northernhomesteader


Wordless Wednesday – I’m the boss
April 11, 2012, 7:13 am
Filed under: Animals, Chicken, Chicks, Coop, Homesteading, Poultry, Rooster | Tags: , , , , ,

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Wordless Wednesday – Hello Chicks!
March 7, 2012, 7:46 am
Filed under: Animals, Chicken, Chicks, Coop, Egg, Eggs, Farming, Homesteading, Livestock, Poultry, Rooster | Tags: , , ,

Well…one of our little Silkie hens decided to be broodie over the winter…here is what she helped bring into the world (with a couple of our Isa Browns acting as caring aunts and proud Daddy Flounder looking on…):

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Chickens behind the wire…
February 19, 2012, 7:47 am
Filed under: Animals, Chicken, Chicks, Coop, Egg, Eggs, Farming, Homesteading, Livestock, Organic, Poultry, Predator | Tags: , , , , ,

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Thanks Heritage Breed Farms inspiring this quick post….

How do you keep your chickens in…or their enemies out?

We’ve used the 48″ Paige wire fencing on 8 ft long posts spaced every 8 ft for our main chicken yard, which is approx 1/2 acre or so. We also have a small chicken wire on t-bar pen for quarantine/new bird introductions.

Only the occasional fly over…and then pacing on the outside to try to figure out how to get back in….

This year we plan to also use the electrified chicken netting so that we may move the chickens to other areas for weed and pest control, etc.

All of that aside, the chickens do tend to stay close to where we are or where the house is…so for us the fence is more of a predator deterrent than a chicken containment system.



To do or not to do….where on the list should it go?

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Thank you for this great post over at Not Dabbling in Normal You’ve inspired me to consider the lists in our lives a little more deeply.

Do you have a “to do” list…or does your spouse have a “honey do list” for you? Do you use multiple lists or different areas in your life? Perhaps one for groceries, one for repairs, one for homestead upgrades, one for hobby wants/needs, etc?

I would be lost without my lists, and my wife would definitely also be lost without hers. I am a techy-type, so prefer to keep my lists on my iPhone’s “notes” app or as calendar entries on my Mac. Tanya prefers the large coiled scribbler method. In fact, I am actually writing this blog post in the Notes app…after having added the “lists” idea to my list of blog post ideas….

We most definitely have a number of different areas to build and manage lists from We were able to knock a few off the various lists in 2011, including:

-clear land
-build coop
-get chickens
-get rooster
-get feather plucker
-learn to process chickens
-fencing and fencing and fencing (this one is definitely not complletely finished yet…)
-get pigs
-get rabbits (well..only one doe so far…so that item is also still on the list….)
-provide heat sources for the aforementioned critters…and also keep their various water dishes in a liquid state throughout the winter
-learn how to and make yogurt

Plenty of items on 2012’s list, including:

-get more rabbits
-build rabbitry and rabbit arks
-put in garden
-more fencing and cross fencing
-begin compost piles from all the critters “night soil”
-look at worm bins (as our 2011 worm bin didn’t work out too well!)
-dig a well
-determine and implement alternative heat sources
-explore solar and/or wind power options
-dig a dug out/pond
-consider ducks
-consider goats
-learn how to and then dehydrate food
-learn how to and then can food
-learn how to and then preserve meat through smoking, etc

Should be another fun year!



Predator Patrol

 

This morning while I was waiting to renew our passports I enjoyed an excellent post from http://3acrehomestead.blogspot.com/2012/02/barred-owls.html  They had captured a great picture of a barred owl, and it reminded me of how our ladies (and Flounder) deal with predators.

While I don’t think that we have any barred owls, we do have a resident great horned owl.  Thankfully,  it is not around when our chickens are out, and to date (touch wood) we have not lost any chickens to aerial assault.

While owls don’t appear to be a problem for us, Red-tailed hawks are a different story all-together.  They are a constant aerial visitor year-round, and our hens stay pretty vigilant.

If you have ever noticed a chicken respond to a potential attack from above, it is definitely something to remember.  Being a prey animal and fairly close to the bottom of the food chain, chickens have a lot of potential predators and must remain wary.  However, they are also omnivores and so must eat what they can find.   Mother Nature has provided them with a somewhat unique threat detection and food detection system.  Basically, one eye sees things that are close, while the other eye sees things that are far.  So when chickens are scratching for goodies, they typically will step forward, scratch, step back and then look with the one eye before eating whatever interesting morsel they’ve uncovered.  However in order feel safe, they must keep the other eye to the sky, so to speak.   If and when they spot a threat (be it a hawk, low flying plane, or suspicious cloud formation), they freeze in spot….  After many minutes, they will slowly crank their head so that the far-sight eye is pointed sky ward…and ever-so-slowly scan to see if they have been spotted.  This process can take quite some time before they feel secure once again.

One of my funniest chicken-moments is looking out at the coop yard and seeing one chicken playing statue…while the other chickens are looking at her wondering what she’s doing, as they had only just come out of the coop and missed the hawk flying over.  15 minutes later…all is back to normal again!




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