farming http://www.wisebread.com/taxonomy/term/6436/all en-US How to Raise Backyard Chickens http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/Wt74g602SPKhGpe5JNU3jsr9urW9U29J70gGVmn0WDk/mtime:1301029926/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/kid_with_chickens.jpg" alt="Kid with chickens" title="Kid with chickens" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="133" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>We&rsquo;ve kept chickens on our small 3-acre farm for over five years. I grew up raising them, so I&rsquo;m comfortable with the ins and outs of the practice. As food gets increasingly pricey, and consumers turn to organic and free-range for their egg and poultry needs, a backyard flock is becoming more popular each year. (See also: <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a>)</p> <p>This short guide to owning a backyard flock is by no means complete. Entire books have been written on the topic, so consider this a conversation starter for those who want to explore the idea further. Chickens can be so much more than just food. Our entire family (even my young kids) has had a blast <a href="http://www.thefreelancefarmer.com/2010/05/why-dine-alone.html">sharing our farm</a> with these feathered friends!</p> <h3>Check Your Local Laws</h3> <p>If you live outside of city limits, chances are great that you&rsquo;ll be able to lawfully keep chickens. As you head toward town, however, the ordinances become murky. Some towns allow for two hens in a backyard, properly contained. Others will not be so accommodating (especially if you come under a housing authority for your regulations). If you are unsure as to whether you can keep chickens, ask. Remember, however, that some chicken owners have been keeping their flock under the assumption that no law is the same as allowing it. <em>Be wary if you choose to go this route</em>. (Don&rsquo;t like the law in your town? <a href="http://www.grit.com/livestock/chickens/chicken-laws-guide.aspx">Change it</a>!)</p> <h3>Set Up Your Habitat</h3> <p>Whether you choose to let your chickens run all over the yard (as we do) or confine them to a small run or fenced-in area, you will still need to provide them with a sturdy, safe shelter to protect them from the elements and predators. We converted an old shed into a coop by hanging some laying boxes, using broken ladders as roosts, and laying straw on the ground. You can look into buying premade chicken coops and chicken tractors, as well as plans for making your own. Remember, newborn chicks will not reside in the coop at first. They will likely live in a box with a heating lamp in your home or basement until they are old enough to go outside.</p> <h3>Order Your Chicks</h3> <p>Getting your chickens may be as simple as strolling down to the local farm supply store and popping a few in a box to take home. Depending on the variety you are looking at getting (and where you are located), you may have to order your chickens from a specialty supplier or a local hatchery. When ordering chickens by mail, be sure you will be home on the day they are set to arrive. They come to you just a few days old, in a box with holes poked in it. You will need to get the chickens out of the box ASAP and to their feed and water within hours.</p> <p>Raising chickens from just a few days old is not for the faint of heart. It is likely that, even with your full attention and care, one or two may die. Baby chicks are extremely fragile in the first few days of life. They are prone to falling into their water and drowning. (I recommend filling any water dish with marbles to the top. This will allow the babies to drink from the spaces between the marbles, but not be able to fall in.) If you do not have any idea how to care for new babies, just skip the process altogether, and buy a pullet that is close to egg-laying stage.</p> <p>I shouldn&rsquo;t have to say this, but you will need to have hens (females) if you want eggs. Hens will lay eggs with or without a rooster. You can eat fertilized eggs &mdash; they won&rsquo;t hurt you. If you do decide to keep a rooster or two, be prepared.&nbsp;They like to stay busy with the hens (if you know what I mean).</p> <h3>Watch and Care for Them</h3> <p>Chickens are relatively low-maintenance, but can be costly to keep (especially with the increase in grain prices). Once established, they will need nothing more than a daily &ldquo;checking,&rdquo; fresh feed, the proper amount of grit (to keep their gullets healthy and egg shells strong), and water. Keeping their coop clean is important to prevent disease, but chickens do not need to be bathed. If given access to dirt, they will take regular &ldquo;<a href="http://www.ruleworks.co.uk/poultry/dust-bath.asp">dust baths</a>&rdquo; &mdash; burrowing into the ground to coat their entire bodies with fine dust. This prevents mites and feels good to the chicken!</p> <p>You will want to pay careful attention to keep them from predators. In addition to neighborhood dogs, chickens can be attacked or eaten by hawks, ferrets, raccoons, and skunks, among other critters. (If you have large rats in your area, you will want to be certain to keep any small holes sealed from the inside. Rats will eat chickens, as well as your feed!)