Homestead Critters

Homestead Critters


On our homestead, we have a nice variety of animals. We’ve got ducks, chickens, a dog, and a cat. This spring a Coturnix quail colony will be joining us. Not too shabby for a quarter of an acre. Animals are an integral part of the homestead. From house cats to horses, I will teach you how to care for your furry and feathered friends.

Chickens  |  Ducks  |  Goats  |  Household Pets  |  Quail  |  Rabbits  |  General Livestock Care

Chickens

Chickens are great starter livestock for your homestead. They are really easy to care for and I’m happy to help you get started. Just be careful, the hardest thing about raising chickens is knowing when to stop bringing them home. I only wanted a few chickens and now our property is overrun with them. Chicken Math will get you every time.

Learn what you need to candle, how to candle, when to candle and what you are looking for when you are candling chicken or duck eggs.
Mason jar feeders and waterers are great, but they can be hard to hang. Here is an easy crochet holder that will keep your feeder and waterer off the ground.
Wing clipping can be scary, but it might be something you need to consider for your chicken's safety. Here are answers to some of the frequent questions that come along.
With people's desire to eat local and know where their food is coming from, farms are popping up all over. Kathy Mormino is making headlines in her battle to keep chickens.
Like peas and carrots, chickens and gardens belong together (though not occupying the same space). Chickens want to work. Why not harness that natural instinct?
At their core, all eggs are either white or blue. Discover the science behind egg color and what makes eggs all the shades we see.
To find happiness, you need to find joy in the little things. Today, I present to you, Chickens Doing Yoga.
Depending on where you live, any number of these predators may pose a problem for your flock. However, there are a number of ways to protect your chickens from the creatures.
Have your laying hens stopped laying eggs? It is most likely for one of these fairly common reasons: Molt, inadequate light, poor nutrition, stress, or parasites.
Why a hen sings after laying an egg and what the Egg Song sounds like. It will be music to your ears when you get your first chickens.
Everyone has there own way of raising their flock. Some people feel their way is the only right way. But is there a right way? Let's talk about all chicken hot topics.
Why spend crazy amounts of money on incubators when you can easily make on with things around your home? Check out these great DIY incubators I found.
Learn why you should never risk introducing new birds without quarantining. Learn how to properly quarantine so you can keep your flock safe and healthy.
How do you mix colors to get the egg color you want? As mentioned in The Anatomy of Egg Color, brown is merely a paint added to the shell towards the end off the laying cycle.
It can be very challenging to find plant options that can be used in your chicken area. I have compiled a list of plants that are deemed chicken-safe.
Spraddle leg, also referred to as splay leg, is a condition where a chick's legs "splay" out to the sides. It can often be repaired with a drinking glass.
Find out which method of hatching is best for you and your situation. Both the use of incubators as well as broody hens has pros and cons. Find out what they are.
It's the day you've been counting down to. But do chicks really hatch on day 21? Find out what to expect when hatch day arrives and what may have gone wrong when not all the chicks make it.
You might be wondering when is the right time to switch to the next stage of feed. Timelines for those using commercial feed. Plus, feeding roosters, drakes, toms.
Today we'll talk about how to setup your chick brooder, what supplies you'll need and how to prepare for lockdown. This is part 3 of chicken egg hatching.
Whether you are designing your first chicken coop or you are upgrading because you fell victim to chicken math, details are what will make or break a design.
Between size differences, care differences and potential problems with diseases, is multi-flock housing safe? Quail, ducks, large fowl, bantams and more.
If you've got birds for egg laying purposes, you may need to consider getting nest boxes. You can buy a variety of nest boxes either online or at farm supply stores, but there are many cheap options.
Covering everything from choosing an incubator or broody, what's going on in the egg, tricks to make things run smoothly, hatch day and then caring for your new fluffy friends.
With a small flock of free range chickens, it's easy to shovel a small area for the chickens to graze. With a larger flock, it's harder to supply adequate space.
Roosters show aggression for a variety of reasons. They perceive you as a threat or they want to dominate you. Occasionally, your rooster will just be a jerk.
The homesteader, the chicken, and the Jehovah's Witness. A funny homesteading story, because you can't make this stuff up.
Fermented chicken feed is great for saving money and it helps with the birds' digestion. Great when you need to shave off a few bucks from your poultry bills.
A frizzle is a chicken whose feathers curl upward. This upward curling is created by a gene. A frizzle looks like no other chicken. Sizzles are the same, but soft.
Discover the answers to farm fresh eggs frequently asked questions.Why farm yolks are so dark? Does a blood spot mean it's fertile? Does the color change the flavor?
Sand is becoming a very common coop bedding and it's easy to see why. Sand has so many benefits and when used properly, I think it's a bedding that you wont regret using.
Started pullets are teenage female chickens. Since chickens begin laying at around 6 months of age, you have a much shorter wait before you start getting eggs.
I am often asked by readers and local chicken keepers if chickens get colds. That is a great question and one I found myself wondering when I first began keeping chickens.
What my chickens consume, my family consumes. That's why I prefer to try herbals, essential oils, and natural remedies before bringing out the big guns.

