There is nothing more wonderful for a gardener than sharing the love of gardening with another. In this case, we are talking about sharing that love with your chickens! Not only will chickens love to be included in your garden, but they also can take some of the gardening work off your shoulders. In this post we will go over how you can work with your chicken’s instincts to prep and clean up your garden during the growing season, fertilize your soil, and till your cover crops under when the timing is right.
There are many reasons why homesteaders decide to bring a rooster into their flock. For me, there was a moment last winter where I woke up in the middle of the night and thought, “I want to hatch my own chicks.” In that late night epiphany I knew I had to get a rooster in order to make that happen, because, well, mother nature. Now I have four gorgeous roosters and will never go back to having just hens. Let’s break down the pros and cons of owning a rooster to help you decide if having one is right for your long term goals as a chicken owner.
I have sad news my fellow chicken lovers. We lost one of our Silver Laced Wyandottes last night. Cue the violin!
Paul and I have had the habit of going out to close up the coop around 7pm well after the sun has set, which I will admit was lazy on our part. Upon opening up the coop we found feathers everywhere, three chickens were cowering in the corner under the nesting boxes, four were hiding underneath the coop itself, and one was laying in the middle of the run with its head severed from its body.
Clearly there had been a predator through our chicken run. This incident was especially troubling because whatever it was, it was able to get through or over our fence. Paul likes to call our chicken run Fort Knox, but after last night we are questioning our perspective. What could have gotten through and killed one of our birds?
Turns out I'm not the only one that feels like a fish out of water when the humidity and heat strike hard mid July here in Wisconsin. My chickens were right there with me! Chickens and high heat plus humidity can be a deadly combination, especially this Wisconsin summer with the heat index climbing into the low 100s. So I wanted to share a few of the tips and tricks I've learned to keep my flock comfortable when I feel personally feel like melting.
Are you getting ready to own your very first flock? Congrats! I know exactly how excited and nervous you feel imagining those fluffy little chicks living under your roof. As someone who did her fair share of chick rearing research prior my first six chicks, there are seven very important things I wish I had known. This post is here to bring light to some very important factors I think a lot of bloggers miss out on when they write about the first few weeks of chick rearing. Read on to prepare yourself and your home!
The last five days were like a landscaping bootcamp for me. My parents came into town to help me get the yard and garden headed in the right direction, and thank goodness! Having all the extra help was so relieving. In the picture to the left you can see all the logs piled high from the trees we took down.
I'll be stacking the logs on their cut sides to create raised garden beds in my vegetable garden. I read about this method in Edible Landscaping With a Permaculture Twist. This book has been one of the most incredible resources as I plan out what to do with my five acres of property. The reason I like this book the most out of the permaculture books I have read is that it gives you concrete step-by-step ideas on how to work with your land to deliver specific results. Most of the other permie books I have read are a little to "read your tea leaves" for me. I like actionable steps!
They're here, they're here! Pooping, peeping, eating, drinking machines! I picked up the seven little peepers early in the morning. The day before I got their brooder box ready with paper towels, a heat lamps, a feeder, and a waterer. This whole set-up cost me $60, chicks included. To read more on our chick adventures click here.
This last weekend Paul and I finished up insulating the chicken coop, grading the garden, and the moving the coop into place. We were able to save ourselves a huge chunk of change by borrowing a bobcat from a very gracious neighbor. Without that bobcat nothing would have gotten done!
I also checked out a handful of permaculture books from the library and am totally hooked. Lots of growing plans for the back part of the property now...
The chicks are here! The chicks are here! As I was leaving Farm and Fleet this morning with a peeping cardboard box, a woman went to enter the store as I was exiting. She saw my wistful smile and then motioned to the box saying, "Ahhh, the sound of happiness."
She could not have been more right!
This has been quite the adventure getting ready for these little birds. You can do as much research as you want, but nothing beats learning like actually doing the thing. They are beyond adorable and I am so happy to finally be a proud flock owner.
To prepare for the chicks I spent less than $50, chicks included. Here is the price break down:
We are on our way to a finished chicken coop thanks to some serious planning and one huge Menards trip. Paul and I like to joke that Friday night is date night at Menards, the place of serious romance.
All joking aside, going in to Menards with a plan is what saved our heads on renovating and building this coop ourselves. I started by mapping out how I wanted the coop to look on the inside by using SketchUp Make. The plan went through a lot of changes as I did more research. But below you can see how everything shook out.
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to orchard planting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live a toxin-free life and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
1. Sustainable World
2. The Chicken Chick
3. Mother Earth News
4. Liz Wolfe
5. Sustainable Dish
6. Zero Waste Home
7. Joe Salatin