Over the winter, we managed to secure a contract with an up-and-coming company in Massachusetts to raise pastured chickens for them. This company ended up pre-ordering a significant amount of chickens per month from us, which necessitated the building of six new coops. Here I outline how to scale up a poultry operation.
Every landowner has a role to play in conservation. Learn some basic principles to consider when managing your property.
Some communities have laws that ban keeping backyard chickens. Learn how to approach your city council to revise the rules with these tips from our readers.
Here's 5 of the basic steps to how we created our small organic home orchard/edible landscape. It's a permaculture designed area that has been created with a natural landscape as inspiration, with the least amount of human input. It will host not only heritage apples but several other fruits and berries, herbs and medicinal plants.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology has several Citizen-Science Projects to engage individuals and communities in actively participating in conservation efforts. Learn more about these programs and how to become involved.
Tips for using yard and kitchen waste as useful mulch and/or compost in the garden.
Learn how you can best support birds this spring by providing quality nesting materials.
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.
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.
Planning and preparation kept our backyard chickens happy and healthy in our harsh Northern winter.
Here are some easy things to do in your garden and yard to expand your sustainable foot print.
Spring bird migration is underway! Backyard gardeners play a valuable role in supporting birds during this vulnerable time. Learn what you can do in your own yard to help migrants.
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.
Native bees are a necessary component of maintaining native habitats. Their role is increasingly important as honeybee populations struggle with Colony Collapse Disorder. Learn what you can do to support your local pollinators this spring.
Birds are survivors. Learn about different adaptations birds have to thrive during the dark, cold winter days. And, what you can do to support winter bird survival in your backyard.
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.
Urban community green spaces are an essential component of our built environment. Their significance is becoming more and more apparent to city planners and urban residences all over the United States.
Celebrate those gardeners and birders in your life by making them homemade holiday gifts this year.
School gardens play a vital role in our nations educational systems. Though the concept dates back to the 1800s, their role has gained popularity in the last 20 years, and for good reasons.
The YardMap Network is a citizen science project designed to cultivate a richer understanding of bird habitat, for both people concerned with their local environments and professional scientists. The program is housed at the Lab of Ornithology, in Ithaca, New York. We collect data by asking individuals across the country to draw maps of their backyards, parks, farms, favorite birding locations, schools, and gardens.
No wonder hatching chicks and producing eggs is such a big business - take a look at the numbers since 1926.
Homesteader Cam Mather describes integrating new backyard chickens into his existing flock and the wonderful life his "ladies" lead.
St. Paul, Minnesota, not only allows front yard gardens and promotes growing vegetables in containers, but encourages residents to beautify the boulevard with plants, including edibles.
Clear overgrowth in your meadow by acquiring a heavy-duty mower. Here are some mower recommendations for your homestead.
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.
Temporary brooder setup for CSP, chicks in Gossamer Foundation's office (in February).
Permaculture is about a self sustaining system that provides the food, nutrients and water in one yard. It is easy to adopt many of these approaches in your own yard and garden in the Midwest.
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.
Clearing overgrown land can be a daunting task. Choose the right tool for the job and it can be a breeze! Here are 5 of my favorites that make clearing overgrown land satisfying and fun!
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 takes a village to build a backyard chicken coop.
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.
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.
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.
On-going series on my family's efforts to raise urban chickens in our Minneapolis 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.
In preparation for a large chicken harvest later in the season, a few homesteaders perform a trial run to test their chicken harvesting capabilities.
Honey from our backyard bees provide us with a sweetener, but just as important, honey has many health benefits.
Butchering can be intimidating. Learn how to process a chicken in this video that covers equipment, humane killing methods, plucking, eviscerating and more.
Having guests visit your beeyard takes a lot of planning and preparation. Jennifer Ford of Bees of the Woods Apiary shares her experience having visitors in the beeyard, along with some tricks and tips to make the visit go more smoothly for everyone.
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.
There are a lot of things you can do right now to experience the homestead lifestyle right in your backyard.
As mama hens, is there ever really a time when we don’t worry about our little chicks?
What to do when the hot, humid days of summer create constant bickering in your children and in the flock.
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.
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.
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.
Learn how to assemble a humane animal trap out of recycled material. It’s easy and effective!
Who knew that a flock of chickens would be able to teach us so much about living with our children?
The BagPacker is three handy yard tools in one.
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.
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.
Des Moines, Iowa, gardeners may soon find themselves in hot water with their City. A local resident recently took front yard veggie growers to task for what the resident feels to be unsightly lawn growth. Beets and berries, it seems, do not have the same aesthetic appeal as a green, freshly-mowed front lawn.
How we avoid most clutter but manage to keep good leftover products for future use.
It is deep winter and how are your chickens doing? Here are some quick and easy tips to get them through a cold snap.
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.
Growing some of the most delicious and sometimes expensive gourmet vegetables doesn't have to be hard. Artichoke, bronze fennel, kohlrabi, leek, and savoy cabbage are among the vegetables that grow well from seed.
In a war on gardens, the City of Orlando has taken issue with the rows of beans, greens, and other vegetables occupying Jason and Jennifer Helvenston's front yard garden. The Helvenstons respond to the City's request they remove their "illegal" garden.
Jason Helvingston of Orlando, Fla., fights for his right to grow food in his front yard garden after the City of Orlando cited him for illegal gardening, pitting food self-sufficiency against city ordinance.
Smaller version of the original Gardener’s Hollow Leg is perfect for picking dinner!
Do you love showing off your FarmTek products? Think you're using them in a unique and interesting way? FarmTek would love to see!