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Ducks

Ducks are a wonderful edition to the homestead. They provide eggs just as regularly (or even more often than) chickens. They provide wonderful bug control and tend to stick close to home. Duck eggs are wonderful for baking. They make baked goods light and fluffy.

You might be wondering when is the right time to switch to the next stage of feed. Timelines for those using commercial feed. Plus, feeding roosters, drakes, toms.
Between size differences, care differences and potential problems with diseases, is multi-flock housing safe? Quail, ducks, large fowl, bantams and more.
If you plan to raise ducks on your homestead, it is important to choose a duck breed that best suits your particular needs.
What if I told you I had a free method of increasing your poultry's protein levels while allowing them to hone in on their natural instincts? A solar bug trap!
Have your laying hens stopped laying eggs? It is most likely for one of these fairly common reasons: Molt, inadequate light, poor nutrition, stress, or parasites.
Ducks actually have a couple of molting phases and each one looks different. The effects are most obvious in drakes. Spring, summer and fall molts.
The things you need to know in order to have a high hatch rate when incubating duck eggs. Plus, how to build "the best" homemade incubator.
Electrolytes are something you should have on hand. This water-soluble solution is perfect for heat stress, dehydration, illness, general stress and more.

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Goats

Do you want fresh milk for drinking and making cheese? Not everyone has room for a whole cow. With goats available in a variety of sizes, chances are you can find one that is right for you. When they are not being milked, you can find them tending the land for you. Goats are wonderful at clearing land.

Homemade butter made from store-bought raw milk will save you about 7¢ a stick, but made from raw milk that came from your own animals can save you 100%.
Goat Hoof Care: How to Trim Hooves Correctly
You may have heard all sorts of talk about rotating wormers and wormers loosing effectiveness over time. What if you didn't have to worry about that anymore
Goat's milk gets a bad rap. I've heard people describe goat's milk as “goaty” or just plain gross. But when handled properly, it isn't that way at all!
The ADGA's policies for naming your dairy goat are a bit more strict than the AGA's, so those are the ones we are going to discuss.
Disbudding, the procedure of burning off the horns, is unpleasant. Every time we disbudded our goat kids we would ask ourselves, Is this necessary?
Try this homemade udder and teat wash for goats and cows. It contains no harsh ingredients like bleach, but still does the tough job of commercial cleaners.
Better Daze, an herb mix sold by Fir Meadow, is a blend of very nutritive herbs. It's perfect for ill, senior, failing to thrive, or recovering goats.
Ever since the decision to get Nigerian Dwarf goats for our homestead, I've been asking a lot of questions. I figured you might have the same questions.
Why you need to use a strip cup when you're milking and how to make your own. This DIY strip cup is cheap and easy to put together.
The herbal powders I give my goats sift through the feed and end up uneaten at the bottom of the dishes. That's why I started making herbal goat treats.
“Are goats worth it?” And to that one question, I can answer an unequivocal “Yes.” New skills are not won easily; they have to be earned.
MilkMaid is an herbal mix that offers lactation support for those that aren't milking well due to illness, a bad birthing, or some other reason.
A injectable selenium supplement and copper boluses are available, but some goats have died from toxicity after receiving injections and boluses.

