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?
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 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 updating this chicken coop ourselves. I started by mapping out how I wanted the chicken 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.
PSST! If you've got some intense building codes where you live, we also built our own mobile chicken tractors! That way you can protect your hens and give them all the benefits of bing free-range on pasture with none of the risks. You can read all about the mobile chicken tractors here.
Scroll down to grab the plans on how to construct a nesting box from one piece of plywood!
As it would be for anyone to say the “best” in terms of chicken breeds for a small homestead, I am being totally and completely biased. Full disclosure, the Silver Laced color variety was originally bred in Wisconsin and I am so dang proud. The Wyandotte breed has a total of eight color varieties, which include Black Laced, Blue Laced, Buff, Buff Columbian, Columbian, Golden Laced, Partridge, Silver Laced, and Silver Pencilled. I think that the Silver Laced Wyandotte is the prettiest though, but to each their own! Now let’s get on to talking about why Wyandottes are great for the small-scale homestead.
Thanks for stopping by Green Willow Homestead! From chicken rearing to composting, we've got our hands full and we love sharing what we've learned along the way. Follow along as we strive to live sustainably and turn these five acres from just property to a fully functioning small-scale homestead.
Grab the Ebook
1. Joe Salatin
2. Rachel Carson
3. Wendell Berry
4. Temple Grandin
5. Diana Rodgers
6. Bea Johnson
7. Allan Savory
Favorite Books of 2019
1. Restoration Agriculture
3. A Sand County Almanac
4. The Small Scale Poultry Flock
5. Deep Work