Our patch of earth

baymule

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Talk to us BEFORE you get chickens. We will guide you through building a predator proof coop to keep out snakes, raccoons, hawks and other predators. EVERYTHING wants a chicken dinner. You don't want the excitement of having chickens turning to sadness because some varmit just tore into the coop and killed your hens.

Glad there was no damage. What a relief!
 

Lazy Gardener

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Yes, definitely talk to us before you buy your chickens. I spent almost a whole year researching before jumping in with my flock in ?2012. This, after raising multiple flocks during my early granola years. The time spent researching was well worth it. Here's some topics to get you started:

Deep composting litter in coop and run. Coops with soil floors are super beneficial. Composting litter will even cut your feed consumption. Studies have shown that composting litter improves bird gut flora, chick viability increases, and the composting process produces B vitamins. Not to mention all the beneficial insects and worms they will glean from the litter. If you go this route, you will only need to remove spent bedding after it's turned to beautiful black compost which you can use in your gardens. @Beekissed is the queen of deep composting litter.

Check out electronet fencing to aid with predator proofing.

Fermented feed. Both @Beekissed and I have been using FF for years. It improves nutrient uptake in the bird's gut. You will find that your birds utilize their feed better, so your feed costs are decreased. Fermented feed can have increased levels of Vitamins B, C and K, along with increased protein as well! Higher levels of digestible protein can can also help with egg production. The process is as simple as dumping feed and water into a bucket and waiting until the feed gets puffy or bubbles. Much like making a sour dough starter.

And finally, if you start with chicks, get away from the notion that they need a heat lamp... and that they need their brooder at some magic number. (generally stated 90-95 the first week and decreasing 5* every week.) That's not how Mama Broody does it, and the chicks are not benefited by having that much heat. They only need a small footprint of heat to warm up under, with the remainder of the brooder being at what ever the ambient temp is. If you don't have a broody hen, you can mimic her heat supply by using what is affectionately called the "mama heating pad" brooder. There is an article and thread on BYC about this simple and very effective concept. Neither do you need to brood chicks in the house! I start them for the first 24 hours with MHP, then they go straight to the coop with their MHP, even with night time temps down to 20's. They thrive with this system.
 

wyoDreamer

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I will vouch for the "Mamma-Heating-Pad (MHP)" method of raising chicks.. My chicks are out in the barn with a MHP from day one. I have only lost one chick and that was a 3 week old cornish cross - I think it got trampled at the feeder.
 

Lazy Gardener

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And finally: Cattle panels are among my best homesteading friends! They are indestructible. Last for ever. Can be used for:

Trellising, making coops, chicken tractors, storage buildings, green houses, temporary pens for various animals... Their use is only limited by your imagination.
 

Mini Horses

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You forgot to mention MY favorite....fast fence repair !! I can't count the number of times I have needed them for that. Always seems to happen when I absolutely must leave soon and no time to deal. :D
 

Lazy Gardener

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Here's an other great read. I actually picked this up in the recycle building at my town dump. It will give you the confidence you need to undertake any "around the yard" building project. I am always collecting scrap lumber and building materials. Add a few basic tools, and you can become the "Lady of the house" who can build or remodel her own house!

 

Reice

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Thank you for the suggestions! :) Will try to hunt some of those down from the library.

The tomatoes are exploding on us and can't wait for them to ripen. Bell pepper plant and jalapeno plants are also doing great. Watermelon and radishes are starting to poke their head through the dirt so hoping they do as well as the others. :)

No word from the neighbors on buying the place, oh well. Haven't really pushed selling it yet (as we still live in it) so keeping positive thoughts about that.

Other than that still in a holding pattern. Just enjoying time out there when we can get out there.
 
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