Chicky Checklist

January 29, 2014
On the verge of February, the most bitter month of the year, it is hard to stay positive and remain motivated to plan for spring.  January has been a beast with polar vortex, several feet of snow, states of emergencies, and for me cabin fever!  We were grateful to welcome two adorable doelings (who we are going to have to have a name game for as Matt cannot decide :).  They keep us busy, and thoroughly entertained.  
One great part of February is that our replacement chicks are ordered in for the year.  I have spoken with several hatcheries in New York state especially that say they are book through until April orders.  The backyard chicken movement is definatley taking the country by storm.  I thought I would share some must haves that I use when raising or brooding new chicks.  Our laying hens are brought in to a sanitized rubbermaid tub with fresh shavings.  Our meat birds come in large numbers and regular rotations and this year will be brought in to brooder houses built specifically to safely house that many babies.  Each year I generally only order 20-30 laying hen replacement chicks. And these fluff butts are raised in the basement.  I suspend a heat lamp with chain over the brooder (rubbermaid tote) so it is just above level with the top of the tote.  


Cleanliness is of utmost importance when you bring in baby chicks.  Both of their environment, and of your self before and after handling the chicks or their brooder.  Fresh clean water and a regular supply of chick starter are necessary to ensure proper growth.  Below are common types of waterers and feeders.


Keeping their water clean can be a challenge when the vessel is placed in the shavings, I find tying it to a dowel and resting the dowel over top of the brooder helps keep it out of shavings.  Another option is to put the water jug on a block to lift it above shavings level.  Often I find as the chicks grow though, they knock the waterer off the block and foil any plans of clean water.  When brooding more than ten or so chicks I prefer to use the long chick feeders such as these.
  

I feel these longer feeders allow more chicks to belly up to the feeder at the same time so no one gets pushed out.  I also like to keep some Save-A-Chick Electrolytes and Vitamin supplement on hand in case any of them are not looking up to par.  Baby chicks are so fragile and no doubt after raising chicks a few times you are likely to suffer a loss or two, but sometimes separating the weakling and giving vitamins can make a world of difference!  Layer chicks are raised in the brooder atleast six weeks but in colder months they stay in until feathered out and old enough to survive the climate.  It is amazing to watch them grow and change from fluffy little chicks....


To beautiful hens (hopefully :)

And if all goes well six months or so later you will enjoy the ultimate homesteaders delight...

Farm Fresh Eggs!

I hope you all have wonderful success with your new chicklets this year.  For us they are the first little glimmer of new life and spring being on its way!


 

Adding color

January 20, 2014
I am so completely new to working with wool, I love it and do it just about every day in one way or another. I learned to dye wool fairly early on as it is fun, and with mostly white sheep it expands the amount of projects I could do exponentially!  I dye wool on my stove by heating water and adding whatever the dye is, whether it be a natural dye like beat root or berries, kool aid which is fun and inexpensive but doesn't offer the full range of colors I needed, or rit dye which usually fil...
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Digging out

January 10, 2014


Like many people in the North east we have spent the last few days digging out!  Our house, driveway, barn, and cars were buried in a crazy blizzard that brought around four feet of snow in two days.  Normally we are prepared and equipped and both Matt and I have 4wheel drive vehicles so the hype of impending storms don't usually scare us too much  Well this one was a whole new ball game.  We literally did not leave the house for thee days, frequent runs to the barn with warm water were the ...

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Felted slippers=raisin hands

January 5, 2014


Ok so one thing I have been wanting to learn to do is to felt slippers and booties.  I made it my goal this weekend and consider myself somewhat successful :) Here is what you will need to start:
- Around a pound of wool, depending on the size slippers you are making of course
-Bubble wrap
-Bamboo placemat
-Soap (I used unscented goats milk soap)
-A fine net or old curtain (I used an old laundry bag)
-Bowl with warm water

To begin you trace your feet, or the feet of your recipient, with a one inch ...

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Happy New Year!

January 1, 2014
Welcome 2014 I cannot wait to see the bounty you have to give!  I am always looking forward no matter what the time frame or land mark, I always have little excitements that I am anticipating.  This year our big goal that hovers over all our farm goals is better record keeping and analysis of those records.  I admit, it is the unfun part of farming, but it will help us do what we do in a better way to be able to learn in the future.  A friend of mine and I often talk about the saying that in...
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Always learning

December 29, 2013
Those of you that follow our facebook page know that we have recently purchased the Homesteading for beginners set of videos.  I thought it would be nice as I watch to post about some of the interesting tips I learn from the videos.
Last night I popped in disk one, which features sheep.  With the Babydolls I have done a lot of reading and hands on learning so for the most part there were not many new things to me.  It was great for some one who is thinking of getting sheep, or just recently ...
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Let the fun begin

December 21, 2013
Ok so my Christmas gift to myself/Birdy was a set of hatching eggs, not just any hatching eggs but FRIZZLE hatching eggs, any of you that follow the farm know that we had a delightful little frizzle hen, Fizzle, who passed away this past summer.  We miss her so and I thought it would be a good winter pick me up to try and hatch one of our own.  Now Frizzles are a funny chicken, you cannot breed a frizzled roo to a frizzled hen and get frizzled chicks, odd right?  The gene that causes the fri...
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Christmas crazy!

December 20, 2013
This time of year it is really easy to get caught up in the craziness of the holidays.  Whether you are trying to schedule a trip, organize a get together, find the perfect gift, or finish orders in time the stress can overcome your day.  I can say a few things that saved me this year I will try to repeat for years to come.
-Get the amazon app on your cell and shop when waiting in the car or in line etc, multi task!
-Set deadlines for yourself and stick to them
-Plan ahead, especially if you se...
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FINALLY

December 18, 2013
Well I feel like a bottle about to burst after weeks struggling with my blog page I have finally been able to get logged in and type!  We have been getting buried in snow in the blustery North East and with that I have had way too much inside time!  I am slowly going crazy...six, five, four, three, two, one switch!  LOL ok out of my system (kind of).
So part of my cabin fever lunacy pushed me to the edge and in a weak moment I logged into ebay.  Not for, clothes, antiques or collectibles, si...
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How a vegetarian raises meat birds...

November 3, 2013

    When Matt decided we should start raising broiler chickens for our family and for the markets I was so completely against it.  I have been a vegetarian since I was 12, I'm two weeks away from 31 :)  I never felt good about the common practice of industrial farming where animals were confined in huge chicken or hog or cattle houses.  I always loved farming and my favorite toys were plastic farm animals that I housed in a cardboard box barn I constructed and my green John Deere Tractor.  Wh...
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From Scratch Magazine

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