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Elevating Chickens for Meat :: Selecting a breed, Gathering Provides, and Getting ready for Well being Upkeep

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“Of all of the types of livestock, chickens put meat in your desk with the least quantity of effort and time. In a matter of weeks your chicken-keeping chores are over and your freezer is filled with tasty, healthful poultry.”
The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals

Just a few weeks in the past I wrote to you thru an article titled 5 Compelling Reasons to Raise Your Own Meat Birds.

It was then I shared that our cargo of meat birds was scheduled for supply the week of January twenty sixth.

Effectively guess what!?!
They’re right here!!!
All 60 vibrant yellow chicks (I do know! Strive to not get misplaced within the cuteness issue).

This will likely be our second batch of Jumbo Cornish X Rock broilers. The primary time (October 2013-December 2013), we raised 15 to the age of dispatchment…that have taught us a lot in regards to the variations in maintaining layers vs. meat birds. Assured in our means to develop and harvest sufficient meat to inventory our freezer for a 12 months, we positioned an order for 60 extra.

Selecting a Breed

In order I discussed — for this second batch of chicks — we determined to stay with the Jumbo Cornish X Rocks.

We made this resolution primarily for the convenience of manufacturing. In 8 weeks — give or take a week or two — the entire course of will likely be full.

The draw back to the Cornish Cross…they’re a hybrid (a particular mating between two various kinds of chickens). This implies there’s no sustainability to the breed for the small-scale homesteader.

Due to this fact, we additionally made the choice to ordered 50 Silver Grey Dorkings and have huge plans for a sustainable breeding program that may insure our household’s future meat and egg manufacturing.

Traditionally, Dorkings had been developed for his or her particularly nice high quality meat and distinctive egg laying means. They’re now, nevertheless, listed on The American Livestock Conservancy (the main nonprofit group working to guard breeds of livestock and poultry from extinction) as a “threatened” heritage breed.

These birds:

  • are nice foragers (lowering the price of feed).
  • have a really light temperament.
  • the hens are sometimes broody (limiting the necessity for egg incubation) and make great moms to the chicks they’re able to hatch.
  • are capable of mate on their very own.
  • lay a good looking white/cream coloured egg nicely into the winter months
  • produce very tasty meat.
  • are a homesteader’s dream rooster!!!

We are able to’t wait to lift them right here on the ranch!

Study extra about — and buy — meat, dual-purpose, heritage, and egg-layer breeds on websites like:

Gathering Provides

How a lot cash you spend to increase chickens for meat relies upon closely on such elements as:

  • the breed of chickens you need
  • what your plans are for housing and confinement
  • kind of feed
  • what provides/services you have already got readily available

Housing and Confinement.
There are three sorts of confinement strategies for poultry:

  1. Indoor Confinement (housing chickens indoors on litter and bringing them all the things they eat)
  2. Vary Confinement  (maintaining chickens inside a movable structure on grass)
  3. Free Vary (lets chickens freely come and go)

We’ll increase our Cornish X Rocks with a mixture of indoor and vary confinement.

The chicks will reside — indoors (the storage), in a cattle tank, on a mattress of TerrAmigo (pine pellets comprised of pure Arizona pine), below a brooder light with a heat lamp – for 2-3 weeks till they transfer outdoor to get pleasure from the remainder of their days outdoor on grass. Even outdoor, they are going to want safety from the weather and predators…this made attainable inside the bounds of a movable chicken tractor.

Free vary will not be a viable possibility for Cornish X broilers as a result of they aren’t aggressive foragers.

Varieties of feed.
Purchase it or make your individual?

With the value of GMO-free, natural beans and grains (sure, even when shopping for in bulk) it’s nonetheless cheaper for us to buy pre-made feed. Via Azure Standard we buy what I believe is the BEST non-GMO, soy-free, corn-free, organic chick starter by Scratch and Peck at a wonderful worth!

