With Christmas right around the corner, chicken hobbyists and those dreaming of acquiring chickens in the spring are making their lists and checking them twice. Of course, on the top of every chicken lover’s list is poultry themed pajamas and the newest egg sorter. However, many chicken keepers reserve their Christmas wish list for that big-ticket item. A new chicken coop.
Imagine if your breakfast came right from your backyard homestead? With the help of some livestock, that dream could easily become a reality. I start every day milking the goats and, on my way back from the milking parlor, I swing by the coop for some fresh duck, chicken, and quail eggs. Throw in some homemade bread and bacon from a local farmer and I am able to serve my family a breakfast for champions.
Animals are an integral part of the homestead. Regardless of the size of your homestead, there are probably animals you can keep that will help you live more self-sufficiently. If you are just getting started or you have a smaller backyard homestead, quail, chickens, and rabbits are a great start. If you have some experience under your belt or you have more land to spread out on, goats and ducks are great options.
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If you want to breed rabbits for a sustainable meat supply, there’s a few things to take into consideration. Rabbit meat is popular among homesteaders because rabbits are easy to raise, and they breed easily and birth in less time than other traditional homestead livestock like sheep, goats, pigs, and cows. Rabbits also produce lean, healthy meat that’s low in fat, and is a culinary delicacy in many countries around the globe.
Best of all, for non-traditional and suburban homesteaders, most city ordinances allow you to keep rabbits, so in areas where chickens and other livestock are not allowed, meat rabbits make a great alternative.
It looked like there was a pillow fight in my yard last night. You see, ducks don’t molt like chickens do. They actually have a couple of molts and each one looks different. The effects are most obvious in drakes. Find out about eclipse molts, big summer molts and the really cool thing about fall molts with drakes.
Rabbits can be fun and affectionate pets. I like to think of them as a funny mash up between cats and dogs. They are friendly and trainable like dogs, but also sometimes aloof and will give you attitude like a cat. In the end though, they act like rabbits and can be very sweet, affectionate, entertaining, and fun.
Rabbits can be rewarding pets if you set up their home environment well and give them enough space and things to do.
I am in love with mason jar feeders and waterers. They work for all ages and sizes in the flock and if you’re like me and have hundreds of jars laying around, it’s a dirt cheap way to go. The only flaw to them is they can be very challenging to hang. When left on the ground, they quickly fill with bedding and droppings. With a little crochet knowledge and some yarn or even twine, you can make a hanger in a matter of minutes.
Much like peas and carrots, chickens and gardens belong together (though maybe not occupying the same space). Chickens want to work. They want to dig and search and scratch. Why not put natural behavior to work for you? Discover why you should move your compost bin into your chicken run and how to safely compost with chickens.
Just like humans, your pet and best friend needs the right amount of nutrients to stay healthy and fit. Since dogs are unable to say exactly what they need, you as the pet owner should be sensitive enough to know your pet’s basic necessities including food.
If you want to make homemade food for your pet, there is absolutely nothing wrong with it as long as you are aware of the basics in maintaining a balanced nutrition for your dog.
Keeping quail is an experience that I believe every homesteader should enjoy. If it’s not for all these reasons, or even these delicious quail egg recipes, it’s because they are so darn funny. I did a lot of research before I got Coturnix quail. I knew how many females I needed for each male. I knew how to incubate them and brood them. I had the right setup prepared and the right foods on hand. I thought I was ready. That was before they arrived. 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.
The word predator implies something large and fierce — mountain lions, grizzly bears, velociraptors. With this in mind, you wouldn’t think your backyard chickens would have too many enemies. I hate to be a massive buzzkill, but they do.
Coyotes, raccoon, foxes, weasels, birds of prey, opossums, skunks, and snakes would all love to sink their teeth into your precious chickens. 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 that make the suburbs their hunting grounds.
When I first decided to raise quail I noticed through research the majority of quail were raised in wire cages or some type of cage that looked similar to a rabbit hutch. This wasn’t how I wanted my quail experience to end up. The vision I wanted was for these little birds to roam the grass hunting for bugs, much like they would do if they were living in the wild.
A friend of mine just shared a picture of her “extra chick” that came with her latest hatchery order. I’m sure you’ve been seeing them all over Facebook and the chicken forums. Everyone wants to know, what kind of chick is this? Did you know that one of the best ways to identify a chick, or even an adult chicken, is by its feathers and its comb?
The internet would have you believe that incubating Coturnix quail is difficult. I’m here to let you in on a secret… it’s not. Forget fumigation and floating techniques. It’s really no different than incubating a chicken egg. The only difference is that it takes less time and you might as well forget about candling. You simply pop your eggs in the incubator and start the clock.
If the chemicals aren’t enough to turn you off of commercial flea remedies, the smell certainly leaves one wanting a better alternative. A great alternative involves using essential oils that repel bugs. Because I prefer not to put essential oils directly on animals, essential oil flea collars are the perfect solution for us. They cost very little to make and they are pretty too!
Spraddle leg, also referred to as splay leg, is a condition where a chick’s legs “splay” out to the sides. Sometimes one leg is affected and other times both are. Often it occurs from brooding chicks on a slippery surface such as newspaper, but other causes include incubator temperature issues, vitamin deficiency, or being in a poor position in the egg.
Many non-traditional homesteaders turn to keeping quail when they discover they can’t keep other forms of poultry. Some homesteaders choose to add quail even if they already have other poultry on their homesteads. Why? Because quail offer many benefits to the small-scale farmer and the exchange of time and money for these benefits is great. There are several varieties of quail available, but Coturnix Quail are one of the most popular choices.