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.