Saturday, October 6, 2012

Day 7 - Raising Chickens

31 Days of Homestead Living!

Today was a cool day for us here.  I know some people have already had snow, but in the South 50 degrees is cool! 

When we first moved to the farm, we get some young chickens.  We raised them in our basement until they were large enough to be outside.  We've had chickens ever since!

We had about 20 chickens earlier this year, but predators got most of them.  Now we have about seven.  We were getting about three dozen eggs a week.  Now maybe half a dozen.  We need to get some more laying hens, but I just haven't had time.  My husband wants to get another rooster, too, because he misses their crowing!

We love having our own eggs.  We sell a few along the way, too.  In the summer when we have too many eggs, we freeze them to use in the winter.  There are several different ways to do this.  Some people just put the eggs in a freezer bag and place it in the freezer.  Some break the eggs into ice trays, one in each space.  Then they freeze.  When frozen, the place frozen egg squares in a zip lock bag.  Some say you should press the egg through a sieve, to keep them from getting tough.  So I guess you have to try the one that sounds best to you.  We haven't tried them all yet, so I can't give you a good opinion yet.

We also butcher our older birds for the freezer.  But my husband hates to clean chickens, so we don't order chicks for meet.

Some people are very picky about what they feed their chickens.  We buy laying feed for the chickens.  But I feed them all the left overs, all the stuff I take out when cleaning the fridge.  It is really great that you could keep a few chickens, feed them your scraps, and have eggs for free!  Chickens love tomatoes.  If you have a garden, and the chickens run loose, they will peck the tomatoes.  They also like strawberries, and they love cucumbers.  I give our chickens all the cucumbers from our garden that get too large and turn yellow.  I slice them down the middle, and throw them in the chicken yard.  They love them.

Our hens at feeding time.

We buy chick starter feed for our little ones when they first arrive.  You must keep the chicks under a heat lamp and make sure they have plenty of water. 

Hope you stop back by tomorrow!  Thanks - Honey

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