Nonetheless, you could need to contemplate the next home made feed recipes:

Getting ready for Well being Upkeep

From the time chicks arrive right here on the ranch, sustaining their well being and stopping illness is my major aim.

A wholesome rooster will drink, eat, and develop huge with nice ease.

My arsenal of pure rooster well being provides consists of:

  • uncooked, natural apple cider vinegar — nice for immunity, prevents respiratory issues, and maintains digestive well being (I add 1 tablespoon to each gallon of water.)
  • oregano essential oils — researchers discovered that including oregano important oils to chickens’ water was the best at stopping salmonella…click here to read more (I add 3 drops to each gallon of water.
  • natural garlic — recent garlic is and wonderful anti-parasitic and wormer, nice for immunity (I at all times preserve a mashed clove or three within the waterer. I additionally free-feed recent garlic, along with other herbs, to the flock.)
  • blackstrap molasses — examine the advantages of molasses to your chickens here
  • diatomaceous earth — examine the advantages of DE and the right way to use it
  • goat milk — goat milk has a large amount of useful nutritional vitamins and minerals for chickens — it’s particularly efficient in constructing sturdy leg construction (I give day-old/fermented goat milk free-choice to my chickens for the primary 7 days, then as usually as it’s accessible.)

There you have got it!

The chicks are all settled in and rising.

Study extra.
Taken with be taught extra? I extremely advocate the next books:

And be sure you comply with my Pinterest Board “Keeping Chickens” for added inspiration!

Be at liberty to ask questions within the feedback!

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Raising Chickens for Meat :: Choosing a breed, Gathering Supplies, and Preparing for Health Maintenance

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Family

Growing Crops at Home Is a Cornerstone of Any Survival Plan

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In the face of growing uncertainties, the concept of self-sufficiency has gained significant traction among survivalists and preppers. At the heart of any robust survival strategy lies the critical aspect of food security. While stockpiling supplies is a common approach, there is no substitute for the reliability and sustainability that comes with growing your own food at home.

Here’s why cultivating your own food should be a central component of your survival plan and how to get started.

The Necessity of Homegrown Food for Survival

Growing your own food is not just a supplementary activity; it’s a fundamental necessity for any serious survival plan. Here’s why:

Ensuring Food Independence

Relying solely on external food sources can be risky during emergencies when supply chains may be disrupted. By growing your own food, you achieve a level of independence that ensures you and your family have a reliable food source no matter what external conditions arise. This independence is crucial for long-term survival and peace of mind.

Enhancing Nutritional Quality

Homegrown food typically offers superior nutritional value compared to commercially produced options. When you grow your own fruits and vegetables, you control the growing conditions, avoiding harmful chemicals and pesticides. Freshly harvested produce also retains more vitamins and minerals, which are essential for maintaining health during stressful times.

Cost-Effectiveness and Sustainability

While setting up a home garden requires an initial investment, the long-term benefits are significant. Growing your own food can substantially reduce your grocery bills. Additionally, home gardening promotes sustainability by reducing your carbon footprint and decreasing dependency on industrial agriculture.

Physical and Mental Health Benefits

Engaging in gardening activities offers substantial physical and mental health benefits. The physical labor involved in gardening helps keep you fit, while the act of nurturing plants and spending time outdoors can reduce stress and improve mental well-being. The satisfaction of growing your own food also fosters a strong sense of self-reliance and accomplishment.

Getting Started with Home Gardening

Starting a home garden may seem daunting, but with some planning and basic knowledge, it’s entirely achievable. Here’s how to begin:

Assess Your Growing Space

Evaluate the space available for gardening. Whether you have a large backyard, a small patio, or even just a windowsill, there are gardening methods to fit every situation. Raised beds, container gardening, and vertical gardens are great options for maximizing limited spaces.

Choose Suitable Crops

Pick the right crops for your climate and growing conditions. Begin with easy-to-grow vegetables like tomatoes, lettuce, peppers, and herbs. Beginner-friendly crops are best and can yield abundant harvests. As you gain experience, you can diversify and experiment with other crops.

