A Dignified Look at Chicken Butchering Day

Everyone likes a tasty chicken, but how about what happens during the time between the clucking, feathered bird and the freezer? Here’s a dignified look at a poultry processing day on our farm, feathers and all.

Managing Chickens in Mobile Coops on Pasture

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.

Tips for Training Goats to Electric Net Fences

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.

Purchasing and Managing Pastured Pigs

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.

Cows Without Legs, Part 2: Forage Management

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.

Working with the Polyface Eggmobile

Tim Rohrer, a Polyface Apprentice, talks about his interaction with the Polyface Eggmobile. Here, Tim speaks about his perspective on one of the Polyface centerpieces.

Basic Goat Shelters for Your Homestead Dairy Herd

Homestead dairy goats need proper shelters. Ideally these would be easy to set up and move, while providing all the animals’ needs. A variety of basic shelters can be based on simple, reusable pieces like cattle panels, pop-up tents, and chain-link panels. These structures make pasture-based goat management easier on a budget.

Scaling Up Our Pastured Poultry from Backyard to Commercial

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.

Weaning Your Pasture Piglets

Spring is filled with babies of all kinds, but some of the most adorable are baby piglets. These are even more cute when they are running around on green pastures. But what about weaning time? This article will explain some of the easiest and best options when weaning your pasture piglets.

Raising Meat Rabbits on Pasture: Intensive Grazing with Bunnies

Rabbits are a fabulously healthful, economical and ecologically sound source of meat, and they don’t have to be kept in hanging cages. Rabbits can be raised on pasture to produce food for your family while improving the quality of your land.

How to Render Beef Tallow at Home

To ensure you have quality fat in the kitchen from pastured animals, learn how to render beef tallow at home. I’ve rendered beef fat into quart jars of tallow two years in a row and consider myself seasoned in the art of avoiding too much of a mess in making it. The fat lends a flavor to dishes that is particularly desirable for Mexican foods, fried potatoes and savory pie crusts. This fat keeps for three months in a refrigerator.

Cows Without Legs, Part 1: Choosing Genetics and Management for Pastured Beef Production

All the principles of sustainable grazing management can be summarized in one rather strange statement: your cattle should appear not to have legs! Their short legs should be hidden in tall grass. Both animal genetics and pasture management contribute to this philosophy. In this article, I’ll start with cattle selection and care protocols. In Part 2, I will cover forage considerations.

Is It Free-Range or Pasture-Raised?

Like many things related to food, the free-range label misleads customers, so we explore the differences between free-range and pasture-raised.

Principles of Forage Recovery Chart

A sustainable, profitable grazing system starts with one thing: full pasture recovery. Destroying your land can also start at the same point, if you don't allow enough rest. This chart summarizes the principles of mob grazing for those who don't have the time or desire to read dozens of articles. Hang it up in the barn!

Homemade Garlic Sausage Recipe

Get started making your own charcuterie with this easy Garlic Sausage Recipe. By making your own sausage from scratch, you can use your own quality meat, customize the flavorings and leave out anything artificial.

Three Ways to Gauge Pastured Livestock Health

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.

The Unsustainability of Local

A few months back I heard a comment on an NPR radio program that really caught my attention. The program was about the local food movement and at one point the guest on the show said, “Now remember - just because it’s local doesn’t necessarily mean it has a smaller carbon footprint. That Argentinian apple that was shipped on a barge with thousands of tons of other apples may actually have required less fuel per apple than the apple than came from a few hundred miles away in the back on a farmer’s pickup.”

Kasco Manufacturing Introduces 10’ Vari-Slice Seeder

Kasco Manufacturing introduced a new 10’ wide Vari-Slice seeder at the National Farm Machinery Show in Louisville, Ky.  The Vari-Slice seeder is suitable for applications including pasture seeding, beef, dairy and horse farms for worked or no-till conditions and where tight germination of grass seed is needed. 

Permaculture Chicken: Pasture Basics

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.

Rotational Chicken Pasture Update

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.

Homestead Still Productive During The Drought

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.

What Good Is a Pig? Cuts of Pork, Nose to Tail

Vermont farmer Walter Jeffries details all the cuts of meat on a pig, as well as many other uses of the animal, from working the soil to providing delicious lard for baked goods.

Meringue Science: Perfecting the Egg White Foam

The network of proteins in egg whites lends itself to a miraculous transformation to egg white foam, which you can use to create delicious dishes with light texture and lots of volume.

100 Ways to Use Eggs

Compiling a list of 100 ways to use eggs is easy. From scotch eggs and huevos rancheros to crème brûlée and hamburger patties, this integral ingredient consistently finds its way into our favorite dishes.

Tiny Birds and Tall Grasses

One of our most common grasses is limiting the bobwhite quail population, killing broodmares and their foals, rotting cow hooves, and cutting milk production.

HOMEGROWN Life: A Bit Of ATreat

This fall, while the chickens were still living with the goats, we had decided to fence off the leg and seed it with pasture seed. I wasn't sure if we should seed it for the chickens or for the goats. After doing some research we ended up going with

Egg-Laying Hens Should Get Better Cages, Humane Society and Egg Industry Agree

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.

Upcoming Pastured Poultry Seminar

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.

Talking Turkey for T-Day

This Thanksgiving consider opting for a pastured turkey instead of a commercially raised bird, and think about buying local Thanksgiving foods, too.

Stood Up by a Thanksgiving Turkey

As more people decide to pay a little extra for locally grown pastured turkey, demand may not meet supply. Make sure your bird is secure by buying farm-direct or shopping early.

Eggciting News!!!

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.

Taste Test of the Week: Organic Valley Pasture Butter

Organic Valley's new Pasture Butter is a standout among cultured butters and organic food products. This is one of the few products available today that respects Mother Nature by paying attention to the seasons, not to mention the needs of our food-producing animal friends.