Saturday, July 23, 2011

Sad News

We had a big loss on our homestead a few nights ago. It wouldn't be fair for me not to post, as I really want people to know what they are getting into, and have a realistic perspective on homesteading. We lost all 26 of our meat birds. We had them in the tractor without any issues for quite a while. Then, we found the remains of the birds. All 26 had been killed, only a few were taken though. It looks like raccoons sat on top of the wire and were able to bend the wire enough to give them leverage to pull the staples out of the side. It gave them enough room to get into the tractor. Signs around the tractor all pointed to raccoons, and our neighbor killed a large one recently, and we've seen others since. We were heartbroken.

Now, my dad has been a HUGE encourager in our homestead (he's also my beekeeping partner). Dad handed us a check to buy more birds. His advice (Listen very carefully, because this is GOOD ADVICE)--"You know what your weaknesses are. Fix them, and start right back up. Don't let this beat you." He's right.

Because we're short on time, we had to settle for Cornish X birds. We aren't thrilled by that, but we really want to have chicken to eat this winter. We're buying a very heavy gauge wire to put on the chicken tractor, and reinforcing all the weak points.

The big lesson in all of this: it takes a lot to be a homesteader. Sometimes we have to put aside our preferences to take what works best for our situation. We have to overcome the hardships that are inherent to raising livestock. We have to adapt to our surroundings and limitations. Sad days are hard, but the good days are worth it.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I previously wrote about my dislike for Cornish cross meat birds. This year, we are raising 25 Buff Orpington cockerels for our freezer. We may hold back a rooster for our egg laying flock. I imagine we could hatch out a good table bird by crossing a Buff Orpington roo to a Speckled Sussex hen.

Mr. HH is finishing up our chicken tractor.

Birds- Currently known as "chicken nuggets"

Now, these guys won't get as big as a Cornish cross, but they also won't cost us as much in feed. They already get a good helping of grass clippings, and love them. They take a bit longer to grow out, but they taste so great, it's worth the wait.