</p> <h3>Gather and Store Your Eggs</h3> <p>After about four or five months, your hens should start laying eggs, and they will continue to lay up to an egg a day during the sunny season, if properly fed. If you just have a few hens, you&rsquo;ll probably eat the eggs as fast as they are laid. If you have as many as we do (40 at the moment), you&rsquo;ll need to gather, clean, and store them properly &mdash; especially if you will be selling them to friends and family. There are many different opinions on how to do this, as many farmers have had luck leaving the eggs on a basket on the counter and then eating them as they get to them. I have a process of gathering daily, using an egg wash to gently remove any dirt from the shell, allowing to air dry, and then storing in clean egg cartons in my fridge for two to four weeks For details on how to &ldquo;wash&rdquo; eggs (which is really only necessary for very dirty eggs), see this document on <a href="http://www.ianrpubs.unl.edu/epublic/live/g1724/build/g1724.pdf">egg-cleaning procedures</a>.</p> <h3>To Eat, or Not to Eat</h3> <p>Perhaps you&rsquo;re looking forward to eating your own fresh <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-to-do-with-chicken-leg-quarters">chicken meat</a>. This is doable even with the smallest flock, although it&rsquo;s not for the faint of heart. I have yet to butcher my own chicken, as I have a hubby that does the honors, but I do know that skinning instead of plucking is where it&rsquo;s at. Those that want to explore the conversation further can reference this tutorial on <a href="http://www.backwoodshome.com/articles2/grim79.html">skinning a chicken in 20 minutes or less</a>.</p> <p>Even after you&rsquo;ve owned chickens for what seems like forever, it&rsquo;s always useful and fun to stay connected to updated resources and a like-minded, chicken-loving community. I highly recommend the following resources for getting your poultry fix:&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li><strong><a href="http://www.chicken-revolution.com/">Chicken Revolution</a></strong> &ndash; The official website of CITY (Chickens in the Yard), a group focused on getting urban chickens legalized all over the country.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://urbanchickens.org/">Urban Chickens</a></strong> &ndash; Don&rsquo;t let the title fool you! While it&rsquo;s designed to help you get started raising chickens within city limits, the tips are useful for farm folks, too.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.mypetchicken.com/">My Pet Chicken</a></strong> &ndash; This is a great site for 101-level chicken info.&nbsp;I suggest reading over the <a href="http://www.mypetchicken.com/about-chickens/frequently-asked-questions.aspx">FAQs</a> before you make the commitment to buying your first chicken.&nbsp;<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.grit.com/article-categories.aspx?taxonomyid=254">Grit</a></strong> &ndash; Perhaps my favorite print magazine for rural living, their chicken articles are perfect for any size flock.<br /> &nbsp;</li> <li><strong><a href="http://www.backyardchickens.com/">Backyard Chickens</a></strong> &ndash; A visitor-friendly site with a little bit of everything, the site has a large assortment of <a href="http://www.backyardchickens.com/coopdesigns.html">coop designs</a>.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>This is a very abridged version of the ins and outs of raising chickens. There are so many <a href="http://www.examiner.com/gardening-in-national/eight-benefits-of-raising-backyard-chickens">benefits to backyard chickens</a> that I would highly recommend it to anyone with the space, time, and commitment. Our chickens are more than a source of nourishment. They are a delight to be around! Inquisitive, friendly, and beautiful, chickens are one of God&rsquo;s most charming creatures. Once you find a variety that suits your personality (we adore <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plymouth_Rock_(chicken)">Barred Rock</a>), you may stick with them for life!</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-raise-backyard-chickens">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-1"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/real-eggs">Real eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-fantastic-facts-about-eggs">10 Fantastic Facts About Eggs</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/what-not-to-buy-at-a-farmers-market">What NOT to Buy at a Farmers Market</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-only-fruits-and-veggies-worth-growing-yourself">The Only Fruits and Veggies Worth Growing Yourself</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/bottled-or-tap-the-right-choice-for-water-may-surprise-you">Bottled or Tap: The Right Choice for Water May Surprise You</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Food and Drink Green Living chickens eggs farming Mon, 21 Mar 2011 11:36:09 +0000 Linsey Knerl 506660 at http://www.wisebread.com Book Review: Living On An Acre, A Practical Guide to the Self-Reliant Life http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/CoqDmnuCSmK5blTrzxqoanIQx9tZrt73QKGDmmi79Tc/mtime:1295014698/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/living%20on%20an%20acre.jpg" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="120" height="180" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p class="MsoNormal">Ever since I left the city and crept my way back into my childhood farm house, I have been slowly adjusting to a simpler lifestyle.