titled discourse on grass cattle management. I have come to the conclusion that on a correctly managed enterprise, cattle should appear not to have legs (hidden within tall grasses). In Part 1, I discussed the animal side of this philosophy. Now I’ll continue with the forage aspect of it.
9/18/2015
A farmer shares tales from 10 years of living La Vida Goat-a.
9/16/2015
Learn ten step to raising calves so that they will grow to become tame, calm and well-mannered cows. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer takes us through the steps he follows on his farm.
9/14/2015
This year was hell. No matter what I did, I was losing goat kids at an alarming rate. Here’s what happened and what I learned from the experience.
9/7/2015
Emergency preparedness is a necessary part of any well-functioning homestead. Here's what an Idaho family learned when a fire started less than a 1/4 mile away.
8/31/2015
Dehorning calves can be a controversial topic. Steve Judge, a long-time micro dairy farmer discusses why he thinks dehorning dairy cattle is necessary.
8/24/2015
HOMEGROWN Life contributor Rachel recounts a kidding season full of problems.
8/13/2015
Are you planning to buy a goat? Here are 12 tips to consider when you are shopping for a goat.
7/29/2015
You’re invited to the 2015 Sustainable Poultry Network–USA National Conference! This conference will be the most complete, comprehensive conference for sustainable poultry production in North America. This conference features some of the very best instructors to teach on the current critical subjects of sustainable poultry production.
1/12/2015
My journey and some of the challenges I experienced with the farm-to-table method. The struggles I faced while raising meat in order to eat more ethically and sustainably.
8/29/2014
There are some goats you don't want, no matter if the price is right. In this case, the goat was free.
3/19/2014
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.
2/13/2014
Cow manure is a key indicator of bovine health and well being. After milk, it is the most valuable thing your cows will produce. Micro-dairy expert Steve Judge explains why it pays to get comfortable with cow manure.
2/7/2014
21 things you should know—or wish you had known—before starting a goat farm.
11/29/2013
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.
11/22/2013
Here are three easy observations you can make every day to see how your animals are performing. Use them to constantly adjust your grazing program, instead of “flying blind” until sale day or weighing. They can help you adjust paddock size or give supplemental nutrients.
10/22/2013
Author Maggie Bonham recounts the various ways she's managed to obtain free goats, including Craigslist ads and trading for chickens.
9/3/2013
Although livestock guard dogs are the oldest and most traditional livestock guardians, Jan Dohner gives us a look at the other two livestock guardians – llamas and donkeys.
8/16/2013
Livestock guard dogs were found in a sweep of cultures from southern Europe through Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and central Asia. They worked in the company of shepherds who often spent weeks on high summer pasture or on long migratory routes.
8/16/2013
The cold, hard facts about how Annie Warmke, goat herder extraordinnaire, found her calling in a barn with Eleonore Rigby and her two tiny kids.
8/5/2013
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
7/12/2013
Maine and Minnesota Goat Schools are over, and a great time was had by all; Janice Spaulding recaps the events and prepares for the next one is in Ohio in September.
7/11/2013
Dairyman Nick Snelgar reflects on the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health certification process and bagging hay for winter on his UK dairy farm.
7/10/2013
An aging goose gains a family.
5/15/2013
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.
5/14/2013
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.
5/13/2013
A permaculture-based, 2,000-acre farm in Northern California integrates grassfed livestock with orchard farming.
4/24/2013
Find out how to feed rabbit babies using a goat's milk-based formula.
2/18/2013
The place I call home these days is The FarmSchool, a fertile 180-acre strip of ridge top in Athol, where 15 student-farmers are spending a year learning the ins and outs of growing food, managing forests, and raising animals for meat. I arrived at the farm in October, just as the leaves were reaching their peak brilliance. The Farm School — which offers three-day programs for schoolchildren, a summer camp, a full-time middle school, and the apprenticeship program I’m in — takes us through all seasons of farming, weaving together class work and on-farm training.
2/5/2013
Today I gave the cows all a dish with a zinc mix, copper mix, and sulfur mix. I do this about once a week to see if they need to free choice those particular minerals. Today they liked the sulfur and zinc but did not eat much of the copper. It is amazing how farm animals know what they need and will take it if they need it.
1/27/2013
We had a dehorning and RE-castrating day at the farm today. We had to make the very difficult decision to dehorn three heifers that had not been properly dehorned as babies, which is when this should be done.
2/24/2012
Wendy Albright remembers visiting her grandparent's farm where practicing organic living was the preferred way of life; they exercised natural crop cultivation, gathered fresh chicken eggs, canned both vegetables and meat and the term "eating like a thrasher" became a reality.
1/27/2011
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.
12/23/2005
It's a challenge to describe the place where I take my livestock when it's time for them to cease being my companions, and to become my product instead. I call Steve's Meats in DeSoto, Kansas, the "packer." And, indeed, when I stopped off there this morning they had about 800 pounds of beef frozen and packed, ready for me to take home. It filled the freezer to the rim.
1/1/0001
Raising dairy goats has benefits that extend beyond fresh milk and cheese.


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