Chickens – No Fowling Around

This article is a guest post by Daphne Nelson. Daphne homesteads in Washington State. With interest growing in self-sufficiency and self-reliance, many are looking to move out of the cities and suburbs to rural communities. Being an experienced homesteader, Daphne points out some of the important things that you can consider. You can also view Daphne’s previous post, Buying a Homestead and Learning Your Land.  Also, be sure to checkout the information on Daphne’s homestead that is for sale.  You can find more information at the end of the article.

Bard Rock

Choosing your bird livestock for a homestead can be one of the more important decisions you will make. Most people choose chickens because they are familiar with them, and they are a good choice, but you can really have a hard time deciding what the best breed is for your use. Some chickens are better layers, while others are better for their meat. Some are just fun, with feathery feet and fancy combs. Any choice you make will have to be chosen for your specific needs. The Bard Rock lays brown eggs, and mature early, as does the Rhode Island Red, the South American Araucana lays green eggs and is hardy in more extreme climates, whereas the Leghorn is the most common and lays white eggs.

When raising chickens, you have to decide if they will be cooped, or if they will be free range. There are advantages and disadvantages to both. Free-ranging means you will have a much smaller bug population, and this can actually be a nice benefit in so many ways. The problem with free range birds is that you have to locate their nests if you want their eggs, and they tend to be a little less domesticated than cooped birds. Don’t get me wrong, there is nothing better tasting than free range birds, in my opinion, but catching them can be quite an ordeal. Cooping your birds on the other hand, can breed disease, and if one catches something, your flock can be diminished quickly. However, they are easier to catch and much easier to locate the eggs.

Rhode Island Red

Some people might choose to raise Geese. Geese can be great protectors, but honestly, they can be dangerous too. If you never want company, then they are great…they don’t like anyone who doesn’t feed them! But if you have small children, this might be a problem. Not to mention having a delivery man show up and not get out of his vehicle! Trust me, being goosed by a goose can be extremely painful! There are, however, some breeds that are a little less aggressive. The Toulouse Goose is a good example. They are more personable than most, which makes them the best choice in my book. But overall, I didn’t like raising geese. They require a pond, or lake, and in general, they are rather mean. The Embden Goose is your standard white goose, and my least favorite for reasons stated.

Muscovi Duck

 

There is, however, a better alternative to geese, Muscovy ducks. If you have ever had duck a l’orange, or duck under glass, then you have eaten these delicious birds. They are noiseless, hissing much like a goose, and even though they can glide for some distance, they are considered flightless birds. They are large in size, but gentle, and are very attentive parents. Having a water hole is a plus for these birds, as they love it, and they do a wonderful job keeping the bugs down around the yard. You can train them to come to the birdhouse at night. Over twenty years of homesteading, these were my favorite birds to raise. Not only were they good layers, but they were a delicious meal too!
I saw no reason to raise game birds like Turkeys. Domestic Turkeys are rather stupid; they will actually stand outside in a rainstorm and drown from looking up! There are plenty of wild ones where I live, a flock of about twenty roost in my yard all winter. It’s quite a sight to see twenty large wild turkeys suddenly glide out of a tree first thing in the morning! Much smarter than their domestic counterparts!

One other thing I should mention, it is not necessary to spend a lot of money ordering “special” breeds of birds, just find a local who already has them, and get some chicks in the spring. You will already know these birds can live in your area, and if you have a problem, somebody local probably already knows the answer.

**FSBO: Perfect Prepper’s Paradise; 6+/- lakeside acres in Northeastern Washington State. 100 miles North of Spokane Washington, 10 miles south of Canadian border. Lake is seasonal. Year round creek. National Forrest within 5 miles. Rural. Must be a prepper to live here!

3,000 sf home…3 bedroom, 2 bath, large pantry, large ¾ basement, very large barn, shop building, storage shed, good roof, fenced garden, fruit trees and other yearly producers, fenced and cross fenced, accessible, good well, hot tub for extra water storage, wood floors, wood shed, plenty of wildlife. Leaving appliances: w/d, refrigerator, upright freezer, riding lawnmower, all fencing tools; NO tractor
This property is already ideal for your needs, but so close to wilderness, one could disappear quickly. Community has a lot of like minded people… excellent for solar and wind generator…stunning views, some yearly neighbors, some seasonal neighbors… Remodel halted due to death of husband, so still plenty of opportunity to add touches based on your needs… $250,000.00

This article first appeared on Ed That Matters.

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Todd Sepulveda

I'm the owner/editor of Prepper Website, a DAILY preparedness aggregator that links to the best preparedness articles on the internet. I'm also a public school administrator and a pastor. My personal blog is Ed That Matters, where I write about preparedness and from time to time, education. Connect with me on one of my social media outlets below.

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5 thoughts on “Chickens – No Fowling Around

  1. Practical Parsimony

    I have hens that do not have to be chased down. They sleep in a pen. Every night at dusk, they put themselves to bed. They are free-ranged on a city lot. They will come into the cage for food if I want to leave home before they really want to go in the pen. I never have to look for eggs outside of the pen. They know where they want to lay eggs. Since they have been in the pen when they want to lay an egg, they are in the habit of laying in a Rubbermaid box full of leaves or pine straw. My hens will come to me while I sit in the swing and often come up to sit with me.

  2. Nikki

    As someone who has raised turkeys for many years I find the statement that they are stupid to be preposterous. If hand raised from pouts turkeys are friendly, personable and highly intelligent. My turkeys learn at a faster rate than the chickens! I raise mine outside and have NEVER had one drown in a rainstorm, including when we’ve had hurricanes and thunderstorms. Please stop perpetuating such myths.

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