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
Roses are easy to grow successfully if you follow a few guidelines: provide good air circulation around the canes and keep the plants clean and not too damp. Roses come in many forms, including bush or shrub, climbing, and miniature.
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!
Soil Life is an all-natural, organic blend of microbes designed to enhance the nutritive value of soil in all growing conditions.
New burn barrel alternative provides safer, smarter home and garden burning for homeowners.
When autumn brings a glut of orchard fruits, capture the goodness as juice by cooking extraction or cold pressing. Juices can be used alone or mixed to produce sweet or hard ciders, wines, syrups, and more.
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
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.
The Chicken Kooler keeps the water away from the chicken’s feet, where is can get filled with straw and dirt.
Grapes can grow anywhere, thriving in a variety of climates and soil types. Growing grapes is rewarding, because after a few years they produce abundant fruit and quickly provide architectural interest in the edible landscape.
Fiskars' new hand pruners combine form and function to make every cut easier.
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.
Kubota partners with the Propane Education & Research Council to offer $1,000 purchase incentive on its ZP330, delivering ‘green’ performance and more ‘green’ in your pocket.
Popcorn is easy to grow and makes an attractive and delicious alternative to sweet corn, especially in a small garden. Kids will love the cute little ears, and adults will treasure the superior flavor of homegrown popcorn. Plant in late spring.
Introducing the serviceberry, a beautiful landscape tree or shrub suitable in much of North America, to the edible landscape. Serviceberry -- or sarvis -- comes in many regional forms and produces edible berries.
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...
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.
Boy! Did I learn my lesson when I left our young pullets out back with our trusted dogs. I'll never do that again.
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.
Sue Weaver provides her expertise on making homemade cheeses and yogurt and how to raise a happy, healthy, and highly productive backyard cow.
Now, when one tumbler is full and ready to start cooking, there is another tumbler ready to take in the raw compost.
As spring approaches the lawn surrounding your home will certainly begin to grow. With the New Lithium Powered Cordless Recharge Mower ULTRALITE, from Driven By Solar Inc., achieve beautiful manicured results without nasty fumes.
Three New Colors Provide More Options for Consumers
Three U.S. regional beekeeping associations offer much to beekeepers at any skill level and experience. Beeyard adventures, workshops, lectures, honey shows, and the chance to meet hundreds of likemined individuals await you here.
Potted greens are a good complement to greens in the hoop house soil.
During World War I, the federal government ordered people to keep a backyard flock of chickens. What happened? Why is it so hard today?
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.
The Front Yard Coop Supplies Innovative and Elegant Chicken Coops to Meet Rapidly Growing Interest in Raising Hens.
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.
Is there such thing as a poultry pop star? If so, then I think I am one.
Designed with professional features and priced to be affordable, the new fuel-efficient STIHL BR 200 backpack blower helps clear leaves, grass clippings or other debris from the yard.
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.
KIOTI Tractor is pleased to announce the expansion of their popular implement and attachment lines.
Blount, the world’s largest manufacturer of saw chain, announces the launch of the new OREGON PowerNow 40V MAX* Cordless Chainsaw.
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.
A problem for older gardeners is finding tools that make gardening easier as getting up and down becomes harder.
The new FSA 65 and FSA 85 grass trimmers, the latest products available for the 36-volt STIHL Lithium-Ion battery technology system, deliver fuel savings, time savings and environmental benefits for gasoline-free trimming applications.
ECHO Bear Cat is pleased to introduce the 2” SC2170 Chipper/Shredder to its line of outdoor power equipment.
In a Boulder, Colorado, neighborhood, residents are getting off the grass. They're donating their front yards to a community organization that grows enough fruits and vegetable on the former lawns to feed 50 families. Now, that's local food.
In Oak Park, Michigan, a mother of six faces 93 days in jail for planting vegetables in her front yard. People across the country are rallying to her defense.
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?
In our ever-growing quest to produce our own food we've acquired two egg-laying chickens!
Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.
Hoelscher Commercial Products announces a new product for pulling out trees, posts, shrubs and vines.
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.
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.
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
Thoughts, experiences, and tips after a season of mowing with the propane-powered lawnmower.
Simran Sethi takes a moment to give thanks.
Simran Sethi starts dreaming of spring gardening, with the goal of renewing her efforts to grow real food.
Duncraft introduces a new concept in bird feeding - the patented Underneath Bird Feeder
Wide-mouth funnel design super-stuffs bags and cans in less than a minute.
Popular Mechanics honored STIHL with a 2010 Breakthrough Award for the STIHL HSA 65 hedge trimmer, the first product with 36-volt STIHL Lithium-Ion battery-power technology.
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.
A playhouse can be a physical structure or a place to escape to in your imagination. Tell us about your favorite playhouse.
Simran Sethi reflects on her first summer of yard-care and gardening.
Simran Sethi learns how to compost the right way and explores her composting options.
Home gardeners and urban farmers can come up against garden laws and regulations that can limit the size, style and components of their garden.
Simran Sethi teams up with two neighbors to "grow food, not lawns."
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.
Sign up to attend a free poultry webinar on the topic of starting a backyard flock.
The experience of growing one's first garden is a thrill one will never forget.
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.
Natural Home magazine editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence explores the Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa in the beautiful Okanagan region of British Columbia. Join her as she tours wineries and feasts on local, organic produce.
Natural Home editor-in-chief Robyn Griggs Lawrence visits Canada's only straw bale winery, Orofino Vineyards.
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?
Save time and avoid blisters and burnout by following these common-sense guidelines this leaf season.