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Household Pets

Yes, I do let the chickens and ducks in the house from time to time, but my household pets mainly consist of a dog and a cat. Natural care is important not only to the animals that feed us, but to the animals that act as our companions. 

Coconut Oil is like heaven in a jar. I use it for everything, not only for it's healing properties, moisturizing abilities and healthy fats, but because I love that smell.
With oatmeal for sensitive skin, coconut oil for moisture, baking soda for funky odors, and essential oils to keep fleas at bay, you'll love this DIY dog shampoo.
Essential oil flea collars are a great alternative to commercial collars that are full of harmful chemicals and smell terrible. These are cheap and easy to make.
Do you want your pet dog to receive the right amount of nutrition he needs and save money at the same time? Why not try preparing a healthy homemade dog food?

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Quail

You have never seen a more quirky homestead critter than a quail. They are so funny to watch and will begin amusing you from the day you hatch. Despite their small stature, quail produce delicious eggs at a marvelous rate. Quail are perfect for a small or city homestead as you can house quite a few in very little space.

If you live in a location where ordinances prohibit keeping chickens and ducks, then quail may be right for you. Why you should consider quail farming.
There are several varieties of quail available, but Coturnix Quail are one of the most popular choices. The most common reasons for keeping them is for eggs and meat.
The vision I wanted was for my quail to roam on the ground in the grass hunting for bugs, much like they would do if they were living in the wild.
Many things the quail do will scare the bejeezus out of you when they first do it. That's why I felt it was my duty to give you a heads up with these funny facts about quail.
Mason jar feeders and waterers are great, but they can be hard to hang. Here is an easy crochet holder that will keep your feeder and waterer off the ground.
Discover how to make "Little Devil" deviled quail eggs as well as other recipes made just for these tiny eggs. The rich flavors will have you begging for more.
The internet would have you believe that incubating and brooding Coturnix quail is difficult. I'm here to let you in on a secret... it's not.
Spraddle leg, also referred to as splay leg, is a condition where a chick's legs "splay" out to the sides. It can often be repaired with a drinking glass.

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Rabbits

Pets make fabulous companions. They can also be a fiber artist’s dream. Rabbits come in all sorts of sizes and are bred for a variety of purposes. No matter what your need on the homestead is, you can find a rabbit that’s right for you.

Any rabbit can be eaten, no matter how cute, hairy or small but some are a lot more practical for producing meat. Learn how to choose good breeding stock.
Rabbits can be fun and affectionate pets. I like to think of them as a funny mash up between cats and dogs. They can be very sweet, affectionate, entertaining, and fun.
Are you getting ready to add fiber rabbits to your backyard farm? Rabbits are the perfect choice for someone who wants to start producing their own fibers.
Breeding meat rabbits is very easy, and a great way to have a continual supply of fresh, lean meat! For non-traditional and suburban homesteaders, most ordinances allow you to keep rabbits.
Raising rabbits can be very rewarding. You can keep them to show, for fiber, for meat and/or as a companion. There is one big reason, however, not to purchase a rabbit.
Our French Angoras are the perfect example of a double duty animal. We use our angoras for compost and fiber for crocheting and for other yarn crafts.

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General Livestock Care

How to care for all the livestock who calls your homestead home.

The reality is that you have to be strong when you become a homesteader. You have to make the tough calls and you have to be prepared to deal with death.
Its getting chilly with winter on the way and it's time to start thinking about winterizing the chicken house and barn. Here are great tips to get you started.
Animal enrichment is activities that create a more stimulating environment for the animals and elicit some of their natural behaviors.
Whether you are a backyard hobby homesteader or an avid homesteader on your journey to live off-grid, these are the homesteading articles you want to be reading.

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