<span> </span><a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592281141?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592281141">Living On An Acre</a> has been a steady and dependable guide to covering the bases of both the practicalities and the possibilities of living a more sustainable dream. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">You don’t have to have an entire acre to implement the plans in this very straight-forward manual to living the rural life.<span> </span>Designed for those individuals looking to start a part-time farm, buying a second home in the country, or just those curious enough to read this 330+ page text, it is an enlightening reading for anyone.<span> </span>DIY’ers and the independent will find enough potential projects for a lifetime of new challenges and productive work. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">There are too many topics covered in this book to even begin to list them all.<span> </span>My favorite sections include: </p> <ul> <li>How to select a community</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Planning for a home</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Landscaping</li> </ul> <ul> <li>Proper disposal of property</li> </ul> <p class="MsoNormal">And of course, the fun stuff!<span> </span>Berries, herbs, starting a kennel, beekeeping, Christmas trees, keeping hens, dairy cows, dude ranches, and earthworms in a washtub are ALL covered in brief but adequate detail. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you want to delve very deeply into any one of the touched-upon topics for a profitable business or a large-scale operation, I would suggest getting additional material.<span> </span>If you are wanting to simply explore the topic to see if it is right for you, however, this book may have everything you need. </p> <p class="MsoNormal">This book pulls no punches.<span> </span>This classic US Department of Agriculture handbook won’t coddle you into believing that anyone is cut out for farm life.<span> </span>The pros and cons of switching to a rural mode are weighed heavily at the beginning of the book.<span> </span>Many of the topical chapters begin with a list of equipment and land needs, as well as the expected demands of undergoing a new operation on the farm. Christine Woodside (the editor) lends her expertise to the book, giving it a human side that keeps it from having too much of a “textbook” feel.<span> </span></p> <p class="MsoNormal">If you’re looking for a no-nonsense primer that discusses the dollar and cents of sustainable living, this might be a good read to add to your collection.<span> </span>Living rural is hard work, and this book makes no promises that it will be the dream lifestyle you’ve always imagined.<span> </span>But if your response to impending economic instability and the desire for simple living has you considering an exodus to the country, I’d recommend <a href="http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1592281141?ie=UTF8&amp;tag=wisebread03-20&amp;link_code=as3&amp;camp=211189&amp;creative=373489&amp;creativeASIN=1592281141">Living on An Acre</a> to help you with your decision.</p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/linsey-knerl">Linsey Knerl</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-living-on-an-acre-a-practical-guide-to-the-self-reliant-life">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-2"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/these-diy-magazines-can-help-you-be-self-reliant">These DIY Magazines Can Help You Be Self-Reliant</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/book-review-the-education-of-an-american-dreamer-by-peter-g-peterson">Book review: The Education of an American Dreamer by Peter G. Peterson</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/how-to-make-an-easter-basket-for-a-grown-man">How to Make an Easter Basket for a Grown Man</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/25-gifts-you-can-make-today">25 Gifts You Can Make Today</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/almost-2000-uses-for-a-can-of-wd-40-1">Almost 2000 uses for a can of WD-40</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Frugal Living DIY Lifestyle book review country farming sustainable living Sat, 28 Jun 2008 16:54:30 +0000 Linsey Knerl 2203 at http://www.wisebread.com Pure Genius - All In The Name Of Eco-Friendly http://www.wisebread.com/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-blog-image"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly" class="imagecache imagecache-250w imagecache-linked