Can You Seal A Pond With Clay Kitty Litter?

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I wanted to build the ducks a pond. In fact, I started on the pond months before we eventually adopted ducks. Now, just so we are clear, our pond isn’t really a pond…it’s more like a very large puddle. It’s about 15 feet by 8 feet and holds about 1000 gallons of water. But for [Continue Reading...]

Meet The Ducks!

Ancona Ducks

Here’s the list of homestead things we were hoping to accomplish in 2014: Install Solar Panels. Plant Suburban Food Forest Build Pond – working on it. Get Ducks. Get Bees – too late; pushed to 2015. The solar panels are churning out a ton of power (nearly 40 kWh on a lovely sunny day), the trees, [Continue Reading...]

How To Feed Baby Chicks + {Giveaway} Chick Feed Starter Kit

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So you’ve got some new little chicks-congrats! Now you have to keep them alive. First job, warmth. Check. Second job, water. Check. Third job, food. How To Feed Your Chicks Ok, chick food. Here’s where it get’s interesting. Layer, starter, grower? Organic, or not? Medicated, or not? What the heck? Do you just buy the first bag with a [Continue Reading...]

Three Steps To Clean, Poop-Free Eggs

Clean Eggs

If you are a chicken-keeping gardener like me, you know that the second-best thing hens give you is eggs. The first best thing they give you is their awesome nutrient rich poop! As grateful as I am for both the poop and the eggs, I prefer them to be gifted separately. Typically if the eggs [Continue Reading...]

Will A Broody Hen Adopt Chicks?

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Our Buff Orpington Goldie was broody. Really broody. I’ve had hens go broody before and they always seem to just get over it within about a week. Because I don’t rely on eggs for my income and the broodiness I’ve seen has been short-lived, I’ve never bothered to “break” a broody hen with a broody [Continue Reading...]

Best Chicken Breeds for Families with Kids

Chickens and Kids

Nearly every backyard urban chicken keeper I know has kids. Part of that is probably my demographic (mid-thirties suburban mom in yoga pants – I’m a walking cliche) but I think part of it is that parents my age want their kids to see where food comes from in a way that maybe we didn’t, [Continue Reading...]

Forced Molt: Starving Hens For Profit

Forced Molt

Lets’s talk about molting. Anyone who has ever kept chickens knows about the molt, that egg-production pause where hens shed old feathers and turn into tiny, ugly dinosaurs for a few weeks. During the molt, a natural response to reduced daylight, egg laying stops. Chicken’s can’t throw energy into making new feathers and eggs at the same [Continue Reading...]

{Giveaway} Scratch and Peck Organic Chicken Feed

Scratch and Peck Feed Giveaway

When I first got hens, I didn’t understand how critical they would become to the entire system of my productive home. I just had that fresh-egg fantasy. You know the one: pastel-hued eggs in a Pinterest-worthy little wire basket. They would be laid by happy, fluffy hens and I would have omelets that were as [Continue Reading...]

Stop Chickens From Scratching Up Your Trees and Shrubs

Protect Trees from Chickens

Happy chickens scratch. They scratch a lot. Trees and shrubs are not so fond of having their roots unearthed by chickens, but that does not dissuade the chickens, who will happily scratch and dig until they practically uproot a small tree if they think there might be a worm in it for them. In my yard, [Continue Reading...]

Get A Shovel. This is Urban Homesteading.

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Today I put about thirty pounds of pork belly into cure for bacon and pancetta, made a loaf of bread, mixed a bottle of homemade citrus cleaner, and buried one dead chicken. Get a shovel. This is urban homesteading. If you keep chickens, dead chickens are part of the deal. You get what you get [Continue Reading...]

You Absolutely Should Not Get Backyard Chickens

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I was talking to a friend the other day. She’s a gentle soul, a kind-hearted person who says, “I could never kill an animal” with wide, pained eyes that let you know she’s not talking in hyperbole. She wants chickens. She wants them bad. She wants the experience of fluffy little chicks and she wants [Continue Reading...]

Adding A New Chicken To An Established Flock

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My neighbor rang my doorbell yesterday. She was holding this chicken. She had just come from her kids’ school, where the chicken had been wandering the busy parking lot, causing all kinds of havoc by darting under and around the station wagons and mini vans. My neighbor’s eleven year old daughter is a natural Animal [Continue Reading...]