Gather Necessary Supplies

Invest in essential gardening supplies such as quality soil, seeds or seedlings, basic gardening tools, and containers or raised beds if needed. Compost and natural fertilizers can help improve soil quality and support healthy plant growth.

Commit to Continuous Learning

Gardening is an ongoing learning process. Pay attention to factors like sunlight, watering schedules, and pest management. Numerous resources, including books, online forums, and local gardening clubs, can provide valuable guidance and support.

For any survivalist, growing your own food at home is not just an option; it’s a necessity. It provides a sustainable, reliable food source, reduces dependency on external supply chains, and offers numerous health benefits. By incorporating home gardening into your survival plan, you ensure that you and your family are better prepared for any situation. Remember, the journey to food security and self-sufficiency begins with planting that first seed.

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Growing Your Own Food Can Save Your Family’s Life

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In times of crisis or uncertainty, having the ability to grow your own food can be a game-changer for survival and sustainability. Whether facing food shortages, supply chain disruptions, or other emergencies, cultivating a survival garden provides a reliable source of fresh produce and nutritional sustenance. In this guide, we’ll explore the essential steps and strategies for establishing a survival garden to feed your family during challenging times.

Assess Your Space and Resources

Start by assessing your available space and resources for gardening. Whether you have a spacious backyard, a small balcony, or even just indoor space, there are options for growing food in various environments. Consider factors such as sunlight exposure, soil quality, water access, and climate conditions to determine the most suitable gardening approach for your situation.

Choose the Right Plants

Selecting the right plants for your survival garden is crucial for maximizing yield and nutritional value. Focus on high-yield, fast-growing vegetables and herbs that are well-suited to your local climate and growing conditions. Some excellent choices for survival gardening include tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, beans, leafy greens, carrots, radishes, and herbs like basil and cilantro.

Start with Seeds and Seedlings

Begin your survival garden by acquiring high-quality seeds and seedlings from reputable sources. Starting from seeds allows you to save money, customize your plant selection, and develop self-sufficiency in seed-saving for future seasons. Alternatively, using seedlings can provide a head start and ensure a more predictable harvest, especially for beginners or in short growing seasons.

Prepare Your Soil

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Prepare the soil for your survival garden by loosening it with a shovel or tiller and removing any weeds, rocks, or debris. Amend the soil with organic matter such as compost, aged manure, or peat moss to improve fertility, moisture retention, and drainage. Conduct a soil test to assess nutrient levels and pH, and adjust as needed to create optimal growing conditions for your plants.

Implement Sustainable Growing Practices

 

Practice sustainable gardening techniques to conserve resources, minimize waste, and maximize productivity in your survival garden. Utilize mulch to suppress weeds, retain moisture, and regulate soil temperature. Practice water-saving methods such as drip irrigation or rainwater harvesting to minimize water usage. Incorporate companion planting and crop rotation to deter pests, improve soil health, and optimize plant growth.

Maintain Your Garden

Regular maintenance is essential for the success of your survival garden. Monitor moisture levels, weed diligently, and inspect plants for signs of pests or disease. Provide adequate support for vining or heavy-bearing plants to prevent damage and maximize yield. Harvest fruits and vegetables promptly when they reach maturity to encourage continued production and prevent spoilage.

Save Seeds for Future Seasons

As your survival garden matures, save seeds from open-pollinated or heirloom varieties to preserve genetic diversity and ensure a sustainable food source for future seasons. Allow some plants to bolt and set seed, then collect and properly store the seeds for long-term viability. Learning seed-saving techniques empowers you to maintain your garden independently and adapt to changing conditions over time.

Adapt to Changing Conditions

Be prepared to adapt your survival garden to changing conditions and unforeseen challenges. Stay informed about local weather patterns, pest outbreaks, and other factors that may impact your garden’s performance. Experiment with different planting strategies, varieties, and techniques to optimize resilience and productivity in response to evolving circumstances.