imagecache-250w_linked"><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/I_lZVa8_MgHRif2w827JQ-fczgidYb9L_POloKQOd94/mtime:1301029912/files/fruganomics/imagecache/250w/blog-images/staircase_drawers.jpg" alt="Staircase Drawers" title="Staircase Drawers" class="imagecache imagecache-250w" width="250" height="186" /></a> </div> </div> </div> <p>Ok, recycling is as eco-friendly as I get so far, and I&#39;m even too lazy for that sometimes. So I really have to applaud these people who have dedicated their best brains to creating some of the most ingenious inventions I&#39;ve seen, all for the sake of a more sustainable future. </p> <p>I recently stumbled upon this site, <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com">Inhabitat</a><a href="http://www.inhabitat.com">.com</a>, which is worth looking at not only for the fabulous design but also some damn good ideas.</p> <p>For instance, I work at an architectural firm and wondered the same thing <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/25/ample-sample-upcycling-design-contest/#more-4809">this guy</a> did: why don&#39;t we ever do anything with all those samples of tiles, glass, rubber, etc. that potential suppliers inundate us with daily? I figured decorating my bathroom with all the spare tiles would be pretty clever, but that&#39;s not nearly as fun as <a href="http://www.amplesample.net/">what these people came up with</a>.</p> <p>But the strangest and most intriguing to me has to be this:</p> <p><img src="http://wisebread.killeracesmedia.netdna-cdn.com/cdn/farfuture/Z1pZP3o-UYimwqzFK88dC_wcMz5D-TC5h9V1A9jsM8A/mtime:1301030212/files/fruganomics/wisebread_imce/Vertical_Farm.jpg" alt="Chris Jacobs vertical farm" width="193" height="250" /> </p> <p>No, that&#39;s not just a building. See the green inside? That is one of the designs associated with the <a href="http://www.verticalfarm.com/index.php">vertical farm project</a>, the brainchild of Dr. Dickson Despommier, a Columbia University professor of environmental sciences and microbiology. The idea behind the project is that in 50 years, most of the human population will live in urban centers. Their solution to overcrowding and its environmental consequences: start building farms into skyscrapers!</p> <p>Some of the purpoted benefits of such a scheme:</p> <p>-Organically grown food, sans pesticides</p> <p>-No weather related crop failures</p> <p>-Year-round crop production</p> <p>-Animals can be raised in them as well **small ones, such as chicken and fish**</p> <p>-No tractors, plows or shipping, thus less use of fossil fuels</p> <p>-And the best benefit: we can&#39;t go to the moon or Mars until we try skscraper farming! Woo hoo! No creepy Total Recall moments.</p> <p>The farm has yet to be built, and I just hope I&#39;m around long enough to see it. In the meantime I guess I can enjoy the staircase drawers.</p> <p>&#160;</p> <p>Staircase by Unicraft Joinery. Photo courtesy of blogger Emily on <em>Inhabitat.</em></p> <p>Read more about the two-in-one staircase <a href="http://www.inhabitat.com/2007/06/11/a-brilliant-storage-idea-staircase-drawers/#more-4609">here</a> .</p> <p>Vertical farm picture: design by Chris Jacobs. </p> <br /><div id="custom_wisebread_footer"><div id="rss_tagline">This article is from <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/joann-hong">Joann Hong</a> of <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/pure-genius-all-in-the-name-of-eco-friendly">Wise Bread</a>, an award-winning personal finance and <a href="http://www.wisebread.com/credit-cards">credit card comparison</a> website. Read more great articles from Wise Bread:</div><div class="view view-similarterms view-id-similarterms view-display-id-block_2 view-dom-id-3"> <div class="view-content"> <div class="item-list"> <ul> <li class="views-row views-row-1 views-row-odd views-row-first"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/5-dangers-of-mobile-banking-and-how-to-avoid-them">5 Dangers of Mobile Banking — And How to Avoid Them</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-2 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/no-signal-5-quick-ways-to-boost-your-cell-phone-reception-updated">No Signal? 5 Quick Ways to Boost Your Cell Phone Reception. Updated.</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-3 views-row-odd"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/10-things-you-should-do-immediately-after-losing-your-wallet">10 Things You Should Do Immediately After Losing Your Wallet</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-4 views-row-even"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/8-vile-craigslist-scams-to-watch-out-for">8 Vile Craigslist Scams to Watch Out For</a></span> </div> </li> <li class="views-row views-row-5 views-row-odd views-row-last"> <div class="views-field-title"> <span class="field-content"><a href="http://www.wisebread.com/the-student-who-created-a-pr-nightmare-via-wikipedia">The Student Who Created a PR Nightmare Via Wikipedia</a></span> </div> </li> </ul> </div> </div> </div> </div><br/></br> Consumer Affairs drawers eco-friendly farm farming furniture stairs sustainable vertical farm Tue, 26 Jun 2007 20:39:03 +0000 Joann Hong 776 at http://www.wisebread.com