Survival gardening offers a practical and empowering solution for growing your own food and enhancing your family’s self-sufficiency during times of crisis. By following these essential steps and strategies, you can establish a thriving survival garden capable of providing fresh produce, nutritional sustenance, and peace of mind in the face of uncertainty. Start planning and planting your survival garden today to reap the benefits tomorrow and beyond.

Does your family keep a survival garden? Do you plan to start? Leave your thoughts in the comments below. 

 

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Homesteading

Harvesting the Cold: A Guide to Winter Foraging for Edible Plants

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Foraging has come to a temporary halt with cold weather coming into the picture… or has it? Those with a keen eye and no fear of the cold winter landscape can still find a surprising variety of edible plants from now until the opening day of baseball season. 

It’s just another skill set to learn. For family survivalists, it can be an excellent way to not only find food in your backyard but also to spend time with your family and learn more about the local ecosystems. Learning how to identify and locate edible plants during the winter months can uncover hidden gems, adding a touch of freshness and unique flavor to your winter dishes.

First, however, you must understand how winter foraging is different from foraging during other seasons. It will require a deeper connection with the landscape and a great deal of patience. You must also prioritize safety and warmth, dressing in layers, wearing insulated boots, and carrying emergency supplies, such as extra clothing, first-aid essentials, and navigation tools.

Patriotic Blade

Essential Tools For Winter Foraging

You’ll need more than a pair of gardening shears to do winter foraging. Any winter outdoor or wilderness activity requires that you carry a certain amount of survival equipment in the odd chance that you get lost or otherwise stuck out in the wilderness for longer than you planned to. 

First, you’re going to need a reliable field guide specifically about winter foraging or use a smartphone app offering detailed information on plant identification. One of the most dangerous things you can do with any kind of foraging is selecting the wrong plant. 

And, of course, you’re going to need a pair of pruners or scissors for harvesting. You should also carry some kind of digging tool so that you can access root vegetables. You may also need a digging tool to remove snow from areas, whether it be so that you can access a plant, clear yourself a path, or build an emergency shelter in the event that you get caught out in the cold. 

Common Edible Winter Plants

Patriotic Blade

There are a number of plants that grow in the winter that you can safely eat. Some of these include:

  • Cattail: Cattails grow abundantly next to wetlands and have edible parts just about year-round. During the winter months, you’ll want to look for their roots, which you can then harvest, peel, and cook.
  • Rose Hips: Rose hips are the fruit produced by wild roses. They’re an excellent source of vitamin C. You can make teas or jams with them, or add them to food for extra flavor.
  • Pine: Pine trees offer edible parts year-round. During the winter, gather the new, light-green growth at the ends of branches to add a citrusy flavor to food.
  • Dandelion: Dandelions are extremely hardy and can survive in very cold climates. Their young leaves are less bitter when harvested during the winter, making them perfect for salads or sautéing.
  • Chickweed: Chickweed thrives in cool winter weather. In fact, you can find it growing underneath snow patches. Its tender leaves and stems are excellent for salads.

Conclusion

Winter foraging may be a lesser-explored endeavor than foraging in the other seasons. However, it can be a rewarding and educational experience for those unafraid of the cold and willing to discover the hidden bounty of edible plants. For homeschool families, it can be an excellent way to do science classes during the winter for kids of all ages. 

Remember always to thoroughly identify a plant before you eat it. Eating the wrong thing is far more likely to cause you trouble than the cold weather. And always forage responsibly, respecting nature and leaving something behind for future generations.

Patriotic Blade

If you remember all of that you can feel free to venture into the winter wonderland to unlock hidden treasures of winter foraging.

What are some of your favorite edible wild plants for the winter months? Does anything cool or interesting grow in your neck of the woods? Share your favorites in the comments below.

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